A legacy of service: CSU graduate student helping youth affected by addiction

Sarah Hervey sits outside Clark building at Colorado State University.

Sarah Hervey sits outside the Clark Building, where she spends most of her time as a student. She recently received a prestigious fellowship for addictions counseling. 

Sarah Hervey has dedicated her life to helping others.

As a master’s student in psychology in the College of Natural Sciences, Hervey spends six days a week working with youth affected with addiction at North Range Behavioral Health in Greeley and the Fort Collins Crisis Center. On top of this, she has been awarded a prestigious fellowship program for minority students through the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation.

While her schedule keeps her busy, she said the experience is rewarding, especially when she sees the outcome of her work.

Adolescents affected by addiction “wouldn’t be able to graduate high school or have a place to be with their families if it wasn’t for these programs,” said Hervey.

Hervey became interested in working with adolescents affected by substance addiction when she began working at a residential treatment center while pursuing her undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Iowa.

“I was fascinated by it, especially how [addiction] impacts the entire family and everybody else around you,” she said.

The experience launched her career in addictions counseling. Now with her fellowship, she has been able to focus her ambitions on helping minority youth.

“Being able to work with [minority] youth … is necessary and something I would love to do.”

— Sarah Hervey, CSU graduate student

“I would love to work with minority adolescents when it comes to identity development. I grew up as a person of color surrounded by white family, friends, teachers – everybody around me was not a minority, so being able to identify myself as that was a big struggle for me,” she said. “Being able to work with other youth in that area is necessary and something I would love to do.”

The fellowship has connected her with other current and past recipients and has allowed her to network and learn through conferences, workshops, and trainings.

“There is so much connection you can have, there are people all over the country with this fellowship that you can network with and reach out to if you need help in specific areas,” she said. “Everyone has different areas of expertise so it is nice to have that networking ability with so many different areas that you are interested in or need more information on.”

Continuing a legacy

A memorial plaque sitting on a bookshelf reads "In memory of Bill Hervey beloved adviser in the College of Liberal Arts."

Sarah Hervey’s late father, Bill Hervey, was a beloved adviser and professor in the College of Liberal Arts. This plaque sits in a bookcase in the dean’s office celebrating his life.

While Hervey grew up primarily in Iowa, her roots are in Fort Collins and at Colorado State University. Her father, Bill Hervey, was a beloved professor in political science and philosophy who died in 2001 from cancer. He inspired her to pursue her degree at CSU.

“Him teaching here and my connection to this school – feeling like I grew up on this campus – was a big reason why I wanted to come back,” she said. “This is the only school I applied to.”

When she returned to campus in 2017 to pursue her degree, she was surrounded by memories of her father. From the photograph of him in the Lory Student Center, where his memorial service was held, to his memorial plaque in Clark, Hervey has found many opportunities to connect with her dad. This experience has helped her get to know who her father was as an educator.

Those who knew Bill Hervey as a professor and adviser say that he was welcoming and kind. Elizabeth Terry-Emmot, now the director of the College of Liberal Arts Academic Support Center, was a student when she went to see him for advice after having a bad experience with a different adviser.

“He helped direct me to academic resources at CSU to help me be successful and helped me connect with the career center, which eventually helped me figure out a career path,” Terry-Emmot said. “He was easy to talk to and a very understanding man.”

His spirit of helping others now lives on through his daughter. She continues his legacy with her work every day.

Looking into the future

As part of her internship with North Range Behavioral Health, Hervey co-facilitates support groups with clinicians who use many tools to address addiction in youth.

One such tool is AcuDetox, a method of using acupuncture inside the ear to pinpoint five pressure points alleviating withdrawal symptoms and cravings while also helping with anxiety, depression, and sleep. Hervey hopes to use tools such as these after she receives her addictions counseling license.

When asked what her future holds as she begins her career, Hervey said, “Wow, I have a long list of stuff that I want to do.”