Submitted by Nina M. Riccio on June 1, 2012

In an event sponsored by the Gamma Lambda Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international society for the counseling profession, 37 graduates in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Profession’s Counselor Education track were honored in a May 4 ceremony attended by Dean Susan Franzosa, Senior Academic Vice President Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., and faculty within the program.

Dr. Diana Hulse, professor and chair of the Counselor Education Department, noted that feedback from supervisors at clinical sites report that Fairfield’s students are well prepared to address a broad range of presenting issues. “They also tell us that our students have the ability to examine and implement an impressive range of counseling strategies, and that their desire to learn is illustrated through their ability to accept and to use corrective feedback.”

Holly Mensching, a graduate of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, had once considered enrolling in a program at Fordham, but a meeting with Dr. Hulse helped her changed her mind. “I have always had a strong background in the performing arts, and along the way of life I earned a previous master’s degree in dance,” she said. “One of the main reasons the counseling profession, and the education at Fairfield University, appealed to me was that my previous training and experience would be considered an asset. Professional counselors often use the creative arts in their work.”

Mensching is employed at Silver Hill Hospital in their wellness program and is working in a group practice in Norwalk, Conn. “I am planning to do individual and group psychotherapy, and also plan to find ways to use movement and the arts in counseling to work specifically with trauma and to promote wellness for life change.”

One of the greatest strengths of the Counselor Education program is the emphasis on skills, says Vincent Benevento, a graduate of the School Counseling track. “A student really learns the art of how to ‘do’ counseling in the relationships and skills, group, and practicum courses,” he says. Benevento had considered teaching, but found that “school counseling combined all of my interests uniquely: working with young people, being around education, having a connection to the community that is the school, listening to and helping others, and having a favorable work/ life balance.”

During the evening, the award for Outstanding School Counseling graduate was given to Katherine Makes, while Karen Krupnik was honored as The Outstanding Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate. Elizabeth Miceli won an award for Outstanding Service for her service to the Department as a graduate assistant and her active contributions to faculty-student research.

“Our graduates actively sought their degree; they did so with a zeal for learning and they successfully navigated through many challenges to achieve their goals,” noted Dr. Hulse. “We know that our graduates are prepared to represent our department, our graduate school, our university, and our profession with ardor and diligence. And we also know that they will enter their professions with a commitment to be men and women for and with others.”

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