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Grief Outreach Initiative


At Camp Aliya, children spent their time in small and large groups, outside, and being involved in music, arts, and crafts. Here are some of their activities:

  • They constructed and guided each other through obstacle courses made of yarn, relating the difficulties of the course to the grieving process and discussing the role of others in helping you get through the process.
  • Campers played sorting games to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful coping behaviors.
  • They had the opportunity to depict their story of grief however they wanted. Some children wrote stories, other drew pictures, then if they were comfortable they shared them with the group.
  • The children made body drawings in chalk to label different feelings they have related to their grief.
  • Campers wrote down things they felt afraid to share on pieces of paper, crumbled them into balls, and threw them back and forth. They talked about what it was like for others to physically hold our fears and troubles. After they were comfortable, everyone anonymously opened one of the balled up fears to read allowed, and they found that many of the fears were similar, despite different stories.

Wheat ran Camp Aliya with 10 other staff members comprised who are current students, recent alumni, and/or community members. Wheat explained, “We intentionally kept the camp small and time-limited this year to make sure we knew what we were doing! I hope very much to secure grant funding to keep it going annually and expand from elementary-age kids to any school-age kid. I also hope that in the future we can develop and implement a trauma-focused therapeutic element as well, perhaps based on Allison Salloum’s work (Grief and Trauma in Children: An Evidence-Based Treatment Manual).”

Laura Wheat“I am so thankful to be in a place that is supportive of programming that focuses on child and adolescent grief. It still feels a little bit magical to me, even four years later, that I get to do this work.”

When asked how it felt to to initiate and complete Camp Aliya, Wheat said the following: “It felt AMAZING!! It was a really daunting task, and it felt at times like climbing a mountain. But I was lucky to have Jillian Blueford, Counselor Education student, who was a huge help. She and I designed and implemented the whole thing together, so seeing it run those two days was incredible. We had the best, most energetic, creative, and heart-filled staff, and such great care from the folks at Pond Gap. I took some of the staff out for celebratory apps at Fieldhouse Social afterwards to thank them for their commitment and enthusiasm. However small it was with only 11 campers, I know we put some good in the world, and that’s what matters most to me. I could see some of the campers really benefiting. I even heard an anecdote via Jillian the other day, who reported that one of the campers’ caregivers had told her that he still wears the support bracelet he made at camp and talks about it all the time.”

To see photos from the inaugural Camp Aliya, check out the EPC Facebook page! Also, keep an eye out for the next edition of Accolades for an in-depth story about Camp Aliya.


EPC Facebook page.


Awards

College Senate Departmental Staff Award
Recognizes a departmental-level non-exempt staff person who has provided exceptional contributions to his/her department (going above & beyond job expectations to accommodate students and faculty, contributing to a positive and supportive work culture and environment).

Apirl Phillips

 

April Phillips
Administrative Coordinator III

 


Helen B. Watson Faculty/Student Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation
Awarded to a student and the faculty member who directed the outstanding doctoral dissertation within the departments of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; Educational Psychology and Counseling; Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies; or Theory and Practice in Teacher Education.

Dareen BasmaDareen Basma
PhD in Counselor Education (’16)

Bob KronickRobert Kronick
Professor in Counselor Education

“Working with Dareen Basma was an incredible experience. Her dissertation is a work of art. Her position at Carnegie Mellon speaks to her personal and professional acumen. The award is an affirmation of her work.”



Helen B. Watson Outstanding Faculty Research Award
Awarded to a full-time faculty member or team within the departments of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; Educational Psychology and Counseling; Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies; or Theory and Practice in Teacher Education.

Robert WilliamsRobert L. Williams
Professor in School Psychology

“I deeply appreciate the initiative of close colleagues in transmitting information regarding my work to the College Senate for consideration for the two awards I received.”


John H. Tunstall Outstanding Faculty Award
Awarded to an outstanding faculty member who is involved in the preparation of teachers, administrators, or others entering the field of education. The faculty member shall have a distinguished record in teaching, research, or community service or any combination of the three.

Lauren Moret

 

Lauren Moret
Assistant Professor in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

 


John H. Tunstall Outstanding Staff Award
Awarded annually to a staff member who has executed their duties in an exemplary manner in support of those programs which prepare “teacher, administrators, or others entering the field of education.”

Synthia ClarkSynthia Clark
Administrative Specialist I

“Being part of Let’s Talk QUAL with with Lauren and Duncan has been such a pleasurable and rewarding experience! This initiative has pushed my design, research, and presentation skills.


Louie M. and Betty M. Phillips Faculty Support in Education Award
Awarded to a faculty member in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences related to the preparation of teachers involved in K-12 education. This award serves to highlight outstanding research and teaching efforts.

Robert Williams

Robert L. Williams
Professor in School Psychology

“I deeply appreciate the initiative of close colleagues in transmitting information regarding my work to the College Senate for consideration for the two awards I received.”


Recognition

Casey A. Barrio Minton
Associate Professor in Counselor Education

– Recognized under Editors/Co-Editors of Peer Reviewed Publications for being Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Counselor Leadership & Advocacy
– Recognized under Presidents of National/International Professional Organizations for being President-Elect of Southern Association of Counselor Education & Supervision
– Recognized under Recipients of National/International Professional Awards for Arthur A. Hitchcock Distinguished Professional Service Award from American Counseling Association


Synthia Clark
Administrative Specialist I

– Recognized under Support Staff Awards and Certifications for UT Employee and Organizational Development Certificates in Customer Relations and Communications


Gail Cope
Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

– Recognized under 2016-17 Faculty & Staff Retirements (1977-2017)


Lisa Crawford
Associate Director of Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

– Recognized under Grants and Contracts Recipients for the Tennessee Department of Education Regional Educator Summits, SCORE, $281,672


Melinda M. Gibbons
Program Coordinator & Associate Professor in Counselor Education

– Recognized under Editors/Co-Editors of Peer Reviewed Publications for being Associate Editor of Professional School Counseling Journal


Aaron Kohring
Director of Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

– Recognized under UT Support Staff Service Awards for fifteen years of service


Robert Kronick
Professor in Counselor Education & Director of University-Assisted Community Schools

– Recognized under Chancellor’s Honors Awards for the Excellence in Academic Outreach


R. Steve McCallum
Professor for School Psychology

– Recognized under Editors/Co-Editors of Peer Reviewed Publications for being Co-Founder & Consulting Editor of Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment
– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books and Assessments for Handbook of Nonverbal Intelligence (2nd ed). New York: Springer.
– Recognized under Recipients of National/International Professional Awards for Distinguished Alumni Award from University of Georgia


S. Wayne Mulkey
Clinical Professor & Co-Program Coordinator in Rehabilitation Counseling

– Recognized under Chancellor’s Honors Awards for the Extraordinary Service to the University


April Phillips
Administrative Coordinator III

– Recognized under 2016-17 Faculty & Staff Retirements (1983-2017)


Shawn L. Spurgeon
Program Coordinator & Associate Professor in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

– Recognized under Presidents of National/International Professional Organizations for being Board of Directors of National Board for Certified Counselors
– Recognized under Presidents of National/International Professional Organizations for being Past-President of Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision


Qi Sun
Program Coordinator & Associate Professor in Adult Learning

– Recognized under Editors/Co-Editors of Peer Reviewed Publications for being Co-Editor of Journal of Research and Theory


Barbara Thayer-Bacon
Program Coordinator & Professor in Learning Environments & Educational Studies/Cultural Studies of Educational Foundations

– Recognized under Editors/Co-Editors of Peer Reviewed Publications for being Editor-in-Chief of Studies in Philosophy and Education
– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books and Assessments for Relational Ontologies. New York: Peter Lang Publishers.
– Recognized under Chancellor’s Honors Awards for the Excellence in Advising Award


Laura S. Wheat
Assistant Professor in Counselor Education & Coordinator of Grief Outreach Initiative

– Recognized under Chancellor’s Honors Awards for the Extraordinary Community Service Award


Connie White
Associate Director of School & Family Programs for Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

– Recognized under Grants and Contracts Recipients for the Tennessee State Personnel Development Grant, Tennessee Department of Education, $2,332,268
– Recognized under UT Support Staff Service Awards for twenty-five years of service


Excellence in Academic Outreach
Honors those who exemplify UT’s land-grant mission by using intellectual capital to benefit the citizens of Tennessee.

Bob KronickRobert Kronick
Professor & Director of University-Assisted Community Schools

“Engaged research says it all. It’s what I do. I am overwhelmed that the university recognized this work. This award acknowledges the efforts of a great deal of folks doing the work.”


Extraordinary Service to the University
Honors those who exemplify UT’s land-grant mission by using intellectual capital to benefit the citizens of Tennessee.

S. Wayne MulkeyS. Wayne Mulkey
Clinical Professor

“I appreciate the support and encouragement of my colleagues in the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling over the past three years. It is clearly an honor to know that my peers respect the work I have done at the University of Tennessee. Fond memories shall follow with me throughout the duration of my next retirement.”


Extraordinary Professional Promise
Honors awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research or other contributions.

Sarah Nadel, ESMSarah Nadel
PhD Student in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement (ESM)

“I was deeply honored to not only be nominated for the award, but to also receive it. This award means a great deal to me, but I can’t accept it without thanking my ESM faculty and peers as we have partnered on so much together. Additionally, my advisor, Jennifer Ann Morrow, has been an instrumental part of my success in my ESM doctoral program. She is a driving force for me to succeed every day and without her guidance, as well as the guidance and knowledge from all ESM faculty, this award wouldn’t have been possible. I’m deeply honored and blessed.”


Excellence in Advising
Bestowed by the Office of the Chancellor and the Teaching Council of the Faculty Senate to honor outstanding work in advising.

Barbara Thayer-BaconBarbara Thayer-Bacon
Professor

“I am so proud of the students I’ve had the opportunity to work with while at UT! It was wonderful to hear their words of support and gratitude for my mentoring of them. They have made me feel so appreciated. A big thank you to my students! The number keeps growing!! -your Dr. Barb


Extraordinary Professional Promise
Honors awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research or other contributions.

Victoria VanmaarenVictoria Gail VanMaaren
PhD Student in School Psychology

“The faculty and staff in our department have been nothing but supportive of all of my endeavors. I’m honored by this award, and mindful of the fact that it would not have been possible without the mentorship and encouragement of the entire department.”


Extraordinary Community Service
Rewards a faculty member who exhibits the volunteer spirit in the community.

Laura WheatLaura S. Wheat
Assistant Professor

“I am so very honored and humbled to receive this award, given the remarkable things faculty and staff across campus are doing! The Grief Outreach Initiative is dear to me and I’m thankful to be its shepherd. I hope to continue to nurture and grow it for years to come, so that more and more kids and teens will have safe places to honor their grief.”


To see photos of our recent award recipients, please go to the “EPC Award Winners” album on our EPC Facebook page.

*Award descriptions listed from Chancellor’s Honors Banquet program and website.


School Counseling

Sinead is currently seeking her MS in counseling, with a dual-track concentration in the School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. Originally from Knoxville, TN, she received her BS in child and family studies and psychology at UT Knoxville, and joined EPC in 2015. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Accomplishments

Volunteering at Pond Gap Community School: I created and lead a counseling group for children with incarcerated parents.

  • Refer to Resume for additional details
Current Occupation

Youth Minister
Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan
Knoxville, TN

I am in my third year leading the youth programming at Good Samaritan. I coordinate educational, service, and recreational programs for the youth, and have implemented a social justice oriented curriculum that includes socially-responsible mission trips each summer.

Personal Interests

When I’m not at school I enjoy volunteering in the community (Children’s Hospital is my favorite!), spending time with friends exploring all the great things to do in Knoxville, and playing with my Italian Greyhound, Nelly.

Future/Vocational Goals

I hope to work with children who have experienced trauma and their families. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in the dual-track program here at UT, as it has offered me many different learning opportunities for working with children in elementary school, middle school, and community settings. One of the reasons I selected UT was the Grief Outreach Initiative and my experience with mentoring a grieving child was very influential.

What sold you on this program/department/university?

I applied to schools all over the country, but when it came down to my final decision, I was surprised to find that UT had more of the components I was looking for than any other school. The dual-track option was very important to me, as I know I want to work with children, but I am interested in having the holistic view of both school and community settings. I was surprised to find that many of the schools I was interested in did not offer this, and I kept realizing how unique UT was in offering this option. Additionally, the Grief Outreach Initiative and the graduate certificate in Grief, Loss, and Trauma was appealing. I plan to work with children experiencing those very issues, and having this certificate so easily available in the program was another draw. Finally, the opportunities to work with the University-Assisted Community Schools in the area was something that really made UT stand out. Having the opportunity to volunteer in local high-need schools and to really put my skills into practice in the real world has been immensely beneficial for me as a counselor in training.

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

I would tell an incoming student to be sure to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you through the program, department, and UT as a whole. There are so many events and activities that allow you to learn about a wide range of topics, connect with other students and faculty, and to engage with the community as a whole. Taking advantage of the many opportunities will allow you to stretch and challenge yourself, meet people who are different from you and to really make the most of your experience here. There is a lot you can learn at UT outside the classroom that will really inform the kind of counselor you will become.

Educational Psychology & Counseling Department
College of Education, Health & Human Sciences

535 Bailey Education Complex
1122 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37996-3452
Phone: 865-974-8145 Fax: 865-974-0135