Internships steer career path for psychology alumnus
“I’m very proud to tell people that my undergraduate background is in psychology,” says Seattle attorney Daniel Jung, who graduated from the UW in December of 1998 with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in society and justice. Daniel started his freshman year at the UW as a biology major, with a pre-med focus. “I was lost in school the first year,” says Daniel, “I did poorly and was eventually placed on academic probation.” Psychology 101, in the fall of his sophomore year, turned the tide. “I fell in love with psychology,” Daniel remembers, “the class intrigued me and I found that I was interested in a subject for the first time.”
Daniel is the kind of person who dives into an experience head-first, taking full advantage of all opportunities that present themselves. With seemingly boundless energy, Daniel combined his academic studies with a series of community-based internships and volunteer positions, which helped him to discover his path through the University, and beyond. Daniel’s former academic counselor, Carrie Perrin, still refers to him as the “poster child for the internship program.” “The internship experience opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities and helped me to narrow down the choices,” says Daniel, “when you do an internship it makes your studies much more relevant.” And, this is what translated into success for Daniel.
Step one was a discussion with his psychology adviser that focused on Daniel’s strengths and interests. His first instinct was to pursue a career as a therapist because he wanted to help people. A series of volunteer and internship positions followed, beginning with the Seattle Counseling Service Center and the King County Crisis Clinic and progressing into work with the county Juvenile Detention Facility and finally the Seattle Police Department. His experiences, coupled with his studies in psychology and society and justice, helped Daniel to refine and clarify his interests and goals—and, upon graduating with a B.A., he already had two years of rich and diverse work experience. “The internship program allows you to get into your chosen field from the get-go,” says Daniel.
Following graduation, Daniel worked briefly as a case manage for an adult day care program before being offered a position with TRAC Associates where he worked as a job developer, helping clients to move from welfare to employment. Daniel says that his work allowed him to deal with immediate situations and work toward solutions, while helping clients with self-esteem and confidence building. He found his background in psychology to be a valuable asset. “People who don’t study psychology often lack an understanding of a lot of behaviors that they are nonetheless quick to label,” says Daniel.
Following his work with TRAC, Daniel entered law school at Seattle University and is now employed by the Pioneer Square firm of Eims & Flynn, practicing workers compensation law. Always one to seek out new learning opportunities, in August of next year Daniel will begin a clerkship with the Washington State Court of Appeals. Daniel feels that psychology has been beneficial to him going into the legal profession, but he may yet return to the original goal that he discussed with his adviser several years ago. “At some point in my life, I still plan to go into mental health,” says Daniel, who hopes to one day earn a Master’s degree in counseling.
One thing is certain—with regard to Daniel, once a volunteer, always a volunteer. He serves on a number of Bar Association committees, volunteers in King County neighborhood legal clinics, and plans to begin working with the Korean Community Center legal assistance programs. Says Daniel, “It’s in these volunteer positions that psychology really comes into play—the work becomes almost more about counseling than legal issues.” It looks like one other thing is certain with Daniel—once a psych student, always a psych student.