Liberal arts alumna heads to Harvard to pursue passion in mental health

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Mary Beth Spang, a 2015 Liberal Arts graduate, recently started her first semester at Harvard University. She is pursuing a master of education in human development and psychology at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. The one-year program will teach her about the field of mental health and help her hone her skills so she can one day pursue a full-time position within the mental health community.

Her passion and motivation for the field stems from her personal experience. She said no other mission speaks to her heart as clearly as this one.

“Through my personal experience managing depression and anxiety, as well as volunteering with the Centre County Women’s Resource Center and Crisis Text Line, I’ve realized how much I care about supporting and advocating for humans experiencing mental illness,” said Spang.

Spang was a Schreyer Honors Scholar and Paterno Fellow and received a bachelor's degree in English and Spanish and a bachelor of philosophy degree in linguistics. She was the student marshal for the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at the spring 2015 graduation ceremony.

While an undergraduate at Penn State, Spang was deeply involved in extracurricular activities. She was active in the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council, Penn State’s campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Liberal Arts Envoys, Council of LionHearts and Mortar Board Senior Honor Society. She also served as a research assistant for the Center for Language Science.

“Looking back on it three years later, I think my proudest accomplishment while an undergraduate is that I graduated. Being a Penn State student changed me, and graduating symbolized that transition in a way that made me feel both proud and so, so grateful,” she said.

After graduating from Penn State, Spang took part in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations (DDAR) Summer Internship Program. She credits the program with helping her to transition from a full-time student to a young professional. This experience introduced her to the field of higher education development and alumni relations and made her want to work full-time for Penn State after the completion of the internship.

Before starting her master’s program at Harvard, Spang served as the assistant director of development for the College of Education at Penn State. She also is an active mental health contributor to the Mighty, a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities. Her author page can be found here: https://themighty.com/author/mary-beth-spang/.

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Last Updated September 12, 2018