Amy Yager

Amy Yager aspires to be a children's mental health therapist. When she has free time, Amy enjoys practicing yoga and meditation with her three children and spending time with her husband.

Non-traditional student Amy Yager overcomes adversity, studies to be children's mental health therapist

Amy Yager’s personal experiences are the driving forces behind her dedication to child, adult, and family services. 

Amy graduated high school pregnant with her second child, thinking that a bachelor’s degree would be out of reach for her because of her family and financial situation.

After her family went through traumatic experiences, she was concerned for the well-being and development of her children. This led Amy and her children to attend therapy together — an experience that changed her life and inspired her to become a children’s mental health therapist herself.

“I decided to be a children’s therapist before I decided on the child, adult, and family services major [at Iowa State University]. I feel like [my interest in therapy] was really accumulative,” Amy said.

Amy took those interests to the next level and became a student ambassador for Save the Children Action Network. She primarily works on recruiting new members for the group, but has had the opportunity to attend presidential events in Iowa as a representative for children policy issues.

“[My family’s] trauma was based on abuse, so it was really complicated to ask for help from the legal system and the DHS system because their hands seemed tied,” Amy said. “There are so many flaws in policies that prevent children from being protected, so I feel like no matter how hard anybody fought, it was just a dead end and my children weren’t protected, so I want to hopefully be able to change that someday for other kids.”

Between advocacy, work, and schooling, Amy has acclimated to balancing a busy professional and academic schedule with her family life. She drives a two-hour commute five days a week to Ames for her classes. With the support of her family, all the extra work is worth it as her college experience challenges her to grow socially and academically.

“My classes have definitely helped me as a parent so I can understand a child’s development more,” she said. “I have also learned new techniques on how to handle conflict, and learned more about how we think. Ever since I came here, I’ve just absolutely loved it.”

Amy is grateful for the challenges she faced as a non-traditional student in order to be where she is today.

“[The best part of being a non-traditional student] is having the experience of having children of my own. I take [my education] a lot more seriously now than I would have fresh out of high school.”