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Using a Degree to Help Your Community, Others, and Yourself

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


There are many degrees today that focus on helping other people, and of these degrees there are two that lead to professions that are continuing to grow in popularity and employment. These are the fields of Human Development and Family Studies and Psychology.

If you have aspirations to help other people, if you are looking for a connection and involvement with your community, or if you want a career centered around families, social work, childcare or early education, then a Human Development and Family Studies degree may be the right choice for you. Human Development and Family Studies offers a unique degree that prepares you for a career in a number of fields through hands-on experiences working with individuals, families, and groups of all ages. You can gain an in-depth understanding of human development at all levels that benefit individuals and their communities as a whole.

According to the Bureau of Labor, employment of social workers is projected to grow 19 percent through 2022, and employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers is projected to grow 12 percent through 2022 . A HDFS degree will equip you with the professional skills and experience that make you uniquely qualified to succeed in a range of career paths in social work, child development, education, psychology, marriage and family therapy, and student affairs. A Human Development and Family Studies degree will help you to pursue many helping professions. Professional preparation in HDFS results in outstanding success in rates of employment. Health and Human Services continues to rank highly among growth industries nationally.

Similar to a degree in Human Development and Family Studies is a degree in Psychology. If you are looking to help people, but do not want to focus specifically on families or child development, then a Psychology degree may be an equally opportunistic option. According to the bureau of Labor Statistics employment in the field of Psychology will grow 12 percent by the year 2022. In addition to opening private practices, Psychology degrees lead to a wide range or professions including positions in the fields of communications, case work, counseling, sales, marketing, as well as personnel, and management positions. A Psychology degree prepares you for careers that may involve analytical skills, writing skills, and research skills. These skills can be used in a wide variety of work settings. Human services (counseling, social work), business, law, criminal justice (probation officer, corrections officer), health and recreation, and education are some examples.

Students setting the example

Two students who understand the importance of helping others are pursuing degrees in Human Development and Family Studies and Psychology are at The University of Rhode Island Feinstein Providence Campus.

Crystal Celani, who is attending school while busy with a recent home-purchase, became interested in URI Providence while working with an adult who suffered from a traumatic brain injury. Her patient was working on a degree from URI Providence at the time and the experience led Crystal to pursue her degree there as well. "I assisted her with getting to and from school, financial aid, advising, and more. I enjoyed the Providence campus and really liked everyone I came into contact with. I decided to apply to URI Providence since I had such good experiences there with the person I supported."

Tanya Oliveira is a busy mother who returned to school and is earning a dual degree in Human Development and Family Studies and Psychology. She worked in human services for fifteen years and enjoys assisting people in need. She hopes to continue her education by pursuing her Masters Degree after graduating. The University of Rhode Island Providence Campus offers a nurturing, flexible and convenient environment for anyone looking to earn a degree. As a working adult with a child Tanya likes the environment of the Providence Campus and is happy with her choice to begin a new chapter in her life. "I like the diversity. This campus has a feeling of unity. I feel at home here. I was able to get up the motivation to come back to school while working and caring for my child on my own and earn a dual degree, which makes me proud."

The University of Rhode Island Feinstein Providence Campus is located at 80 Washington St. Providence, RI 02903. Visit www.uri.edu/prov or call today to meet with an advisor at (401)-277-5162.

This article was written By Michael Gravison; Graduate Student in Communication Studies at the University of Rhode Island Feinstein Providence Campus. This column is part of an ongoing sponsored content series with The University of Rhode Island Feinstein Providence Campus.


Related Slideshow: College Guide: Best Off-Campus Study Spots in Providence

Are you having trouble finding some much needed peace and quiet on your college campus? Check out the following coffee shops and cafés, which are sure to satisfy your studying needs and taste buds.

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Blue State Coffee

College Hill/Providence

A café where you’re guaranteed to feel guilt free, even if you put off that essay until the day before it’s due. Blue State Coffee donates 2% of their sales to local non-profit organizations that are voted for by the customers. Enjoy an espresso at their location in the Brown University Bookstore or their stand-alone spot up the road on Thayer Street.

300 Thayer St, Providence


Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 AM - 9 PM, Saturday-Sunday, 8 AM - 9 PM.

Second Location: The College Hill Café, 244 Thayer St, Providence (in the Brown University Bookstore).


Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30am-8pm, Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-6pm.

Photo: Flickr/EthanK

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Coffee Exchange


If you’re passionate about supporting fair trade and organic coffee, look no further than Coffee Exchange. The Wickenden St. location makes it perfect for place for Brown students looking to get away from campus. With a variety of coffee roasts, they offer enough options for everyone. Outside seating is available for nice days and the cozy atmosphere is perfect for studying.

207 Wickenden St, Providence


Hours: Monday-Sunday 6:30 AM - 11 PM.

Photo: Flickr/Caroline Fenn

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Small Point Café

Downtown Providence

Find yourself bustling downtown and in need of a quiet oasis? Head straight for Small Point Café, which offers locally grown coffee prepared to order, no shortcuts taken. The prices are affordable and the atmosphere is filled with green-friendly materials, making this independently run spot a great place to get away. A must try for Johnson and Wales University students!

230 Westminster St, Providence


Hours: Monday 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM, Tuesday-Friday 7:30 AM - 9:30 PM, Saturday-Sunday 8:30 AM-9:30 PM.

Photo: Flickr/Hey Paul Studios

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Brewed Awakenings

Johnston, Cranston and Wakefield

With multiple locations, Brewed Awakenings can be found wherever you’re studies may take you. The Wakefield location is close to the University of Rhode Island campus, making this a perfect place to study without interruption. They feature 14 varieties of brewed coffees and teas; signature drinks offered hot or cold, and fresh fruit smoothies. The variety of menu offerings will wake you up or cool you down.

Check website for local addresses, phone numbers, and hour. 

Photo: Flickr/Terry Johnston

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Panera Bread

Providence, Wakefield, Newport, Smithfield

A national chain that feels comfortable in every location, Panera Bread has locations close to many Rhode Island colleges, The menu features breakfast and lunch favorites including invigorating coffee drinks, soul warming daily soup options, and pastries that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Each café includes a welcoming atmosphere with fireplaces and comfortable seating that will inspire “A”-worthy work.

Check website for local addresses, phone numbers, and hours.

Photo: Flickr/dionhinchcliffe

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Beehive Café


Close Independence Park overlooking Bristol Harbor, Beehive Café offers a relaxed space with room to spare in their two story building. Breakfast and lunch are served Sunday-Wednesday, while dinner is offered Thursday-Saturday. In the meantime they offer coffee, teas and a selection of pastries, great for weary travelers from Roger Williams University. Ingredients come from local farms, so you’ll be well nourished for your assignment.

10 Franklin St, Bristol. 401-396-9994

Hours: Monday-Wednesday 7 AM - 4 PM, Thursday-Saturday 7 AM - 9 PM.

Photo: Bryan_Chan

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Starbucks Coffee

Lincoln, Newport, Providence

A café that spans across the globe, Starbucks is known everywhere for their consistency and convenience. With locations close to many Rhode Island colleges, your favorite coffees, Frappuccino’s, and teas are never too far away. Every location offers free WiFi and a welcoming atmosphere that encourages customers to stay while they work.

Check website for local addresses, phone numbers, and hours.


Prev Next

Empire Tea and Coffee


This Newport coffee shop is one of the largest in Rhode Island, offering over 5,000 feet of space that allows for an optimal study environment. Empire Tea and Coffee offers a variety of tea and coffees drinks that features international flavors. WiFi is available with any purchase, and the location is close to Salve Regina University.

22 Broadway, Newport


Hours: Monday-Sunday 7 AM - 10 PM.

Photo: Flickr/bibliothekarin


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