This week’s University of Maine Alumni Spotlight shines on Jace Farris of Roque Bluffs, a 2012 graduate of the Psychology and Community Studies program with a focus on Psychology. Jace is now a Quality Management Specialist at Aroostook Mental Health Center (AMHC) in Machias.
Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now.
I have been working with AMHC for 2 years now. I began working as a Mobile Crisis Worker , going out into the community and attending to people who were in danger of hurting themselves or others. I would assess their needs regarding hospitalization or referral back into the community. In May, I transitioned to the Quality Department of AMHC. In my current role I am responsible for the upkeep of our training website. I am also the auditor for all the outpatient offices that AMHC has. I ensure that our clinical staff are maintaining their records correctly.
What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?
I learned two valuable things while at UMM: The first valuable thing was that you need to have a great relationship with community partners because in this field we all rely on each other for support for both ourselves and our clients. The second thing that I learned was it is imperative to be organized and on top of due dates. I have a whole desktop of sticky notes to remind me of different things and an outlook calendar with reminders of meetings and things. Organization is important!
Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?
Listen to your instructors. I know people listen to their teachers, however really listen to them, get to know them, share stories. Your instructors have a plethora of knowledge and life skills; give them the time they give to you.
How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?
I had many classes that taught me organization skills (even though I did not put any of that to use until I absolutely had to!) My classes taught me the knowledge I needed and my instructors taught me how to use that knowledge to succeed. I feel as though any university could give you the knowledge you need, however with the small community that UMM provides you are able to get to know your instructors who in turn work hand and hand with you in putting the knowledge to use. My examples of this are Internship classes, Research Methods and Design, Psychosocial Rehab. All of those above classes taught you skills in the class and then you used those skills to go out into the community.
How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?
I know this is cliché, however I really do not know where I would be in life if I had chosen a different school. While at UMM I made many lifelong friends/family, I joined a Fraternity, I met my wife and we now have a baby, I found myself at UMM. I know some of these things would have happened at any school, however UMM helped with this and has steered me in a positive direction with my life.