Alumni Spotlight: George Ramos, AGSC Class 2012

At 1pm, George Ramos was leaving family court when we caught up with him for an exclusive alumni interview.  A graduate of Nyack College’s Alliance Graduate School of Counseling, George has spent the past 6 years working for New York City, first as a Child Abuse Investigator and now as a Family Assessment Coordinator.  A part of the Administration for Children Services, the Family Assessment Program (his employer) helps teens and families in crisis.  The agency provides services and social workers to assist families tackling such issues as truancy and drugs.

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At the very start, George said that he wanted to do this interview in order to expressly highlight his gratitude to the faculty of the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling.

 

His work with ACS and the Family Assessment Program… in a nutshell

Specifically, George manages intake, meaning when a case comes in, he identifies specialists who can assist the particular issues of the family.  He speaks to teens, sometimes without their parents in order to learn about the underlying issues in their lives.  Before his degree completion with the AGSC, he already had a steady job within the department.

 

So why pursue a master’s degree in mental health counseling?

George wanted to advance his degree and like many adults he struggled with time commitments.  He’d a family and a full time job.  Adding course work to this plate seemed almost impossible and in fact the faculty and admissions counselors were unsure he’d be able to carry all the responsibilities.

 

“I remember sitting in the office as my candidacy for admittance was discussed.  They were skeptical of my application but they wanted to give me a chance to discuss my goals for the program.  As we talked, my understanding of the school deepened.  They spoke about empathy and investment in mental health and the Christian church.  They spoke of people doing good not for a job or number but for a greater purpose.”

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The full commitment of the classes weighed on George but he endeavored to succeed.  “It’s hard being in a class with students who are smarter or younger than you and quicker to understand things. Dr. Lucas believed in me even when I struggled.  I don’t think you can get that in any other program. This is a community of learners.”

 

What was a monumental moment for him in the AGSC?

“Too many,” George told me and again began discussing his admittance into the program.  He knew the program was designed to mend broken lives.  “That resonated with me.  And sometimes in class you wonder how you’re going to remember the material and all the techniques.  But eventually you’re with a client or at your internship and you hear Dr. Chin in your head.  He’s telling you about case studies.  Suddenly, I realized that I knew what to do.  I could hear Dr. Robles speaking and I thought –wow!  I can do this!”

 

What advice does he give to new students?

George said that students should remember that their job is to learn techniques and new information.  Sometimes in the moment, the material can be overwhelming.  But have faith because the greatest strength that the program has lives with the professors who “have knowledge of the discipline and respect to the Bible.  They merge the two together, not letting one outweigh the other.  It’s thoughtful and pointed.”  New students and graduates are in the program for a reason: to help others and the Kingdom.

 

Was the hard work worth it?

Yes.  George said that with his degree he was able to advance within his department and compete with applicants that have backgrounds in social work.  He feels that while a master’s degree in social work is widely known, his degree in mental health and counseling is clinically pointed and based on best practices.  He had an edge and used it.

 

In the future, George knows that he can continue within ACS and can eventually clinch a high-powered administrative position within New York City.  But in fact he wants to open a non-profit mental health practice specifically for people of color.  He wants to continue healing and educating in a Christian way. George is currently enrolled in Harvard University’s Extension School studying Management.

 

 

Final Thoughts?

Before we ended our conversation, I asked George if he wanted anything in particular printed in the article.  He said simply, “I want this [article] to show how grateful I am to the AGSC and for how vested they were in me.  I’d like to highlight how warm they’ve been to me and continue to be.  It’s a lot like home.”

Note from the Editor:  Alumni Spotlight is a special column dedicated to Nyack Warriors around the world.  Whether on the banks of the Hudson River or in Battery Park, Warriors go far and wide.  Do you know an alumnus with a great story?  Please message us so we can share their story on our blog.

God Gives Revelations

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Kayaking the Hudson with my hubby

It’s taken 10 years to see what God would do with my innate passion to help people. Three states, many jobs, and about 15 apartments later, I now understand (more) of what He was doing.

 

When I graduated with my undergraduate degree from The University of Texas in 2003 (seems so long ago), I began to pursue the Masters in Psychology program there. However, on graduation night, I decided to pack up my car and drive to California to pursue a job in the entertainment industry instead. In Los Angeles, I worked for a casting agency, my church’s children’s ministry, as a personal assistant, a cafe manager, an actress, a travel agent, a producer, the list goes on. Since many of my friends and my church members went to Fuller Theological Seminary for Christian Counseling, enrolling was on my list of things to do. However, I always found an excuse not to.

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Celebrating Cuba with AGSC’s Joan Hong

Fast-forward a few years, and I had a one-way ticket to New York for a job in producing. Somehow that fell through, and I ended up at an Advertising Agency. Working in Marketing and Events was exciting. We hosted events with Donald Trump, the Black Eyed Peas, James Cameron, Eli Manning, etc., but I knew that God had something more meaningful in store for my work.

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AGSC’s study abroad course, taught by Dr. Elaine Eng, Dr. Carol Robles & Dr. Michael Gillern

After having back surgery (on my honeymoon…in South Africa!), I was forced to lay low and get rest before I was able to return to work. Since all I could do was browse the internet, I came across Nyack College in my church’s classified ads. I thought that working with a Christian college would be a great fit for me since I love encouraging people in Christ.

 

A couple of months later, I got the job at Nyack, and I was assigned to recruit for the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling (AGSC). I thought it was a great use of my skill set to assist people in their calling to help other people. I enrolled in classes at AGSC immediately (because why not?), and then a week later… IT HIT ME.

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Dr. John “Boundaries” Townsend at AACC conference – an AGSC Elective course in Branson, MI

God gave a revelation. I have been through a lot of suffering, but He always worked things out for the good & I could always encourage people through that. I was the “Psychology student of the year” in my high school, a psychology major in college (for a while), wanted to pursue Counseling in post grad, and here I was…working in a professional Christian Counseling program. I finally found a program that was thoroughly professional and intentionally Christian, and it would qualify me to sit for the licensing exam (and eventually have my own practice)! What a dream come true! And I didn’t even pursue it. God placed it in my lap, and waited for me to acknowledge all He had done to make it possible.

 

He truly does “work all things together for the good of those who love Him” ~Romans 8:28. But He also calls us to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” ~Jeremiah 29:7.

 

Serve the place you’re in, while God has you there, and He will prosper you (even if it takes MORE than 10 years).

 

I tell you what. All of these years, jobs, cities, friends, churches, and changes have all made me better at what I do now. And I needed emotional growth 10 years ago, which I have now, in order to pursue this field of counseling.

 

All I can say is this. God is in control in my life. And He is in control of yours too.

 

May He bless you richly, in ways you NEVER saw coming (and hopefully it won’t take you 10 years to see).

Behind the Scenes of Nyack’s New City Campus

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It’s almost time to say goodbye to Broadway.  It’s almost time to pack up the trucks and make the move downtown.

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Nyack College is igniting a new beginning in a neighborhood steeped in history.  On an afternoon stroll through Manhattan, our students will be able to visit the Freedom Tower, St. Paul’s Chapel, and even Fraunces Tavern Museum—where George Washington delivered a farewell speech to his generals after the Revolutionary War.

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And this will be our new home.

 

Outside the administrative offices, a faux wall separates sidewalk traffic from the buzz saw commotion inside.  It’s hard to imagine new offices while watching this current hum of construction.  But with a few weeks left, the furniture and fixtures are almost ready for placement.

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Inside the main building, men at work lay colored tiles according to the bright schematic that our new New York City classrooms will have.  I visited the orange floor where the tangerine pop of color accented doorways and hallways.  On the red floor, carpenter tools stand by freshly laid textile carpeting while workers measure and check the quality of work.

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In Fall 2013, undergraduate and graduate classes will be held in these rooms.  But for now, the space is maximized for organization.  Artwork and breakables are designated to their own classrooms while “the command center” resembles a gallery walk through a beautiful mind.

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what will new classes look like at Nyack

Maps, plans, and checklists line the walls.  Sketches lean against each other in the corner.  Meanwhile staff and administrative personnel from our Rockland campus flip through charts and check details on laptop computers.

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It’s happening!

 

Winter is ended and spring comes with many blessings including our city campus’s move to 17 Battery Place.  The days are ticking away and a small army of workers continue to hammer, paint, and solder their way toward our big move!

 

In a few months, students will climb out of subway stairwells and zip up elevators.  Fall classes will commence and in the backdrop through the windows, we’ll have this view!!

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