Bridges to Baccalaureate helps psychology student pursue dream of becoming a counselor

Goheen graduating from the B2B-sponsored summer research internshipThanks to a program known as Bridges to Baccalaureate, Chis Goheen is pursuing his dream career at CSU.

Goheen planned to go to college after high school. But when his dad traveled to Afghanistan on an extended work trip as a government contractor, Goheen stayed at home to help run his family’s 80-acre farm near Greeley. For more than four years, he grew corn, applied pesticides when needed and maintained an irrigation sprinkler system. But he knew that farming wasn’t for him.

When his dad came home with emotional problems from working in a dangerous environment for so long, Goheen watched his dad’s difficulty in readjusting to normal life. Wishing he could help, Goheen had a realization – he felt a calling to help people with psychological trauma. So when his parents took over the farm again, Goheen moved to Fort Collins and enrolled at Front Range Community College (FRCC) to pursue a career in counseling psychology.

“I want to be able to help people, and I feel like that would be the best way I can,” he said.

However, he knew that to get a job as a counselor, he would need a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in psychology – which would require transferring to a four-year university. That’s where the Bridges to Baccalaureate program came in.

Collaboration navigation

The Bridges to Baccalaureate program, or B2B, is a National Institutes of Health-funded collaboration between Colorado State University and Front Range Community College. The program helps FRCC students like Goheen transfer to CSU for a bachelor’s degree in the College of Natural Sciences.

Goheen took advantage of the program after talking with Erin Pitts, a student success coach and B2B coordinator at FRCC. From providing research opportunities to navigating financial aid, the program has been helping him through college ever since.

“It provides a ridiculous amount of resources, which is just awesome,” Goheen said. “I would definitely recommend it.”

Resources galore

Thanks to B2B, Goheen was able to transfer all of his community college credits to CSU – a process that can be difficult at other schools. This allowed him to get into more advanced psychology classes earlier. And thanks to the help of Heather Matthews, CSU’s B2B program coordinator and transfer advisor, Goheen found his current part-time job at the front desk of the Psychological Services Center.

B2B also helped Goheen get research experience at CSU the summer before he transferred. He worked as a paid research assistant with Michael Steger, a professor in CSU’s Department of Psychology, on a pilot study that used LEGOs to determine how people find meaning in the workplace. He said this experience was one of his favorite parts of B2B.

“You basically get to play grad student for a summer,” he said.

A bridge to the future

Goheen is now in his second semester at CSU and is planning to go to grad school for counseling psychology after he graduates in spring 2019. After that, he hopes to work as a counselor to help college-aged people deal with psychological trauma.

He credits the B2B program, including the resources and research experience, with propelling him toward that goal. People like Erin Pitts and Heather Matthews, who provided personalized help throughout his college experience, have also helped him on his path.

“Having a person here like Heather whose whole job is to help us is really awesome,” he said. “I feel that if I needed anything, I would be able to go to her.”

Since fall 2016, the Bridges to Baccalaureate program has helped more than 300 students transfer from FRCC to CSU. For more information and resources on how to take advantage of the program, see Front Range Community College’s B2B website or the CSU’s B2B website. For more specific information, contact Erin Pitts, FRCC’s B2B coordinator, or Heather Matthews, CSU’s B2B program coordinator.