When Sierra Fair started her undergraduate career at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas, she was working toward a bachelor’s degree in theological studies with plans to go into vocational ministry. She quickly realized that she wanted to go deeper into the process of helping people, though, leading her to transition to the university’s counseling program.
“It was very clear to me that this was the field I needed to be in,” she said.
Fair received her undergraduate degree in 2017 before moving to Wichita with her husband in 2018, where she began graduate school at Newman University.
While Fair didn’t initially enter college with plans to pursue a career in mental health, she has had the desire to help hurting people for many years.
“I think the journey really began in 2011 when I was at a women’s conference in Springfield, Missouri, and I heard a woman named Christine Caine speak about human trafficking and her organization, the A21 Campaign,” Fair explained. “At that moment, a flame ignited within my heart to advocate for and restore hope to victims of human trafficking and abuse.”
Using a degree of difference
At Newman, Fair enrolled in the Master of Social Work program, which she felt gave her a broad and solid foundation to launch from.
“Not only did I learn how to utilize clinical skills on a micro level, but I also learned how to work with communities, advocate for people groups and so much more,” Fair said.
She continued, “While I learned about the field and possibilities of social work, I also discovered so much about myself. I learned that I can achieve difficult things, even when I am uncertain. I learned how to balance myriad responsibilities, even if it meant saying no to certain things. I learned that I am capable of so much more than I ever gave myself credit for, and now I get to reap the benefits of that.”
Fair received her master’s degree in social work this past May and recently joined Real Life Counseling in Wichita as a mental health therapist, where she’s working toward her clinical licensure. As a therapist, Fair would like to focus on adolescents and adults who have experienced trauma, such as abuse and human trafficking, as well as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“I think what excites me the most is that I get to play a part in the healing process of others,” she said. “I have been working toward this dream for almost 10 years, so to see it realized still feels surreal!”
A faith-filled foundation
Throughout Fair’s journey, faith has played a significant role, and it will continue to as she works with her clients in the future, she said.
“As a therapist, there are some ethical limitations surrounding what can and cannot be discussed with clients. I am hopeful, though, that I may serve as a representative of Christ to all those I come into contact with,” Fair said. “I pray that through me, they might catch a glimpse of the restoration and hope that comes through knowing Him.”
Fair’s time at Newman certainly contributed to growing her faith, and she will always look back on her time at the university with gratitude, she said.
“The Master of Social Work program was the most challenging and difficult thing I have ever done, but I finished. I conquered it and would not trade the experience for anything in the world. I know that I am more confident, self-attuned and unapologetically myself because of it, and I will forever be thankful for my time at Newman.”
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Based on clinical and trauma competencies, the Newman Master of Social Work Program will prepare you to deliver responsive 21st-century practice.