John Woodbury

John is a self-described people person. “I’ve always loved interacting with people and being a shoulder for friends to lean on,” he said. When he realized he could do this for a living, he found his way to VTSU’s Applied Psychology and Human Services program.

John grew up in Freeport, Maine and heard about VTSU (then LSC) through a friend who was going to attend. “I looked into the psychology department, liked what I saw, and applied,” he said.

The Class of 2020 graduate is now a social skills interventionist with the Northeast Kingdom Human Services’ Children’s Department (NEKHS), working one on one with children — a job he says, “I very much love.”

John began working with NEKHS as an intern before he finished his degree, and received a lot of support from his supervisor along the way. “This is a great first job in the field,” he says. John is eager to grow and expand his knowledge base in human services, and expects to begin a master’s program in social work in the next few years. He hopes to continue to stay on with NEKHS and work his way up, perhaps working as a case manager or as a counselor with adults once he earns his master’s degree. “As long as I’m enjoying my work, I want to keep doing it,” he said, and “as long as I’m working with people, I think I’ll be happy.”

Of the program at VTSU, John says, “I absolutely loved it. Every psychology class was interesting in its own way. The variety of courses was amazing and I learned about the psychological development of people in all different stages of life and the overall needs of each population. I took courses in early childhood development, adolescent development, and aging and older adulthood.”

John also gained a lot from the student support services during his program at VTSU. He says, “I had difficulties being a student, and especially had challenges with writing. But then I took an essay writing class with the librarian, Sam Boss, and he really helped me. He offered me the help that he knew I didn’t know how to ask for.”

John also credits Professor Pat Shine with helping him to succeed in college. “Having her there as a calm, reassuring voice was wonderful,” he said, “and she was our voice of reason when COVID-19 hit. Each of the faculty offered so much.”

John also learned a valuable lesson that he carries with him — how to ask for help. To new students, he says, “Your professors are there for you and are ready to help. Learning how to ask for it is a good lesson to learn.”