Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Klein scholarship gives student freedom to explore
|Susan Husken (left) received a scholarship established by Barry Klein (right) in honor of his parents.|
By Amy Barker, OU Writer
Susan Husken is a nontraditional graduate student whose experience has in many ways been nontraditional as well.
After raising a family, running her own business teaching horseback riding, and showing horses competitively for more than two decades, Husken decided to return to a field that had always interested her — counseling. And, this May, she will graduate with a master’s degree in counseling from OU’s School of Education and Human Services.
“What makes Susan special is her drive to know more,” said Tom Blume, Husken’s faculty adviser. “She’s gone beyond the normal curriculum to seek extra learning opportunities in many ways.”
While completing her coursework, Husken became interested in substance abuse counseling and approached Blume about arranging an independent study. She spent four months working at Salvation Army Harbor Light in Clinton Township, Mich., a residential substance abuse treatment facility. Her work at Harbor Light earned her the George R. and Helen Klein Memorial Scholarship for counseling in drug and alcohol addictions.
Longtime university supporter Barry Klein, who established the scholarship in honor of his parents, feels it’s important to help students because they will, in turn, give back to the community.
“I’m thankful to be associated with these students and proud to support people like Susan, who are both citizens and students providing for their future and the community’s future,” Klein said.
Husken was surprised and honored to receive the scholarship.
“It’s wonderful to be supported financially by the school and to see that others recognize the importance of working with substance abuse issues,” she said. “This scholarship has given me the freedom to explore areas I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to.”
Husken’s drive has taken her to the other side of the world. After the tsunami hit Thailand and other parts of Asia, she spent September 2005 in Thailand researching opportunities for her internship.
“It awakened me,” she said. “The devastation was like nothing I’d seen before. And yet I witnessed the incredible strength of the Thai people to rebuild their lives.”
Husken was struck by the dedication of the volunteers who left their families and jobs to work in Thailand for months, and even years, at a time. She feels the experience she gained there has helped her in treating her diverse group of clients.
“The fact that she did something unique and ambitious, something that was over and above what most people would do, makes her so distinctive, and it makes me proud of her,” Klein said.
Blume is equally impressed with Husken’s initiative and courage to explore an opportunity in an unstructured and changing environment.
“I admire the spirit that leads her to go off and do these things,” he said. “I expect to see great things out of her.”