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Most Outstanding First Year Student

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.

Awards
  • 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.
Accomplishments
  • 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.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Jordan is currently seeking her MS in counseling with the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Originally from Kingston, TN, she received her BA in sociology with minors in religion and psychology at Maryville College. She joined UT Knoxville and EPC in 2015. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Awards
  • “Most Outstanding Student – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program” awarded by the UT Knoxville Counselor Education Program, Spring 2017
  • “Most Outstanding First Year Student – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program” awarded by the UT Knoxville Counselor Education Program, Spring 2016
Accomplishments
  • Member of Chi Sigma Iota – Upsilon Theta Chapter, Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International, Fall 2016
  • See resume for more details
Current Occupation

Throughout graduate school, I have worked as an advocate at the Family Crisis Center, a domestic violence program within the Helen Ross McNabb Center (HRMC). I am also currently employed as an advocate at the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee, another HRMC program. In each of these roles, I work to empower individuals who have experienced trauma, whether in the form of intimate partner violence or sexual assault/abuse.

Personal Interests

Outside of school and work, I enjoy taking advantage of the incredible live music scene that Knoxville has to offer. I love hiking and camping in Big South Fork; most recently, I have begun to conquer my fear of heights by learning how to rock climb. I have some of the best friends a girl could ask for as well as an incredibly supportive family. I live in South Knoxville and can often be found snuggling with my precious pup, Norah.

Future/Vocational Goals

My internship at the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee solidified my desire to seek employment as a counselor for trauma survivors. In the future, I would love to work in a community mental health agency that specializes in therapeutic trauma services.

What sold you on this program/department/university?

When I decided to pursue a degree in counseling, I knew that I needed a program that would be trauma informed, theoretically sound, collaborative, and supportive. Because I was already working in the field as an advocate for youth and young adult survivors of interpersonal violence, I met plenty of clinicians from a variety of programs. To put it simply, I was most impressed by the individuals with a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from UT Knoxville. I had several pivotal conversations with recent UT grads in which I learned:

  1. Faculty and staff genuinely care about their students.
  2. Faculty members encourage students to explore various theories and techniques.
  3. Recent graduates felt prepared to enter the workforce and provide competent clinical services.

During my time in the program, each of these factors has been affirmed, time and time again!

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

One of the most unique and life-changing aspects of my time in the program has the process of developing deep and meaningful relationships with my peers. I can honestly say that my cohort has been my primary support system and my source of sanity during grad school. So, my advice to incoming students is this: Take full advantage of this unique time in your life. Be intentional about getting to know your peers. Sit in a different chair each class period so that you interact with your full cohort. You’ll be surprised at the wealth of knowledge, humor, humility, and love that will blossom out of these relationships!