Caroline Thompson

Caroline Thompson

Human Development and Family Science

Child Life graduate is driven by her goal of empowering children to master lifelong coping skills


M.S. in Child Life, 2019

Current occupation/Location

Certified Child Life Specialist – pediatric oncology, Children’s Medical Center Dallas (Dallas, Texas)

What has been your proudest accomplishment since graduating?

One of my proudest accomplishments was being selected to present at the Association of Child Life Professionals national conference this past summer. My co-worker and I presented on the positive impacts of peer-to-peer mentorship within the child life profession, particularly in promoting resilience and clinical advancement for child life specialists. Presenting on a national level had always been a professional goal of mine, but I never thought I would be able to achieve it this early on in my career. My program in FACS instilled in me the confidence to push myself in this way due to the many opportunities I had to hone my presentation skills and apply research to child life practice.

What was your favorite class in FACS?

One of my favorites was Therapeutic Benefits of Play with Dr. Bales. It was a very comprehensive and hands-on class that prepared me to provide well-rounded and diverse play opportunities to my patients. And as play should be, it was fun!

Did you have a favorite – or most memorable – faculty member?

I will be forever grateful for the dedication Dr. Bales shows to her students. She is without a doubt the most committed professor I have ever had! She always went above and beyond to ensure her students had the knowledge and resources needed to reach our goals and put 110% into making the child life program at UGA what it is today! I was especially touched by her dedication when she flew to Dallas to visit me in my internship and observe me working with patients to see the full circle of how UGA had prepared me to be a child life specialist.

How do you think FACS prepared you for your career success?

I felt incredibly prepared by the well-rounded, rigorous education I received in FACS. I always felt motivated by the high expectations set by the faculty while also always feeling supported in my individual development. When I graduated and entered the child life profession, it was evident that in comparison to other programs, UGA had prepared me above and beyond, particularly in integrating research to practice, communicating professionally with medical and psychosocial team members and engaging within the community.

What inspires or motivates you?

I am driven by my goal to empower children and teenagers to master coping skills that they will continue to use for the rest of their lives. The medical challenges my patients face are often horrific, yet the grace and resilience they show through it all is truly inspiring. The prospect that I could play a part in helping them find that resilience within themselves, and that it could impact their lifelong coping even after treatment, is what keeps me continuing to show up each day.

What advice would you give a current FACS student looking to pursue a career in your field?

I would encourage you to seek out any opportunities to volunteer with children, especially in the hospital or at a camp for children facing chronic illnesses. These are valuable opportunities to gain exposure to these populations and learn more about the daily stressors they face, as well as build relationships with them! I’d also encourage you to visit the Association of Child Life Professionals website to learn more about the steps to becoming a child life specialist. Completing a child life practicum was a wonderful experience that solidified my desire to become a child life specialist, so if this career path strongly interests you, I would also encourage researching and applying for practicums.

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