Graduate Student Focus | Katie Palmer
"When applying to graduate schools I looked at every counseling program offered in the state of Maryland and Washington, DC. It was a difficult decision picking which school to attend, but I ultimately decided to enroll at Hood College because it checked off everything on my wants list—the campus is close to my house, the program is smaller and family-like, and the program offers all 60 credits needed to apply for Maryland LGPC state licensure and NCC licensure."
Katie Palmer, M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Counseling, Clinical Mental Health (M.S.)
- Counseling, School Counseling (M.S.)
- Psychology & Counseling
Kathleen "Katie" Palmer is a current graduate student in the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Hood College. Before Hood, she attended The Catholic University of America, where she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, minoring in Theology & Religious Studies. Katie is also the chapter representative and club president for the Division 18: Psychologists in Public Service and Division 19: Society for Military Psychology clubs at Hood. Katie currently works as an intern at Kolmac Outpatient Recovery in Gaithersburg, MD. Over the past five years, she has presented her research at multiple conferences, including the 2019 APA Conference, the Division 19: Society for Military Psychology 2019 Summit and Hood’s 2021 Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition. Most recently, Katie presented Maryland Counseling Association’s Fall 2021 Conference.
Why did you choose Hood College and this program?
When applying to graduate schools I looked at every counseling program offered in the state of Maryland and Washington, DC. It was a difficult decision picking which school to attend, but I ultimately decided to enroll at Hood College because it checked off everything on my wants list—the campus is close to my house, the program is smaller and family-like, and the program offers all 60 credits needed to apply for Maryland LGPC state licensure and NCC licensure.
What especially drew me to Hood College is the fact that it is accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program (CACREP). When I was exploring grad schools, Hood’s counseling program was one of only two CACREP accredited programs in the state!
Although CACREP-accreditation is not necessary, I appreciate that Hood College holds such a high standard for their counseling students that they surpassed the minimum accreditation requirements and chose to undergo CACREP’s rigorous accreditation process. This just shows how much the faculty within Hood College’s Psychology & Counseling Department cares about the field and their student’s future clients.
How do you think the program helps you in your career and life?
My ultimate career goal is to be a mental health clinician. Specifically, I hope to work with first responders, active-duty service members, veterans and their families.
Earning my M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Hood College pushes me one step closer to my goal. While enrolled in this program, I have completed rigorous academic coursework and exemplary field training according to the standards set forth by CACREP. The graduate work I am doing now is informing my future practice of counseling. I have been able to incorporate my research interests into my education through scholarly and research literature.
In short, the work that I am doing while in this program is purposeful; I will use what I am studying in my professional career as a clinical mental health practitioner. This coming spring, I am registered to take the National Counseling Exam (NCE). If I pass, I will become a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). I am confident that Hood College has sufficiently prepared me for this exam.
Tell us about your MCA presentation.
I recently presented a poster at the Maryland Counseling Association’s (MCA’s) 2021 Hybrid Annual Conference. The theme of this conference was “Stronger Together: Rebuilding a Brighter Future.” This was a two-day event; day one was virtual, and day two was in-person. Dr. Cheryl Fisher, the co-chair of the MCA Program Planning Committee, invited me to share my research via oral presentation; ultimately, Dr. Campbell (my faculty advisor) and I decided that my work would be best shared via poster presentation.
The title of my poster was “Measuring Up? Tracing the United States Armed Forces’ Controversial History of Ability Testing.” By tracing the military’s controversial history of ability testing and its roots in the Eugenics Movement mental health professionals can understand how certain modern-day discriminatory policies pertaining to enlistment eligibility have come to be. Understanding this history is crucial for mental health professionals working to develop stronger and brighter assessments for military recruits that are bias-free and fair.
What was your experience like at MCA?
My experience at the MCA 2021 conference was fantastic! Many attendees asked me about my research and complimented me regarding how professional my poster looked. Dr. Smith, Dr. Sara Pula, the president-elect of the MCA, and I had a lengthy discussion about my research and future career plans during this event. Dr. Pula found my research of the military population to be thorough and much needed.
Because of my work and motivation, Dr. Pula wants me to become more involved in the MCA. We believe that the mental health of the military population needs more attention; as members of the counseling field, we want to become better advocates for their needs. I am looking forward to becoming more involved with the MCA and for sharing my work at future conferences!