By taking courses on Coursera, Chris was able to improve his ability to support victims as a certified Sexual Assault Victim Advocate. Here’s Chris’ story:
I’m currently living in the United Kingdom, finishing up an Executive MBA and serving in the United States Air Force. I also volunteer with the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response as a certified Sexual Assault Victim Advocate.
I recently took two courses on Coursera—Understanding Violence, from Emory University, and Psychological First Aid, from Johns Hopkins—to improve my skills as an advocate and to fulfill continuing education requirements for my certification. Both courses have had positive impacts on my life and work as a volunteer. Understanding Violence helped me to view violence as a public health concern, and to see how education can make a difference in the lives and choices of potential perpetrators, survivors, and bystanders. Psychological First Aid was instrumental in developing my emotional intelligence; I’ve learned to distinguish between empathy and sympathy, and to hone my empathetic response to a range of concerns.
Both courses also developed my ability to listen actively and respond constructively—and, most importantly, my ability to appear as supportive as I am. It is often difficult to match our body language to our feelings; Psychological First Aid helped me cultivate that skill, and Understanding Violence gave me an increased sense of perspective that permeates every level of my service as an advocate.
In the future, I’d like to shift my career into human resources. I’m planning to pursue another master’s degree in HR, as well as a degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology or Positive Psychology. My long-term goal is to become a subject matter expert in the enhancement of human capital. I believe employees are their most productive when they have peace of mind, and that organizations and employees benefit when they share a common goal, and I’d like to help with facilitating those professional relationships.2