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May 9, 2018

Q&A with Kelly Curry

Kelly CurryWhere do you call home? Birmingham 

What degree(s) did you earn from UM? Bachelor of Science: Psychology / Bachelor of Science: Social Work (2008)  

Tell us about your family: I am married to UM alumnus Lance Curry ’07 and we have one daughter, Ella who is almost 3 years old. 

What did you BECOME with your degree? A helper

Tell us about your profession: I am a licensed independent social worker. In my current position, I have the opportunity to work in a variety of areas, specifically in relation to orphan care, vulnerable children and their families. Currently, I serve as the Child and Family Therapist, Maternity Supervisor and Reunification Counselor at AGAPE of Central Alabama, Inc. Specifically, in my work, I assess and educate families prior to and post adoption to promote healthy and positive long-term outcomes 

What are you BECOMING? International helper, learner, leader

What made you choose this career? There are several factors that helped me in choosing my career. First is my faith. I have felt the draw and calling to my profession since my teenage years. I’ve known since then that I wanted to be a helper. Second, is my own adoption experience. I was internationally adopted from Korea and although this alone did not completely shape my calling or career path, my personal experience turned into a personal passion and interest. The third factor that helped me in choosing my career path is my experience at UM. During my undergraduate internship, my field placement was at a local adoption agency, a field of social work I had never considered. It was during that time that my personal passion turned into a professional passion as well. 

 How did Montevallo affect your career path? Montevallo had a profound impact on my career path. Initially, entering Montevallo as a transfer student my sophomore year, my major was psychology. After completing my core classes and entering into my junior year, I took an elective social work class. Toward the end of that semester, my social work professor approached me and asked if I had ever considered double majoring in psychology and social work. She felt that I had great potential in the field and explained the pros a social work degree would offer me.  

After further thought, I expressed my concerns to her. Two of which were the added classes on top of an already very full class load (one specific class that I couldn’t seem to fit in due to scheduling conflicts) and the added financial burden. This professor not only expressed her empathy and understanding, but also had conversations with another professor who agreed to offer me that one class independently AND found me a scholarship opportunity, which I applied for and received. Needless to say, I accepted the challenge of double majoring in psychology and social work and have never looked back. Without that professor, without my undergraduate internship and without the knowledge and experience I learned at Montevallo, I would not be where I am today.  

After leaving UM, I went on to graduate school and I can say, without a doubt, that the education I received at Montevallo prepared me SO MUCH MORE for my career than my master’s degree. Additionally, I have noticed (and continue to notice) that the education students receive at Montevallo (specifically in my fields of study) seems to be at a much higher level than other programs. More than anything, because of UM, I have been able to work in an arena that I was called to — I am able to go to work every day, thankful that I get the opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of others.  

 What have you been involved with at UM as an alumna? Since graduation, I’ve tried to give my time and resources to Montevallo as much as possible, for all that Montevallo has done and given to me.  As an alumna, I served on the Junior Board of Directors for four years (2012-2016) and am currently on the Chi-Omega advisory board (since 2014.) 

Community involvement or non-profit service: Since graduating with my master’s degree in 2009, I have only been employed by non-profit organizations. The first being the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s International Adoption Clinic, and now, AGAPE of Central Alabama, Inc. Working with and for non-profit organizations, specifically, organizations that provide orphan care and serve vulnerable children and their families has been the primary focus of my entire career. I feel extremely fortunate to work in this arena and am thankful everyday for the opportunities that it has given me to help and serve others, both domestically and internationally. 

 What is your secret for success? That’s a difficult question. I believe the term “success” is relative and fluid…specific to the person and always changing. It’s something that I am still trying to achieve based on my own personal standards and will probably always be trying to achieve as I never want to stop trying to be better. To be a better wife…to be a better mother…to be a better helper. If I answer that question based on my achievements so far, I would say that my “secret” is to work and find a career path within your strengths and passions. If you truly love what you do professionally, it makes all parts of life that much sweeter.