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graduate research assistant


Student Spotlight: Sherri BrunerCounselor Education

Sherrie is currently seeking her PhD in the Counselor Education program. Originally from Knoxville, TN, she received her BS in counseling and MA in professional counseling/marriage and family therapy at Johnson University. She came to UT Knoxville, and joined EPC, in 2014. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Awards
  • SACES Emerging Leader, 2016
  • Chancellors Fellowship, 2016
  • ACA Ethics Competition, 3rd Place Team, 2014
Accomplishments

Roles

  • Assistant Program Chair, SACES 2016 Conference
    • Assisted with managing proposal review process and conference program. Developed conference web-based app.

Publications

  • Barrio Minton, C. A., & Bruner, S. L. (2016). School-based suicide intervention with children and adolescents. American Counseling Association Practice Brief Series. Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/practice-briefs
  • Barrio Minton, C. A., Wachter Morris, C. A., & Bruner, S. L. (2017, in press). Diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents: Mood, anxiety, trauma-and stressor-related, and disruptive behavior disorders. In J. Daigle (Ed.), Counseling children and adolescents: Working in school and clinical mental health settings. New York: Routledge.
  • Barrio Minton, C. A., Bruner, S. L., & Wachter Morris, C. A. (2017, in press). Diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents: Neurodevelopmental, substance-related, and other specialized disorders. In J. Daigle (Ed.), Counseling children and adolescents: Working in school and clinical mental health settings. New York: Routledge.

Selected Presentations

  • Brown, E. M. & Bruner, S. L., (2016, October). Developing spiritual and religious multicultural competence through supervision. Session accepted for presentation at Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Conference, New Orleans, LA.
  • Barrio Minton, C. A., Bruner, S. L., & Wachter Morris, C. A. (2016, September). Researching counselor education: A systematic, critical content analysis of methodology. Session presented at the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling National Research Conference, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Bruner, S. L., & Loar, L. M. (2016, March). Perspectives on emerging adulthood for family counselors. Session presented at the International Association for Marriage and Family Counselors World Conference, New Orleans, LA.
  • Taylor, A. L., & Bruner, S. L. (2015, November). Leveraging technology to address the career needs of diverse populations. Session presented at the Tennessee Counseling Association Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.
  • Bruner, S. L., & Moralejo, J. M. (2015, November). Systemic barriers to equality for same sex individuals and the role of allies in breaking down barriers. Session presented for the OUTstanding Conference, Knoxville, TN.
  • Bruner, S., Shepard, D., West, N., & Taylor, A. L. (2015, October). Understanding the criminal justice system’s impact in college counseling. Session presented at the American College Counseling Association Conference, Louisville, KY.

Refer to Curriculum Vita for additional details.

Current Occupations

Adjunct Instructor
Johnson University
Knoxville, TN

I teach online classes in the Human Services undergraduate program at Johnson University.

Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN

Personal Interests

When I have time, my most treasured activity is spending time with my nephews who are the source of endless joy and laughter in my life. I also just recently welcomed a new niece on New Year’s Day and I am settling into aunt life that involves bows, ruffles, and lots of pink things. When I am not spending time with my favorite little people, I also enjoy reading, baking, snowboarding, and water sports. In the winter, I teach snowboarding classes at Gatlinburg Snowsports Center and enjoy riding time in between classes.

Bruner familyFuture/Vocational Goals

I hope to finish my degree program by August 2017 and start working as a full-time faculty at a research university. I am very passionate about the systemic role that counseling can have in the overall fight for social justice and equity. I hope to work at an institution that holds similar values and provides space for me to continue researching and working in this area.

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

I would tell them to try to live in the moment and enjoy the ride. As I am wrapping up my program, I think the most memorable times were when I was really living life in the moment and not focused on that next thing. It is easy as a student to constantly be thinking about all the things you should be doing, wondering if you should have more projects/presentations/publications, and worrying about the future. When I look back, the opportunities came when I relaxed and was able to begin focusing on being with people in the process instead of doing more things. Don’t underestimate the impact of presence and relationship during the journey.

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

The most rewarding part of the program has been the mentorship relationships I have developed with the faculty. Those relationships have developed into tangible presentations, publications and other lines on my vitae, but more importantly they have helped me to grow as a person and as a professional. For me, it has been especially meaningful to develop relationships with two of the female professors in my department who I deeply admire and respect. These women have shown me what it means to be a strong, intelligent, and capable woman who is a leader in this field, and have helped me to see that potential within myself.

Bruner at Ober Gatlinburg


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.


Student Spotlight: Amanda Dascomb

Learning Environments &
Educational Studies

Amanda is currently seeking her PhD in education with a concentration in the Learning Environments and Educational Studies program. Originally from Everett, WA, she received her MA in French and francophone studies from the University of Florida and joined EPC in 2013. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Awards
  • McClure Scholarship for Independent International Research Project: Multilingual Montessori Primary Instruction in Guadeloupe, France, Summer 2015
  • MSERA Graduate Student Research Award, 2014
  • ESPN Graduate Student Fellowship Award, 2013
Accomplishments

“Public Montessori Effectiveness at Instructing ESL Students.” Paper presented at the Mid-South Educational Research Association regional conference, November 4-6, 2014, Knoxville, TN.

“The Imperialist Vision of Human Rights in West Africa: The Battle for Literacy.” Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association annual conference, October 29-November 2, 2014, Toronto, Ontario.

“Nothing to Sing About: Societal Discourse in Regards to the Further Degradation of Substitute Teachers in the United States.” Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association annual conference, October 29-November 2, 2014, Toronto, Ontario (with Melissa Harness).

Refer to CV for more details.

Current Occupation

Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

French Teacher
Hardin Valley Academy
Knox County Schools

Personal Interests

Outside of research, teaching and grading papers, I enjoy spending time camping, hiking and traveling with my husband and our two-year old golden retriever, Walden. We all spend a lot of time indoors during the work week, so the weekend is reserved for as much time outdoors as daylight allows.

Future/Vocational Goals

Teaching is what I enjoy most. While I love my high school (administration and colleagues), I am working towards a switch to the tertiary level. My goal is to finish my dissertation by the end of this upcoming fiscal year.

What sold you on this program?

A PhD is a very long and arduous process. I knew that in order to complete such a degree (which I wished to do), I would need an advisor that I worked well with. Upon reading about the cultural studies program, I knew that my educational philosophy was well aligned with my current advisor’s, Barbara Thayer-Bacon. This support system, combined with the opportunity to teach CSE 200 (which I did for two years), sold me on entering this program.

What is the best tidbit you have about Knoxville?

Knoxville is very accessible to travel. The hiking/camping in the Big South Fork, GSMNP and just over the mountains Pisgah NF, is spectacular and amazing. I can also travel to see family (and for conferences/research projects) with relatively cheap flights via TYS.

Amanda Dascomb and husband


SS_Farrell_03.02.16

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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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