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Adult Learning

Sara is currently seeking her PhD in educational psychology and research, with a concentration in the Adult Learning program. Originally from Tehran, Iran, she received her BA in English literature and MA in educational psychology from Allameh Tabatabaei University and joined UT Knoxville in 2013. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Awards
  • Travis Hawk Fellowship, Educational Psychology and Counseling Department, University of Tennessee, for outstanding academic credentials and success in academic journey. $1000. 2015
  • Alexander N. Charters Adult Education Research Grant-in-Aid, Syracuse University. Co-principal investigator with G. Ruttencutter. Grant awarded to conduct archival research for Exploring the intersection of adult education and critical theory. $1,850. 2014

Accomplishments

Presentations
Nasrollahian Mojarad, S. (2016). Action comes first and foremost in Iran. 4th Action Research Network of the Americas Conference. Knoxville, Tennessee.

Simarasl, N. & Nasrollahian Mojarad, S. (2015). How Self-directed are Iranian Women Entrepreneurs? Global Issues Conference: International Women’s Rights. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Nasrollahian Mojarad, S. (2015). Self-directed learning and brain executive functions. 29th International Self-Directed Learning Symposium. Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Nasrollahian Mojarad, S. & Ruttencutter, G. S. (2014). From Russia with Love. American Association for Adult and Continuing Education 63rd Annual Conference, North Charleston, South Carolina.

Ziegler, M., Ferris, E. J., Overton, M. D., Nasrollahian Mojarad, S. & Ruttencutter, G. S. (2014). Live Online: Possibilities and Pitfalls of Synchronous Online Teaching and Learning. American Association for Adult and Continuing Education 63rd Annual Conference, North Charleston, South Carolina.

Overton, M. D., Bailey, A., Nasrollahian Mojarad, S., Seidler, A. E. & Shih, C. K. (2014). Jump-Starting Self-Directedness in Adult Learning Using Mobile Apps. American Association for Adult and Continuing Education 63rd Annual Conference, North Charleston, South Carolina.

Nasrollahian Mojarad, S., & Tullier, J. D. (2014). Self-Directed Learning and Cognitive and Metacognitive Capabilities in Adult Learners. 28th International Self-Directed Learning Symposium, Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Publication
Nasrollahian Mojaran, S. (2015). Book Review. [Review of the book Adult learning: Linking theory and practice.] Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 63(1), Spring, 67-68.

Current Occupation

Graduate Research Assistant
Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Personal Interests

I enjoy watching movies and following on my country’s cinema. My other favorite non-academic activity is to record my voice while reading books every mornings in order to send it to my dear ones back home.

As the oldest and only daughter of the family, I have a lot of responsibilities in regard to my parents and brothers that I take care of them even from here, that is thousands of miles away from home. This long distance hasn’t been able to undermine my care and love for the ones who are inseparable parts of my heart and identity and I am even more deeply connected to them from my new home.

Future/Vocational Goals

I am a social activist at this time and I will definitely preserve this social identity in my future profession and processes.

My goal is to become a faculty and researcher in the future and I want my students to identify me as a researcher and then an educator.

What is the best tidbit/find you have about UT/Knoxville?

I started my journey as a PhD student and also in the United States in Knoxville and I am so happy with my experience here. Knoxville is a beautiful city with kind and precious people who were very welcoming from the very first day I entered the city and made me feel at home. This was also true about UT Knoxville, as I could conveniently settle down and adapt to the new system and academic environment that I was in.

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

I owe much of my accomplishments here to my supportive and understanding adviser, Ralph Brockett, my lovely and wholehearted best friend, Gwen Ruttentcutter, and all of the considerate and appreciative faculty members and colleagues from whom I have learned a lot. My most important take away from this program will be the confidence that it gave me through its learner-centered approach to teaching and learning. I am now much more self-reliant than the beginning of my journey and have taken important steps in developing my academic and consequently social identity so far.


NBCC Foundation, an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), for the National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program (NBCC MFP). As an NBCC MFP Fellow, Farrell will receive funding and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations.

“I feel honored to have been selected to receive this award along with other outstanding scholars. This fellowship allows us to continue with our passion and determination to serve minority clients and bring education and awareness to our community. I am looking forward to the connections, trainings, and knowledge this award will provide me.”

Isabel C. Farrell


The NBCC MFP will distribute $20,000 to Farrell and the 22 other doctoral counseling students selected to receive the fellowship award. Farrell’s goal for the future is to be a counselor educator that provides appropriate multicultural training to her students. Farrell wishes to bring cultural awareness to each class by incorporating exposure to diverse populations and to continue serving the Hispanic community throughout her doctoral journey and beyond. Farrell plans to conduct research on the psychological effects of immigration in young Latino adults and develop a more effective method for connecting them to the community resources they need to be successful. She is also interested in bringing awareness about the effects of immigration and the struggles many immigrants face. Farrell wants to provide a better understanding of the grief and loss many immigrants experience while transitioning to a new culture. She wants to shine a light on the population’s struggles and pain, and help to combat the racism, discrimination and neglect Latino immigrants face. By receiving this fellowship, Farrell will be able to continue to focus all her energy on growing as a counselor educator and on becoming an advocate for all Hispanics.

Currently, Farrell is a graduate research assistant and has a special focus on grief and loss experiences. She is also a co-instructor of a course called Critical Issues in Counseling Lifespan Development that addresses themes and issues affecting clients’ development with relevance to counselor interventions, including family and personality development, crises and trauma, and addiction and addictive behaviors.

The NBCC MFP is made possible by a grant first awarded to NBCC by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in August 2012. The Foundation is contracted by NBCC to administer the NBCC MFP, as well as training and collaboration activities, such as webinars, that are open to all National Certified Counselors (NCCs). The goal of the program is to strengthen the infrastructure that engages diverse individuals in counseling and increases the number of professional counselors providing effective, culturally competent services to underserved populations.

The Foundation plans to open the next NBCC MFP application period in September 2016. To learn more about the NBCC MFP and its fellows, please visit NBCC Foundation’s Meet the Fellows page.


The NBCC Foundation is the nonprofit affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), based in Greensboro, North Carolina. NBCC is the nation’s premier professional certification board devoted to credentialing counselors who meet standards for the general and specialty practices of professional counseling. Currently, there are more than 60,000 National Certified Counselors in the United States and more than 50 countries. The Foundation’s mission is to leverage the power of counseling by strategically focusing resources for positive change.


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Counselor Education

Isabel is currently seeking her PhD in Counselor Education. Originally from Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela, she received her BA in psychology and MS in counseling psychology from Northeastern State University and came to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2015. We asked her to reflect on some of her past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Awards

2016 National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program (NBCC MFP)
Award ceremony May 24th, 2016

Recipients must demonstrate knowledge of and experience with racially and ethnically diverse populations, and commit to providing mental health and/or substance abuse and addictions counseling services to underserved minority populations through direct practice or the training of direct practitioners.

The NBCC MFP helps ensure that the behavioral health needs of all Americans are met, regardless of language or culture, thereby reducing health disparities and improving overall community health and well-being. The NBCC MFP strengthens the infrastructure that engages diverse individuals in counseling and increases the number of professional counselors providing effective, culturally competent services to underserved populations.

Accomplishments

Conference Presentations:

  • The Four Women Project: On Becoming a Counselor Educator (February 27, 2016)
    Co-presenter, Smokey Mountain Counseling Association Annual Conference
  • An Ethical and Multicultural Discussion about Immigrant Clients (February 27, 2016)
    Chair, Smokey Mountain Counseling Association Annual Conference

Position

  • Graduate Student Liaison (February, 2016 – Present)
    Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselors Association, Knoxville, TN

Accepted Proposals

  • An Ethical and Multicultural Discussion about Immigration Clients (March 31 – April 1, 2016)
    Presentation at the 10th Annual Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselors Association (TLPCA) Conference
  • Treatment and Prevalence of Substance Abuse with Co-Occurring Eating Disorders (July 14-16, 2016)
    Poster Presentation at the 2016 American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) Annual Conference
  • Our Lives Are Stories: Healing Through Creative Expression (July 14-16, 2016)
    Poster Presentation at the 2016 American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) Annual Conference

Refer to Curriculum Vita for more details

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Current Occupations

Graduate Research Assistant
Working under assistant professor, Laura S. Wheat, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Special focus on grief and loss experiences of LGBTQ+ self-identified individuals, grief and loss among graduate students and peer bereavement.

Co-Instructor of COUN 545: Critical Issues in Counseling Lifespan Development
Working under associate professor, Casey A. Barrio Minton, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Addressing themes and issues affecting clients’ development with relevance to counselor interventions, including family and personality development, crises and trauma, addiction and addictive behaviors.

Wedding

Personal Interests

I grew up in Venezuela, I moved to the US when I was seventeen-years-old to pursue a career in counseling and reunite with my mother who moved to the US when I was thirteen-years-old. I come from a big family of three brothers, one niece (two others on the way) and five step siblings. I am newlywed to a wonderful husband named Patrick, we have been married for almost a year and we have an adorable dog named Ares.

My hobbies include biking, running and baking. My biggest passion is traveling, I have been to twenty-two countries and five continents. One of my goals is to visit all the new seven world wonders (five done, two to go!).

Future/Vocational Goals

My goal for the future is to be a counselor educator that provides appropriate multicultural training to my future students. Diversity is a complex subject that cannot be covered in one multicultural class. I wish to bring cultural awareness to each class I teach by incorporating exposure to diverse populations. I aspire to continue serving the Hispanic community throughout my doctoral journey and beyond. Bringing awareness to our society about the effects of immigration and the struggles many immigrants face. Also, I want to better understand the grief and loss many immigrants face while transitioning to a new culture. My goal is to shine a light on the population’s struggles and pain, and help to combat the racism, discrimination, and neglect Latino(a)s daily face.

What sold you on this program?

The faculty! I still remember after the interview I was at the airport waiting for my flight back to Oklahoma. I remember calling my dad and telling him “I feel like I am meant to be here.” The faculty makes you feel special, appreciated, and at home. I never feel unsupported by them and they see more in me than I see in myself.

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

Make the most of it and don’t be afraid to try things out. Fellowships, presentations, manuscripts, anything is possible. You will be supported and encouraged to just try! Let someone else say yes or no to you, and don’t limit yourself because you are capable of incredible things.

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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.

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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).

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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