Amazing Students

Mahlet Endale

Mahlet Endale has lived on 3 continents in her 25 years. She was born in Africa, moved to Europe, and finally landed in North America, so she has an interesting perspective as someone who provides mental health care to refugees and other displaced people. In the past year and a half, she has been to Australia and Sri Lanka, where she provided care for tsunami victims. She says these experiences have given her an appreciation for the different ways people choose to live life and a sense of freedom to choose what she wants her life to be like. These experiences have formed the beliefs that she uses in her life and her work.

Degree objective:

Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology

Other degrees:

M.Ed., Guidance and Counseling, University of Georgia, 2003;
B.S., Psychology, University of Georgia, 2001.

Expected graduation:

Summer 2007

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Dean’s List Fall 2001; Dean’s List Spring 2000; Alpha Kappa Psi Scholarship, Fall 1999; Hope Scholarship, 1997-1998 and 2000-2001.

Current Employment:

For the past year and a half I have had an assistantship with Deryl Bailey’s Empowered Youth Programs. This is an enrichment program for underrepresented elementary to high school students in the Clarke and surrounding counties. My responsibilities include developing a curriculum and co-teaching character education to middle and high school minority students, administering educational and adjustment assessments to gauge student progress and program efficacy, developing scoring instruments, serving as the office manager who serves as a liaison between program director and program staff/volunteers, maintaining contact with teachers and school counselors at one school to gauge progress of program participants from that school, gathering literature and information to be used in writing research papers, and aiding in writing research papers based on collected program data.

Family Ties to UGA:

My father works as an agricultural engineer for the USDA at a research station in Watkinsville. My mother works as an office manager in the African Studies department. My sister just graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She will be doing a master’s at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in Industrial/Organizational Psychology next fall.

I chose to attend UGA because…

...the program I am in is really good. It is ranked fifth in the nation and has internationally known faculty. I knew that I would receive excellent training here. Also, because I got my master’s degree in the department, I already knew the ins and outs and I needed less time to adjust. This has allowed me the opportunity to do things like take a recent trip to Sri Lanka to help provide tsunami relief. I am also blessed to have my immediate family living nearby, and after my experience in Sri Lanka, I realized how important that is to me.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

...to go to the Ramsey Center. I don’t get as much time there as I’d like, but I make it there as often as possible. In the past, I’ve taken advantage of the weight room, the climbing wall (my favorite activity to date), a belly dancing class, and a yoga class.

I also love the little pond near the life sciences building. When I need a time out, I walk there from Aderhold and sit with the turtles and fish. I especially like the catfish that “sleeps” on its back.

My final love (or perhaps addiction) is the Jittery Joe’s at the SLC. I have to fight to stay away from the white chocolate mocha.

When I have free time, I like…

...to share stories over dinner and wine with my friends, to go dancing with friends in Atlanta, and to indulge in my Sunday routine of going to my parents’ house after church for a lunch with the family.

The craziest thing I've done is…

...go to Sri Lanka to help provide tsunami relief. Because my special interest is in international psychology, I had been doing some group counseling with diverse refugees in Atlanta, so after the tsunami hit in South Asia, I really felt an urge to do something. I filled out an application circulated by the American Psychological Association and sent it in. I did not have trauma experience nor am I licensed yet, but I got accepted. I had not even checked with my professors before I applied, but they gave me their blessings. Within a month I found myself sitting on a plane thinking, “What am I doing?” Once I landed and the work began though, the fear melted and I began to connect with all those around me.  It felt like I was able to give the people a momentary refuge after all the chaos that continues even today.  I will never forget the adults’ tears of sorrow nor the beautiful smiling faces of “my” children.  This opportunity was truly a blessing to me.  It was a reminder to spend time and energy on the important people in my life since they are never guaranteed to be around. In the end, I had a remarkable life-altering experience, and I had an opportunity to do some good along the way.

My favorite place to study is…

...at home alone. There, I have everything I need like comfortable clothes, snacks, my hot tea, my TV when I need a break, etc. Also, with my schedule I spend so little time at home (I work 12+ hours most days) that it is nice when I don’t have to leave for once.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

...my maternal grandparents. Both of them currently live in a rather remote area of Ethiopia. My grandfather is 93 years old, and his health is beginning to fail. My grandmother is in her 80’s and battling cancer. Because I have lived abroad since I was four years old, I have not had the opportunity to spend much quality time with them. I would like to hold my grandfather’s hand and feed him his lunch. I would share my life with my grandmother and ask if she has any words of wisdom for me.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

...own a coffee shop. In my last year and a half of high school, I worked in a coffee shop in Little Five Points in Atlanta. This is an eclectic part of town with very diverse people, and I loved getting to know about their different lives.

After graduation, I plan to…

...continue my work with international and refugee mental health. I found the work I did with the refugee relocation center in Atlanta and the groups I ran in Sri Lanka to be incredibly fulfilling and meaningful.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

...working in the Aderhold counseling center, where I do my clinical work, talking and joking with the other clinicians. We spend so much time together that we really get to know one another and grow comfortable with each other during all the late nights. These are a great group of people that understand what my day-to-day life is like, and once it starts getting later we all get a little delirious and silly, especially when we are stressed out.

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