Jennifer, a graduate student in the Professional Counseling program, began her graduate training as a single mother of two, looking to create a life filled with meaning while giving back to her community. What she found in her master’s program were faculty and students who were both supportive and encouraging.
She reports that the journey has not been easy. “Having faculty who are both firm and understanding allows me to bring my whole self into the classroom. It is this mix of expectation and encouragement that encourages me to strive to do well in my studies. I have really had to work on time management,” said Jennifer.
This program has high expectations of its students but also expresses care and concern about their personal and professional wellness as they move forward in their studies. “This instills confidence in me. And as I sit across from clients now in my Practicum, I know I’ve earned this.”
“I feel well prepared and that I understand the material enough to apply it.” Being the only counselor of color at my internship site, I feel confident in what I can bring to the table, due to the professional encouragement and connections I’ve forged through the program.
Highly Reputed Program
“Due to the well-regarded reputation of the Professional Counseling program in the Pittsburgh community, doors have been opened for me,” says Jennifer. “Whether it is the support of classmates, which will continue after graduation, or professional alumni connections, I feel anchored as I complete my clinical training.”
I have enjoyed everything about my training experience. The small classroom size allows it to feel like a cohort model- because we are supporting one another and helping to hold each other accountable to our studies. It is helpful to go through graduate school with others—who are having the same experiences. The learning and support I receive through this program goes beyond the classroom. I love that I have faculty who care enough to say to me, “I need you to be OK.”
I am now completing my clinical hours, which is the last program requirement prior to graduation. I am loving the work I do and am currently collaborating with another counselor at my Internship site to create a group for single mothers. It feels great that I can apply the assignments and experiences completed in my courses to do my clinical work. I even created and implemented a solution-focused intervention with two of our harder-to-reach young clients—that other counselors want to use in their work!
“As a black woman, it feels good to say and feel that I deserve to be here.” We need more counselors of color and I am proud to be a counselor who is working to advance more accessible and equitable mental health care.
Dr. Melanie Kautzman is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Associate Professor, and Program Director of the Masters of Science in Professional Counseling program at Carlow University. Dr. Kautzman has a passion for teaching with a student-centered approach and incorporating themes of social justice, advocacy, and wellness in the classroom.