Amanda Craft, a second year graduate student at Radford University, was heartily nominated by her professors.
Dr. Nadine Hartig shared this about Amanda:
As a student Amanda has performed at an exceptional level. She has received A’s in all her academic work in the department, attended classes on time, and performed beyond course expectations and class requirements. In her practicum and internship work, she demonstrated her ability to effectively counsel children and adolescents. She is a leader among her peer group and often assists others with their work. In supervision, she receives constructive critique well and makes necessary adjustments in her planning to better meet the needs of her clientele. As a person, she is outgoing, easy to get to know, energetic, and hard working. Amanda sets high standards for herself and often is willing to take on tasks others balk at performing. She is exceptionally well organized and responsible. She is well qualified to become a school counselor at any level K – 12 and will make an immediate and long lasting contribution to the school system.
1. Please state which graduate program and school you are participating in, and why you chose that program/school ?
I am currently a second year at Radford University in the Counselor Education program. I chose Radford University for graduate school due to the schools and connections I had made in the area. I attended Virginia Tech for my undergraduate degrees and loved volunteering/working with this population. The area really has a great community and the program has a very good reputation!
2. What are some of the difficulties you have faced, and how have you or how are you overcoming these difficulties?
I feel that when you enter a counseling program you will grow and change by the nature of the work. Over the course of the two years in the program, I have learned a great deal about myself and my work with others. One of the hardest things for me to learn I feel has been the realization that we can’t control every situation and we cannot help every student the way we would want to. Most come into counseling to help and it can be hard when some do not want the help. I feel learning that and learning to accept it has been difficult but necessary.
3. Describe the journey that made you pursue counseling as a profession.
As a child, I had always said that I wanted to work with children as a pediatric doctor. I continued this dream until Sophomore year at Virginia Tech. I had begun volunteering at the RAFT crisis hotline and one of my first calls was with an adult who had been depressed. At the end of the phone call, they thanked me for my time and said that just having someone to listen helped. It was at that moment that I realized medicine was not the route I wanted to take. I then held positions working with kids in research, in crisis, and even in an after-school program. These experiences combined led me to obtain a field study my senior year at Virginia Tech in an elementary school with a school counselor. I fell in love with the position and realized I wanted to be in a school setting. I applied to graduate school and am so excited to continue on this path to becoming a school counselor!
4. What are some of your hopes and concerns for the future as a counselor entering the profession?
My hope is to obtain a job where I can make a difference and that I can be accepted into the school and become part of the community. I also hope that the stigma against mental health and seeing a counselor will diminish as I am in the profession. I think it is so important that we educate and advocate for our profession and help to break those stereotypes, so that children and adults can get the help they need.
My biggest concern is learning how to advocate for all aspects of our profession. I think it’s very important that we meet not only academic and career needs, but also the personal/social needs as well. I feel that all 3 work together to make a child successful.
5. Describe what your world would be like if you woke up tomorrow and everything is just as you hoped educationally and professionally.
I would be graduated with my Masters degree and have obtained a job as a school counselor working with students who need the extra support and care. I would also be involved in some form of extracurricular with the school to help build more relationships with students. I am just so excited to be able to put my learning into practice!
6. Please describe your top three forms of self care (does it involved dessert?)
1. I love to dance and have always danced. It can be a great outlet for both emotional and physical stress! But I love other forms of art and crafting as well.
2. I love to relax and watch TV/movies. It allows me to take a break from everything I am working on and just enjoy what I’m watching.
3. I would say being around my friends and family. They have been such great support throughout my program. It’s nice to have people that know you well enough to tell you when to take a break.
7. Please tell us about research or projects that you have been involved in.
I was given the opportunity to present at the VCA Convention in November of 2014 on Incorporating Movement Techniques into the Schools. The research is focused around taking the concept of Dance/Movement therapy and giving ideas for school counselors to use. I am also currently working on a paper as a Directed Study on this same topic. I hope to employ these techniques in schools in the future.
8. What else would you like to share?
I would really like to thank my professors and the VASC for this honor. I think as a graduate student getting involved in professional organizations is vital and gives you so many resources as well as networking abilities!
The counseling program at Radford University offers a unique blend of courses designed to provide the skills and knowledge necessary for becoming a knowledgeable, thoughtful, skillful, and caring counselor. The program is intensely clinical and involves significant student engagement in situated learning or clinical practice.
Emphasis on the students’ personal and professional growth and development permeates the entire educational process. Didactic and experiential learning components are provided to ensure that students develop a thorough knowledge of the helping process and their personal role as a facilitator of human development and change. An individual style of counseling is created by a blend of courses, directed experiences, supervised clinical practice and personal growth. This unique combination has proven to be an effective training process for our graduates who seek employment as professional counselors in varied settings or who desire advanced graduate study beyond the master’s degree.