Farrell Places First at Research Colloquium

Isabel C. Farrell, PhD student in Counselor Education, won first place for her poster presentation at the 13th Annual Graduate Student Research Colloquium hosted by the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

Isabel C. Farrell places first for her poster presentation

Farrell was encouraged to apply by Counselor Education alumna Amanda DeDiego (’16). She said, ” I almost didn’t apply to the colloquium because my topic is focused on counselor education programs, so I thought most people wouldn’t understand the implications. However, I was surprised to see that many people outside of the program related to the topic and understood the importance.”

Isabel C. Farrell

I felt extremely honored and surprised! I read the email about 10 times to make sure I was reading it right. There were so many talented scholars there, and I am honored that my research was chosen.

Her poster was titled “Counselor, Instructor, Supervisor, Classmate: Managing Multiple Relationships in Doctoral Programs.” The presentation reported the preliminary results of a qualitative, grounded theory study that investigated how doctoral students remained genuine and connected while navigating multiple relationships and boundary crossings and implications for counselor educators. This research is being conducted along with Casey Barrio Minton, associate professor.

Farrell thanked Casey Barrio Minton, associate professor, for all her support and guidance and Lauren Moret, assistant professor, for inspiring her to do this type research. She said, “I think we (in this college) are so lucky to have such amazing and supportive faculty.  Also, to all students, your research is important and valuable! I keep learning that through the course of this degree.”

The Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling was honored to have other participants present at the 13th Annual Graduate Student Research Colloquium.

Lezli Anderson | School Psychology
– poster presentation
“Critical Thinking: A Predictor of School-Bases Academic and Social Success”

Emily Gray | Adult Learning
– oral presentation
“Student and Instructor Experiences with Types of Teaching and Learning in a Computer Course”

Jessica Osborne | Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement
– poster presentation
“Assessing Impact: Measuring Student Perceptions of Development Through Participation in Academic Support Programs”

Victoria VanMaaren | School Psychology
– poster presentations
“Reducing Hallway Disruptions through Group Contingencies and Explicit Timing: A Variation of the Timely Transitions Game”
“The Effect of Anonymous Versus Confidential Extra Credit Contingencies on Course Evaluation Submission Rates”

Laura S. Wheat | Assistant Professor
– faculty spotlight

Barrio Minton Receives ACA National Award

Casey Barrio Minton, associate professor, is the 2017 recipient of the American Counseling Association (ACA) Arthur A. Hitchcock Distinguished Professional Service Award. This award honors service by an ACA member at the local, state, or national level in promoting the well-being of the counseling profession. It is the most well-established national award still given by the ACA, having started in 1975.

“I serve the organizations I serve because I believe our collective work facilitates a context in which professional counselors can develop their skills and serve their communities. On one hand, the recognition feels deeply meaningful and affirming because it reflects back an important part of my identity. On the other, it feels somewhat incongruent; I serve because I believe we have a collective responsibility to our profession and our community, not for individual recognition or reward.”

Barrio Minton was nominated for this award by the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC), a division of ACA for which she has served as president. She will be recognized and awarded during a ceremony held at the ACA Annual Conference and Expo in San Francisco, CA from March 16-19, 2017.

Sherrie L. Bruner

Counselor Education

Sherrie is currently seeking her PhD in the Counselor Education program. Originally from Knoxville, TN, she received her BS in counseling and MA in professional counseling/marriage and family therapy at Johnson University. She came to UT Knoxville, and joined EPC, in 2014. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

  • SACES Emerging Leader, 2016
  • Chancellors Fellowship, 2016
  • ACA Ethics Competition, 3rd Place Team, 2014


  • Assistant Program Chair, SACES 2016 Conference
    • Assisted with managing proposal review process and conference program. Developed conference web-based app.


  • Barrio Minton, C. A., & Bruner, S. L. (2016). School-based suicide intervention with children and adolescents. American Counseling Association Practice Brief Series. Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/practice-briefs
  • Barrio Minton, C. A., Wachter Morris, C. A., & Bruner, S. L. (2017, in press). Diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents: Mood, anxiety, trauma-and stressor-related, and disruptive behavior disorders. In J. Daigle (Ed.), Counseling children and adolescents: Working in school and clinical mental health settings. New York: Routledge.
  • Barrio Minton, C. A., Bruner, S. L., & Wachter Morris, C. A. (2017, in press). Diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents: Neurodevelopmental, substance-related, and other specialized disorders. In J. Daigle (Ed.), Counseling children and adolescents: Working in school and clinical mental health settings. New York: Routledge.

Selected Presentations

  • Brown, E. M. & Bruner, S. L., (2016, October). Developing spiritual and religious multicultural competence through supervision. Session accepted for presentation at Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Conference, New Orleans, LA.
  • Barrio Minton, C. A., Bruner, S. L., & Wachter Morris, C. A. (2016, September). Researching counselor education: A systematic, critical content analysis of methodology. Session presented at the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling National Research Conference, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Bruner, S. L., & Loar, L. M. (2016, March). Perspectives on emerging adulthood for family counselors. Session presented at the International Association for Marriage and Family Counselors World Conference, New Orleans, LA.
  • Taylor, A. L., & Bruner, S. L. (2015, November). Leveraging technology to address the career needs of diverse populations. Session presented at the Tennessee Counseling Association Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.
  • Bruner, S. L., & Moralejo, J. M. (2015, November). Systemic barriers to equality for same sex individuals and the role of allies in breaking down barriers. Session presented for the OUTstanding Conference, Knoxville, TN.
  • Bruner, S., Shepard, D., West, N., & Taylor, A. L. (2015, October). Understanding the criminal justice system’s impact in college counseling. Session presented at the American College Counseling Association Conference, Louisville, KY.

Refer to Curriculum Vita for additional details.

Current Occupations

Adjunct Instructor
Johnson University
Knoxville, TN

I teach online classes in the Human Services undergraduate program at Johnson University.

Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN

Personal Interests

When I have time, my most treasured activity is spending time with my nephews who are the source of endless joy and laughter in my life. I also just recently welcomed a new niece on New Year’s Day and I am settling into aunt life that involves bows, ruffles, and lots of pink things. When I am not spending time with my favorite little people, I also enjoy reading, baking, snowboarding, and water sports. In the winter, I teach snowboarding classes at Gatlinburg Snowsports Center and enjoy riding time in between classes.

Future/Vocational Goals

I hope to finish my degree program by August 2017 and start working as a full-time faculty at a research university. I am very passionate about the systemic role that counseling can have in the overall fight for social justice and equity. I hope to work at an institution that holds similar values and provides space for me to continue researching and working in this area.

What would you tell an incoming student who joins the program/department?

I would tell them to try to live in the moment and enjoy the ride. As I am wrapping up my program, I think the most memorable times were when I was really living life in the moment and not focused on that next thing. It is easy as a student to constantly be thinking about all the things you should be doing, wondering if you should have more projects/presentations/publications, and worrying about the future. When I look back, the opportunities came when I relaxed and was able to begin focusing on being with people in the process instead of doing more things. Don’t underestimate the impact of presence and relationship during the journey.

What do you think has been the most rewarding about this program?

The most rewarding part of the program has been the mentorship relationships I have developed with the faculty. Those relationships have developed into tangible presentations, publications and other lines on my vitae, but more importantly they have helped me to grow as a person and as a professional. For me, it has been especially meaningful to develop relationships with two of the female professors in my department who I deeply admire and respect. These women have shown me what it means to be a strong, intelligent, and capable woman who is a leader in this field, and have helped me to see that potential within myself.

Hammon Chosen as Chair of United Way of Blount County

EPC clinical assistant professor, Mary Catherine “Cathy” Hammon, has become the 2017 Chair of the United Way of Blount County Board of Directors. Hammon has been an active member of this organization for many years, serving in multiple capacities and on different committees – Community Impact Committee, Finance Committee, Human Resources Committee, Board’s Executive Committee, and annual Campaign Committees. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences with the organization. Read her responses below.

“It is extremely humbling to be Chair. Blount County is well known for its level of community/citizen engagement and its capacity for collaboration and cooperation. There is so much talent and so much heart in our community. United Way of Blount County is just one example of a community organization that thrives thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who give their talents and treasure in service to others.”

As Chair, what are you looking forward to this year?

Our board recently committed to two primary agenda items for 2017: (1) our continuing support behind another successful annual campaign and (2) the implementation of a pilot initiative (CLS Club) designed to increase the engagement of young professionals who work in Blount County with United Way of Blount County. The former objective takes care of today while the latter objective supports our future.

What makes the United Way of Blount County special?

That’s easy to answer – it’s the organization mission and all of the people involved!

United Way of Blount County advances the common good by supporting programs that help kids succeed, strengthen and support families, promote self-sufficiency, improve people’s health, and protect community well-being. We strongly believe that we can accomplish more than any single group can on its own. Our mantra is LIVE UNITED!

Last year, 256 organizations and 6,183 donors contributed $2,041,000. These campaign dollars are allocated to over 40 community based programs sponsored by 28 nonprofit, partner agencies.

And then there are all the people involved in one role or another. It starts with our extraordinary staff under the leadership of Jennifer Wackerhagen. We have wonderful board and committee members who are dedicated to excellence in governance, ethics, diversity, financial accountability, and transparency.  From 2012-17, United Way of Blount County has received the highest 4-star rating for exceptional transparency and accountability from Charity Navigator.

Our partner agencies are equally dedicated to the quality of specific programs and services in support of their clients’ needs. They, too, are made up of very talented and committed people.

And the list can go on . . .

How did you become involved with the organization?

I worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for 30 years. As a quasi-federal agency, TVA participated in the annual Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) which is similar to United Way. The TVA workforce was very engaged in this annual CFC campaign. As a senior manager, I felt it important to model support for the CFC so I was always personally involved.

Once I retired from TVA, it was a natural fit for me to become more involved in United Way of Blount County where I live. I made my interest known and started participating on allocation panels and the Community Impact Committee. Within a couple of years, I was invited to join the Board of Directors.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville sponsors an annual Community Chest campaign (yet another version of a United Way). I encourage faculty and staff to be engaged in this campaign and/or in their local United Way campaigns.

As the 2017 Chair, Hammon gave the closing remarks at the United Way of Blount County Annual Meeting on Friday, January 20. During this speech, she spoke of their initiative – the CLS Club.

The purpose of the CLS Club is to develop young professionals through engagement with United Way of Blount County and by connecting, leading, and serving in our community. We are using an employer-based club model. Arconic, Denso, and Clayton have committed to establishing clubs in their organizations during this pilot year.

Identified club members will participate in monthly lunch meetings throughout 2017. During these gatherings, we will orient them to United Way’s mission, partnerships, and processes for raising funds, allocating resources, and serving our community. To bring an experiential feature to their learning, each club is being allocated $5,000. They will go through their own mini process of vetting grants, allocating money, and monitoring outcomes. They will be encouraged to engage in our annual campaign in some manner of their choosing. Ultimately, we hope some of the club members will exercise more formal leadership in United Way of Blount County by participating on allocation panels, serving on committees, or joining our board.

Cochran Chosen as New Department Head

Jeffrey L. Cochran, professor, is the new Educational Psychology and Counseling (EPC) Department Head. Cochran came to UT Knoxville and joined EPC in 2006. During this time, he has served in various leadership roles such as program coordinator of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, representative of the CEHHS (College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences) Curriculum Review Committee, and president of the Association for Humanistic Counseling. We asked him some questions about this new role. Read his responses below.

Jeff Cochran


I feel proud to be selected to lead EPC. We are a very impressive group of scholars and teachers. It is an honor to have this leadership role.

What is your top priority for the department?
Enhanced relationships: EPC is made up of impressive individuals, academic programs, and centers. Of course, we have always shared resources and helped each other out as needed. I want us to increase our sharing. I want us to enhance our workplace relationships and inter-program relationships. Many of our programs and individuals face very similar challenges, which we address in our different ways. So, one path to enhanced relationships can be greater informational sharing of what works per program and per individual regarding common challenges. With enhanced relationships, we can move the ‘bottom lines’ of

  • Continuing and even improving in recruiting and graduating the very best students from around Tennessee, the US, and the world
  • Continuing and even improving the quality, quantity, and notoriety of our EPC faculty members’ research
  • Increasing our service to our local community, our professions, UT, and the world.

What are you looking forward to as department head?
My new role presents me with the opportunity for new relationships. As a professor associated with a set of programs (Counselor Education), most of my workplace relationships have been with the other faculty in our programs. Further, our Counselor Education faculty are on 4th floor of Claxton, while most of EPC is on 5th floor of Bailey. So, as I move to 5th floor of Bailey, it will facilitate building new relationships.

My new role also provides me an opportunity for a broader perspective. Similar to my workplace relationships, my perspective has been primarily to the Counselor Education programs and secondarily to EPC. Now my role requires a broader perspective.

Counselor Education 2016 Group Photo

I am also looking forward to bringing qualities and insights of my counselor identity into my leadership role with EPC. I was initially reluctant to apply for the department head position. This was due to very much enjoying my role as professor and not wanting to give up any significant part of that. But, as I continued to consider the possibility of applying until very close to the due date, what tipped my decision was asking myself, ‘Are there parts of my counselor identity that would inform my work as department head, if selected?’ When I began to form a ‘Yes’ answer, I became excited about applying.

What did you do before you came to UT?
I coordinated a school counseling MS program at a teaching focused institution, where I had been for seven years, including tenure and promotion to assistant professor. Prior to faculty work, I had experience both as a school counselor and clinical mental health counselor, licensed in both areas, and with work experience spanning multiple states and overseas. Before gravitating to counseling as the focus of my career, I was a high school teacher, with particular strengths in reaching very troubled students.

Is there anything else you would like to say?
While I am encouraged for my new role, it is also daunting as I consider the difficult decisions that we will make together in the coming years. I know I need and will continue to ask the support of each faculty and staff member of EPC. We each need to be working as well as we possibly can for our own and each other’s benefit.

Moralejo Wins CSI Leadership Fellow

Jennifer Moralejo, PhD candidate in Counselor Education, has been chosen as one of ten Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) Leadership Fellows. She is currently the social chair of Upsilon Theta, the CSI chapter at UT Knoxville. Moralejo also serves on the workshop committee and strategic planning committee.

“I am honored to represent Jennifer MoralejoUpsilon Theta through this opportunity. I look forward to meeting and collaborating with Chi Sigma Iota leadership and other selected fellows. Overall, I am excited for this opportunity and the upcoming year.”

Chi Sigma Iota is an international honor society that focuses on promoting academic and professional excellence in counseling. CSI was established in 1985 and was created for counselors-in-training, counselor educators, and professional counselors.

The CSI Leadership Fellows Program is a yearly award designed to cultivate and support graduate counseling students by developing their skills, network, and competencies as future counseling professionals in a changing, multicultural society. When asked what the application process was like Moralejo explained, “Faculty and peers were supportive. Part of this process required that I reflect upon my leadership philosophy and how being a fellow may further develop my ideas, skills, and experiences. It was an honor to even be considered for nomination and definitely surprising and exciting to be selected for the fellowship.”

Moralejo will be attending the American Counseling Association (ACA) Annual Conference and Expo in San Francisco, CA in March 2017. As CSI Leadership Fellow, she will provide a minimum of fifty service hours on a CSI task force/committee and one hundred hours on special projects, attend the CSI Leadership Training, attend CSI activities, receive a $600 grant from CSI, receive a $100 dollar grant from her nominating CSI chapter (Upsilon Theta), and be recognized at the CSI Awards Ceremony during the ACA Annual Conference and Expo.

Joel Simmons

Alumni Spotlight: Joel Simmons

Rehabilitation Counseling

Joel earned an MS in Counseling with a concentration in the Rehabilitation Counseling program in 2016. He is originally from, and currently lives in, Knoxville, TN. We asked him to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where he’s at now. Read his responses below.

Current Occupation

Counseling & Public Relations
East Tennessee Technology Access Center
Knoxville, TN

I meet with vocational rehabilitation (VR) clients who come here for technology assessments. Through these assessments we can figure out what technology will allow individuals to be successful in school or at work. I’m currently in the process of reaching out to other organizations that serve people with disabilities in East Tennessee. We need to be working in a more cohesive manner trying to serve our population in Knoxville and surrounding counties.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student

I was asked and joined Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Accomplishments since Graduating

I received the Patricia Neal Outstanding Volunteer Award for 2016. I received this award for my peer mentoring with newly injured spinal cord patients.

I facilitated free Lasik surgery for quadriplegics in East Tennessee. There were many centers in the Southeast that offered these services, but none in Knoxville. Refractive surgeon, Daniel S. Durrie of Durie Vision started offering free Lasik to quadriplegics after seeing a Christopher Reeve special. I coordinated with his office, reached out to local surgeons, and I was Colby Stewart’s, ophthalmologist with Tennessee Lasik, first client.

Personal Interests

I like being outside. My family has a cabin on Lake Douglas and we spend many weekends at the cabin. Market Square is another one of my favorite haunts. With plenty of outdoor dining, wheelchair accessibility, and people watching as a bonus, Market Square is one of my first choices for lunch or dinner. I love music and I like concerts in small venues. Tennessee Theater, the Bijou Theater, and The Shed are three of my favorites.

Since my graduation in August, I’ve tried to involve myself with these many organizations as possible. I still continue to my volunteer work at Patricia Neal, I’m on the Board of Directors for the disAbility Resource Center, which is Knoxville’s Independent Living Center. Recently, I have gotten involved with the Knoxville Area Employment Consortium (KAEC). KAEC works to connect people with disabilities with local businesses for job placement.

Joel Simmons

What sold you on this program/department/university?

It wasn’t what, but whom, that sold me on the program. I was doing volunteer work at Patricia Neal and my VR counselor facilitated a meeting with clinical professor, Wayne Mulkey. It was Mulkey that sold me on the program. I received a lot of personal gratification if I could just get somebody to smile when I visited them at Patricia Neal. Mulkey opened up my eyes to an education that would allow me to help people far beyond just a smile. It never occurred to me to return to school and get a master’s degree in counseling at 53 years of age.

What do you think was the most rewarding/challenging about this program?

It’s hard to say what was the most rewarding and what was the most challenging about this program. Everything about this program challenged me. I was a flight attendant for 23 years and when I started this program I had never used Microsoft Office. I’m a quadriplegic and do not have use of my hands. Halfway through the second semester I began using Dragon Naturally Speaking and a large Trackball for a mouse. This made the actual use of the computer easy, but I still had a lot of difficulty putting papers in APA format and writing and researching at the graduate level. Many times I wanted to quit the program due to both frustration and health issues, but I could’ve never looked Mulkey in the eyes, and by now my other professors had taken a vested interest in teaching. Clinical instructor, Lisa Rimmell, and associate professor, Patrick Dunn, had to have found it challenging to maintain an even keel with the many questions I had during my two years at the University of Tennessee. When asked what was the most rewarding part of the program I would have to say the relationship that developed between teacher and student and my classmates as well.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

I was asked a few times what I planned on doing upon graduation. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I didn’t want to work as a VR counselor because I didn’t want everything to revolve around the client returning to work. Do not get me wrong, I would help anybody that wanted to go to work get a job, but I really want to see people with disabilities engage in life. I thought about starting my own nonprofit and would have considered it a success if I just managed to get two or three people year coming to Market Square on a regular basis.

I did my practicum and internship at East Tennessee Technology Access Center (ETTAC). I was fortunate to be offered a job here after graduation. This job allows me to do everything I wanted to do and more. VR clients are sent here for technology assessments and I’m able to work firsthand with these individuals, but I’m also out in the community forging alliances with other organizations such as the Down Syndrome Awareness group, The Autism Society of East Tennessee, the Cerebral Palsy Center, and recently I made contact with Shangri-La Therapeutic Horses. Not sure how, but I knew when spoke with their executive director that this organization is going to tie-in with what we’re trying to do here at ETTAC. I mentioned earlier that my goal was to get people with disabilities more involved in life in East Tennessee Technology Access Center has the same goal. We hope to develop a community center with our 20,000 sq.ft. building and two acres of land.

“It is sad that this program no longer exists. There is an obvious demand for this degree and the University of Tennessee was the only accredited university offering this degree via computer correspondence. Most of my classmates were already VR counselors, but all of my classmates that were not, have already been hired as VR counselors in various counties and states. I watched the passion with which the doctors and professors taught these classes and it is sad to think that a degree that is so highly sought by employers is no longer taught at the University of Tennessee.”

Amanda Johnson-Praino

Student Spotlight: Amanda Johnson-Praino

Instructional Technology

Amanda is currently seeking her MS in education, with a concentration in the Instructional Technology (IT Online) program. Originally from Chattanooga, TN, she received her BS in secondary education: English at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She came to UT Knoxville, and joined EPC, in 2015. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.


Merit-based UTK IT Online Graduate Student Conference Attendance Award, 2016

  • Recipient of Merit-based UTK IT Online Graduate Student Conference Attendance Award
  • Attended 2016 Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Annual Convention to represent UT’s IT Online program along with faculty and peers
  • Accepted volunteer-based position on Board of Directors as Director of Social Media with Chattanooga chapter of Association for Talent Development (ATD)
  • Refer to Resume for additional details
Current Occupation

Project-based Instructional Designer
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN/Remote

Work as part of a collaborative team effort within the Learning Sciences and Instructional Innovations group to create instructor-led materials and resources to support the needs of various stakeholders within the nuclear and radiological security sector.

Personal Interests

I am a foodie at heart and love all things cooking. I enjoy spending time with my wife, Tami, and my dog, Ellie. We love taking Ellie on hikes in the woods, to get ice cream, and to the “puppy” store to get new toys and treats! I enjoy exercising and practicing yoga, as well as exploring new interests as I am always curious enough to learn about something new. My wife and I enjoy traveling when we get a chance, with our favorite vacation spot being New England. We have gone to Cape Cod several times during the summer months and it is just magical. Also, we enjoy spending time in Boston and surrounding cities.

Future/Vocational Goals

My most significant goals include becoming more immersed in the field of instructional design and technology, as it pertains to business and industry, and really sharpening my skill set. I want to continue gaining first-hand experience in the design of effective learning environments and instructional materials, while also focusing on the delivery of engaging instructor-led training (ILT) and virtual instructor-led training (VILT). Additionally, I have developed quite an interest in the visual design/creative aspects of being an instructional designer, and I want to continue enhancing these skills as they pertain to both instructional and graphic design roles.

What sold you on this program?

What really sold me on this program was the convenience of it being offered fully online through both synchronous and asynchronous technologies. As a full-time working professional and adult learner, it is very enticing to know there exists an in-state program based in instructional design and technology that can be completed entirely from within my home.

What do you think has been the most rewarding/challenging about this program?

For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of this program has centered on the relationships I have been in from the start. I have connected with professors from whom I have learned more than I could have imagined, as well as peers with whom I have progressed through the program from day one. I feel like I am a part of something through these relationships, and I am very grateful for the mentorships and friendships, respectively, I have created along the way.