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Marianne Woodside Role Model Award


SS_Webster_06.16

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Kevin is currently seeking his MS in counseling with a concentration in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Originally from Trinity, NC he received his BS in English and Secondary Education from Appalachian State University and joined EPC in 2014. We asked him to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read his responses below.

Awards
  • “Marianne Woodside Role Model Award” awarded by the UT Knoxville Counselor Education Program, May 2016
  • “Outstanding Service to the Chapter Award” awarded by the Chi Sigma Iota – Upsilon Theta Chapter, Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International, May 2016

Kevin Webster at CSI Initiation

Accomplishments

Presentations

Webster, K. W., Basma, D., and Gibbons, M. M. (2016, October). Social justice in action: Service-learning in counseling programs. Session to be presented at the Southern Association of Counselor Education and Supervision, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Basma, D., & Webster, K. W. (2015, May). Downward mobility: Loss of career as a post-migration stressor. Session presented for Tennessee Career Development Association Conference, Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Panel Presentation

Gap Years that Make an Impact Workshop & Panel. Panel presentation for Impact Careers Week, Center for Career Development, March 31st, 2016, Knoxville, Tennessee

Chi Sigma Iota – Upsilon Theta Chapter
Service Chair (2015-16) & Service Co-Chair (2016-17)

As service chair for Counselor Education’s honor society, I have worked to look beyond the chapter’s ability to perform one-off service projects each semester. While these projects are and can be meaningful, I  hope to build a long-lasting relationship with a community organization in the greater Knoxville region who may benefit from the skills and philosophical outlook of counselors. After a tip-off from Shawn Spurgeon, our 2015-16 service project worked to rehabilitate the Odd Fellows Cemetery with the Knoxville Reanimation Coalition. CSI-UT’s involvement and willingness to be a resource for the community led to additional connections with other community organizations within the East Knoxville community. My ultimate hope is to begin a partnership that would pair the capabilities of counselor education students with an organization’s overarching mission in order to bridge connections between CSI and the Knoxville community. It looks like we are getting closer to that goal each semester.

Refer to CV for more details.

Current Occupation

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Intern
Blount County Recovery Court

I facilitate group counseling and individual counseling with felon-offenders battling substance use disorders who are serving an alternative-to-incarceration sentence in the community. I work partly in the Blount County jail and partly in the agency’s office.

Graduate Teaching Assistant
Chancellor’s Honors Program
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

I perform a variety of tasks from administrative responsibilities to helping maintain communications between the honors office and our students. I develop and maintain weekly and semesterly newsletters, and I also edit news stories of our students’ accomplishments. Each semester, I collaborate with UT faculty and staff to offer academic seminars and films for our student engagement program.

Kevin Webster in the mountains of New Hampshire

Personal Interests

When not in university-related roles, I spend most of my free time outside biking, rock climbing, running, and hiking. Knoxville’s vast outdoor recreation opportunities and proximity to the mountains were a big draw for us to move to Knoxville. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my intense love for bicycles, and I commute by bike regularly. I also love to buy unloved vintage bicycles and make them look new again, and my house is littered with bikes and bike parts.

I also love to bake bread, explore new cooking recipes, and play the guitar and clawhammer banjo.

Future/Vocational Goals

A long-term goal for me is to be a counselor for a community organization that serves marginalized and under-represented populations. My past experiences as an AmeriCorps volunteer have really cultivated my personal philosophy of not simply working in the community but working on behalf of the community. I hope that my human services and counseling training allows me to meet a growing community need. I could see myself working in a corrections, domestic-violence, or other community-related agency.

What sold you on this program?

One thing that sold me on UT’s counseling program was the faculty’s level of involvement and leadership in their respective professional associations. Coming into the program I knew that Jeff Cochran was the president-elect of the Association for Humanistic Counseling, Shawn Spurgeon was deeply involved with the American Counseling Association, and Bob Kronick headed up a big community school project. That made me feel like I was going to get a first-rate experience here. The counseling program’s leadership not only provides numerous opportunities to take one’s learning outside of the classroom but also it has made an impact on my beliefs about my potential as a leader and as a counseling professional.

Second, before I applied to the program, I came across the CORIS professional dispositions for the counseling program. Once I knew that these were the core values of the program, I could feel confident that I was in the right place to grow professionally and personally. The two dispositions that mean the most to me are “openness” and “self-awareness.” In a way, the program’s core values are a parallel process to the experience of counseling, and that was an idea I could get behind.

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

I would encourage future students of counseling to take ownership of their educational experience and pursue opportunities outside the classroom/curriculum. There is so much to learn on one’s own from collaborating with PhD students and faculty, seeking out leadership opportunities such as CSI, and attending and presenting at conferences—but you have to want it and put yourself out there; it is not going to fall in your lap. I learned a lot this past year by writing to the state’s congress regarding a harmful counseling bill and understanding how ill-informed policy can drastically reshape and transform our counseling profession. Next year, I will be joining other students to help spread awareness about college readiness and STEM education to rural Tennessee high school students with the PIPES program led by Melinda Gibbons.

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