Humans Behaving Blog

PSY Paths: Shefi Arias, Class of 2008

Posted on October 20, 2016 by Paul Silvia

Here at the Humans Behaving blog, it’s not all avocado chairs and bulletin boards. We also like to showcase what our alumni are up to. Our PSY majors naturally ask “What can I do with a degree in Psychology?”. A psychology degree can start you on many paths, and our recent graduates are a great source of inspiration and advice.

shefiariasFor this post, we’re happy to welcome Shefi Arias, a Psychology major and graduate of UNCG’s Class of 2008.

What was your path here at UNCG? I stayed in Greensboro after I graduated from high school. My family inculcated me with the importance of higher education and to excel at what you feel passionate about. I obtained an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice at GTCC. I remember taking Intro to Psychology and fell in love with it, and I transferred to UNCG in Fall 2004. I struggled to pay my college tuition since I was working part-time and had two wonderful young children. At last, I graduated in 2008 and got my Bachelors in Psychology.

What was your path after UNCG? What are you doing now? I continued working part-time at UPS (20/25 hrs/wk). Then, I was hired at Family Service of the Piedmont as a Healthy Start Case Worker II (30 hrs/wk) in 2010. Healthy Start is a free, voluntary in-home parenting education program offered to families who are at high-risk of neglecting and/or abusing their children under age 5. Later on, I was offered the bilingual full-time position in the same program at that agency. This was a preventative program that I enjoyed doing. This agency opened its doors to provide me the opportunity to build a great foundation to work in the human service field.

On May 31, 2016 I began working as a Child Protective Service Social Worker in the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services. My job is to assess and investigate the reports we receive to preserve and promote children’s safety and wellness. Based on the investigation findings, I have to conduct team decision meetings, link families to community resources, and/or make referrals that could benefit families. I constantly have to learn more about the policies and law related to my job.

Earlier this year you were named a “Notable Latina of the Triad.” What can you tell us about this honor? I was nominated as a Notable Latina of the Triad when I was still working at Family Service of the Piedmont. It was challenging for these families who had experienced childhood trauma of abuse/neglect to learn how to be nurturing parents, and to become educated about the positive impact on children’s brain development. I found it very rewarding to see families adopting new positive parenting styles. I felt very honored to be recognized by my peers and colleagues for the work I did with the Latino families.

What advice would you give to our current students who would like to work in the same kind of career? What could or should they be doing now to get prepared and be competitive? I would suggest to those students to find what motivates them, what they feel passionate about, and not to be afraid of taking the next step. There’s always room for professional growth, and they can slowly climb their way up to their dream job. Be involved in the community, volunteer, network all the time, and constantly seek opportunities.

Thanks, Shefi!


“Humans Behaving” is an informal blog run by the UNCG Department of Psychology devoted to matters large and small, from humble happenings to departmental history to our students’ many stories and successes. Have an idea for a story? Are you one of our graduates with a story to tell? Contact Paul Silvia at

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