Loyola University Chicago

Success Stories

Evan Peterson

PHOTO: Natalie BattagliaEvan Peterson speaks with a colleague at Misericordia, where he’s a case manager for people who have physical and intellectual disabilities. “I do a variety of things,” he says. “You could say I’m the Swiss Army knife for the building where I work.”

College of Arts and Sciences

Evan Peterson

Major: Human services, Class of 2015
Job: Works with the residents of Misericordia

With a major in human services, it should come as no surprise that Evan Peterson found a career serving others.

Peterson, who works at Misericordia on the city’s North Side, is a case manager for people who have physical and intellectual disabilities. “My job is all about providing supports so that the residents at Misericordia can live fulfilling lives like everyone else,” he said.

Here, he talks about the internship that set him on his career path, how Loyola taught him the value of hard work, and why volunteering is so important.

Tell us about your job and what you do.
I’m currently working as a Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional (QIDP) at Misericordia. QIDP is a state certification that more or less means I’m a case manager for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. I do a variety of things, from filling out state-mandated paperwork to putting up holiday decorations to taking residents shopping. You could say I’m the Swiss Army knife for the building where I work.

How did Loyola prepare you for your career?
By helping me become more mature. Almost everything you need to learn about your job, at least in the human service field, you’ll learn in training and through experience and trial-and-error. But being a good professional is really about being mature and working hard. College teaches you those things through challenging papers and mounds of reading and the hours of extra-curriculars—and taking responsibility when you mess up.

Which class or professor helped you the most with what you’re now doing?
I think my internship at Access Living, which I did for class credit, was the most beneficial “class.” Access Living is a center for independent living, and I interned specifically in the disability resources department. That internship really solidified my belief that people with disabilities should be treated not as people in need but rather as autonomous agents capable of making decisions for themselves. That is what my job is all about: providing supports so that the residents at Misericordia can live fulfilling lives like everyone else.

Any advice you would give to someone looking to get into the same field?
The human service field is all about experience. Volunteer, intern, just do anything to get a foot in the door with the population you want to serve. So, if you’re pretty sure you want to work with a certain population after college, get a job during the year or during the summer that serves that group of people.

And finally, where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
In 10 years, I hope to have either my MBA or MSW. If I don’t do that, I’d like to move into an administrative role at whichever organization I’m with. My first priority is—and always will be—to provide for my wife-to-be and the family that I hope to have 10 years from now.