Heather Hagen ’07 propelled by her love of helping people

GREEN BAY—Heather Hagen’s success in the Social Work field was fueled by her success at UW-Green Bay, her love for helping others, and her determination to be a rise above life’s challenges.

Hagen received her Bachelor’s degree from UW-Green Bay in 2007. Growing up in the small town of New London, she chose to attend UW-Green Bay because it felt like home from the start.

“I wanted to remain close to my family, yet far enough away to be independent and face new challenges on my own. UW-Green bay had everything I could ask for.”

Originally focusing on going into the education field, a variety of experiences helped her realize that social work would be a better fit for her skills and passion.

“I enjoyed the one-on-one interactions that social work offered and the wide variety of professions that were available through this field. I knew that helping others reach their goals was something that came naturally to me in my personal life and working in the social work field was the right path for me.”

While attending UW-Green Bay, Hagen wasn’t hesitant about jumping in and getting involved. She volunteered with Habitat for Humanity where she went on two spring break trips. She also served in the position of Volunteer Coordinator for the Social Work Club in which she participated in a variety of community projects. She interned at Door County Departments of Human Services, assisting elderly individuals that helped them remain living independently, and she was an intern with Transitional Living Program at Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, aiding homeless and at-risk youth learn independent living skills.

Shortly after graduating, she married her husband Wes, and the moved to Portland, Oregon where she worked in the transitional living program, helping young adults with significant mental health concerns learn the skills that are necessary to live independently. A little over a year later, she and her husband joined the Peace Corps and moved to Tanzania. While in Tanzania, she worked as a Health Education Volunteer while her husband worked in the Environmental program.

UW-Green Bay was very successful in preparing Hagen for her professional success. She was given the technical knowledge she needed for her job, and through her internships she was able to obtain a real-world experience. She currently supervises a program that assists adults with developmental disabilities to obtain and maintain community employment.

“Our program walks clients through every step of the process, from assessment to determine if they are ready to work, to resume writing, job search, on the job training and ongoing support.”

She also manages a contract with a local county to provide intensive case management to their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants. She enjoys her job because every day is a different day, and it pushes her to be a better person.

“No two days are the same and I really get to be creative when trying to problem-solve issues that our clients face. I enjoy being part of a team that is always trying new ideas and doesn’t want to be stagnant in our work. I am challenged and encouraged to be a better person every day.”

This feature was not officially published, but was put together on Feb. 23, 2016, based on the interview questions provided for me. I do not take complete credit on this feature.

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