Asha Bahr knew she wanted to work with people with disabilities, finding ways to improve their lives through vocational rehabilitation. She saw how her brother, who is deaf, benefited from working with his counselors.
So, Bahr and her mom visited the University of Wisconsin-Stout to check out the rehabilitation services program. Even without an appointment, they were able to meet with faculty and learn how Bahr could help make a difference in people’s lives.
“There’s that personal touch that Stout always seems to have,” Bahr said. “I loved the program. I didn’t apply anywhere else. I knew I wanted to go to Stout.”
Being a better rehabilitation professional
Bahr’s time in the program didn’t feel like school. She appreciated how she could apply classroom content to real-world expectations and enjoyed forming professional relationships with her professors.
“The professors are always encouraging. They showed us how to use empathy with others to make us better rehabilitation professionals,” Bahr said.
Bahr was involved in many aspects of campus life. As an ESL tutor, she led conversation hour and helped ESL students integrate into campus and the community. Her communication skills will be valuable in her career, as many of her clients’ first language is not English.
For her leadership skills, Bahr received the 2017-2018 Wood Medallion, the highest nonacademic award at UW-Stout.
An easy transition to master’s program
Bahr has always felt that more education is better. She knew from the beginning she would enroll in UW-Stout’s master's in rehabilitation counseling. The transition from her undergrad to graduate program was easy.
“I had such a great experience in my undergrad,” she said. “Deciding to receive my master’s from Stout wasn’t a hard decision. And I like that many of my undergrad professors I now have in my graduate courses.”
The master’s program has combined and online student group, so graduates may choose which educational setting fits their schedule and learning style. Bahr is in the combined student group, in which she can enroll in either on-campus or online classes, studying from her home in Circle Pines, Minn.
“I love being on campus. I’m an in-person learner,” she said. “It’s easier for me to develop professional relationships with my peers. And we can still connect online when we’re away from campus during our internships.”
Choosing her career in rehabilitation counseling
Bahr knew she didn’t want to work in a school setting or special education. While talking with Program Director Colleen Etzbach, Bahr was introduced to working in the private sector.
Bahr has gained experience as a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) intern at O’Hara and Hunter Consulting in North Oaks, Minn. Her goal is to become a licensed QRC, to assist injured workers in navigating the worker’s compensation process.
“During my internship, I’ve received great supervision and training,” she said. “They’re very supportive and understanding that I’m still in school.”
Bahr’s internship is a full year, after which she’ll take her QRC license exam.
“Being able to help someone navigate a challenging time in their life and being a resource for them is rewarding in itself,” Bahr said. “I love going home at the end of the day, knowing I can make a difference in someone’s life.”