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Amanda DeDiego

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 presentationFarrell 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

Upsilon Theta is a chapter of Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), an international honor society that values academic and professional excellence in counseling. The Upsilon Theta Chapter was established at UT Knoxville in 2004. To learn more about this chapter, we interviewed the current president (Everett Painter), president-elect (Nathan West) and co-faculty advisors (Casey A. Barrio Minton and Shawn L. Spurgeon). See their Q&A’s below.

Casey Barrio-Minton


Casey A. Barrio Minton
Associate Professor
Co-Faculty Advisor of Upsilon Theta


What is Upsilon Theta all about?
Our chapter is one of nearly 300 active chapters around the world with a dedication to promoting strong professional identity and recognizing excellence among counseling students, professional counselors, and counselor educators. In addition to recognizing excellence among our members, our chapter seeks to promote excellence and sense of community in our program. We have ongoing professional development events (workshops), community engagement projects (e.g., service to Ronald McDonald House and Odd Fellows Cemetery), and social events (e.g., tailgate, family bowling night). Our members also participate in CSI international programs including essay contests, leadership development programs, awards, and grants.

How do you define the role of the faculty advisor?
I see the role of the faculty advisor as mentoring students in their leadership development and ensuring consistency or stability for the chapter. Although the work of the chapter is most often done by students, students may be fairly new in their leadership development, and they often are in the chapter only one or two years prior to graduation. The chapter adviser, then, can help student leaders understand what it means to be in CSI, understand chapter history, and create their own priorities and programs within the mission of the organization. The faculty advisor also serves as a bridge or liaison to the program faculty about the happenings of the chapter and ways to support our students’ development outside of the classroom. CFAs also have access to CSI headquarters and support, so we can make sure the chapter stays in compliance with bylaws — on things like elections procedures, finances, and reporting.

How do you envision the future of Upsilon Theta?
Upsilon Theta has a strong past and a solid future. Our programs are well-attended and growing. Our student leaders frequently participate in CSI International programs and have a chance to network with other professional counselors around the country. In the years to come, I am excited to see how the chapter extends its community engagement activities and finds creative ways to recognize excellence among our members.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
CSI has been an instrumental part of my development as a counselor and counselor educator. I believe strongly that chapters help develop strong advocates and leaders for the program. I am honored to be a part of this community.

Everett Painter


Everett Painter
PhD Student in Counselor Education
President of Upsilon Theta


What has been the most rewarding/challenging experience as the president?
The most rewarding aspect is working in collaboration with peers and faculty to create initiatives and activities on behalf of the chapter. We are an active, service oriented chapter and it’s a very meaningful experience to assist students in the work we do. It takes a true group effort to accomplish our tasks. The most challenging is always the planning.

How else have you been involved in the chapter?
I previously served the chapter as president-elect and treasurer. I also do what I can to promote CSI to others. And I was selected by CSI to be a Leadership Intern for the coming year. This will have benefits for the chapter.

What is Upsilon Theta all about?
We recognize excellence in counseling at academic and professional levels. Beyond that, we are service oriented and feel we have a responsibility to contribute to our fellow students, the department, and our community. Activities that serve that purpose generally involve social, workshop, and service oriented events.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
It’s a privilege to work with my peers within the context of a department that is so supportive. Because of that support and encouragement, we are able to do what we do and are actively looking at how we can grow the chapter, increase our activities, and explore new opportunities.

Shawn Spurgeon


Shawn Spurgeon
Associate Professor
Co-Faculty Advisor of Upsilon Theta


What is Upsilon Theta all about?
We focus on two aspects of development for our students: academic excellence and interdependence with the community. We participate in projects related to community enhancement and focus our efforts on collaborating with organizations in the community to develop programming that supports the community’s efforts to grow and develop.

How do you define the role of the faculty advisor?
My role is to provide support, direction, and challenge to the leadership group. I consider myself to be a collaborator, guide, and support person. I see the students as an integral part of the community so I focus my energy on helping them build relationships with each other and with the community. There are times when I need to be more directive in planning and programming but even in those moments I tend to allow for processing and input as well.

What has been the most rewarding/challenging experience as the faculty advisor?
The most rewarding aspect of my role as faculty advisor has been the growth of the students and growth of the chapter. We have worked hard to develop a great relationship with the community and now I think the next step is to develop a national presence for our chapter in the international organization. The most challenging aspect of the experience is helping students balance time between their commitment to Upsilon Theta and their commitment to academic excellence in service to their future clients.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with students and to see them grow and develop as leaders. Upsilon Theta has grown by leaps and bounds and it will continue to be an integral part of the UT community.

Nathan West


Nathan West
PhD Student in Counselor Education
President-Elect of Upsilon Theta


How else have you been involved in the chapter?
My induction into CSI was in early 2015, so I was a member for the spring semester before beginning the president-elect role last summer. I have attended several social, service, and educational events since I started at UT in the fall 2014 semester. I have not had a lot of specific responsibilities as president-elect, as my primary goal has been to learn the ropes in preparation for the upcoming year. I have been involved as a general member of the executive council, which meets throughout the year to plan, review, and maintain chapter issues and events. I have also been in charge of taking and collecting pictures of CSI events for a year-in-review slideshow that is a part of our final event at the end of the spring semester.

What is Upsilon Theta all about?
I think the chapter is about connection and service. Being in Upsilon Theta brings opportunities for connection beyond what is possible in class time alone. From what I have experienced and heard from others, I believe this connectedness can help counselor education feel like more than just “school.” I think socializing in a context where the common bond is the counseling profession helps students learn more about their identity as members of the field. It also helps students sort of place themselves amongst the larger themes and goals of the profession as a whole, particularly when it comes to matters like counseling values and social advocacy. I know this has been true for me. This chapter provides those connective opportunities and works to channel toward a common goal of making a positive impact on the community.

Upsilon Theta provides this atmosphere through a variety of activities. At the beginning of each fall semester there is an informal “kick-off” event that gives everyone a chance to spend time together and welcome new members. Other social events throughout the year (such as an annual tailgating party, typically hosted by a faculty member, on a Saturday in the fall) help to continue social bonds in our program. Service events further that same goal of cohesiveness while focusing our efforts on connecting with and supporting the community in some way. This year members of Upsilon Theta have been a part of service at the Ronald McDonald House and the Odd Fellows Cemetery here in Knoxville. A third focus of our chapter is ongoing professional education and training. Each year we have training events/seminars designed to benefit counseling students and local professionals. Those are three ways that goals are put into action in our chapter of CSI: social, service, and education.

How do you envision the future of Upsilon Theta?
I think that the chapter has a lot of momentum right now, as participation has been strong and energy has been high this year. This has been particularly true for service-oriented events. I hope that we can build on that momentum and continue to strengthen ties with the community. Beyond events directly focused on community service, I think one way to do that will be to maintain involvement with practicing counselors in the area. In the past, CSI has teamed up with local counseling organizations to provide resources such as professional training seminars. I think continuing those types of events and continually finding new ways for CSI and local counselors to work together will be an important focus for the future.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I have been really impressed by the hard work and know-how demonstrated by the executive council this year. Having seen the initiative and quality work of everyone around me, I feel both intimidated and excited as I start to think about my roles, tasks, and shoe-filling in the year ahead.

Members of the Upsilon Theta Executive Council serve one-year terms. Other officers serving out the 2015-16 year include:

Workshop Chair:
Service Chair:
Social Committee Chair:
Public Relations Chair:

Brittany Pollard
Lindsay Bock
Amanda DeDiego
Emily Brown
Mary Frances Street
Kevin Webster
Nina Morgan
Anna Lora Taylor

Upsilon Theta also celebrated its CSI Induction Ceremony earlier this year. Photos from this event can be found on the EPC Facebook page.

Amanda DeDiego, PhD student, and Alessandra Rhinehart, PhD candidate, have each been chosen as one of ten Chi Sigma Iota Leadership Fellows.

Amanda DeDiego and Alessandra Rhinehart

Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) 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.

DeDiego and Rhinehart will be attending the American Counseling Association (ACA) Annual Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida next month. As CSI Leadership Fellows, they also will provide a minimum of fifty service hours on a CSI task force/committee, receive a $600 grant from CSI, receive a hundred dollar grant from their nominating CSI Chapter (Upsilon Theta), and be recognized at the CSI Awards Ceremony with a plaque at the ACA Annual Conference and Expo.

CSI Leadership Fellows_021215_SClark_15

In Upsilon Theta, DeDiego acts as Workshop Chair planning professional development activities, at times partnering with other university organizations. Rhinehart has served as Secretary, President Elect, President, and is currently acting as Past President, advising the current President. She is also on the CSI International Awards Committee Panel.

Didego and Rhinehart expressed special excitement over their training at the ACA conference next month, because they will be learning from Presidents and CEOs from organizations such as the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

CSI Leadership Fellows_021215_SClark_26