Interview with Alternate Route Student Alicia Kimball

Interview with Alternate Route Student Alicia Kimball

Photo of Alternate Route student Alicia Kimball

This week, I sat down with Alicia Kimball to discuss her perspective on receiving a degree in dance/movement therapy through the Alternate Route Certificate program.  Find out more about this certificate and what she had to say!

What were you doing prior to starting the Alternate Route Certificate program?

Before I applied to the program, I was working in child welfare as a child welfare specialist.  Essentially, I ensured that the families in the welfare system had the services that they needed, and I visited the children in the home.  I got my masters in social work at the University of Illinois in Chicago.  It was a two-year program, and we had internship both years and classes both years.  My first year of internship was in a school working with students on an individual basis and during their after school program.  My second year internship was working in child welfare at Jane Addams Hull House association.

What made you decide to do the Alternate Route Certificate program?

Already having my masters in social work, the alternate route program was a better way for me to learn the practice of dance/movement therapy without spending as much money on schooling and also having extra time to work during school.

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How do you think your previous work experience has influenced your development in this program?

Personally, child welfare made me a more assertive person, which was a quality I didn’t have before going into that kind of work.  It also forced me to be organized and ready to do anything.  I felt like after doing child welfare I could do anything.  On a professional level, it helped me to work with clients that I am still interested in working with but really brought some reality to me for how difficult it is to work with involuntary clients.  And, I think it made me more aware of the importance of mental health care for everyone as a professional and as a client.

Why did you choose Columbia to pursue a degree through Alternate Route?

I liked that Columbia was in Chicago.  I have a support system here that I was not ready to leave.  Also, Columbia and the dance/movement therapy and counseling department have a community, which didn’t seem to be a large part of other programs.  I looked into a couple other programs, but I didn’t want to relocate, and they didn’t seem as tight-knit as Columbia.  Also, Columbia is a smaller community in a big city, which I think helps me be more me, because I am from a small community.

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What do you wish you would have known about the Alternate Route Certificate program before starting?

I think I wish I would have known that there were summer classes to take before enrolling in fall.  I missed out on those classes, because I was still working and didn’t have the vacation time to take those classes.  I think if I had been in those classes, it would have been easier for me to make connections with people in my cohort.  Something else I happened to fall into was being able to do the Graduate Laban Certificate in Movement Analysis (GL-CMA) program.  As an Alternate Route student, it has helped me take fewer classes, because it allowed me to fulfill the requirements for Observation and Assessment of Movement I and II courses without having to take those courses through the Alternate Route Certificate program.

Is it difficult to balance doing the GL-CMA and Alternate Route Certificate programs at the same time?

I feel like it has been okay to balance GL-CMA, as it is only once a month.  Depending on where we are at in the semester, it has been easier or harder to balance. I definitely think it is doable and a benefit to the Alternate Route student.  If anybody is thinking about doing both the GL-CMA and Alternate Route programs at the same time, they should just do it because it is a great experience for self-exploration and career development.