USJ Counseling Students Receive Awards From Connecticut Counseling Association

Students from the USJ master’s in Counseling program attended the Connecticut Counseling Association (CCA) Conference on Friday, May 5, 2017. Craig Holch, M’18, presented as a part of the CCA Ethics panel while classmates Sara Jalbert, M’17, and Dayshima Jackson, M’17, received awards for their contributions to the counseling field.

Jackson, a first-generation student in the School Counseling program, has developed her passion for helping other first-generation students throughout her three years at USJ. For her work at numerous internships at Connecticut schools and several volunteer experiences, the CCA awarded Jackson the Dr. Robert Colbert Social Justice Award. Named for an associate professor of Counselor Education at the University of Connecticut, the award is presented to a student who has demonstrated a commitment to engaging schools in the transformation of social structures that perpetuate injustices.

“Dayshima brought so much to the table as a candidate for this award,” said Kathleen Barret, Ed.D., associate professor of Counseling and Applied Behavioral Studies, who nominated Jackson for the award. “I recognized her specialness from the very start and it has been such an honor to have the pleasure of watching her bloom over these last three years.”

Jalbert, a student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at USJ, received the honor of CCA Counseling Student of the Year. Jalbert’s qualitative study entitled, “Inside the Clinician’s Mind: Understanding the Counseling Process When Working With Domestic Violence Survivors,” was recently accepted for publication by the Journal of Counseling and Wellness. She began the study as a graduate assistant before completing it during an independent study course. She remains thankful to the USJ professors who helped prepare her for her career.

“I am extremely grateful for my faculty supervisor, Dr. Marte Ostvik-de Wilde, who encouraged me and guided me through the process,” Jalbert stated. “I feel honored and elated to be recognized by my professor, Dr. Kathleen Barrett, who nominated me for the award, and by a group of inspiring professionals at the Connecticut Counseling Association.”

USJ students are no strangers to the world of professional association conferences like the CCA. Professors encourage students to participate in order to graduate with valuable real world experiences.

“Our USJ Counseling program actively encourages our graduate students to get involved with Connecticut’s professional counseling associations,” explained Barrett. “This offers great opportunities for learning outside the classroom, and helps students as they develop their professional identities as counselors. Attending conferences and events gives our students the chance to network and to make valuable professional connections in the counseling field – so important as graduation dates near and job searches are close on the horizon.”