L. Marinn Pierce

Alumni Spotlight: L. Marinn Pierce
Counselor Education

Marinn earned a PhD with the Counselor Education program in 2010. She is originally from Bristol, TN and currently lives in Rock Hill, SC. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Associate Professor & Program Director
Counseling & Development Program
Winthrop University
Rock Hill, SC

I have the privilege of coordinating the day-to-day operations of our programs in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling in addition to teaching, research, and supervision. I teach courses in ethics, addictions counseling, crisis and trauma counseling, and multicultural counseling. I also see a small caseload of clients at our on-site clinic where I specialize somatic trauma-focused approaches.

Accomplishments since Graduating

I currently am serving as the President-Elect of the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC). This organization is near and dear to my heart, and I found a “professional home” among its membership. It is an honor to be asked to serve ASERVIC in this capacity.

Personal Interests

I am learning to garden a bit, and I love hiking, singing, live music, spending time with friends and family, reading, playing with my dogs, and of course Tennessee athletics. Go Vols!

Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • President (April 2008 – April 2009). Chi Sigma Iota. Upsilon Theta Chapter. University of Tennessee.
  • Member. (2009-2010). Awards Committee. Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education.
  • Member (2008-2010). Awards Selection Committee. Chi Sigma Iota International.
  • Empty Plate Coordinator (September 2006 – May 2009). Multicultural Interest Network; Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.
  • Member (October 2006 – March 2007). Graduate Student Steering Committee, Association for Creativity in Counseling.
  • Graduate Student Representative (July 2006 – June 2007). Tennessee Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development.
  • Public Relations Chair (July 2006 – June 2007). Tennessee Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development.
  • Outstanding Doctoral Student. (2009). Upsilon Theta Chapter, Chi Sigma Iota.
  • Donald Hood Student Research Grant. (Spring 2009). Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education.
  • Outstanding Student. (Spring 2008). University of Tennessee.
  • Multi-Level School Counselor of the Year. (2006). Tennessee Counseling Association.
  • Outstanding Mental Health Counselor of the Year. (2006). Smoky Mountain Counseling Association.
What was the most memorable experience at UT?

I had some amazing peers in my cohort. Despite the challenges of our academic lives, we found ways to have fun, celebrate accomplishments and milestones, and enjoy professional conferences.

What would you tell an incoming/current student?

It can be easy in graduate school to get caught up in the academic work and lose sight of the fact that you are at the flagship institution for the University of Tennessee system. Take advantage of all it has to offer including exploring exciting areas for your cognate and specialization as well as all the athletic and cultural events.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

Definitely not! When Shawn Spurgeon, associate professor, first approached me in my master’s program about pursuing a doctorate, I responded with a vehement, “No,” but I love teaching and supervision! Learning and pursuing those skills made me a better clinician, and it is a true to joy to get to train future professional counselors.


“The faculty in the Counselor Education program are some of the best in the country. It is my privilege to be able to call them mentors, colleagues, and friends.”

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