The Counseling Psychology (CP) Department has distinguished themselves by having eight CP students receive acceptance into the highly competitive National Minority Fellowship Program for Addiction Counselors (NMFP-AC). The fellowships are awarded by the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and seek to increase the number of culturally-competent master’s level addiction counselors available to serve underserved and minority populations.

Morgridge student recipients will receive tuition stipends of up to $15,000, receive support to attend the NAADAC Annual Conference and participate in training and mentorship projects designed to enhance their inclusion competency in working with diverse cohorts and transitional age youth.

Cochran Riley

Riley Cochran

Riley Cochran is a 27-year-old student from Denver, Colorado. He enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, attending local sporting events and connecting with others through social and professional events. A graduate of the University of Colorado Denver’s undergraduate program, Cochran majored in psychology and minored in sociology. He is currently anticipating a June 2017 graduation from the University of Denver’s Counseling Psychology program with a master’s in Clinical Mental Health. After an adolescence full of challenges and character growth, Cochran developed a passion for wanting to help others facing the complex intersections of life. He has a specific interest in helping transitional-aged youth involved with the judicial system and struggling with addiction. Cochran currently holds a position as an addiction counselor at Arapahoe House, an organization providing multiple levels of American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) care to a diverse population of clientele within the state of Colorado.

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Christelle Cook

Christelle Cook is a life-long Coloradan who plans to stay in the state as she pursues her mental health career in the coming months. Cook completed her undergraduate degrees in psychology and sociology through the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is currently finishing her final year of a master’s program at the University of Denver in Counseling Psychology. Throughout this program Cook has worked in practicum and internship sites that focused on substance use treatment with adults and crisis stabilization with adolescents. She is grateful for this recognition and looks forward to investing herself in the Colorado mental health profession.

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Demi Folds

Demi Folds is a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver in the Clinical Mental Health Program with an Addictions Specialization. She earned her BS in psychology from the University of Georgia. Before starting graduate school, Folds tutored student-athletes, worked at a methadone clinic and traveled abroad. She is currently a student intern at a private practice center, providing psychotherapy and brief substance abuse interventions. In her first year of her master’s program, Folds worked with underserved youth at a Denver high school. She is passionate about working with those struggling with and affected by substance use disorders and enjoys conducting research on addictions and underserved populations. Folds plans to eventually obtain her PhD in Counseling Psychology and continue counseling and serving disenfranchised populations.

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Megan Kenney

Megan Kenney is from Maple Grove, Minnesota, and obtained her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 2015 with a double major in Psychology and Child Adult and Family Services. Following graduation, Kenney continued her studies at the University of Denver where she is in her second year of the Counseling Psychology program in the Clinical Mental Health track working towards an addictions specialization. Aside from school, Kenney enjoys the Colorado mountains, snowboarding, hiking, running, and yoga, along with spending time with friends and family. Following graduation in June 2017, Kenney plans to pursue her passion of working with adolescents and underserved populations.

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Elizabeth Kidd

Elizabeth Kidd is a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver and will be graduating with a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in June 2017, with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a specialization in addictions. She is an intern at Progressive Therapy Systems,  a sex offender treatment provider. During treatment, Kidd focuses on the dysfunctional response cycle, anger management, and emotional regulation, along with cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic therapy. Prior to her internship, Kidd was a practicum student at Dakota Ridge High School where she worked with adolescents who had substance abuse issues, social anxiety, and difficulties in school. Kidd also works at DU’s Counseling and Educational Services Clinic providing couples counseling and working with clients who identify as LGBTQ. Kidd plans to continue seeking minority populations throughout her counseling career.

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Kathleen (Katie) Larkin

Katie Larkin is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and is completing her master’s at the University of Denver in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addiction Specialization. Larkin’s goal is to obtain a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) Level III licensure in Colorado. As a child of foster parents, Larkin has personal experience with the foster care system and saw first-hand the impact that addiction can have on both youth and families. It was this experience that pushed her towards a career in the counseling field. Larkin developed her clinical experience working in community mental health with the Salvation Army as a counselor for homeless men with addictions. She is currently working in an acute psychiatric unit in a hospital setting in Denver. Larkin is honored to receive this fellowship and to apply the experience to her  professional career.

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Stephanie Nisle

Stephanie Nisle is pursuing her master’s in counseling psychology with a specialization in addictions at the University of Denver. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois in 2012 where she participated in a semester abroad French language immersion program in Aix-en-Provence, France. Previously, she has worked as a research assistant analyzing residential substance abuse treatment facilities. Nisle has also worked in the addictions field providing group and individual counseling to adults and adolescents with co-morbid disorders. Additionally, she has spent the past eight years working and volunteering with at-risk and special needs students. The combination of her teaching and work experiences, have led to the formation of her research interests related to personal, environmental, and behavioral factors that contribute to adolescent development and substance abuse. In the future Nisle aims to develop programs and interventions to create greater empowerment within these communities.

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Jessica Thompson

Jessica Thompson was born and raised in Colorado and graduated with a BA in psychology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addictions Specialization program. Thompson worked for four years for the State of Colorado caring for mentally or physically disabled, severely mentally ill, and disabled sex offender clients. She completed her practicum at Creative Treatment Options as an outpatient addiction counselor and currently works at Arapahoe House, working with clients who suffer from addictions in withdrawal management.  Thompson also serves as an intern at Jefferson Center of Mental Health, working as an outpatient clinician for adults and children. Thompson’s experience growing up in an addictive environment makes her passionate about the value of treatment and prevention.

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Campus Conversations is a monthly, student-led group that discusses issues of identity, oppression, and privilege. The group was founded by Grace-Ellen Mahoney, a first-year graduate student at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE). Mahoney’s efforts are supported by MCE Faculty members Andi Pusavat, Ph.D, a Clinical Assistant Professor, and Patton Garriot, Ph.D, an Assistant Professor, of the Counseling Psychology (CP) Department.

The first meeting took place on April 7, with a great turn out by faculty and students from a variety of different programs across campus. The meeting focused on what goals Campus Conversations should pursue, as well as setting group norms for future meetings.

Mahoney is a first year CP graduate student at MCE. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 2014 with a degree in Family and Human Services. Her academic and professional interests include providing culturally responsive mental health services to marginalized and under-served populations. Mahoney began Campus Conversations because she believes that an important aspect of graduate school is learning from others and having one’s beliefs challenged. This belief fueled an interest in providing students with a space to openly discuss issues of identity and social justice outside of the classroom.

Andi Pusavat, Ph.D., is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Counseling Services Clinic Director in the Counseling Psychology Department at the University of Denver. Dr. Pusavat’s clinical interests are in the intersections of identities and her research interests focus on emotional abuse. She is very excited to be a faculty sponsor of Campus Conversations and she is a current member of the Counseling Psychology Diversity Task Force and Morgridge College of Education Inclusive Excellence Committee at the University of Denver. Dr. Pusavat feels very fortunate to have participated in the first Campus Conversations meeting and looks forward to supporting the program as it continues to address issues of identity, oppression, and privilege. She espouses that transformational conversations about diversity and privilege require honest, respectful dialogue that both empowers and challenges participants to think and feel within the context of brave spaces. “It is never too late to give up our prejudices.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Dr. Garriott’s work focuses on the intersections of race, class, and vocational psychology with an emphasis on issues of access and equity. He is a member of the Counseling Psychology Diversity Task Force and proud faculty sponsor of the Campus Conversations program at DU. Dr. Garriott believes that Campus Conversations offers students, staff, and faculty the opportunity engage with one another on issues of privilege, oppression, and equity. He believes open dialogues on issues of diversity help us check our own biases and communicate at a broader level that the university community is invested in creating an environment that is truly inclusive.

The next Campus Conversations meeting will take place on May 12, from 4:00pm – 5:00pm in Katherine Ruffatto Hall Room 105. Campus Conversations is open to all DU students, faculty, and staff.

Interested in getting involved? Email Mahoney at Grace.Mahoney@du.edu.

Brinda Prabhakar-Gippert, a PhD candidate in the Counseling Psychology program at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), has been selected as one of the two graduate student winners for the November 2015 Distinguished Graduate Community Leader Award.

The award reflects Prabhakar-Gippert’s demonstration of excellent work ethic, dedication to her research, good character, and inclusivity. Her doctoral dissertation, an embodiment of her commitment to improving services for underrepresented groups, explores mental health-seeking behaviors of international college students with the hope of uncovering ways to provide them with better resources and services. Additionally, she has published work on parental support and underrepresented students’ math and science interests. She is a dedicated researcher who is committed to thoughtfully integrating scientific findings into her clinical work.

Prabhakar-Gippert also works at Denver Health Medical Center as a pre-doctoral intern in the APA accredited psychology internship program, spending more than 40 hours each week providing counseling services to the community. She is an involved community member at DU actively participating as a student leader and serving as past representative of doctoral students at MCE. Colleagues and peers look up to her, stating that she is consistently warm, respectful, attuned to issues of power and privilege, punctual, and funny.

DGCLA winners are selected through a peer-nomination process. To nominate a colleague, email du.gsgs@gmail.com with a 250-500 word statement describing why the nominee deserves to be an DGCLA winner.


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