Project Empower is a community-based collaboration between the William and Mary School of Education and local schools that places graduate students from the Counselor Education and School Psychology programs in designated school sites to provide counseling services.
The staff of Project Empower includes student counselors, co-directors, and a designated faculty director. Student counselors and co-directors are selected based on their interest in school-based counseling services and effective counseling approaches for working with children and adolescents, as well as a commitment to supporting the educational, social and emotional outcomes for the students and schools they serve.
Katharine Sperandio, M.Ed., NCC
Katharine is a second-year doctoral student (Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision). She earned her master’s degree at William & Mary in 2014. While in the master’s program, she interned at the New Leaf Clinic as well as Williamsburg Place. Upon graduating, she worked with individuals in the criminal justice system for several months. She then moved to Philadelphia and worked in methadone maintenance treatment where she has been providing individual and group therapy to clients addicted to opiates.
Alex Hilert is a first year doctoral student (Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision). Alex earned his Master’s degree in counseling at George Mason University in the fall of 2014. While in the master’s program, he interned at a crisis stabilization program for adolescents with mental health and co-occurring substance abuse disorders and at a men’s residential substance abuse treatment center. After graduating, he worked for six months as a home-based counselor working with children and adolescents. Alex is excited to be joining Project Empower. His interests include multicultural counseling, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness-based therapy.
Betsy is a first-year Ed.S. student in the School Psychology program. She is a 2015 graduate of Bucknell University with a double major in psychology and education. While attending Bucknell as a Division 1 runner, she volunteered at a local pre-school and community center, interned with an elementary school psychologist, and captained her cross country and track teams. Additional experience includes camp counseling at a camp for children with autism, assistant directing a children’s theater program, and leading a summer arts camp. She served for a year as an AmeriCorps Literacy Lab tutor working with K-3 students to develop their literacy skills in southeast Washington, D.C. Betsy is interested in Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and implementing Response to Intervention (RtI) practices in schools. She hopes to always be an advocate for children.
Charis is a first-year school counseling master’s student. She earned her B.S. at Regent University in psychology. During her undergraduate studies, she was fascinated by the various developmental and cognitive theories surrounding behavior, and through those and other, learning experiences, decided to continue learning and practically apply the knowledge gained as a school counselor. She enjoys Motivational Interviewing, Solutions-Focused Brief Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her interests include prevention and intervention work in schools, especially as it relates to family involvement.
Virginia Clemo is a first-year graduate student in the School Counseling program. She graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Virginia. In her undergraduate studies, she worked as a research assistant in a variety of psychology laboratories that examined multiple topics from anxiety to the intersection of sexual orientation and family life to lifetime development. Additionally, she also volunteered extensively and trained new volunteers at a crises hotline. Learning about the various factors that shape a person’s development, she became interested in how to apply this knowledge in a real-life setting, especially amongst the youth. Virginia’s interests in the field are cognitive behavioral therapy and mental wellness.
Scott Markland, Graduate Assistant for Project Empower at the School of Education at the College of William and Mary. Scott is a first year Graduate Student pursuing a Master’s degree in School Counseling. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in May of 2015 where he received his BA degree in Psychology with a minor in Rhetoric. After graduating from Hampden-Sydney, Scott served as the Assistant Dean of Admissions at his alma mater, assisting hundreds of high school students throughout the College Admissions Process from 2015-2017. Scott is excited to be a part of Project Empower, and looks forward to the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of high school students.