CGPS Alumni Speak With PS Students About Mental Health and Social Work
Ruth Kornblatt-Stier

On Tuesday, May 4, Dakota Becker and Alex Tomback, both from the CGPS Class of 2013, joined PS students and teachers to speak about their career trajectories and work in therapy. They began by fostering a discussion about what it means to be a high school student in terms of mental and emotional well being. Students described their experiences as “supportive and demanding” and full of “growth.” Ms. Tomback emphasized the pressures students face, saying, “Being a teenager and preteen is hard, and putting that with the expectations of a school like CGPS is extremely challenging.” Ms. Becker asked students, “What does connection actually look like?” and encouraged them to explore their own friendships and connections to others, saying, “Relationships are fundamental to mental health.” 

Ms. Tomback and Ms. Becker continued on to speak about their journeys in the field of mental health. They began with their time at CGPS, where they took the fantastic psychology courses offered, such as AP Psychology and Freud’s Dream Analysis, taught by Karsten Gogolin, who was also on the call. Ms. Tomback and Ms. Becker thanked Mr. Gogolin for the influence he had on forming their interests in mental health. After CGPS, Ms. Tomback and Ms. Becker went on to attend Scripps College and Wake Forest University, respectively, and are 2021 graduates of the Columbia University School of Social Work and the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. In their work, they both study adolescent mental health and the impact of community trauma. In a brief Q&A, they answered students’ questions about what it actually means to get a degree in social work and what being a therapist entails. You may click here to watch the full discussion.

Thank you, Ms. Becker and Ms. Tomback! 

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