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Finding Balance

"What has always stood out to me about the staff at NKU is their willingness to help their students."

By Danielle Heiert | Photography provided | Published September 2020
La'Brea Phelps, NKU alumna
La’Brea Phelps ('20) dreamed of advocating for senior citizens and improving their quality of life. Thanks to her experiences in Northern Kentucky University’s Social Work program, she’s making that dream a reality.

As a social worker, Phelps knows there are many ways she can make an impact, and her master’s degree in social work has already opened many more doors for her. Phelps currently works as a long-term care ombudsman at Pro Seniors, where she visits nursing facilities to educate residents on their rights as well as helping residents and their families resolve any issues they may face.

Phelps grew up in Rochester, New York, and moved to Ohio to begin her college career. After earning her degree in integrated health studies with a concentration in health services from Kent State University in 2015, Phelps sought out a graduate program in social work. But she wasn't satisfied with the original graduate program she chose and decided to transfer to NKU in 2018.

“I had a friend who was attending NKU for graduate school who was happy and always spoke about how helpful the professors and the staff were,” she says. “What has always stood out to me about the staff at NKU is their willingness to help their students as they go above and beyond to do so.”

During her time in the Social Work program, Phelps participated in field placements at UC Hospital and SUN Behavioral Health. She enjoyed the program’s flexibility, which allowed her to gain experience in many different areas and provided her a broad education of the social work field.

Phelps says the most challenging experience as a graduate student was finding a balance between school, work and life.

“I worked full time the entire time I was in graduate school,” she says. “Trying to balance everything was not easy, especially when it was time for me to do my field placement.”

However, if given the chance, Phelps wouldn’t change a thing. Phelps is proud to be a Norse and happy that she made the choice to transfer to NKU, where she had great experiences and made good friends.

“Those experiences showed me that even though times were tough, I was still able to push through and accomplish something great in the end," she says. "My life’s motto is that our experiences are what we make them. There are times in which things may be hard, but we should never give up.”