Blog: The Evolution of a Career: from Social Services to Community Psychologist

Submitted by Rafael Mederos

This piece was originally published in The Community Psychologist (TCP)
Winter 2023 Volume 56 Number 1. All TCP columns are available online, at

My time at National Louis University introduced me to a new way of seeing the world. As an adult student and a case manager in a social service agency, I could immediately apply the new knowledge to my career. My path to Community Psychology was long and winding. For almost the last decade, I have been in the field of Social Service as an Adult Protective Services Specialist where my day-to-day focus is prevention. I have seen many real scenarios, from risk assessments to case plans, care plan meetings, and family mediation. Many legal, health, or government organizations have been open to prevention, but have also overlooked it. So naturally, I felt drawn to the Prevention & Promotion Interest Group column. As I continued my work in Social Service, I decided to complete my graduate training at National Louis University. Many of the complex situations in my day-to-day job include working with mentally ill clients in dire situations, but there were always more questions than answers. The desire to learn more about my interest led me to research about the concepts of a sense of community and empowerment. With Dr. Tiffeny Jimenez’s tutelage and the NLU Community Psychology faculty, I feel the evolution of my career in social services has transformed me into a Community Psychologist.

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