USJ Counseling Students Engage in Experiential Learning

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USJ Counseling Students Engage in Experiential Learning

counseling-students.jpgAt the University of Saint Joseph, faculty members prepare students for successful careers by ensuring that a rigorous classroom education is accompanied by high-impact learning experiences in the surrounding community.

Kathleen Barrett, Ed.D., associate professor of Counseling and Applied Behavioral Studies, actively seeks out these chances for her students to gain real-world experience. As a result, USJ’s graduate School Counseling students regularly participate in experiential learning opportunities.

In March, Dayshima Jackson and Travis Church, two students from the program, were invited to present a talk at the Global Communications Academy in Hartford. Merline Clark, the school’s social worker, had seen the duo present on Safe Dates, an evidence-based dating abuse prevention program, a few months prior, and hoped they would share with her students. Jackson and Church provided education on, and discussions of, dating violence prevention to more than 30 high school students.

“To me this entire project is important because a lot of students are unaware of what an abusive relationship looks like,” said Church. “It is important to me to help them be proactive rather than reactive, and to better understand what values they hold true to themselves. Safe Dates is a way that we can make sure students make better decisions when it comes to who they choose to be in a relationship with.”

The experience, while helping high school students, also benefits the USJ students who are diligently preparing to make a difference in their future careers as school counselors.

“I am appreciative of the experiential learning opportunities that the USJ Counseling program has provided for me,” Jackson shared. “Last spring, I was trained in Safe Dates and, as a result, I have presented the evidence-based program to middle and high school groups in Hartford County. I feel that my involvement with the CT Youth Forum has given me direct exposure to working with a diverse group of teenage students who come from different walks of life.”