Through supportive faculty, family, and her work in human services, Jalissa Sostre '14 has decided to pursue a master's in social work.

Finding a Way to Stand Out

During her semester abroad at the University of Trinity St. David in Wales, U.K. Jalissa Sostre ‘14 was sitting in a class, looking at the professor’s slideshow of major Irish monuments, when he announced “I would prefer you go and physically see these for yourselves.”

“So the next day my friend and I hopped on a ferry and went to Ireland to see them,” said Jalissa, a psychology major with a minor in criminal justice.

Saying she has initiative is almost an understatement. When she was 12 she already had her mind made up that she was going to be a psychologist.

In high school, she enrolled in an accelerated program that allowed her to take college-level courses and earn college credit. At Elms, she was one of two students selected to study abroad in Wales–the first year the exchange program with the University of Trinity St. David was available.

Family Values

The youngest of 13 children, the Springfield native is the second of her siblings to graduate from Elms College.

“I love my family. They’ve allowed me to become my own person even though, when you come from such a big family, you tend to get lost in the mesh of everyone and their opinions,” she said.

Coming from a big family, Jalissa developed a love for arguing and was drawn to the criminal justice program as she also considered a career in law.

A Personal Level

As a full-time student, Jalissa also worked at Valley Psychiatric Service as an assistant psychiatric coordinator but found that she wanted to work with clients on a more personal level. She recently became a care manager at Tapestry Health.

“I work with women who are dual diagnoses, so they have a substance abuse and also a mental illness,” Jalissa said. “I really enjoy working with people and my experience at Tapestry Health led me to social work.”

Jalissa is applying to master of social work programs at Smith College and Springfield College. She said the faculty at Elms College have been instrumental in her success.

“They want you to succeed so they’ll do anything to help you achieve that. This institution has touched my life in more ways than one and I will forever appreciate my college experience here,” she said.