Graduate Program Focus | Counselors for Social Justice
"I applied to Hood College’s counseling program initially because of its CACREP accreditation, in-depth curriculum and location. While interviewing for the program, I discovered this was the school for me! The types of questions the faculty were asking indicated to me just how much they care about producing effective counselors."
Graduate Program Focus | Counselors for Social Justice
- Counseling, Clinical Mental Health (M.S.)
- Counseling, School Counseling (M.S.)
- 4PLUS Psychology (B.A.)/Counseling (M.S.) Program
- 4PLUS Art Therapy/Counseling Program
- Psychology & Counseling
Counseling students and members of Hood’s Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) leadership team Amy Gaudaen, Audrey Richardson, Kerri Easterbrook and John Slick were recently accepted to present at the American Counseling Association’s 2022 Conference.
Gaudaen, the group’s president, is in Hood’s school counseling program. Slick, the group’s secretary; Easterbrook, the group’s treasurer; and Richardson, the group's president-elect, are all in Hood’s clinical mental health counseling program.
Why did you choose Hood College and this program?
Amy Gaudaen: I initially chose Hood College because of its proximity to where I lived when I moved to Frederick and because the College had the school counseling program, which is where I always envisioned myself going within my career. I quickly realized how lucky I was that Hood College happened to be the most conveniently located school for me because the faculty within the counseling program are amazing!
Kerri Easterbrook: I applied to Hood College’s counseling program initially because of its CACREP accreditation, in-depth curriculum and location. While interviewing for the program, I discovered this was the school for me! The types of questions the faculty were asking indicated to me just how much they care about producing effective counselors.
What do you enjoy most about being at Hood College?
John Slick: I get to work with brilliant, thoughtful and inspiring people every single day. The faculty are supportive, knowledgeable and passionate, but even more than that, my classmates are incredible.
These are people with diverse life experiences, unique perspectives, and the drive and motivation to better themselves and their future profession. I am constantly awed by them and so lucky to learn from their knowledge and insight.
Audrey Richardson: The thing I like most about Hood College is its inclusivity and that I'm able to learn from skilled and talented professors. The discussions in-class with other students always further my learning and I am very impressed with the insight other students and faculty have. I also really enjoy the applied learning that is emphasized at Hood College.
How do you think it does or will help you in your career and life?
Easterbrook: This program has put me in touch with a network of people along with preparing me for a future career as a counselor. In addition, this program really emphasizes expanding your self-awareness and awareness of others. I feel I have grown a lot as a person thanks to Hood College’s counseling program.
Richardson: The applied learning is so helpful for my future career. Learning things and actually putting them into practice is like nothing I have experienced before, so I really enjoy this aspect. Also, developing relationships with faculty and other colleagues who have helped me during my field experience and will help me post-graduation has been incredibly helpful.
How would you describe Counselors for Social Justice? What is your role in this organization?
Gaudaen: Counselors for Social Justice is a branch of the ACA that focuses on promoting social justice and advocating for our clients and future clients. We do this by confronting oppressive ideas and challenging systems of power. Alongside Dr. Shoemaker, I founded the Hood chapter of CSJ, and I currently serve as the president of our chapter.
Slick: As counselors, we are called by our code of ethics to advocate at the individual, group, institutional, and societal level to remove barriers and improve quality of life for our clients. CSJ is an extension of that idea. We discuss current events and legislation, learn about unique challenges to counseling through a social justice lens, and do our best to advocate personally and professionally for underserved groups.
Congratulations on being accepted to present at the upcoming 2022 ACA conference! Tell us about your project.
Slick: Thank you! We’re looking at ways to help college counseling centers better serve students of color. This population utilizes services less often than their white counterparts despite evidence that they experience more frequent and severe mental distress. We’re trying to use the research to explore ways that college counseling centers can lessen this disparity.
Gaudaen: Thank you so much! We are incredibly honored to have been chosen to present at the 2022 ACA conference. I think John really summarized it best. I just want to add how excited we are to be presenting on such an important topic. Hopefully, this will help to educate others and contribute to the social justice movement.
Any other information that you would like to add?
Richardson: I am very grateful for CSJ allowing me to meet Kerri, Amy and John. Grad school during a pandemic has been rough, and I am so thankful for their friendship, which has helped to feel connected. I am also extremely grateful that I am able to take a more active part in the social justice movement through CSJ.
Easterbrook: Like everyone said, joining CSJ has not only helped me remain knowledgeable and active in social justice, but it has also brought me closer to Amy, Audrey and John. Starting grad school in the middle of a pandemic made it hard to connect with others in my program. I feel so lucky that by being a part of CSJ’s leadership team we have developed this lifelong friendship and support system together!