Amber earned an MS in counseling with a concentration in the School Counseling program in 2010. She is originally from Memphis, TN and currently lives in Knoxville, TN. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.
Christenberry Elementary School
I am currently working as the school counselor at Christenberry Elementary in Knox County where I provide individual and small group counseling, classroom guidance lessons, and consultation with staff, parents, and other school stakeholders.
Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
- Outstanding Student Award, 2009, “for excellent performance in the classroom, development of professional identity as a counselor, and development of helping skills”
- Outstanding Student Award, 2010, “outstanding role model”
- Chi Sigma Iota secretary, 2009-2010
Accomplishments since Graduating
For the last several years I have worked as the Family Engagement Committee chairperson at our school. This group is responsible for planning events that offer parents an opportunity to spend quality time with their children and learn ways to enhance academic success at home. When I started working at Christenberry in 2009, these events were not well-attended, typically bringing in less than 100 people (sometimes less than 50). After a few years of disappointing turn-outs, we made some critical changes to these events, and our attendance sky-rocketed. We now see several hundred parents, children, and family members at our events, and our school-wide parental involvement has dramatically increased. It has been such a joy to play a part in strengthening that crucial relationship between the school and home lives of our students.
My husband and I welcomed our first child, Penelope Rose, into the world last March. Much of our time is spent playing with her and watching in amazement as she grows and changes everyday. I also teach workout classes at Neighborhood Barre, a local fitness studio, where I enjoy exercising and having some “me-time” several times a week.
What do you think was the most rewarding about this program?
The most rewarding part of the school counseling program, for me, was the confidence I had as I entered into my first job. I was hired during the latter part of my internship, and even though I had not yet graduated, I knew I had the tools I needed to start building a comprehensive, developmental program at my school. The support and encouragement I received from my professors as I started my job is something I will always be grateful for.
Did you end up where you thought you would?
When I started the program, I felt certain that I wanted to work in a middle school. I wanted to be a school counselor so that I could help pre-teens navigate the changes and challenges that come with adolescent-hood. After spending just my practicum in an elementary school, however, I realized that I was destined to work with the K-5 population. I’m thankful that we were encouraged to experience a variety of grade levels, because my heart is definitely in the elementary world!
What do you remember most from your time here?
One of the most memorable experiences I had during the program came from an assignment in group. We were asked to attend a real-life, group session somewhere in the community and write about our experience. My plan was to find a group where I could blend in, and simply act as a fly on the wall during the session. After I arrived to the session I chose, I soon realized that only one other person would be joining the facilitator and I that night. What could have been a could have been a very uncomfortable hour turned into an incredibly meaningful experience for me. I had no idea that I would be affected in the way that I was, and I learned an important lesson about the power of group counseling.