Friday, May 2, 2014

University of New Orleans Doctoral Student Wins $20,000 Minority Fellowship from the National Board for Certified Counselors

melissa DerocheMelissa Deroche is one of 22 doctoral students nationwide to receive a 2014 Minority Fellowship from the National Board of Certified Counselors. She is the second University student to receive the honor.

A University of New Orleans doctoral student has been named a 2014 Minority Fellow by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is one of 22 students nationwide and the second University student to receive the honor, which brings both professional leadership training at NBCC headquarters next month and a $20,000 award.

"What I would like to do is (develop) either... prevention programs or training for counselors and mental health professionals who work with victims of sexual abuse or assault and who have a disability," said Melissa Deroche, who learned on her 40th birthday that she had received the award. "There's a disproportionate number of people with disabilities who do experience these types of traumas."

Deroche, who received her bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's of education at UNO, is a Ph.D. student in Counselor Education in the University's Counselor Education and Supervision program in the Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling and Foundations. She heads next week to Washington, DC, for leadership training and aims to use her $20,000 fellowship to develop a program that will help the community, she said. She hopes to receive more training and implement an effective local program to help disabled victims of sexual assault and abuse in the greater New Orleans area. A program sponsored by the YWCA was discontinued after Hurricane Katrina and has not been replaced, said Deroche.

Deroche joins doctoral classmate, Tamia Randolph-Alvarez, who is currently an NBCC Fellow, in joining the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program. Randolph-Alvarez, who was among the nation's first 24 students to receive the fellowship last year, aims to use her fellowship to augment her professional experience providing substance abuse and mental health counseling to ethnic minority clients.

"It is extremely rare for one doctoral program to have two award winners simultaneously," said Panagiotis Markopoulos, a doctoral student and graduate assistant in the UNO Dept. of Educational Leadership, Counseling and Foundations.

The NBCC Minority Fellowship Program was created last year after received a two-year $1.6 million MFP grant award in August 2012 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, according to an NBCC statement. SAMSHA offered its first fellowships in 1973 with an aim of increasing the number of "qualified behavioral healthcare providers who truly understand the language of the ethnic and racial minorities they serve."

Under the grant, the NBCC program will provide fellowships to diverse doctoral students in counseling with a goal of increasing the number of professional counselors who have received advanced training and are skilled in providing effective services to underserved populations. The majority of the funds support minority students in Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) doctoral programs, including UNO's doctoral program.

The aim of the fellowship program, according to Counseling Today, is to expand the nation's behavioral health workforce in an effort "to reduce health disparities and improve health care outcomes for traditionally underserved populations."

The University of New Orleans Counselor Education Program in the College of Education and Human Development offers both master's and doctoral degrees in counseling. Both programs are CACREP-accredited and graduates meet the academic qualifications for becoming a National Board Certified Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Louisiana.

NBCC Minority Fellowship recipients had to demonstrate both certifications in good standing and be fulltime doctoral students in good standing. They must also had to demonstrate knowledge and experience with racially and ethnically diverse populations and commit to providing mental health and substance abuse services to underserved minority populations in the nonprofit and public sectors.

 

Read More

College of Education and Human Development
University of New Orleans Doctoral Student Wins $20,000 Minority Fellowship from the National Board for Certified Counselors