Addiction studies alumna credits UAPB for success

Hurricane Katrina survivor and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff graduate Melva Trask has endured tragedy and is experiencing triumph in her professional career as a community liaison for the Department of Community Corrections.

“I know what it means to start over,” Trask said. “To rebuild is the key to survival, the same key I’m determined to pass on as a substance abuse counselor.”

She graduated from UAPB in 2007 with a master’s degree in addiction studies, and it didn’t take long for her to make an impact in her area. As a substance abuse program leader/community liaison, she researches outside entities and incororates few supplemental additional services for her clients.

She credits her UAPB experience for her preparation and success.

Part of her requirements for the addiction studies degree included a 150-hour internship in a clinical setting and 150 hours at a prevention facility in the field of addiction medicine. Her clinical hours were completed at the Department of Community Correction Modified Therapeutic Facility in Pine Bluff and Prevention hours were performed at the Community Resource Agency. The Community Resource Agency hired Trask during her internship as program director of two programs where she was later promoted to prevention resource coordinator of five counties and eventually became the administrator of the Jefferson County Drug Prevention Coalition until the agency closed in November 2007.

A 2013 recipient of the Treatment Person Of the Year Award from the Department of Community Correction, Trask has been with Department of Community Correction Southeast Center Unit Eight for the past three years. The unit is a tertiary phase of the Modified Therapeutic Community, also known as the “going home unit,” where the focus is to prepare clients for life in the real world.

“The combination of time, experience and education given to me by the UAPB professors and my fellow co-workers at DCC has furnished me with the tools needed to rebuild broken spirits and damaged lives … including my own,” she said.