Featured Grad: Hannah Tehee ’15L, ’20C
Hometown: Lincoln, NE
Congrats on graduating, Hannah! What's it mean to you to be a two-time Doane graduate now?
Thank you so much, this has been an exciting time! Starting back in 2013 after just finishing my associate’s degree at SCC, I did not know what to expect when starting my undergraduate degree at the Fred Brown building on the Lincoln campus, but I ended up gaining so much more than I ever would have envisioned. From the students and professors to the advisors and campus staff, everyone played an impactful part along this journey. I was nervous but excited to begin on a new path and expand on my education in the human services field, and through fun but challenging coursework Doane provided that for me.
I have always enjoyed helping others, but that passion grew more throughout my time here, and it became more evident that I wanted to continue my education into the Master of Arts in Counseling program to become a counselor. One person who guided my decision to pursue more school was Jean Kilnoski, who I have had the pleasure of learning from in both my undergraduate and graduate studies. She has played an integral piece in my education and has and continues to push and support me in my endeavors.
I am grateful for all my experiences while at Doane, but especially for the people who I am thankful to have met! Pursuing and completing two degrees at Doane has been very meaningful for me!
What challenges did the pandemic present for you as a student and how were you able to overcome those obstacles?
The pandemic was unexpected and impacted the outcome of my finish date for the program as I was hoping to graduate by May or June of this year, and I ended up finishing in November. Initially this created issues for obtaining my clinical hours as we went into a shutdown for schools, and learning went completely online via Zoom. For all the counseling interns and other mental health professionals out in the field, we had to complete online training for telehealth services and to continue counseling sessions from online platforms with clients. Time was not my friend during this period of transition, but when I look back it actually was, as it allowed me to slow down and intentionally look at what I was doing and who I was becoming as a future counselor.
Another positive that I took from the shutting down of the school and counseling sessions with clients was a reset for organization, opportunities to seek out more learning through training, and networking with others going through similar experiences. The patience and support from my professors, supervisor at SCC, and again campus staff -- who have gone above and beyond for all students during this time -- helped me and others to navigate through these uncharted waters. In a way the pandemic presented a unique pause on everything that allowed the world to slow down for a moment and reflect.
What was your favorite component of the MAC program and why?
Honestly, everything about the Master of Arts in Counseling program has been my favorite, but one component does stand out for me: Internship. This piece of the program opened to the hands-on approach of learning and provided us to grow into our identities as future counselors, while helping and supporting clients with their struggles. I think I noticed myself changing more in this phase of the program than any other phase. Internship gave me my foundation that I now work from with clients. It gave me opportunities at events to promote and advocate for mental health while networking with others. It gave me experience with collaborating with clients on their goals to make changes for their future. I felt like I could fully identify with this field and why I was in it, as my passion continued to grow. Mental health is important; it matters, and I am proud to be a part of a program and university that promotes and understands that importance.
You completed an internship with Southeast Community College this year, working in their CAPS (Counseling Assistance Program for Students) program, providing free and confidential counseling for SCC students. What was that experience like for you?
This was an amazing opportunity! Through my internship experience I have gained more confidence, feelings of comfortability, knowledge-based approaches, new skills and techniques, a grounded theoretical approach for myself and how I see clients and their concerns.
While at SCC in their CAPS program, I got to work with students who experienced a wide range of concerns from anxiety and depression to life transitions and trauma. This unique site allowed me to utilize the theories and skills that I learned in my coursework and to grow my foundation and identity as a mental health professional.
I am taking away from this experience a feeling of being prepared for the next steps in my life as a mental health professional and counselor in the field. Remembering back to working with my first set of clients to now, it seems like forever ago, but I am so thankful for the uncomfortable moments, the sometimes “muddy” days of confusion and questioning my abilities because that created growth for me, and growth leads to change. As I move forward, Internship has provided me with more tools of knowledge to guide me in becoming the best counselor for my clients and for myself.
What are your aspirations for the future?
The future appears open for me right now, as I am currently pursuing some job leads in the field of private practice and some local agencies. I am ready to jump into this compassion-driven and ever-changing field as a first-year counselor and continue in helping others. I feel well equipped for any job opportunity as the MAC program solidified my confidence in my abilities and provided me with the skills and knowledge needed to become an effective mental health provider.
As a two-time Doane graduate and former Doane employee, what have you enjoyed most about the university?
Looking back at my time at Doane through completing both degrees and working in the Enrollment department, it is the connections that I made along the way that I enjoyed the most. During my time as a student, I made life-long connections and friends with many students in my undergrad who I still stay in contact with, as well as students now from my graduate studies. There is something about having relatable life experiences that connects individuals and having professors who understand the responsibilities and balance of work, school, and family/friends. Doane allowed for me to still work full-time during most of my coursework, and to still be present in my family and friends’ lives as we usually sacrifice many of those special events while in school.
As a former employee I felt valued on my team and having the opportunity to work with prospective students who would soon be embarking on a similar journey like I did felt rewarding, and yielded a full circle moment.