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St. Cloud State University

St. Cloud State University

Sociology ProgramDepartment of Sociology and Anthropology
Sociology Program

Sociology Alumni

Molly Dale

Degree: B.A., 2004Molly Dale

Major: Applied Sociology

Organization: Spencer House, Wilder Foundation, St. Paul, MN

Title: Residential Counselor III

E-mail address:

Job history and responsibilities:

Currently, I am employed as a Residential Counselor III at Spencer House, which is part of the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul.  My role is to provide direct care and case management for adolescents diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disorders, who are residing in a therapeutic setting.  I have been working there for two years and started as a Residential Counselor II.  After the first year, I was promoted to Residential Counselor III and also took on a mentor role to new employees.  I have also been working as a Community Corrections Aide at the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center since June 2006.  My duties are to assist the Community Corrections Worker in supervising juveniles residing in the various pods in the building.  My main focus is to ensure the safety and security of the residents, staff and other visitors to the building.

During my senior year at SCSU, I completed an internship for Central Minnesota Community Corrections, which furthered my interest in working with juveniles involved in the court system.  I interned as a juvenile probation officer, which lead to employment as a temporary adult probation case aide.  After working in the adult probation office, I returned to the juvenile probation office and filled the position as a temporary juvenile probation officer for a few months.  I supervised a case load of clients whose offenses ranged from status offenses to severe crimes.  I attended court several times per week, worked closely with judges and attorneys, and maintained contact with my residents through phone calls, office visits, and home visits. 

How I use sociology in my job:

Working in residential treatment has given me the opportunity to use sociology on a daily basis.  Using what I have learned in courses and hands on work at SCSU, I am able to focus on environmental factors that influence the success of clients I work with and tie into the behaviors they exhibit.  I refer often to material I studied in Juvenile Delinquency and control theories when working with specific clients.   The knowledge I have gained through focusing on delinquency through sociology courses has aided in my ability to working with youth in juvenile detention and focusing on the person and not the crime.  I have found myself encouraging my co-workers to do the same, especially when working with a particularly tough client.

Early on in my internship, I found that many adolescents involved in the court system can become nothing more than paperwork to professionals assigned to their case.  I was able to use my knowledge of what factors put youth at risk and put more my effort into working with those clients.  I have tried to focus more on using rehabilitation as opposed to punitive means when making recommendations, both when I worked in probation and also now as I work as a residential counselor.