I was able to attend the Virginia School Counselor Association 2017 conference in Hampton, Virginia from October 11-13 thanks to the College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Longwood University. School counselors from across the state were in attendance. On Wednesday evening my classmates and I dined with Dan St. Romain, the conference’s keynote speaker. After hearing him speak the next morning, I attended many informative breakout sessions. I learned about current trends in the school counseling profession, ways to align a school counseling program with the American School Counselor Association national model, and how to motivate unmotivated students. The next morning there were more informative breakout sessions followed by an awards luncheon. Going to this conference allowed me to gain knowledge from current school counselors in the field.
Attending the Virginia School Counselor Association Conference helped improve my professional identity. This conference was full of influential speakers who have experience working with students from several districts in Virginia. Having the opportunity to listen to these speakers was both informative and eye-opening. The most impactful speaker was the keynote speaker, who discussed the mixed messages delivered to students and how they effect their actions and behaviors within a school environment. This information will be very beneficial to me and my future as I continue to develop my professional identity. I also had the opportunity to meet school counseling coordinators from districts around Virginia. During this time I was able to discuss current issues and trends that school counselors are encountering in their everyday work. It was great to be surrounded by individuals who spoke the same language as me and understand the impact we have within schools. I look forward to attending more conferences surrounding counseling education!
I had such a wonderful time at the Virginia School Counseling Association (VSCA) Conference in Hampton, Virginia. This was my first time attending VSCA and definitely will not be my last. I attended alongside of five of my School Counseling cohorts (pictured above)! I was able to attend sessions throughout my time at the conference that I hold near and dear to my heart. Dropout Prevention in Elementary and Middle School Students, Technology Smarter Not Harder, and Emerging Leader Lead Counselors were just a few of the breakout sessions I attended. I thoroughly enjoyed networking with other school counselors across the state of Virginia. I was so proud of Longwood’s representation at VSCA this year and was very proud to say I was a Graduate Student from Longwood. This experience is one I will never forget and am so thankful for the opportunity of being able to attend and represent Longwood!
The cohort of students at Longwood who are studying to become school counselors is relatively small, with our smallest class containing only 6 students. We all have a shared passion and spend much of our time together discussing topics related to school counseling. Being used to such a small group of people, it was exhilarating to walk into the Virginia School Counselor Association conference and see hundreds of school counselors who were all speaking our language! From small group action plans, to advocacy, to implementing the ASCA national model- it was clear that we had come to the right place. I had the opportunity to view 8 different presentations over the course of the conference, each one offering helpful information for school counselors to know. My favorite presentation was about technology tools and how school counselors can use technology to work smarter, not harder. Through this presentation, I was introduced to several apps, websites, and ideas that I could easily see myself implementing as a school counselor. Another benefit of attending this conference was meeting experienced school counselors. I enjoyed learning the different ways that school counselors work to help their students, schools, and communities. It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many professionals who share my passion and love the career that they have chosen, and I hope to attend more VSCA conferences in the future.
Thanks to Longwood the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, I was able to attend and present at the Virginia Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (VACES) conference! This was a one day conference in Norfolk, VA at Old Dominion University where all presenters were counseling students. It was a great experience to see the work my peers were doing and to experience presenting professionally for the first time. Unfortunately, I pulled the earliest time slot to present but we made it through! My work was entitled: Advocating for Atheist Clients in the Counseling Profession and is a presentation I hope to take to other conferences and have published as well. Thank you Longwood, CGPS, and all of the Counseling Department for your support and this opportunity.
I had the pleasure of attending and presenting a poster at the 2016 Virginia Counselors Association (VCA) Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. The conference was excellent overall, and particularly in the focus on LGBTQ related issues and in social justice issues faced in the counseling profession today. My presentation, about trauma assessment measures that are commonly used with children, was well received. It was particularly rewarding to have conversations about this with fellow professionals in the field who do similar work to my work in the school system. The ability to share ideas with these people was the most powerful thing that happened at the conference. The exchange of immediately useful ideas and information changed how I respond to a couple of common daily occurrences at my school.
Spending time with the professors, alumni, and current graduate students at the school was another positive. It was enlightening to have professional and personal conversations with people and to talk about where the Longwood program has been and where it is going.
On November 9-12, 2016 the Virginia Counselor’s Association Convention took place in Williamsburg, VA. The event included two keynote speakers, Kevin Hines and Dr. Michael Gillette, and nine education sessions, each with multiple sessions attendees could choose from. Four Longwood students currently in the program-Chris Barnes, Jessica Hamlett, Brittany Bishop, and Cameron Patterson-joined many Longwood Alumni and Counselor Education faculty for the weekend. Chris Barnes and Cameron Patterson were both honored as VCA student fellows and Barnes presented a poster on assessing trauma in children. Dr. McCleskey, Dr. Wynne, and alum Amrita Sethi collaborated to present a session on counselors working as allies for LGBTQQI clients and students. Dr. Doyle presented updates from the Virginia Board of Counseling. The event was a great success for Longwood University in education and representation. The next convention will take place November 9-11, 2017 at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA. All Counselor Education students, faculty, and alumni are encouraged to attend and represent Longwood!
On October 12th I had the opportunity to present alongside Dana Kieran, Associate Director for Disability Resources and Dr. Lauren Wynn Assistant Professor for Counselor Education at the Virginia School Counselor’s Conference. It was a great experience to present as it was a goal of mine prior to graduating from my program.
Our presentation focused on how school counselors and disability service providers can collaborate to assist students with their transition to the post secondary environment. For our presentation we started out with an activity that helped individuals think of barriers to the postsecondary environment that might exist for students with disabilities. We then began to talk about the challenges that students face in their new academic environment along with the changes to various relationships that they might have had previously.
The main portion of our presentation that really created conversation amongst the counseling professionals in the room was an explanation of the differences between the secondary and postsecondary environments when accommodating students with disabilities. And then we ended with a conversation about what it means for students to be college ready. This presentation proved to be a great learning experience for me and my colleagues. I believe that we began a very substantive conversation about how we can better prepare students for a postsecondary transition. Also professionally it was great to network with various folks in the field. I was able to receive a few invitations to do some follow-up presentations for various school systems and non-profit groups.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to use what I have been learning in the classroom and combine it with the work that I’m currently doing in my role with Disability Resources. Thanks Graduate Studies for the opportunity.
I had such a wonderful experience at the Virginia School Counseling Association (VSCA) Conference! The theme this year was “Creating Connections”, and I definitely made some amazing connections thanks to my amazing professor, Dr. Wynne (pictured here taking a selfie with me!). She introduced me to everyone it seemed like! I was so grateful to have her there as a guide and resource. I began the conference with a pre-conference session on working with LGBTQ+ youth by Charles Dyson. It was extremely interesting, and I learned new information, such as the prevalence of an individual being born intersex is the same as those being born with red hair. I was able to meet several school counselors and administrators at the President’s reception that night. The next day was full of many sessions ranging from classroom management to yoga guidance classroom lessons. The last day we had a lunch with keynote speaker Gayle Danley. She is a slam poet, and her poems left everyone speechless. She was so powerful with her words. This experience is one I will never forget. I am so thankful that I was able to attend, and hope to in the years to come.
Earlier this month I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2016 annual conference brought together over 3,200 current and future higher education advisers, and is the largest academic conference in the western hemisphere! During my time at the conference I was able to attend several sessions covering a variety of topics and issues in higher education advising. I also had the privilege of presenting with Longwood’s Counselor Education Professor, Dr. Quentin Alexander, during the conference. Our presentation, “Understanding Our Privilege within the Context of an Academic Advising Relationship”, we discussed the various forms of privilege in our society, and how our privilege has impact within the context of the academic advising relationship with students. The framework for our discussion around privilege was built from the work of Peggy McIntosh and others who have researched topics of privilege and oppression. Throughout the presentation, we engaged in lively conversation with our audience on understanding privilege, recognizing our privilege as advisers, and understanding how this can impact the advising relationship. At the conference, our presentation was selected as LGBTQA commission-sponsored session, because it reflected information that is particularly representative of the sponsoring commission’s interests. I would like to thank Longwood’s College of Graduate and Professional Studies for providing a travel grant to assist with the cost of this amazing opportunity!