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First-year Morgridge College of Education Counseling Psychology MA students, Helen Chao and Courtney Hadjeasgari, were selected as 2017-2018 STAY Fellows, and will receive up to $6000 each to support their training as mental health professionals and practitioners. The fellowship also provides a one-year membership to APA and the opportunity to participate in specialized training at next year’s Psychology Summer Institute in Washington D.C. in July 2018.

The APA STAY (Services for Transition Age Youth) Fellowship is an award program funded by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and offered through the Minority Fellowship Program to only the most deserving students in terminal master’s programs in psychology whose training prepares them to provide mental health services to transition age (16-25) youth.

Courtney Hadjeasgari

Courtney Hadjeasgari

Chao and Hadjeasgari are recognized as exceptional students who have strong interests in social justice and helping others through direct service.

At a young age, Chao witnessed firsthand how mental illness affected people’s lives, and decided that she needed to equip herself with skills and knowledge to help those around her who were suffering. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin in 2015, which furthered her interest in the field.

Hadjeasgari found her passion for counseling psychology during her two years of service as a Teach for America corps member. Teaching third grade in rural North Carolina, Hadjeasgari was able to understand the systemic problems that needed solving in the education system, while making a profound and immediate impact on the lives of students, families, and communities. “I witnessed the high need for clinicians in behavioral health and discovered my true passion for working with the ethnic minority youth population here. I knew that going into counseling psychology is where I needed to be,”  Hadjeasgari said.

Chao was first attracted to the University of Denver and MCE when she moved to Denver to provide direct service as a Young
Adult Volunteer
where she worked with a refugee resettlement agency, and at a day shelter for seniors without homes. That

Helen Chao

Helen Chao

experience solidified her commitment to social justice, and she found that MCE and DU provided her the best opportunity to continue to work toward social justice, and that the university’s creed of Inclusive Excellence rang true. During her initial admission interview Hadjeasgari appreciated how welcomed she felt by the Counseling Psychology faculty, and her research interests strongly aligned with many of those faculty members.

Both students have already contributed greatly to the program and department. Chao has been integral in the creation of the Counseling Psychology Social Justice Committee (more information on their contributions here), and co-leads Campus Conversations, which provides students and community members across disciplines a chance to interact and discuss issues of social justice and inequity. Hadjeasgari has been an active member of Dr. Pat Garriott’s research team, and has made many valuable contributions to the team’s research.

When asked if they have any advice for prospective students seeking a graduate program in Counseling Psychology, Chao says that it’s important to find a program that “walks the walk” when it comes to social justice and diversity.

“It’s important to find a program that nurtures and welcomes students and encourages student engagement,” Hadjeasgari. “Prospective students should go with a program that they feel a strong connection to, and that feels right. Speaking in-depth with as many professors as you can is important, since these are the educators you’re going to be learning from, and they will be leading you through your graduate work . . . The people you meet in graduate school are the ones who help you achieve your goals, present you with opportunity, and guide you along the way.”

The Counseling Psychology program, Morgridge College of Education, and the University of Denver congratulates Chao and Hadjeasgari for their dedication to social justice and mental health as recognized by this prestigious award.

Morgridge College of Education (MCE) faculty member William E. Cross, Jr., PhD was selected as the University Lecturer by the University of Denver (DU). The University Lecturer award was first given in 1955 and is one of the University’s most distinguished honors, based solely upon creative contributions and scholarly work. “Dr. Cross honors MCE and DU every day and we could not be more proud to have him as our colleague,” Dean Karen Riley said.

Professor Cross is a leading theorist and researcher in the psychology and identity development of minorities. His book, Shades of Black: Diversity in African American Identityis considered a classic in the field of racial identity. He is the President-Elect of American Psychological Association’s Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues), an Elder of 2013 National Multicultural Conference, a CUNY Professor Emeritus and a Distinguished Lecturer at Georgia Southern University.

As part of the University Lecturer designation, Cross recently presented a spring lecture entitled, “Black Psychology: Normal People Negotiating Faustian Dilemmas.” The presentation explored the notion that historically, many African Americans have minimized their own prestige to fit the expectations of white society. Cross used the example of the seminal jazz artist, Louis Armstrong, who “pretended” to be unable to read music, so racist white patrons could go on believing that music, jazz and rhythm are instinctual to black people. For many scholars, the discourse on the psychology of black people begins with damage and self-hatred. Cross’s lecture, however, offered a corrective by arguing that most social scientific research show black people to be normal people ensnarled in “Faustian” predicaments.

Professor Cross is a passionate member of the DU community and exemplifies the high standard of excellence found among MCE and DU faculty. His positive impact extends beyond the classroom and into the communities he engages with as he strives to make the world a more inclusive place.

Library Information Science Program Alumna (MLS ’78), Janet Lee has been named a Fulbright Scholar and will use the opportunity to take her expertise in open access publishing to the University of Aksum in Ethiopia.

“I plan to explore avenues of scholarly publishing in Ethiopia that ensure that faculty are provided an opportunity to share their knowledge, perspectives and values and that students and colleagues have unfettered access to their collective scholarship,” Lee said.

In a country where there are only 35 open access journals, the cost of academic publishing and databases make robust research challenging for many university faculty. Lee’s work seeks to change that, and in doing, enhance the economic development opportunities that accompany such scholarly publishing.

Lee is no stranger to the country of Ethiopia, nor to developing innovative solutions.

Her original introduction to the country was as a Peace Corp volunteer from 1974-76, during which time she helped create a small school library. Follow up trips solidified her commitment to the region and led to her establishing a library in northern Ethiopia during her sabbatical there in 2010.

Lee currently serves as Dean of the Regis University Dayton Memorial Library and works closely with DU librarians on a variety of initiatives. She serves as editor of Colorado Libraries, is on the founding board of Collaborative Librarianship Journal at the Anderson Academic Commons, and is co-edits the Jesuit Education Journal at Regis University.

Lee credits her University of Denver education with providing the foundation for a successful career and offers words of advice to current MCE students, “Take advantage of opportunities and stretch beyond your conventional limits. Explore, take chances, what is the worst that could happen?”

Morgridge College recognized the innovative service of community partners and adjunct faculty at this year’s Appreciation Breakfast held in the MCE Commons. This annual event seeks to honor this group commonly referred to as MCE’s Power Bank.

Honorary recipients include:

  • Dr. Heather Bean – Counseling Psychology

Bean has taught 15 different courses to M.A. and Ph.D. students in the Counseling Psychology department since 2014. She is recognized as an exemplary educator, colleague, and psychologist. As a Lifespan Development course teacher, Bean interacts with the entire Clinical Psychology community, helping identify strong students who deserve recognition, as well as struggling students who need extra support. She consistently receives high ratings on instructor evaluations, with students strongly agreeing that she is fair, enthusiastic, available, and a highly effective and knowledgeable instructor. The CP department honors her hard work and contributions to the department, college and university.

  • Dr. Sarah Melvoin-Bridich – Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Dr. Bridich is a 2013 graduate of the ELPS Ph.D. program, having received her B.A. from Harvard University, and her M.A. from Columbia University. Bridich has taught several courses for doctoral cohorts, including ADMN 4821 School Reform & Current Issues, during which she brought educational innovators from across the region into class to share their very current struggles and victories with new doctoral students. She is currently serving as a faculty committee member on a dissertation committee and is an active researcher and consultant in the field. She serves as the Board President of The New Legacy Charter School in Aurora.

  • Education Commission of the States – Higher Education Department

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is a non-profit intermediary public policy organization serving as the operating arm of an interstate compact focused on education policy. Through its Postsecondary Education and Workforce Development Institute, ECS is a leading voice in public policy, sharing resources and expertise to more effectively serve students across US higher education. The partnership between ECS and the Higher Education Department has benefited students through service-learning opportunities related to higher education policy, as well as internships in policy analysis. ECS has hired HED alumni and current students into full-time policy positions, strengthening the partnership across our organizations.

  • Tara Bannon – Research Methods & Information Science Department

Bannon received her undergraduate degree from Purdue University and  her masters in Library & Information Science from Morgridge College in 2007. Bannon enthusiastically commits to every opportunity, including writing for the database NoveList, chairing the Colorado Association of Libraries’ Readers Advisory Interest Group and becoming an adjunct at the University of Denver. Since she started teaching Adult Materials and Services in 2010, Bannon has been a Field Mentor nearly a dozen times. Bannon currently works at the Park Hill Branch Library, where she has been the Senior Librarian since 2011. Awarded the Nell I. Scott Employee of the Year Award in 2013, Bannon continues to innovate and inspire. Bannon’s current pursuits include intentional community building through deliberative dialogue and civic engagement.

  • Dr. Richard Charles – Teaching and Learning Science Department 

Charles holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Colorado, Boulder and is the STEM Coordinator for Cherry Creek Schools. Charles has taught the secondary and elementary mathematics courses for the Teacher Education Program for the past two years. He is currently teaching Diversity, Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education. In addition to teaching courses for the Morgridge College of Education, Charles’ partnership with Dr. Richard Kitchen and others on an NSF Noyce Capacity Building project resulted in a number of TEP students gaining valuable experience as a student teacher at Overland High School, one of the most diverse high schools in Colorado. Recently, Charles partnered with Drs. Alvaro Arias (Mathematics) and Richard Kitchen on a new NSF grant proposal that would fund digital, mathematics-based games and puzzles.

This year’s Appreciation Breakfast was chaired by Clara Sitter; committee members include William Cross, Nick Heckart, Karen LaVelle, Maria Riva, Mary Stanbury, Tamera Trueblood, and Paul Worrell.

Morgridge College Admissions Office hosted their spring Interview Day for prospective graduate and doctoral students. Each year MCE admission counselors host ten Interview Days, during which prospective students are interviewed for acceptance into their chosen program, and are introduced to the Morgridge College culture and mission.

This is the first year that the Admission Office has held an Interview Day this late in the year. According to Director of Admissions, Jodi Dye, this additional interview event was added to serve two key purposes.

“We added this later Interview Day so we could offer in-person interviews, as opposed to a rolling remote interview process. It also allowed us to bring applicants to campus to demonstrate, in a meaningful way, the value and impact of Morgridge.” Dye said.

The abbreviated Interview Day exposed students to a campus tour, faculty interaction, a current student panel, and the Morgridge commitment to inclusive excellence. MCE Interview Days are the final step in the student journey to becoming a part of the Morgridge family of change agents.

 

 


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