FORT CARSON, Colo. –
Any one of the three hats Kijana Tavares wears would be considered a full-time job by most. But, for her, they are just part of what’s helping her get to her ultimate goal: becoming a clinical psychologist.
In one of her jobs, Tavares is a dual status military technician who works as a maintenance administrative supply technician, or MAST, with the 88th Readiness Division’s Equipment Concentration Site 42 here. In that role, she is responsible for production control. That means she works with both the mechanics as well as the customers to ensure everyone remains informed and productive throughout the maintenance process.
“It’s very balanced, especially with this position because it was designed for us to be in the Army Reserve,” she said. “It’s not strenuous to go from this job to going to the Reserve. We do the same thing in the Reserve that we do here. It all flows together.”
The other hats Tavares wears are as a mom to a young daughter and as a full-time student. Combined, these three roles can become overwhelming. She credits an understanding supervisor and a supportive team with helping her keep things in balance.
“Being a single mom – my kid is 3 years old – and with school, it gets very hectic,” Tavares said. “There are days that I need to decompress or get caught up on school. They’re very understanding of that.”
For ECS 42 Manager Matthew Hansford, an employee like Tavares is someone he appreciates and hopes to help as she continues her career.
“She’s been attending school while working and being a mom. She works really hard at it,” he said. “As a boss, we work to be flexible with her school schedule and be understanding. She’s working to improve her life which is something we like.”
As a clinical psychologist, Tavares sees herself continuing to serve the military and veteran populations.
“I could foresee myself having a successful career if I stick with the veterans or military realm when it comes to the psychology,” she said.
Whatever route she chooses, Hansford said she’ll be successful and her pursuit of larger goals is what he wants for all of his employees.
“One of the things I’ve tell my supervisors is our job it to help mentor these folks and help move them up the system,” he said. “I support everybody, as much as I sometimes don’t want to lose an employee, if they’re moving on to bigger and better things. Then we did something good.”
Tavares said she wants to continue serving in the Army Reserve while completing her bachelor’s degree before she decides between pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate program.
“I’m looking at the program through the military that sends you through medical school,” she said. “Or I might just go through my master’s. It just depends on if I get accepted in that program as well.”