Meet the Interns: Melissa St. Clair
1. Tell us a little about yourself...
My name is Melissa St. Clair; I am 23 and a graduate student studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Rollins College. After a number of personal struggles during my adolescence, I realized that I wanted to help others overcome obstacles and live more authentic, fulfilling, and enjoyable lives. I knew I wanted to work as a mental health professional, and I am only a few short years away from achieving this goal! My academic careers at UCF, where I graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and my graduate studies at Rollins have greatly shaped the way I view the myself and the world. Ultimately, I would like to practice counseling as well as work as a university professor teaching mental health, psychology, and working as a professional advocate.
2. Why are you involved with LGBT activism?
Growing up, I had the privileges of an accepting family and LGBT-inclusive education. When my family moved from Long Island, New York to a small town in Central Florida, I learned quickly how much injustice, hate, and lack of understanding still exists. When I began working for mental health organizations as an intern during my undergraduate career, I was exposed to many of the barriers LGBT folks face while seeking services as well as in their everyday lives. I feel that as a mental health professional, it is my duty to educate others and myself and be a part of the fight for equality of the LGBT community.
3. Why did you want to intern at Equality Florida?
I’m really interested in seeing activism on a larger scale and developing a better understanding of the political system. As a counselor, I will have lots of opportunities to empower individuals and advocate for them. Working with Equality Florida will allow me to help a greater number of people!
4. What are your plans after you graduate?
After I graduate, I will be pursuing my licensure as a mental health counselor (LMHC) for two years, hoping to specialize in college counseling and LGBT concerns. Eventually, I would like to return to school for a Ph.D. so that I can teach counseling and sociology at the university level. I plan on staying politically and socially active as an advocate for LGBT and other marginalized populations.
Stay tuned next week for the next blog post in our "Meet The Interns" series!