Rebecca Akins

Schuylkill Graduate Accepted into Highly Ranked Master’s Program

Becca Akins, a 2018 graduate, will soon be on her way to Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health where she will pursue a Master’s in Health Science (MHS) in Mental Health.

By: Susan C. Andrews

Steeped in reality and inspired by adventure, Becca Akins is ready for her next life chapter.

Akins majored in psychology and criminal justice at Penn State Schuylkill. A 2018 graduate, Akins will soon be on her way to Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health where she will pursue a Master’s in Health Science (MHS) in Mental Health, a nine-month accelerated program.

She applied to a number of graduate schools, but the Johns Hopkins program was her first choice. “I was checking my email about every thirty seconds,” she said with a laugh. “I was thrilled to read the email that I was accepted into the program.”

The highly ranked competitive program is not clinical in nature. Akins said that the aim of the program is to help professionals work at eradicating the issues by looking at the entire picture, the issues collectively, current and emerging research, and big policies.

After completing two years at Lehigh Carbon Community College, Akins chose Penn State Schuylkill to continue her education. “I loved everything about my experience at Schuylkill, including being close to home. It felt comfortable and right,” Akins said. She believes part of the magic lies with the professors. “Here, the professors are involved and care about your success beyond the classroom and the semester. They ask about your future plans and help you get there,” she explained.

Akins wants to help people and make a positive impact on society. “I entered the psychology field and soon learned that administration of justice added an important cog in the wheel for my overall career goal. Criminal justice helped me learn more about how family justice, women and justice, and sexual violence are often interrelated with mental health issues.”

Initially Akins’ interest in psychology was sparked by her participation in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization while in high school.

Also, Akins avidly watched “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She was drawn in by the episodes focusing on family violence and specifically violence with kids. “I believe that something can be done about this in real life and that the answer is probably right in front of us. Policy and intervention is not always working in favor of the children and the families,” she underscored.

Akins said that she loves learning new concepts and reading papers and books that reinforce what she learns in class. “For one of my courses, I wrote a paper on parole. It was very eye opening to learn about crimes from the perspective of parolees” she said. “I learned that many of the perpetrators were victims themselves, which further reinforces the need for early intervention.”

Reading is a passion of Akins. She read her favorite novel by John Green, “Looking for Alaska,” three times. “I like sad romantic books. The young couple in the book attend boarding school and hang out around the nearby stream where much of the adventure unfolds.”

The love of the outdoors is evident in Akins life beyond the book shelf. “I love adventure and nature,” she said. From April to November, she worked full time at a rafting center. “I had the opportunity to take the kayaks out, paddle board, and otherwise enjoy activities around the Lehigh Valley River in Nesquehoning,” she said.

Akins’ activities on campus included the psychology and criminal justice clubs as well as the Honors Program. She also volunteered in the shelter at Schuylkill Women in Crisis where she responded to incoming hotline calls.

The future is an open book for Akins. She said that she may end up working in academia or for a non-profit, or perhaps continue her education in a doctoral, medical or law program. And so, the adventure continues.