Jenny Welch ’13
Lead therapist, Alpine Autism Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Schema for success

As a therapist, Jenny uses applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy to treat her patients. Coupling her training in psychology with her strong academic foundation from Northwestern, she’s considering earning a master’s degree in ABA therapy to better serve her clients and their families.


How soon after graduation did you find your first job?
Prior to graduation, I had a job lined up at Camp Courageous, where I had worked every summer throughout college. That fall, I worked as a youth counselor for teenage girls at Four Oaks in Monticello, Iowa. While working there, I was offered an opportunity to move to Colorado Springs, where I had dreamed of living ever since I was 11 years old. Within a month of moving, I accepted a position as a line therapist at Alpine. Within the first year, I was promoted to lead therapist, which brings extra responsibilities, like training new therapists.

Why did you choose to attend NWC?
There were several people from my home church who attended Northwestern, and I had the opportunity to attend some awesome events on campus. NWC was in my top three choices during my junior year of high school, and after I visited, it was a no-brainer! It had an atmosphere and a community I could see myself being a part of. I saw how much the professors cared about their students and how the students were challenged not only academically, but spiritually as well. And I wanted that!

Were you always interested in pursuing psychology?
I began my freshman year as an undecided major but was considering psychology after taking a general course my senior year in high school. When I mentioned this to my first Northwestern adviser, she changed my schedule to include a child development psychology course. After just a few classes, I was hooked! I found I was fascinated with human behavior in many different ways, and that fascination continues today.

What is one of your favorite memories from NWC?
My junior year, my RA was Katee Verhoef, who was addicted to Dr. Pepper. Halfway through the semester, my dorm mates and I came up with a plan to stack empty Dr. Pepper cans all the way up Katee’s door one morning before class. It took us two months to collect over 200 cans. The morning before finals, we stacked the cans against the door and waited. Did I mention Katee was on crutches at the time, with a toothbrush in her mouth? When she opened the door, the cans came crashing down and she jumped backward with terror on her face, and then, laughing, said “I’m SO proud!” We woke up most of the dorm with laughter and the sound of hundreds of empty pop cans bouncing on the floor.

How was your faith strengthened at Northwestern?
Being a psychology major at Northwestern taught me to ask the tough questions, even when I may not like or understand the answers. Outside the department, my time at Northwestern taught me how to be a good leader and how to use the gifts God gave me to work with others. I’m so thankful for my time at NWC and feel privileged to have learned what I did—and that I get to continue to learn and grow every day because of it.


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