Hamline News

For Maureen Erickson-Robertshaw ’22, Online Degree Completion a Path to Helping Rural Minnesota Families

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Maureen Erickson-Robertshaw ’22 wants to help rural Minnesota families navigate complex family situations. By finishing her bachelor’s degree in psychology online from Hamline University, she’s taking the first step toward that dream.

Erickson-Robertshaw has what she calls a “complicated educational story.” She started her bachelor’s degree, but instead opted to be a stay-at-home parent—an experience she loved. Ten years later, she went back to work as an advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence. In her work with affected families, she was struck by the struggles of her clients spending time and money on litigation that was unhelpful to them.

This drove her to start her own business: Hypatia Mediation and Parenting Services. Based just outside Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Erickson-Robertshaw sees clients for custody evaluation and parenting consultations. The more she explored this field, though, the more she realized that she could help clients on a deeper, more personal level by becoming a therapist, especially in rural Minnesota where people often lack access to mental health care.

Erickson-Robertshaw’s resume is already impressive, having completed an executive certificate in management and leadership from MIT and Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, among others.

To become a licensed therapist, though, she needed a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her ideal program was a highly respected education from an affordable school that she could attend without moving her family. Originally, she was accepted into a different program, but she said Hamline’s reputation, and a conversation with a Hamline staff member, encouraged her to switch.

“I love it because it fits into my life,” she said. “The amount of personalized help on everything has been extraordinary.”

She noted how easy it is to contact professors for mentoring and help planning her academic journey. Her professors are willing to set up video calls that fit her schedule to talk through her own goals, even goals like graduate school that extend beyond the program itself.

The online aspect of the program allows her to connect with classmates in a new way. The wide range of experiences in a nontraditional undergraduate program creates lively discussions among a wide range of perspectives. Plus, she’s able to take tests at 1 a.m., when the house is quiet and she’s able to focus.

After graduation, Erickson-Robertshaw plans to get a Master in Social Work, then a doctorate. Then, she can achieve her dream of opening her own center for family systems work.

The satisfaction of learning and progressing toward a goal, she said, helps her feel like she’s developing as a person and inspiring her family in the process.

“School can be really affirming,” she said. “It’s also helpful for my children to see me working hard through something.”

Learn more about Hamline’s online bachelor’s degree completion program at hamline.edu/odc.

Written by Anne Kopas
June 17, 2021