Alumna Karen Philbrick has a PhD in educational psychology. She decides how tax dollars are spent in San Jose, CA. The executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute is leading the research within the California State University system to make sure gas taxes are spent on solutions that actually improve commutes, advance safety and save money.
Hayat Abu-Ghazaleh, a first year Master’s student in the Counseling Psychology program here at the Morgridge Collection of Education (MCE), is a true advocate for social justice and equity. She shows her commitment to these tenets through her studies and clinical work in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling, through her volunteerism with refugee groups, and through her participation in the Vagina Monologues here at the University of Denver, which promotes representation and equity across gender boundaries.
Hayat was born and raised in Saudi Arabia with her family, and noticed that there was a greater need for mental health services and care in her community than was available, which prompted her interest in the fields of psychology and counseling. In Spring 2016 Hayat complete her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at American University in Washington D.C., then decided she wanted to further her knowledge and the impact she could make upon the field of mental health through our MA program in Counseling Psychology. After graduation, she is considering a move back to Saudi Arabia so that she can affect change in her home, and create more opportunities and options for those in need of mental health treatment.
As part of her MA program, Hayat is completing her counseling practicum with Asian Pacific Development Center, where “services are tailored to address the needs of immigrant and refugee status clients. Issues involving cultural adjustment, such as language, values, customs and behavioral differences, are often intimately associated with the client’s chief complaint” (APCD 2018). Hayat’s fluency in two languages, her strong interest in helping refugees, and her commitment to social justice make her a great addition to the team at APDC, and to the MA program here at MCE.
Hayat is eager to make a difference in the Denver community through her work with APDC, but her involvement with refugee advocacy and support began well before accepting her practicum position. In 2016, she volunteered with Northern Lights Aid, an NGO that started as a project to provide emergency relief and supplies to refugees in Lesvos, Greece, and now is “focused on implementing innovative, compassionate solutions and creating community-oriented projects serving around 400 residents of the Kavala Perigial camp (NLA 2018).
Recently, Hayat participated in the Vagina Monologues here on campus as part of the DU Health and Counseling Center’s Love+ Sex+ Health Week. The week-long event promotes education and awareness around issues of sex, sexuality and gender, and proceeds from the resistance-themed Vagina Monologues went to Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) and the global organization VDAY. Hayat wanted to get involved with the event to promote gender equity on-campus, and to feed her passion for performing.
When asked why she chose the Counseling Psychology program at MCE, Hayat said that she appreciated the college’s emphasis on social justice and multicultural issues, and that she felt the CP faculty were compassionate and engaged. As a current student, she appreciates that the faculty are willing to work with students at all development levels, and they are willing to push some boundaries to foster real learning and growth in students.
We know that Hayat’s commitment to helping marginalized populations around the country and the world is part of what will make her a great counselor, and thought-leader in the field.
05 Feb 2018
MCE’s Counseling Psychology (CP) department has been identified as one of the top 20 PhD programs in the nation by Best Counseling Degrees. The ranking was created by compiling programs offering a doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the American Psychological Association (APA), along with the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) pass rate gathered from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).
“We have always attracted people who strive to live lives of purpose, and to pursue careers of distinction,” says Jesse Owen, CP Department Chair. “I think this recognition speaks to the quality of these students, the customization of the program, as well as the diversity of our faculty research.”
Diverse faculty research is a hallmark of the CP department that affords students unique and enriching collaborative opportunities. Current faculty research areas include:
- Multicultural counseling
- HIV counseling
- Psychotherapy research
- Romantic relationships
- Health psychology and health disparities
- Group dynamics
- Supervision and training
- Vocational psychology and career development
- Cancer survivorship
“I think one of our program’s greatest strengths is the collaborative atmosphere. We have been told from the beginning that each individual student will create their own path towards their career goals, and no two paths look exactly the same,” says CP PhD student Ellen Joseph. “Therefore, we as students are here to support each other and build relationships that we can maintain throughout our careers.”
Best Counseling Degrees is the No. 1 online resource for exploring and choosing from the nation’s best counseling degree programs that will develop the knowledge and skills needed to further a career in this helping profession. The site’s mission is to share expert information about the top counseling degrees to help people achieve their professional goals.
As part of KUSA Channel 9 Denver’s Recovery Week special on addictions, news anchor TaRhonda Thomas interviewed Counseling Psychology (CP) Addictions Specialization director, Mike Faragher. Faragher is a Level II National Gambling Counselor, as a Board Approved Clinical Consultant by the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board, and as Level III Senior Addiction Counselor by Colorado Office of Behavioral Health. Dr. Andi Pusavat, Counseling Service Clinic Director and Clinical Assistant Professor addressed addiction causes in a live interview during the broadcast. Faragher and Pusavat were joined by Amy Hudson, CP PhD student, Wesley Pruitt, ’15 CP MA grad, and Tammy Pope, MS, NCGC1 from Choice Counseling & Recovery. All five manned the live phone lines answering questions on a wide range of addiction issues and connecting callers with local resources and support groups, including MCE’s Counseling and Educational Services Clinic.
You can find more photos from the interview in our Flickr album.
14 Nov 2017
Laura Finkelstein (PhD ’14), has been keeping very busy since graduating from Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver (DU). She spent the first year of her post-graduate professional career as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. She then accepted a position as a staff psychologist at the University of Texas Dallas (UTD) Counseling Center until she was promoted to Outreach Coordinator. In her roles at UTD, she provided individual counseling for students dealing with a broad range of concerns, from adjustment issues to the emergence of more severe mental health symptoms. She ran several groups, including an Expressive Arts Therapy Group, a Men’s Issues Group, and a Self-Compassion group. She also oversaw outreach training, coordination, and provision for UTD students and staff.
More recently, Laura moved back to Washington, DC to be closer to family and has since opened her own private practice where she sees adults with a range of concerns and symptoms. She focuses on trauma, relationship issues, men’s issues, and expressive art therapy, and she just recently accepted a position as the Director of the Counseling Center at Marymount University.
Laura remembers her time at DU and Morgridge fondly, particularly the relationships she built with faculty and instructors.
“They embodied the type of compassionate, curious psychologists I wanted to be, and in many ways continue to be important examples to me,” Finkelstein said. She also appreciated the broad scope of experiences and counseling skills that were a part of both the MA and PhD programs, which prepared her well for an assortment of challenges she has faced professionally.
Finkelstein was initially drawn to the field of counseling based on her fascination with people’s stories; their childhood, relationships to self and others, and construction of narratives. Before entering the field as a student and eventually a professional, Laura wrote for a fashion magazine but found that she was more interested in how individuals functioned psychologically in the industry than she was the fashion itself.
“I applied to the MA program to see if these interests would fit for me as a career,” she said. “Absolutely loving it from day one, I knew I wanted to continue through a PhD program and make a professional life out of psychology.”
“DU first came on my radar because I had a lot of friends from the East Coast, where I grew up, who had recently moved to Denver and loved the lifestyle. Through my research of the program and my interview, I was excited by the breadth of learning and experiences offered by the counseling program. The people in the program, my cohort and professors, kept me going and feeling inspired professionally.”
In the future, Finkelstein is open to different roles as a psychologist, including further work in counseling centers, either in a teaching or administrative capacity. In whichever direction her career in the field of counseling moves, she feels very prepared for a wide array of positions, which is one of things she appreciates most about having her degrees in Counseling Psychology.
“The path of a counseling psychology student, especially a Ph.D. candidate, was not always smooth,” she said. “There were many challenges and I definitely had moments where I questioned if I could do it. I have so much admiration and respect for students in these programs. To them I want to say, this can be such a rewarding and meaningful path, and it does get easier!”
On Saturday, September 23, eight Morgridge Counseling Psychology students were recognized at the annual NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals (formerly the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors) conference in Denver as National Minority fellows for Addiction Counseling. The students and Morgridge were acknowledged in front of over 800 participants at the conference.
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.
Congratulations on this rare accomplishment!
Chesleigh Keene, a doctoral student in the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) Counseling Psychology program, is an exceptional student and an exemplar of inclusivity. She is an American Psychological Association (APA) Minority Fellow, is working on her dissertation, coauthoring a book chapter on best psychological practices for Native American girls and women, and working on her first first-authored article. In addition, she serves as the Research Chair for CO Psychological Association of Graduate Students (COPAGS).
Chesleigh combined professional and personal interests when she reached out to the Native American community in Denver through a nonprofit called Denver Indian Center. Through Denver Indian Center, she has volunteered her time to assist with community events and participated in sociopolitical events including attending the Sand Creek March in 2013 and raising awareness about the issues and controversy surrounding Standing Rock.
According to Keene, participating in these events puts her close to the current issues and allows her to see the impact of sociopolitical events on the Native community.
“This helps me to inform my practice for other groups that are similarly impacted, “she said. It also impacts my research as I consider what the most salient concerns in a community might be.”
Keene’s path to counseling psychology was largely influenced by her decision to take time off from education after her master’s graduation. During this time she worked in an inpatient psychiatric hospital and got to work with every type of psychology provider in one setting. It was there that she was encouraged and motivated to pursue a PhD. Her master’s was a research-based community counseling degree and initially Keene thought that she’d pursue a clinical PhD. Working in a neuroscience laboratory changed her mind and she realized she wanted the freedom of practice and research that counseling psychology allows. In in the field of counseling psychology, she could use her scientific background and her community training to inform her research practice.
After having decided what she wanted to study, Keene needed to find a program and an environment that suited her. Initially, she had not considered the University of Denver (DU). A friend she knew from Denver Health referred her to an open house that was hosted by University of Denver Morgridge College of Education. It was there that she was introduced to Anthea Johnson Rooen at DU’s Center for Multicultural Excellence, who assured her that she would receive the support and resources she needed to meet her educational goals. Rooen provided Keene with contacts and helped her build a larger network. Based on this experience, she felt that DU and MCE could provide her the opportunities she was seeking, not just as a doctoral student but as a Native American student.
“I think prospective students should really consider which programs are going to support their professional and personal growth,” she said. “Even as doc students, we have growing pains and it’s so helpful to have mentors and faculty who can share their own experiences of managing difficult caseloads or overwhelming deadlines and who can provide guidance.”
“In the end, you want to finish your doctoral education as a psychologist who still has all of that early enthusiasm, empathy, and drive still intact,” she continued “It doesn’t help anyone if you finish a program just a shadow of yourself, so consider how you will fare in the programs you’re considering.”
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.
Assistant Professor Trisha Raque-Bogdan, Ph.D. has been awarded the inaugural Bruce and Jane Walsh Grant to study the effect that one’s work – and the meaning ascribed to that work – has on cancer survivors. Dr. Raque-Bogdan noticed a gap in research on the topic during her graduate studies, and began to work with cancer support organizations to learn more. The grant-funded study will be conducted in collaboration with Ryan Duffy, Ph.D. of the University of Florida’s Department of Psychology.
Drs. Raque-Bogdan and Duffy will fund a longitudinal study involving over 650 participants that collects and analyzes information on the level of meaning that cancer survivors placed on their work and how it affects their sense of purpose and mental, emotional, and physical health. They recruited study participants from the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, the Young Survivors’ Coalition, and the CO Breast Cancer Coalition. Once awareness of the study spread, it “took on a life of its own” according to Dr. Raque-Bogdan, and filled up very quickly with cancer survivors who felt invested in helping others to understand the role of work in finding purpose. Dr. Raque-Bogdan said that “no research to date has examined how experiencing meaning at work relates to physical health…to both mental and physical health over time, or the personal and environmental conditions that impact the relation between the experience of meaningful work and health.”
In the United States, the lifetime risk of developing cancer is – according to the American Cancer Society – slightly less than one in two for men and slightly more than one in three for women. With the prevalence of cancer in society and the understanding that many cancer survivors are employed full time, it is increasingly important to understand how work, an integral part of many lives and identities, contributes to finding meaning and supports the well-being of cancer survivors. At this time, the researchers have finished collecting one set of data from the participants, and will collect additional data in six months and one year in order to form a comprehensive picture. Dr. Raque-Bogdan is a first-year Assistant Professor at Morgridge and she looks forward to pursuing this unique research opportunity to develop her career and establish partnerships with the cancer community.
The 2014, Students of Color Reception: Celebrating a More Inclusive College was a success. Despite bitterly cold temperatures (day high of 39°, and 19° at the start of the event) the fifth annual installment of the event saw increased attendance from the past couple years, with nearly 70 guests joining Morgridge faculty, staff and a student panel. Beginning the night with delightful hors d’oeuvres, prospective students were introduced to current students and faculty to hear more about Morgridge and learning opportunities within the college. Current Higher Education Masters student, Ana Ramirez, spoke of the event saying, “It was a great opportunity to meet other individuals within the Morgridge College of Education and share my experience with prospective students.”
Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Associate Professor of Higher Education at Morgridge, Dr. Frank Tuitt, was the event facilitator for the evening. He spoke to the ongoing need for the college to utilize Inclusive Excellence pedagogy, in order to create equitable education opportunities for all students, specifically students of color. Dr. Tuitt then introduced a panel of current and former Morgridge students of color, to speak about their experiences as students of color on the predominantly white campus of the University of Denver. The panel spoke at length about the investment of the college’s faculty in the success of students of color, both emotionally and academically. There was much praise by the panel on the cohort model as an aid in confronting the challenges that come with being a grad student (e.g. balancing work/social life, having children, the substantial school-workload). Financial resources on campus was a topic of great interest by many of the prospective students. There was an echoed sentiment of the panels’ initial perceptions of the University of Denver being that of a private school with excessive tuition prices; upon acceptance to their respective programs and further conversations with different departments on campus, they discovered the multitude of assistantship, fellowship, and scholarship opportunities to help fund their education.
The event was impactful. Prospective and current students were able to share their stories and engage in conversations with regard to the meanings of their journeys in and through higher education. The night culminated with panel member, Dr. T. Lee Morgan’s plea to diversify the makeup of the campus and bring voice to communities of color, “If we are going to change the diversity of DU, of Morgridge, we need you here. You have valuable experiences that no one else can bring to the table.”
Thank you to all who attended and supported the Students of Color Reception, and a special thank you to Dr. Frank Tuitt and the panel members:
- Casey Crear, Curriculum and Instruction PhD (Current Student)
- Dr. T. Lee Morgan, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies PhD (Alum)
- Raquel Wright-Mair, Higher Education PhD (Current Student)
- Ruby Lopez, Teacher Education Program MA (Alum)
- Hazuki Tochihara, Early Childhood Special Education MA (Current Student)
- Jamie Kawahara, Child Family and School Psychology EdS (Current Student)
Dr. Patton O. Garriott joined the Morgridge College of Education as an Assistant Professor in Counseling Psychology in 2012 after receiving his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri and completing his pre-doctoral internship at the University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center. Dr. Garriott’s work focuses on those who are underserved, underrepresented, and excluded in higher education and specific career domains. He is currently a Co-Investigator on a $1,491,909 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that will examine the persistence of women and Latinas/os in engineering. Dr. Garriott teaches several courses in the Master’s and Doctoral program in Counseling Psychology, including Multicultural Counseling, Ethics and Research seminars. He is a strong believer in mentorship and providing students with opportunities to “learn by doing.”
As the Director of the Career and Social Attitudes Lab, Dr. Garriott and his research team are working on several projects. His most recent work has focused on first-generation college students’ academic and career development as well as students of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Within the former domain, Dr. Garriott is examining predictors of first- and non-first-generation college students’ academic and life satisfaction. Given recent increases in first-generation college students’ attendance at institutions of higher education and their disproportionate non-persistence rates, this research could have implications for ensuring the success of this underserved student group. Dr. Garriott’s research in the area of STEM careers has focused on prospective first-generation college students as well as Mexican American high school and college students. The goal of this line of research is to help end the disproportionate overrepresentation of whites and males in growing occupational sectors that offer opportunities for social mobility. In addition to uncovering pathways to success for underrepresented groups, Dr. Garriott also believes in the necessity of interrogating privilege to foster social change. His research in this area has examined the efficacy of various approaches to multicultural education among white college students and explanatory mechanisms by which they work (e.g., guilt). Dr. Garriott and members of his research lab have been successful publishing their research in peer-reviewed journals as well as delivering presentations at national conferences.
In the future, Dr. Garriott plans to investigate help seeking behaviors among historically underrepresented students in higher education as well as socioeconomically distressed individuals. He continues to have an active research lab of around 10-15 Master’s and Doctoral students and welcomes student interest in research. Dr. Garriott is also working in collaboration with faculty from Higher Education and Sociology as well as the DU Center for Multicultural Excellence to qualitatively examine student perceptions of campus climate at DU. He hopes this work can have an impact at the macro level and inform institutional practices around inclusion and equity.
In addition to the success of The 2014 Graduate Research and Performance Summit, graduate students from various programs at the Morgridge College of Education stood out due to their engaging research. The event occurred February 7th 2014, as an initiative of the Graduate Student Government (GSG) to engage in interdisciplinary research and dialogue across DU. The theme for the summit was Breaking Down the Silos.
MCE students’ research at the summit showcased their InContext applications of theories or cross-cultural immersions, which were linked to some classes pursued over the course of the year. Here is a list of presenters and projects:
Aiding or Abating: Electoral Fraud Through a Lens of Social Justice
Tara Rhodes, Research Methods and Statistics
Cross-Cultural Collaboration on Mental Health Issues in School Settings
Ariel Haytas, Child, Family, and School Psychology
Libby Malone, Child, Family, and School Psychology
Lizzy Savage, Child, Family, and School Psychology
Common Core State Standards(CCSS) in Higher Education Primer Project
Kate Burns, Higher Education
Teachers Who Become Professors: Running to or Running From Teaching
Eron Reed, Curriculum & Instruction
Coping Strategies of Students of Color in Student Affairs and Higher Education Preparation Programs
Evette Allen, Higher Education
Who says racism is dead? A Creative Representation of the Racialized Experiences of Students of Color in Student Affairs Graduate Preparation Programs
Bryan Hubain, Higher Education
Mapping the Ineffable: An Exploration of Teacher Growth in Unscripted Moments
Katherine Newburgh, Curriculum and Instruction
CLICK HERE To learn more about what students presented on. Each program was centered around Inclusive Excellence and Social Justice.
Nestled in Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall, the Counseling and Educational Services Clinic is the home to in-house clinical training and research for students in the Counseling Psychology and Child, Family and School Psychology programs. For 17 years, the clinic has been providing counseling, assessments and consultations to members of the community on a sliding scale basis, giving the opportunity for a variety of counseling and educational support services to underprivileged individuals and families who may not be able to afford them otherwise. Counseling services offered at the clinic range from depression to anxiety, parenting to career counseling and are given in a variety of settings: individual, group, couples, and family counseling. Educational services offered at the clinic range from learning disabilities to behavioral issues to gifted learning.
For every hour in class, a Morgridge student spends 4 hours a week in the clinic. With state-of-the-art live observation rooms, MCE students are learning InContext with a real client, supervisor and student team. The students have the benefit of getting team feedback during their client’s session, giving them the opportunity to make immediate adjustments in their practice. The clients of the in-house training clinic have the benefit of the collective intelligence of 4-6 people working on their case at the same time. This type of live supervision and feedback is unique to Morgridge College of Education’s School and Counseling Psychology Department.
The Counseling branch of the clinic at Morgridge College of Education is the largest provider of treatment services for problem gambling in the state of Colorado. Director of the Problem Gambling Treatment and Research Center and MCE adjunct professor, Michael Faragher, is one of only two psychologists certified to treat problem gambling in Colorado. Faragher’s work has provided a unique opportunity in behavioral psychology specialization for MCE students and to the Denver community, as well as leading research that continues to develop and change the field of Addiction Counseling.
The clinic’s other supervisors and their students are continuing research on treatment preference and treatment effectiveness. The research on treatment preference involves the client in the process of selecting treatment methods, resulting in a more invested client and more desirable treatment outcomes. The clinic’s research helps maintain an active role in giving presentations and publishing work contributing to the advancement of counseling services. Within the clinic, there are also several other research opportunities that support dissertations of CP and CFSP doctoral students.
The Educational Services branch of the clinic serves children and young adults, up to age 21, with achievement, learning and behavioral disabilities. Through state-of-the art, research-based services, MCE students and licensed clinic supervisors provide psycho-educational assessments, consultations and recommendations for the youth, their families and their school.
New to the clinic is a Parenting Group that unifies the clinic’s two focuses – Counseling Psychology and School Psychology. By offering a Parenting Group, the clinic is able to provide support, skills and techniques for parents who have children with learning disabilities.
The clinic is expanding by adding more operating hours each year. Contact 303-871-2528 for questions or to schedule an appointment, or come by the clinic at:
University of Denver
Morgridge College of Education
Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall, First Floor
1999 East Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208-1700
Morgridge College of Education student Brittany Sovran had the opportunity to attend the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development, or GW, and the National Association of School Psychologists, or NASP, Public Policy Institute in the summer of 2013. The NASP asked Brittany to describe her experience along with other 2013 GW/NASP Public Policy Institute participants in the video featured bellow.