As most of you know, this year’s HECMA Roundtable will be in the beautiful Denver, CO. We touched base with some of our wonderful case managers who are involved in the planning and currently live in the area to get some ideas for things that you cannot miss during your down-time when you join us this year!
Don’t forget--May 30th is the last day to register for the roundtable! Visit www.hecmaconference.org to learn more and to register.
1. Red Rocks
Red Rocks has tons of things to do, from hiking to concerts, all while enjoying an amazing view! For those of you who love the outdoors this is the place for you.
2. Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens has tours, concerts, and a science pyramid. Take a stroll and enjoy the beautiful scenery during some of your down-time at the roundtable.
3. Rockies Game
Are you a sports fan? The Colorado Rockies will be playing home games at the tail end of the conference for those who want to enjoy some peanuts and Cracker Jacks!
4. Comedy Works
Comedy Works is located right near campus and hosts comedians both new and famous every night of the week.
5. Union Station
Union Station is a 100-year old historic landmark that houses shops, bars, and restaurants. They offer high-end food choices to those that are simple and quick and there is a beautiful “indie” bookstore for you readers visiting the area.
6. Elitch Gardens Theme Park
Do you love roller coasters and water rides? Then Elitch Gardens Theme Park is for you! There are thrill rides and family rides, so everyone should be able to find something that meets their comfort level.
7. Denver Art Museum
Current exhibitions include contemporary art and an upcoming Western exhibit just in time for the roundtable--tickets are only $13 and there is so much to see!
8. Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has an IMAX theater, planetarium, and there is currently an exciting new Vikings exhibit! For those of you going solo and those who may have family tagging along, this is a fun option to spend some of your free time.
9. Molly Brown House
According to its website, “Historic Denver’s Molly Brown House Museum is among the most visited historic sites in the state of Colorado, and one of only a handful of sites nationally dedicated to the interpretation of a woman’s story.” The cost is $11 for adults and $9 for teachers and educators, so bring along your university ID!
If there is one thing Denver is famous for, it is all of the amazing breweries! The city is frequently ranked as one of the top cities for craft beer--touch base with some of our amazing hosts at the roundtable and find out their favorite places to go and where you can get the hoppiest IPA or best hefeweizen around town.
When Jennifer Henkle reached out to ask me to write a blog on navigating professional life and working toward a doctorate degree, I laughed out loud. I couldn’t at that moment imagine what I would have to offer. But for the first time in two years, I really thought about my time in school.
If I could give three pieces of advice:
You can always come home. I joined the University of Tennessee in 2008 after having worked on an inpatient psych unit, a sexual assault center, and with international child protection. I remember my interview with the Vice Chancellor of Student Life like it was yesterday. He was discussing the role, expectations and the emerging field of Case Management. I was thinking to myself, even if I could pull this off for only a year, I would get a full week off at Christmas for the first time in my adult life. I took a deep breath, reminded myself of my mother’s mantra - you can always come home - and answered confidently that I could do the job (fingers crossed).
You will be 38 either way. Fast forward five years, two kids and more than a full time job as the Director of the Center for Health Education and Wellness. The University’s College of Social Work invited applications for the inaugural class of the Doctorate of Social Work Program. By now, I knew that I wanted to be in higher education. I knew to grow in higher education most positions required a terminal degree. I said to my mother, “I will be 38 when I finish.” She accurately replied, “You will be 38 either way.” Over the course of three years, there were times I doubted myself more than I ever have doubted myself. There were times that I thought I could not go one step further. There were days that I drank too much coffee and cried at my desk. But, I did it. I turned 38, got a doctorate and had a third baby within 4 months of each other.
You will need a team. So here is what I would tell you, if you are considering another degree, you can do it. Without doubt, if you are an effective Case Manager in Higher Education - you have the ability. AND you will need to ask for and accept help. Case Managers have a tendency to want to do and be everything. In fact, it is why we are good at our jobs. But this leap, will take a team. My colleagues proof read my papers. My supervisor brought two bean burritos with extra sour cream every Sunday at lunch to my office. My husband entertained, dressed and distracted our girls. My friends forgave me and loved me from afar when I had no time for a social life. My classmates inspired me, challenged me and became my second family. My mom made food, did laundry, and when I needed it reminded me why I made this commitment.
Congratulations on being at a place in your life where further education is possible.
Dr. Ashley Blamey works for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville as the Director of the Center for Health Education & Wellness and was the inaugural president of HECMA from 2012 to 2014.
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