In his field experience course, Dr. Robert Reid encouraged Jaclyn Beck ’12 to step outside her comfort zone. She took his advice and it truly paid off. Beck, originally an Education major, found a greater passion in the field of Family and Child Studies and decided to pursue a career as a Child Life Specialist. This wasn’t the only step of faith during Jaclyn’s Montclair State career.
Beck found her years at Montclair State to be full of opportunities to learn more about and improve herself. “Don’t limit yourself,” she said. “Dream big. Keep getting an education; it’s never a bad thing.”
Another classroom experience that was crucial in shaping Beck’s attitude toward work and life was the series of scenarios she was given in Professor Holliday’s Poverty and Families course. The scenarios were real-life issues that people living in poverty face, like how to feed a family on ten dollars per day. It really made her think, she recalls, and learn how it is to live with scarce resources. “The course actually put you in the shoes of the people you’re learning about,” she said “and made you appreciate everything you have around you.”
Life on campus was more than just major coursework, though. Beck minored in Anthropology and filled her downtime with on-campus involvement. She was a member of the Montclair State Diving Team, Campus Crusade for Christ, Historian of the Residential Leadership Council and Secretary of the Child Life Organization.
Like all graduates of the Family and Child Studies program, Beck had to complete an internship prior to graduation. She earned an internship at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, where she went through six different rotations in each department involving pediatrics. Rotations lasted two weeks each and offered exposure to every aspect of hospitalization. Ranging from radiology to oncology to the emergency department, Beck played a crucial role in advocating for pediatric patients and their families during their hospital stays. For her final three weeks of the internship, Beck was given a choice of departments. She chose Emergency, enjoying the spontaneity and energy of the environment which allowed her fine tune her skills at a fast pace. In the Emergency Department, Beck was present for everything – preparing patients for surgery, holding children’s hands as they went through medical procedures, even playing a key role in pediatric Level I and II traumas; there were no closed doors. Over the course of her internship, Jaclyn realized what she really wanted to do: help families cope through the hardships of hospitalization.
Today, she’s back in school to get the prerequisites needed to become a Physician’s Assistant. A Physician’s Assistant works as part of a team of healthcare workers and does everything from assisting with surgery and interpreting tests to prescribing medication and counseling patients on preventative care. Beck’s goal is to again work with pediatric patients in an emergency setting.
“Don’t box yourself in,” Beck says. “After you graduate, you can keep looking for new improvements.” And she continues to live this philosophy out herself, not only through education but real life experience as well including a medical mission trip planned for August 2013 to Lima, Peru. Currently working on furthering her education, with her eyes on her career, Beck recalls her time at Montclair State University with fondness and appreciation.