Meet Marie Minnick, a Virginia Tech psychology major and intern at Lutheran Family Services’ Roanoke Minnick School. Minnick juggles a busy schedule to…. Wait a minute.
Indeed. Marie is the great-granddaughter of Dr. Malcolm Lee Minnick Sr., a longtime pastor, teacher, Children’s Home trustee, and namesake of the five Minnick Schools. Marie always knew her family had deep roots in Virginia’s Lutheran community – her grandfather, The Rev. M.L. Minnick Jr., is a former pastor of churches in Luray, Norfolk and Roanoke and a longtime church executive, for example. But she didn’t know about the Minnick Schools until recently.
“I was looking for internships and, last year, my dad finally decided to tell me about the Minnick Schools!” she said, laughing.
“It’s funny,” said Mark Minnick, Marie’s father. “I used to drive by the school when I lived in Roanoke, but I never put two and two together until we started talking about internships.”
Soon, Marie pursued and was awarded an internship for her senior year at Virginia Tech. It turned out to be a great fit.
“My desire to help people started young,” Marie said. “I’ve always been driven by the possibility of helping. I’m not driven by money.”
“She’s had good examples in her older siblings,” Mark Minnick said, “and she was very determined to get what she wants from an early age – by working for it.”
A great-grandfather’s great-granddaughter
Then there are the obvious parallels with her great-grandfather.
“His interest was in catching the kids who fell through the cracks, and now she has the same intent,” Mark Minnick said. Malcolm Minnick died before Marie was born, but “he would have really loved her.”
Marie’s drive to help people put her on the path toward a degree in psychology, and she’ll graduate in May. Still, she’d never considered a career in school psychology or social work until her internship.
“The population is really intriguing – that changed my mind about working in schools, and I’m really glad,” she said.
Marie demonstrates the necessary human touch to work young people, said Tanisha Nash, Minnick Schools Behavioral Services Manager.
“Marie is very mature and does well building rapport with our students,” she said.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Marie said. “It’s different being in the field, actually applying what I’ve learned – and being there every day — especially the connection between psychology and social work. I’ve become interested in the systems aspect, how everything plays a part in the individual, taking a broader approach.”
A new direction
This shift in direction prompted Marie, a Midlothian High graduate, to apply to graduate programs in social work, and she was just accepted by her first choice – North Carolina State University.
Nash believes Marie has what it will take to help lots of children and families in the future.
“Marie is one of many interns I have supervised, but she is one of the few that I would say has natural abilities to become a great social change agent in the arena of mental health and education,” she said.
– Dan Montgomery