Graduate students from the University of New Orleans counseling education programs won two out of four grand prizes for essays submitted to the American Counseling Association’s 2019 national awards competition. According to assistant professor Chris Belser, it's rare for grand prizes to go to multiple students from a single university.
“Both students are excellent representatives of the counselor education program and UNO,” Belser said.
Jessica Coalson, a master’s student, won a grand prize for her essay submitted in the “Future School Counselors” category. Criteria for award selection includes exceptional insight and understanding about the school counseling profession and the work of professional school counselors who interact with elementary, middle school or high school students. With this honor, Coalson receives a $2,000 honorarium and complimentary registration for the American Counseling Association’s conference, which takes place in New Orleans March 28-31. She will be recognized and presented with the award during the conference, and her essay will be published in both Counseling Today and on the American Counseling Association’s website.
Doctoral student Anabel Mifsud won grand prize for her essay in the “Tomorrow’s Counselors” category. Criteria for these essays included exceptional insight and understanding about the counseling profession and the work of professional counselors in mental health, private practice, community agency, agency, organization or related counseling settings. Misfud will receive a $1,000 honorarium and complimentary registration for the conference in New Orleans. Like Coalson, Misfud will also be recognized and presented with the award during the conference. Her essay also gets published in Counseling Today and on the American Counseling Association website.
The annual American Counseling Association Graduate Student Awards of Excellence, supported and sponsored by the American Counseling Association Foundation, are open to all graduate student members of the American Counseling Association.
The University of New Orleans’ master's degree program in counseling offers concentrations in both school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. The doctoral program in counselor education offers even more variety in emphasis areas, with options for focus on play therapy, private practice therapy, group therapy, multicultural counseling, organizational counseling and more. These awards reflect the strengths in both graduate degree programs at the University.