Dr. Sonia Schwalen is a licensed psychologist for the Center for Pediatric Eating Disorders and Children’s Health. She is also an assistant professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She earned a master’s degree in psychology with a focus in behavioral science from University of Houston at Clear Lake and also has a doctorate in school psychology from the University of Houston.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Sonia Schwalen)

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Sonia Schwalen)

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Why did you pursue your chosen degrees?

“I started off majoring in marketing while I was an undergraduate and decided to double major in psychology a few years in, thinking that the combination would make me a better businesswoman. I quickly learned that helping people and making a positive difference in people’s lives was what I wanted to make a living out of, so I pursued a career in psychology instead of marketing. I decided to get a Ph.D. in school psychology so I could work with children and families across those settings.”

What would you tell others that are considering pursuing a higher degree?

“It is really not about how smart you are; it is about your goals, ambition and perseverance. Make sure this is something you really want and are prepared to dedicate a large part of your life to while you are doing it.”

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What was the biggest challenge you faced while pursuing your degree?

“Life still happens while you are committed to the pursuit of the degree. You have to be willing to understand that there might be delays in certain life milestones as a result of working on a higher degree, and at the same time learn how to juggle real life with being in school.”

What was the biggest reward for earning your degree(s)?

“I love what I do so much that it feels like I don’t have to work a day in my life. I feel like I am truly fulfilling God’s calling for my life in that I get to make a positive difference for others every day. I would not be able to do the work I do without the degree.”

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Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com