School Psychology and Counselor Education
- 2021, William & Mary, Master of Education, Couples, Marriage and Family Counseling
- 2014, Virginia Commonwealth University, Bachelor of Science, Mass Communications
What kind of educational and professional experiences did you have prior to beginning this degree?
After I finished my undergraduate program, I worked at a couple of advertising agencies as a brand strategist for about five years in Boston and New York City. My job was to research what motivated consumers in different areas of their life and to develop brand messaging that tapped into those motivations. I was not sold on doing this for the rest of my career, so in between advertising jobs, I explored other fields. I worked as a substitute teacher for a few months, mostly working in remedial classes, which renewed a personal interest of mine in how academic performance and placement could affect self-esteem.
As a student pursuing a master's degree in Couples, Marriage and Family Counseling, why did you choose this field?
I was a bit unsure about where I could take my career next until a friend recommended counseling. I had been in counseling myself for about a decade at that point and felt like it was really helpful for me. I had also just spent a year working for Big Brothers Big Sisters and really enjoyed the experience of helping my Little Brother open up, so I thought being a child/adolescent counselor could be a good fit. Additionally, counseling would allow me to continue exploring my interests around self-esteem. After I entered the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at William & Mary, my academic advisor, Dr. McAdams, informed me that the best way to work with children and adolescents was through the family. In his experience, unless he changed the family system of a child or adolescent he was working with, all of the work that he did with them in individual counseling would be undone as soon as they returned to their family. Learning about his experience motivated me to pursue the Couples, Marriage and Family track. There are so many things that I enjoy about family counseling. It is exciting and dynamic and keeps me on my toes, I am constantly learning more about people, and I get to connect and help people in a meaningful way during every session.
What do you hope to be doing after graduation? In 10 or 15 years?
After graduation, I hope to return to New York City to complete my residency at a family practice. In 15 years, I would love to be co-running a private couples and family counseling practice in the city with a colleague.
Why did you choose William & Mary and specifically your degree program? What sets this degree program apart from those offered at other colleges?
I knew that if I was going to leave my career for counseling, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to attend a program that I was sure would give me an excellent education. When I was doing my research, I saw William & Mary's counseling program on a number of "best of" lists. That, combined with the necessity of a relatively affordable in-state tuition, made William & Mary an easy choice for me. I chose a counseling program, rather than a psychology or social work program, because it is specifically designed for working as a counselor. I felt like I would receive the most specialized, in-depth education through this program.
What has been the most influential experience you've had so far in your program?
I really enjoyed the techniques course and the marriage and family course I took my first year, which gave me really valuable practice time in mock counseling sessions. But nothing beats practicum experience. Because I'm in the Couples, Marriage and Family track, I am an intern at the New Horizons Family Counseling Center, which is run by our program's professors and doctoral students. I am receiving supervision and guidance from very passionate, engaged professionals and I am really grateful for that.
Is there any additional information you would want a prospective student to know about the School of Education and its degree programs?
Don't fret if you are not certain about the track that you are applying to. You'll learn so much during your first year that will help inform your direction, and if you decide to switch, like I did, the program directors ensure that it is a smooth process.