Growing up in Iron Mountain, Austin Lucas loved how close-knit the community is with easy access to the outdoors. As a 2006 Kingsford High School graduate, he exited high school without a plan or career goal in mind. After enduring some hardships and curveballs life threw his way, Lucas realized what he really wanted to do, help people. He wanted to be the person he needed when he was younger and with that mantra he vowed to dedicate his life to helping others find their way through their difficult times.
Once his realized his passion he decided to attend Bay College, “it was near by and an affordable option to start my new journey in the helping profession. It was an excellent transition back into education after not being in school for a while, and the professors were knowledgeable about their students and their individual stories.” Lucas gives credit to instructor Marc Morency for making a tremendous impact, “He was my first exposure to difficult sciences and Anatomy and Physiology was a required course. I was concerned this was going to be what stopped me from going where I wanted to. Marc was exceptional in explaining complex subject matter and took the time to meet with students outside of class hours”. With his help and dedication to educating, Lucas was able to excel in his class which gave him more confidence taking science courses later in college. He also made note of instructors Terri Doepker and Randy Allen stating, “we had a number of long conversations regarding subject matter of sociology and social problems. Due to their professional experience and first-hand knowledge, it gave me the insight to pick a career in social work as opposed to general psychology or sociology.”
Upon receiving his Associate of Arts focused in Psychology/Sociology, Lucas transferred directly to Northern Michigan University for their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, “Bay prepared me for the transition to a larger university and the work-force. The courses were taught by dedicated professors who had real-world experience, they emphasized the lessons and skills that would be essential for the job.”
Lucas has been at Manitowoc County Human Services for three years with a primary role in psychotherapy while working in conjunction with the treatment court systems. In May of 2019 he accomplished his dream of opening a private practice doing outpatient counseling for mental health and substance abuse, as well as developing a program to track the efficacy of treatment which helps patient results. Lucas stated the best part about his career are his clients and “watching individuals go from rock bottom to living a life that was previously inconceivable. Seeing someone grow and succeed is the most rewarding thing I have experienced.” The one piece of advice Lucas would give to anyone pursing the same career, “manage your time wisely, do not neglect self-care, capitalize on personal development, and hold hope for those you encounter until they can hold it for themselves.