Whitney is a MSSW student from The University of Texas at Austin who has been interning at Down Home Ranch since August 2019. Prior to joining the DHR family, Whitney received a Bachelors in Sociology with a Criminal Justice concentration from University of Tennessee in 2006 and a Bachelors in Spanish from University of Kentucky in 2008. Whitney spent four years working as a Travis County Parole Officer before accepting her current position as a Travis County Juvenile Probation Officer in February 2017.
As a full time student and state employee, Whitney searched for an internship placement that would support her extremely busy schedule. Fortunately for us, she stumbled upon Down Home Ranch! Before Whitney began interning here, she had never worked with individuals with disabilities. However, it didn’t take her long to fall in love with this population! Two days a week, Whitney works with the Ranchers in the DHR Day Program where she spends her time teaching two advanced educational courses: Advocacy group and Spelling. During Advocacy group, she works with the Ranchers to help define their support systems and how to effectively deal with conflict.
The time Whitney has spent serving the Down Home Ranchers has convinced her to change her career goal. She has decided to switch her focus from working with juvenile criminal justice to something that would allow her to stay in the field of individuals with disabilities. Though not yet sure what her exact profession will be, she is open to exploring new possibilities. For example, in the near future, she is going on a ride-along with a Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT) to consider if this type of work would be a good fit for her as a career choice.
We are excited to announce that upon completing her internship at DHR in May 2020, Whitney will be receiving the Building Excellence in Autism and Disability Scholars (BEADS) Scholarship Award from The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work! This Scholarship Award Program prepares you to work effectively and competently with individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities across the lifespan. Congratulations Whitney! We are proud to have you in the Down Home Ranch family and we can’t wait to see where you go next! Woohoo!