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Jeff Cochran


Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Emily earned an MS in counseling with a concentration in the Mental Health Counseling program in 2009. Originally from Irmo, SC, she now lives in Knoxville, TN. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Outpatient Clinician
Helen Ross McNabb Therapy Center
Knoxville, TN

The Therapy Center provides individual and family services including trauma related treatment for individuals of all ages, in particular survivors of childhood sexual abuse, as well as other forms of abuse and neglect. I provide therapy for the child and adolescent referrals. I also coordinate the services provided under the Project Against the Sexual Abuse of Appalachian Children (PASAAC) grant we receive through United Way, which includes the facilitation of a psycho-educational support group for Non-Offending Parents and caregivers of children who have been sexually abused and other forms of community outreach.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student

I presented with Marianne Woodside and other selected students “It’s all about me: Viewing adolescent challenges through case studies” at the Smoky Mountain Counseling Association conference in September of 2008. I also served as secretary of Chi Sigma Iota in April of 2008 – 2009.

Accomplishments since Graduating

I recently participated in the “Child Sexual Abuse-Awareness, Prevention, and Response” video through my work with the Community Coalition to Protect Children, which was created by the Knox County School District to be used for training purposes with the Knox County School teachers.

Personal Interests

I love watching football, do it yourself projects, being outside and spending time with my dog, Folly. I got married to a good ole Tennessee boy at the end of October, and we hope to eventually re-locate to Charleston, SC with the rest of my family.

What sold you on this program?

What initially sold me on this program was the fact that the focus was on mental health counseling, instead of “community counseling” which was the title given to the degree at the other universities I was considering. I also realized that while it was a longer program, I was going to graduate fully prepared and certified to start my career as a counselor. However, I have to say that more important than what sold me on the program was what kept me in the program, which was the family type atmosphere created with the other individuals in my cohort, and the belief that the professors truly cared about me and wanted me to succeed.

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

I think that the most rewarding/challenging part of the program was finding and defining myself as an individual, as well as a mental health counselor. It can be quite the daunting task to examine and challenge personally held beliefs and values, however it is a necessary task in order for one to develop a sense of self and where this self fits into the counseling profession.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

I thought I would be working with adults at this point in my career, in particular criminal offenders because in school that was where my interests lay. I thought that I could never work with children because it would just be too hard. However, my job led me to families which ultimately caused my supervisor and myself to come to the conclusion that I have an uncanny ability to reach and work with children. I am glad that the program provided me with enough education and sense to see that children and adolescents who have experienced abuse and neglect was my true calling, many of whom without the help face a higher probability of turning to a life of crime.

There is a certain sense of pride you feel when you come across another person who has been through the program, and the question that usually follows is “Spurgeon, Diambra, or Cochran?”


Sixteen members of EPC were commended at the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Recognition Ceremony on April 23, 2015.

To see photos from the event, please go to the “CEHHS Recognition Ceremony 4.23.15” album on our EPC Facebook page.

Ralph G. Brockett
Interim Department Head; Adult Learning/Adult Education
– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books and Assessments for Teaching adults: A practical guide for new teachers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

 Jeff Cochran
Director of REACH Project; Clinical Mental Health Counseling
– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books and Assessments for The heart of counseling: Counseling skills through therapeutic relationships (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge
– Recognized under Presidents of National/International Professional Organizations for being President-Elect of Association for Humanistic Counseling
– Recognized under National/International Professional Awards Recipients for Bernard & Louise F. Guerney Award from the Association for Filial and Relationship Enhancement Methods

 Patrick L. Dunn
Program Co-Coordinator for Rehabilitation Counseling
– Recognized under Grants and Contracts Recipients for the Long-Term Training: Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf from the US Department of Education – Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services, $148,492

 Melinda Gibbons
Program Coordinator for Counselor Education/School Counseling
– Recognized under Editors/Co-Editors of Peer Reviewed Publications for being Associate Editor of Career Development Quarterly

Merilee McCurdy
Program Coordinator for School Psychology
– Recognized under Presidents of National/International Professional Organizations for being Chair-Elect of Council for Directors of School Psychology Programs

Jennifer Ann Morrow
Program Coordinator for Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement
– Recognized under UT Faculty/Staff Awards & Recognition for the Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award

Beth Ponder
Associate Director for Center for Literacy, Education & Employment
– Recognized under Grants and Contracts Recipients for the LINCS Regional Professional Development Centers Program from the US Department of Education, $368,130

Christopher H. Skinner
School Psychology
– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books and Assessments for Interventions for reading problems: Designing and evaluating effective strategies (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press

Shawn L. Spurgeon
Program Coordinator for Clinical Mental Health Counseling
– Recognized under Presidents of National/International Professional Organizations for being President of Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling
– Recognized under Presidents of National/International Professional Organizations for being President-Elect of Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
– Awarded a Dean’s Service Award

Jeannine Studer
Professor Emerita
– Recognized under Faculty & Staff Retirements for serving from 2003-2014

 Barbara Thayer-Bacon
Program Coordinator for 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

Michael Waugh
Instructional Technology/Learning Environments & Educational Studies
– Recognized under National/International Professional Awards Recipients for Best Paper Award from the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference

Connie White
Associate Director for Center for Literacy, Education & Employment
– Recognized under Grants and Contracts Recipients for the Tennessee Adult Education Professional Development and Technical Assistance from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, $543,739

Brian Wilhoit
Director of Korn Learning, Assessment & Social Skills (KLASS) Center
– Recognized under Grants and Contracts Recipients for the FUTURE Program from the US Department of Education, $315,260

Marianne Woodside
Counselor Education/School Counseling
– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books and Assessments for Introduction to human services: Cases and applications (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks Cole/Cengage
– Recognized under Faculty & Staff Retirements serving from 1979-2015

Mary Ziegler
Program Coordinator for Adult Learning; Program Co-Coordinator for Adult Education/Applied Educational Psychology
– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books and Assessments for Adult development and aging. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education
– Recognized under Faculty & Staff Retirements serving from 1993-2015