Alumnae credit Brandywine for career readiness at Career Quest Week panel

Three Brandywine alumnae thank the University’s human development and family studies program for success in work and master’s programs
alumnae standing in front of Tomezsko Classroom Building

From left to right: Angeline Gaymon, Faithjoy Weh-Dorliae and Brianna Washington-Banks talked about how their time in college prepared them for graduate school.

Credit: Penn State

MEDIA, Pa. — Penn State Brandywine’s human development and family studies (HDFS) program does more than prepare students for internships and jobs; it also helps students get ready for graduate programs. According to Assistant Teaching Professor of HDFS Michael Sturm, about one-third of Brandywine students who studied HDFS go on to complete their master’s degrees.

While visiting Brandywine for the campus’ Career Quest Week, alumnae Angeline Gaymon, Brianna Washington-Banks and Faithjoy Weh-Dorliae talked about how their time in college prepared them for graduate school.

Gaymon graduated from Penn State in 2016, completing her degree in HDFS. She then went on to earn her master’s in social work from West Chester University in 2022 and currently works as a child advocate social worker at the Support Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia.

Washington-Banks, a 2019 Penn State graduate, also studied HDFS. She received her master’s in social work from West Chester University in 2022 and is licensed in social work. Today, she works as an intervention and prevention coordinator for the Kensington Soccer Club and at Cognitive-Behavioral Services Inc. as a therapist.

Weh-Dorliae is a member of the Penn State class of 2014, graduating with a degree in HDFS. She earned her master’s degree in health administration from St. Joseph’s University in 2020 and currently works as an associate director at American Safety Options Inc. in Havertown.

The three alumnae credited Brandywine’s HDFS program for their success in graduate school. The majority of the papers written in the HDFS program are research-based, and the alumnae noted how their undergraduate work helped prepare them to write graduate-level papers.

Washington-Banks delved into this, touching on how the program’s academic writing and research aided her success during her master’s program.

“The HDFS classes here at Brandywine helped me through my master’s program because of the papers. I wrote a lot of papers during my time here, so when I went into my master’s program and had to write many papers on families, children and micro-social work, I was very well-prepared,” she said.

Washington-Banks also added that one of her required ethics courses prepared her for her social worker licensing exam.

“My courses here provided me with the skills necessary to correctly format my papers. I was also able to use different topics I learned at Brandywine in my papers, and I also use those topics in the work I do, like different types of interventions. An ethics class I was required to take during my time here also helped me when preparing for my social work license exam. When I was taking the test, a lot of the coursework from that class came back to my mind. It really prepared me.”

Gaymon added to that, noting how similar the courses she took for her master’s program were to her undergraduate classes.

“The master of social work program had a lot of the same exact courses I took during my time at Brandywine, so I was able to opt out of some of those classes,” she noted. “All the content I learned in my master’s program was also covered in the HDFS program here.”

In the same vein, Weh-Dorliae said that some of the HDFS courses she took at Brandywine aided in her decision to get a master’s degree in health administration.

“The administrative courses I chose to take at Brandywine were what really helped me choose to get a master’s degree in health administration,” she said.

Penn State’s HDFS program is among the first of its kind in the nation and continues to be one of the most respected. It focuses on the role and importance of family and family systems. Students learn to understand that individuals are not limited to a single family environment, but often coexist among a variety of multi-dimensional, multi-layered family settings. The program also features several internship opportunities, allowing students to gain real-world experience.