Commencement: Fall 2014, Ceremony 4
Degree: Master’s of Social Work
Graduate of: Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work
Kristen Guskovict’s affinity for those in need came into sharp focus while living abroad as an undergraduate college student. Kristen participated in Study Abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, in the mid-1990s, as the former Yugoslavia was breaking up. Many of her neighbors were refugees of the violent events of that era. Exposure to this vulnerable population became a defining moment for the Michigan native.
After graduation, Kristen spent two years in the Peace Corps and three years learning about domestic poverty. She subsequently earned a master’s in global affairs with a concentration in humanitarian assistance from New York University. That led to a job as director of the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture at Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services.
But still, she felt her education wasn’t complete. Inspired by the work on immigrants and refugees being done by Professor Miriam Potocky of the Stempel College, Kristen enrolled at FIU for a master’s degree in social work. She graduates with a 3.86 GPA and says professors David Saltman, Miriam Potocky and Lourdes Martin were her FIU mentors.
Today the 36-year-old has extensive knowledge of refugee services, torture treatment programs, human trafficking, child and adolescent development and immigration, and mental health. She owns her own consulting agency and works with human service agencies. Her past and continued work contribute to her belief that, “We’re a whole community and part of each other’s lives.”