Adolescent Diversion Program Spotlight: Mariella Battley

February 7, 2024 - Shelly DeJong

Mariella Battley smiles at the camera. She has long brown hair and wears a gray tank top and gold necklace. Mariella Battley is a senior pursuing a Psychology Bachelor of Science degree with minors in Human Behavior and Social Sciences and Business. During her time at MSU, she has been involved with the Adolescent Diversion Program (ADP) first as a student and secondly as an undergraduate assistant. The ADP is an experiential learning course that involves training undergraduate students to work with local youth who are involved in the juvenile court system. Mariella shared with us about how ADP impacted her, what she hopes for the future, and what advice she has for current students. 



How has the Adolescent Diversion Program impacted you?   

Working with the Adolescent Diversion Program has helped me grow in so many ways and has further confirmed my passion for social work.  The hands on, real-world experience has allowed me to develop my skills as a strengths-based advocate, as well as being able to handle confrontational settings. I learned how to practice positive youth development and maintain professional boundaries within a case. Overall, the program helped me grow in many ways, but most importantly, it verified that social work was a passion I want to pursue for my long-time career goal. 


Can you share a bit more about your future goals? 

I’ve always had a passion to serve my community. One day I hope to become a fully licensed clinical social worker who is dedicated to advancing a more equitable, caring, and social just society. I plan to further my education with graduate school in a Master’s of Social Work program. After this, I would like to become a fully licensed clinical social worker and pursue a career in bereavement counseling or substance abuse counseling.   

ADP taught me that I am capable of pursuing a career in this demanding profession. While social work can be immensely rewarding and fulfilling, it requires a unique set of skills, a high level of empathy, emotional resilience, cultural sensitivity, and commitment to making a positive difference. It is important to have a realistic understanding of the demands and challenges and I believe ADP prepared me for that. 


What is your favorite memory during your time with the Adolescent Diversion Program?  

My favorite memory from ADP was towards the end of the spring semester. I had developed a close bond with my classmates and my case was wrapping up. I felt a strong sense of community within my class and was proud of the accomplishments we had all made in our cases. It was rewarding to see all our hard work pay off. It was a hard goodbye, but I was so grateful to have been a part of such an incredible experience. 


Best Spartan spirit experience? 

My favorite Spartan spirit experience was the 2021 MSU vs U of M football game. It was an incredible win, a moment I felt united our community that day. 


Do you have any advice for future psychology majors? 

My advice to future psychology majors would be to get involved in practical experiences. Along with experiential learning, consider volunteering or internships. Coursework is important; however, practical experience can help provide insights into real-world applications for psychology and help you assess whether the demands of the profession align with your interests and abilities. Most importantly, prioritize your own physical and mental health needs; you deserve wellness too.