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IU Northwest News

Celebrating the Class of 2016: Anjelita Needler


Historically a struggling student, this promising future LCSW is poised for success

Tuesday Apr 26, 2016


Anjelita Needler, 26, of Chesterton, graduates this May with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.

Reflecting on her entire journey, from elementary school all the way through her graduate education, Needler can scarcely comprehend the incredible progress she has made.

“It speaks to how much change can occur in a life,” she says. “I am outgoing and outspoken and, though I have always struggled with learning and retaining information, my academic success has proven that you do not have to be a top student to go far in your education.”

Needler helped support her family financially while in high school, balancing two jobs along with maintaining her place in her Advanced Placement courses and playing in the marching band, pep band and orchestra. Her grade point average suffered the consequence of all this responsibility, but taught her life lessons and independence. She moved out and got her own apartment at the age of 17.

She enrolled at IU Northwest in 2008 and remained a committed student, graduating with her bachelor’s degree in psychology and an associate’s degree in communication in 2012.

“Both of these majors were intimidating for me,” she admits, “but I needed to prove to myself that I could continue to achieve things I initially doubted.”

In 2011, Needler began a career in mental health. In 2013, she began the Master of Social Work program at IU Northwest, never even considering applying to any other school.

“I loved my undergraduate experience,” Needler said. “I loved the writing lab, the amount of other services provided and how many mentors I had easily acquired. I loved the atmosphere of IU Northwest more than anything. I had decided to get my master’s after working in a residential treatment facility with adolescents and children who suffer from various disorders and behavioral issues. … This job revealed skills and passion in myself that clearly directed me towards working in the mental health field with adolescents who have severe and life-threatening behaviors.”

Needler says she experienced many challenges and obstacles en route to her degrees, including a debilitating car accident and the subsequent recovery, medical bills and lawsuit, but she is grateful for those experiences, too.

“Mostly,” she explains, “this is because I feel I have consistently proven that I can handle the unexpected and the expected difficulties in life. For me, resiliency is the most important characteristic a person can gain in life. A lot of times people focus on needing to be ‘strong’ but I believe if you set that expectation, you are likely to think of yourself as weak when you begin to struggle. Resiliency is forgiving.”

Needler’s future plans include working as an intake clinician at Midwest Center for Youth and Families in Kouts, a promotion she secured because of her impending MSW, and working toward becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Once she achieves that, she hopes to open a private practice in her hometown of Chesterton.

“I also will begin the process of becoming certified in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is the leading therapy for people struggling with self-harm, suicidal ideations and attempts, aggression, mood dysregulation and Borderline Personality Disorder. This is the therapy utilized in the facility program I work in and I aspire to become officially certified to practice it on my own.”

Throughout her academic career, Needler has achieved a spot on the Dean’s List several times, and served as a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society, the Psychology Club and Communications Club. She conducted a research study that was presented at a Chicago conference, and worked as an intern at the IU Northwest Counseling Center.

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About the Class of 2016: Indiana University Northwest will confer 748 degrees at the 50th Annual Commencement ceremonies on May 12, 2016. The Class of 2016 will collectively receive 73 associate’s degrees, 591 bachelor’s degrees and 84 master’s degrees. Seventy-three percent of this year’s graduating class are female and 34 percent are over the age of 30. The most numerous degree to be granted is the B.A. in psychology. The second most frequent degree to be granted in the B.S. in Nursing. Over 40 percent of the graduating class is made up of first-generation college students.

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