Senior Spotlight: Julia Roegiers

Putting classroom lessons into career practice

Juan Zuniga-Mejia

FEATURES EDITOR 

TRIGGER WARNING: This article mentions sex trafficking.

Photo Courtesy of Julia Roegiers   Fourth-year Julia Roegiers plans to gain more experience working with children as she strives for her marriage and family therapist license.

Photo Courtesy of Julia Roegiers

Fourth-year Julia Roegiers plans to gain more experience working with children as she strives for her marriage and family therapist license.

Fourth-year Julia Roegiers will be graduating with a degree in Child Development this May, carrying on her family’s legacy of aiding children in need by becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist. Like many other Poets, Whittier College’s small school environment attracted her, in addition to the promising Child Development program, which partners with the Broadoaks Children’s School.

Roegiers’ mother works as a team leader at Social Learning Works, an organization dedicated to supporting kids with behavioral issues, such as ADHD and autism. Roegiers will join her mother and sister at Social Learning Works this summer. With the women in her family all being passionate about child development (and her grandmother also being physical therapist), helping people is “kind of a family thing,” said Roegiers. 

Roegiers has spent much of her time at Whittier completing observation hours with Broadoaks Children’s School, and has gained field experience in working with young children. This fieldwork is where she puts her learning into practice. For Roegiers, being prepared as a marriage and family therapist depends on a school’s practicum. This makes the Child Development program an important factor when deciding on a graduate school. 

Roegiers looked at a few programs offered at the University of San Francisco, but was ultimately put off by the high tuition rate. “I need to think about [tuition] more,” said Roegiers, “especially after coming to Whittier, because it took an arm and a leg to come here.” Beyond affordable tuition, she needed to find a graduate program that would be the right fit for her. She knew she wanted to stay in California where she could continue studying and gaining promising fieldwork experience. 

Speaking with other graduates in marriage and family therapy programs convinced Roegier that Sonoma State University (SSU)’s programs would be more beneficial to her. “You get so much more one-on-one fieldwork time in [SSU] compared to other universities,” said Roegiers. “[SSU] students are much more prepared when they’re actually getting into working, because you do a lot of therapy on the other students in your class.” She feels this approach is significant because, by getting therapy from her peers and practicing giving therapy with them, she can be more mentally stable.

“Doing the actual experience is important for learning,” said Roegiers. With her observation hours with Broadoaks Children’s School and volunteer work at Social Learning Works with her mom, Roegiers has had multiple experiences putting her learning into practice. She plans to continue to do so before applying to graduate school.  

“[Graduate programs] usually want you to have at least two years of working with people before applying to graduate school,” said Roegiers. After graduating from Whittier College, Roegiers plans to work full-time with her mother and sister at Social Learning Works to get another year of field experience before applying to SSU. 

As of January, Roegeirs has been working with a nonprofit organization called Crittenton, which advocates for safety and health of children, to support young victims of sex trafficking in Orange County. Roegiers originally came across the program through her Child Practicum class, but the program opened her eyes to the violence and needs of youth who suffer from PTSD and anxiety from this violence. “There [are] so many kids out there who really need more help than we even know,” said Roegiers. 

As a marriage and family therapist, she feels she can help youth in many ways. Since her practicum class is coming to an end, Roegiers will be leaving Crittenton to work with her mother in San Francisco. However, she has started a GoFundMe page (gofundme.com/bc3wvf) titled “Support Youth Victims of Sex Trafficking.” She hopes Poets who are able and willing to help her fundraise for these kids will do what they can. 

Roegiers shows great ethics to support kids in need of patience and guidance as she continues her career path to becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist.