Kristie Mulhollem: Helping individuals with disabilities

August 26, 2020

One of Kristie Mulhollem’s favorite memories from her undergraduate years at Penn State is volunteering for LifeLink PSU. The program pairs Penn State students with special education students in the State College Area School District to engage them in academic programs and help them gain independence.

Kristie Mulhollem
IMAGE: Photo Provided

“I had such a great experience with LifeLink PSU that I chose to complete my internship there,” Mulhollem said. “I really got to know the students in the program, because I spent the entire day with them, accompanying them to class and teaching them social and independent living skills.”

When Mulhollem graduated with her bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation and human services in 2015, she found plenty of human services jobs available but nothing that aligned with exactly what she wanted to do. Following in the footsteps of two siblings who had earned their master’s degrees, Mulhollem decided that furthering her education would be a logical next step. With funding from a Rehabilitation Services Administration grant, Mulhollem retuned to Penn State to get a master’s degree in counselor education.

In order to finish her master’s, Mulhollem was required to complete another internship. This time, she returned to her hometown of Altoona, Pennsylvania, as a vocational rehabilitation intern at the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). Mulhollem was given the opportunity to shadow multiple counselors in the field, to learn various counseling styles and techniques. OVR hired her full time when she graduated in 2017.

Today, Mulhollem is a vocational rehabilitation counselor with a caseload that includes clients who have various types of disabilities, as well as those with substance abuse problems. She also helps 11th- and 12th-grade students explore academic and vocational options for their post-high school lives. Mulhollem appreciates that she works with most of her clients long enough to see the positive difference she makes in their lives.

“Helping clients find and maintain employment is OVR’s main focus,” Mulhollem said. “Some of them think they may not be able to work due to their limitations, but when they realize that they can still make a meaningful contribution to society and begin doing so, it is very fulfilling.”

Mulhollem resides in Altoona.




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Last Updated August 26, 2020