Committed to supporting people with disabilities

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Abigail Guzman

Committed to supporting people with disabilities

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Meet Health Hero Abigail Guzman

Abigail is a first-generation and fourth-year undergraduate student studying human development and family sciences, human services.

She plans to become a licensed clinical social worker or licensed counselor and continue supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

What inspired or interested you about human development and family sciences? And why did you choose OSU/the COH?

I enjoy helping people. It’s what I’m good at, so HDFS was the perfect fit for me. I did change my major a couple of times and took a break from school before I found the human services option.

I’m passionate about human development and supporting individuals and families throughout their empowerment journey.
I came to OSU because of my older sister, who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees here. It felt very welcoming walking through campus during my visits with her, so it wasn’t a difficult decision for me to choose OSU as the ideal place to pursue my passion.

Have you had to overcome any challenges in your academic journey?

My first year at OSU was difficult to navigate due to being a first-generation student and not connecting with my major. I was grateful to have my older sister as a role model and to have found the HDFS program to overcome these challenges.

Do you participate in campus or community clubs or organizations?

I’m a part of The Arc of Benton County’s TAAP Team, which provides activities that aim to boost confidence and build skills among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  

As part of this organization, I lead a craft class intending to provide a creative and inclusive environment for individuals to express themselves. I’ve also had the opportunity to take on a role as a job coach, where I collaborate and provide guidance to adults with IDD in gaining valuable and transferable job skills.  

My recent experiences also include volunteering with the Philomath Gleaners in the food pantry and working as a personal support worker supporting teenagers with developmental disabilities.

Have you completed an internship? If so, where and what did you learn from the experience?

I completed my practicum with Casa Latinos Unidos, an organization that provides programs and services to Latino/x families in Benton and Linn counties.  

Being a member of the Latino/x community myself, I was able to bring a personal understanding of the challenges faced by many first- and second-generation immigrants. Through this experience, I saw the impact of community-based work and how it provides families with the tools they need to build resilience.
I’ll be completing my internship in spring 2024 with The Arc of Benton County. I’ll have the exciting opportunity to contribute to both tobacco education and prevention as well as other public health initiatives designed to support people with disabilities, as well as their families.

Have you received a scholarship? If so, how has it affected your life and your studies?

I received the Rita Norris Memorial Scholarship, which provided me with meaningful support and has allowed me to dedicate more time to my studies during my last year at OSU.

What do you think of your experience at OSU/COH so far? Any stand-out experiences?

I received an incredible amount of support from professors and faculty throughout my OSU journey.

Some stand-out moments include meetings with my academic advisor, Devon Graham, who played a crucial role in my return to OSU, and my professors Lori McGraw and Shauna Tominey, whose teaching went beyond the classroom.

What are your post-college dreams/plans?

I love to learn, and I want to continue adding to my skills to serve communities.

One of my goals is to pursue graduate school to become a licensed clinical social worker or licensed counselor and continue supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.