After earning my BA in Communications and English from the University of Kentucky, I worked in broadcasting for four years and logged in many unpaid internship hours in the process. While I worked at The Learning Channel (TLC) cable television network, the operation was sold to the Discovery Channel, and it was relocated to another state. Clearly, it was time to change careers. I wanted something more stable with opportunities to continue to grow. I had been doing a great deal of volunteer work at the time, and I enjoyed working with children and young adults coping with challenges of poverty, disability, and family issues. It was so rewarding helping them, and they enriched my life in many ways. For what they taught me, I owe them much more than I could ever repay.
I went back to the University of Kentucky and earned my Master of Science and Education Specialist degrees in Educational and Counseling Psychology, majoring in School Psychology. Over the next twenty years, I worked in education as a school psychologist, a special education director, and a state special education consultant, policy writer, trainer, and complaint investigator. Eventually, I worked my way into the position of Assistant Director for Human Resources for Disability Services for Kentucky State University. There, I managed disability services for students and employees, oversaw compliance with Affirmative Action and the Family and Medical Leave Act. I managed Workers´ Compensation and conducted investigations into employee relations and alleged improprieties. I assisted with reviewing applicants for employment, interviewing them, and helping them "on-board" into our university. I developed policies, provided training, educational screening testing, and also assisted in employee disciplinary issues and the voluntary and involuntary termination process.
Currently, I work with the University of Kentucky´s Human Development Institute overseeing regional staff who provide coaching services to child care providers. I´m also working on my doctoral degree in education.
On the personal side, I enjoy writing fiction for fun, love animals, and feel most at peace in nature. I´ve self-published my first e-book, Viral Dawn under my pen name Skyler Rankin, the first in a series of science fiction books for young adults. I wrote for About.com on Learning Disabilities for six years while it was owned by the New York Times.
I am also committed to protecting families and homeowners´ rights amid the onslaught of pipelines and fracking through my work on www.stopbluegrasspipeline.us. This was a personal issue for me, as the now-defunct pipeline was poised to come literally through my front yard, but I believe that caring for our environment is essential to sustain life on our planet.
My experiences have given me insight from both sides of unemployment. Sharing with you through BellaOnline is a personally and professionally rewarding opportunity.
I welcome your suggestions on how I can better serve you and ideas on articles you would like to see. I hope to hear from you in the Unemployment forum where I will strive to create a warm, inviting, and non-judgmental place for you to share and support each other. I can´t wait to hear your experiences too!
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