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Knox County Schools

School Counseling

April earned an MS with the School Counseling program in 2012 and currently 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.

  • Awarded Tenure from Knox County Schools, spring 2018
  • Coalition Member of the Year from the Metro Drug Coalition, 2016
  • On the Leadership Team at Richard Yoakley, since 2012
Current Occupation

School Counselor
Richard Yoakley School
Knox County, Tennessee

Personal Interests

My husband and I have taken up hiking in the last few years. We especially enjoy hiking in the nearby Smoky Mountains. So far, we have just done day hikes, but we plan to start camping in the future.

Another hobby of mine is making jewelry. I enjoy making jewelry from glass, stones, metals, and found objects. It’s a fun, creative outlet.

Future/Vocational Goals

I very much enjoy my role as the school counselor at Richard Yoakley School. I plan to stay in this role for the foreseeable future and continue to improve my school counseling program. One day, I might pursue a leadership position in the school system.

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

I remember feeling welcomed and informed when starting the program. Our professors did a great job explaining expectations and program goals. I felt very prepared to complete assignments, and I also felt that I was cared about as a person. The school counseling program is rigorous with high standards and expectations, which is a great thing. I know I received a high quality education which prepared me for my current profession.

What is the best tidbit/find about Knoxville?

Two of my favorite things about Knoxville are the Market Square Farmer’s Market and the trails at Ijams Nature Center. The market is a great place to buy local produce as well as crafts, and Ijams Nature Center is a beautiful place to be in nature yet still close to the city.

Student Spotlight: Katie Graham

School Counseling

Katie is currently seeking her MS in counseling with the School Counseling program. Originally from Knoxville, TN, she graduated with her BS in child and family studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and joined EPC in 2016. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

  • Chi Sigma Iota Nomination for Outstanding Entry Level Student Award | November 2017
    This award is to recognize an individual CSI Chapter member who has excelled in scholarship, extracurricular involvements, service to the chapter, and evidence of excellence and commitment to the profession.
  • Most Outstanding First Year Student – School Counseling Program | Spring 2017
    Awarded by the UT Knoxville Counselor Education program, this award recognizes students who exemplify excellence during the course of their first year in the program.
  • Public Relations Chair of Chi Sigma Iota – Upsilon Theta Chapter, Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International, Spring 2017
  • Grief Outreach Initiative Mentor
  • PiPES (Possibilities in Postsecondary Education and Science) Team Member

See resume for additional details.

Katie Graham teaching

Current Occupation

Substitute Teacher
Knox County Schools
I have worked as a substitute teacher for Knox County Schools for the past five years. Since beginning grad school, I work primarily for L&N STEM Academy located downtown. This role allows the much needed flexibility while in school, as well as giving me the opportunity to work with students.

Personal Interests

Outside of school and work, I love spending time with my family and friends. We like to check out different festivals and events that Downtown Knoxville often has to offer, as well as just hanging out and watching a movie on the couch. I also enjoy traveling with my sister and experiencing new cultures together.

Future/Vocational Goals

My internship at Karns Middle School has solidified my interest in working with middle school students. My goal as a school counselor is to achieve a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) and to serve not only the school but the community in which it resides. I am also considering returning to school within the next few years to work towards a PhD in Counselor Education.

What sold you on this program/department/university?

Once I decided that I wanted to pursue school counseling, I began to search for which program would be the best fit for me. Since Knoxville is my home and after attending UT for undergrad I am really biased but I wanted to keep my options open. However, after speaking to different individuals in the school system, it was clear that UT Knoxville’s program was distinguished and produced competent professional school counselors. I emailed the program coordinator at the time, professor Melinda Gibbons, and asked if we could meet so that I could ask some more questions about the program. Her willingness to meet with me gave me a glimpse of the faculty support that I would receive in the future. Now I cannot imagine being anywhere else!

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

I would tell an incoming student who joins this program to take full advantage of the opportunities that are available. By stepping out of my comfort zone I have been able to learn and meet people that I would not have been able to otherwise. I would also tell them to utilize the support that the faculty and their cohort can provide. There have been many instances within my time here that I would not have made it without that support.

Applied Educational Psychology

Lynda earned an MS in educational psychology with a concentration in the Applied Educational Psychology program in 2016. She is originally from, and currently 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

Substitute Teacher
Knox County Schools
Knoxville, TN

I am excited to be back in the school system as a substitute teacher. I love working with the special education classes, especially. I am hoping that before long I secure a full-time position in the schools, but until then, I am grateful for the opportunity to meet new classes and visit new schools.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student

One of the most valuable accomplishments I had as a student, was that of personal growth. Every semester I wondered if I could do it. The inner whiner inside me moaned and groaned about yet another project or paper that seemed to be such an uphill battle. Each time, though, I completed the task. Two of the greatest accomplishments for me were the hardest two projects I had: writing a grant and writing a research proposal poster. I consider those two projects invaluable experiences and have often shared the know-how with friends in undergraduate programs.

Accomplishments since Graduating

For me, accomplishment is measured in how much I gain so that I can freely give it away. The EdPsych Online program offered me more than a degree. It provided me experiences that I can share with others, not just the experience of education and how we learn, but that we all CAN learn and advance. It would be hard for me to credit that as a personal accomplishment, so I will say it is a phenomenal attribute that I am so grateful to have so that I can better give back to the world. Almost regularly, it seems, I meet someone who says they wish they could go back to school. Each and every time, no matter what their age, I tell them that it is possible. When they hear my story and their eyes light up with hope, my heart soars with joy. I can’t do it for them, but if I help water the seed their soul has planted, then my personal goal is accomplished.

Personal Interests

I am a mom of six children ages 18-25. They are my hobby and my life. Well, okay, so is my dog, but don’t tell my kids that she ranks the same as they do! They already claim she is spoiled but I think they are jealous because she’s so pretty.
Someday, I’d like to skydive. I’d love to learn a foreign language. In my past, I have written a published novel and won some writing contests. Last year, I started modeling and taking on bit roles as an extra in TV shows and commercials. I am not sure I am very good at it, but it is fun, and I have met some incredibly nice people.

What was the most memorable experience during your time here?

In one class we played a game. The game involved three teams. We were to pick either an X or a Y with no further instructions. If all three teams selected the same letter, we each won a virtual dollar. I was chosen to be the letter picker on my team. My idea was to choose the same letter consistently, so a pattern established. I hoped the other teams would catch on and all three teams would win the dollar. Two rounds in and my team was in debt. Before the final round, both other team captains, unknowingly to each other, popped into our private room. Each told me to keep playing the same letter. My team agreed to continue to play the game as we were. On the final round, all three teams picked the same letter as I had been picking. When asked by the game orchestrator why the change happened the team captains said, “We wanted to get Lynda out of debt.” That was memorable and fun.

What would you tell an incoming/current student in the program/department?

I think current and incoming students might benefit from knowing that even though this is an online program, a community can be established. Reach out to anyone you feel comfortable with, get an email address or phone number and text each other. Voice your fears and concerns and bond with people. I thoroughly enjoy knowing the people I met in this program. I am happy to hear from them and genuinely look forward to walking our graduation ceremony together. There is a spirit of community in the program, and while we are linked only through technology, that doesn’t diminish the value of making fantastic friends in the program.

How did your experiences as a student help you in your professional/personal life after graduation?

The degree hasn’t changed my life in a major way. However, it has strengthened my life in immeasurable ways. My courage to try achievements outside my comfort zone was bolster by my success in the program. I carry that courage every day as I embark on a new passage in my life. Having this degree has helped me remember that it is okay to start late in the game, so long as I start. As a student I was reminded how important it is to help one another, and how important it is to ask for help, too. This program and the people I have met while seeking the degree have enriched my personal life, and I am eternally grateful.

“When fatigue sets in, somewhere around the middle of the program, don’t quit! Reach out, talk to a classmate, just know that the program is doable and an experience that is worth the effort.”

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.

  • 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

“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

Alumni Spotlight: Beverly Anderson

School Counseling

Anderson earned an EdS with the School Counseling program in 2006. Originally from Knoxville, she still lives and works in the city. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Secondary School Counseling at Knox County Schools

As a facilitator, I am responsible for training, professional development, and program development for middle and high school counselors in the district.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • Eugene and Mary Sue Akins Graduate Fellowship
  • For the most part, I was working full-time at UT Knoxville while getting my EdS. As Director of Undergraduate Academic Services, I was responsible for First Year Studies, National Student Exchange, Undergraduate Academic Appeals Committee, and the academic programming for the Volunteer Living-Learning Community.
  • At the end of my studies, I left my full-time job for a graduate assistantship in Career Services to finish my EdS.
  • During my internship, I was offered an interim position at Ball Camp Elementary school where I served as M.A.P.S. Counselor for three days a week.


Accomplishments since Graduating

The most touching honor I received was receiving the W. R. Turner Award in 2011. This award was the top award given by students to faculty. When I was honored,  it was the first and only time a School Counselor was honored. The fact that it was given by students meant the world to me because, to quote a wise principal (John Bartlett), “It’s about the students.”

The next greatest honor was being in the top 16 semi-finalists and the first cohort of school counselors to be honored at the White House! The recognition that this award ceremony gave school counselors across the country was a pivotal moment for our profession. It was not about the personal honor; but rather about the importance of our work being recognized. I’ve seen conversations shift locally, statewide, regionally, and in the country about the importance of school counseling.

Personal Interests

Writing, walking, public speaking, humorous skits. As a mother, I have been an advocate at local, regional, and national fronts to enrich families whose lives have been graced with Down syndrome.


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

Completing the program while working full-time and raising two children was personally rewarding. It was a challenge that seemed extremely difficult, but when sitting in the movie theater with my son during my first “summer” as a secondary educator and hearing Nathan say, “This is awesome!” I knew then that the challenge was worth it.

What was the most memorable experience during your time here?

Joel Diambra’s TMI moment during Group.

How did your experiences as a student help you in your professional/personal life after graduation?

I think the single most significant experience as a student that shaped my professional life after graduation was Jeanine Studer’s encouraging us to become involved in our state organizations. Myself and many of my classmates became and are still active in SMCA, TCA, and TSCA. The connections made across Tennessee have helped shaped me as a professional in ways I would not have grown otherwise.

“If you can keep the well-being of students at the center of your work, most everything else will fall into place.” – Beverly Dickerson Anderson