Scarlett Sierra first understood the power of psychology as a teacher. One of her pupils entered class with a wrap sheet of misbehavior, including starting a fire and poking another child in the face with a pencil. After seeing the child’s deplorable home conditions, coupled with parental abuse and neglect, Scarlett longed to help the child and started to feel an itch for counseling.
“After that, I knew how important it was to understand people and how their lives affect who they are and how they interact with others,” Sierra said. “Much of what they’re going through is shown in their behavior.”
Scarlett asked her father, Javier Sierra, Associate Professor of Counseling on the Florida Dunnam Campus, some ways to help the child. She read the books he recommended and started to use the techniques.
“The child did a 180,” Scarlett said. “Now, he’s 16. Last year he wrote to me on Facebook and keeps in touch. He’s doing well.”
Scarlett scratched the itch and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in her native country of Honduras. While she was studying, she worked at Hospital Maria, Especialidades Pediatricas when the hospital was just beginning. They asked her to participate in the creation of the clinical psychology area of the hospital in 2014.
All specialty patients at Hospital Maria had to be remitted through psychology. Scarlett learned, even as she was trying to build the program.
“Psychology education in Honduras is more hands on than here in the States,” she said. “When I started my internship [with Asbury Seminary], I wasn’t so nervous because I had already worked with so many people.”
However, it wasn’t until she came to Asbury Seminary that she experienced the integration of her faith with her career. Previously, she had had Bible and religion classes, but it never connected with what she was doing.