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A Degree In Psychology Influenced The Career And Personal Life Of A Chicago Mother

Mary Beth Schewitz has a bachelor's degree with a double major in Sociology and Psychology, with a Master's in Social Work. While no formal training can prepare for the death of your child, the education she received helped her put perspective on her personal tragedy and provided the skills needed to start a foundation in her son's name that has saved countless lives.

(Photo courtesy of Mary Beth Schewitz)

What is the main purpose of The Max Schewitz Foundation?
"The Max Schewitz Foundation works to prevent sudden cardiac death in young people. The free school-wide EKG screening program has tested 43,763 students and found 828 students with abnormality that required further medical evaluation. Also, 438 students received free echocardiogram."

Why did you choose to further your education?
"In particular, a degree involving psychology deepens not only your understanding of others, but more importantly your understanding of yourself. Harnessing energy, devoting time and rallying resources to pursue a goal is essential to success, but your relationships with people allow you and your organization to grow professionally and personally."

How do you feel your educational background helped you achieve your current position?
"The unexpected death of our seemingly healthy 20-year-old son, Max, in the midpoint of my Master's study threw me out of my happy life and thrust me into a junction. I later led a foundation in my son's name, which quickly grew to require my full-time attention. A good education gives you the confidence in your abilities to explore and succeed in areas with which you've had little or no experience."

What advice can you offer those looking to go into this field?
"If you're looking for the instant reward of a big paycheck, bypass psychology. Jobs in psychology or social work most often require an advanced degree and aren't known for big paychecks, but nothing can prepare you to better know yourself, your fellow workers and foster an appreciation for basic human needs found equally in the wealthiest suburbs and the poorest nations. You will be prepared to question, to understand and to work collegial and intelligently to improve the world in almost any workplace."

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor's in Communication and is currently working on her Master's. Her work can be found on

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