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SPC Students Chosen for Minority Fellowship

By Brett Wilson | June 25, 2013

NBCC president and CEO Dr. Thomas Clawson with Michael Jones.
Photo courtesy of Michael Jones.

Earlier in June, the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Foundation announced Regent University School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) Ph.D. students Michael Jones and Rebecca Vazquez as recipients of the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program.

Jones and Vazquez were two of 24 counseling students in the nation to receive the fellowship, which offers a $20,000 grant funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to each of its recipients. This marks the first year a fellowship of this caliber and purpose was offered to aid in educational costs for doctoral-level counseling students dedicated to providing therapeutic service to under-served minority populations.

Jones, while pursuing his degree in Counseling Education & Supervision (CES), is also a therapist for Health Resources of Arkansas in Searcy, Ark. His profession puts him in the midst of giving therapeutic aid to a community that is both socially and economically diverse, giving Jones the ability to pursue his passion for working with bi-racial children and adults.

"These children will often ask, 'What does this mean?' and 'What does this say about me?'" said Jones. "Racial identity is a big factor in kids as they develop."

Jones explained that one of the strengths of Regent's SPC programs and professors is the encouragement he has found while learning from faculty with a wide variety of interests.

"The faculty here is really good at matching people's passions," said Jones. "That's just one of the big things that I've really enjoyed about the program."

Vazquez—a CES student who will begin her program in the fall of 2013—hopes to use the fellowship as an opportunity to develop her skills and calling for working with victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. As the bilingual coordinator for Women Space, a trauma center in New Brunswick, N.J., Vazquez has discovered how pressing the need is for Spanish-speaking therapists in a nation that is becoming increasingly diverse.

"I've had a front row seat to all of the issues that come along with these situations, and I learned from a very early age to just be there for people when they are in that much pain," said Vazquez. "As long as there are hurting people, there is a lot of work to be done."

Vazquez explained that her heart for the nation's Spanish-speaking population, along with her calling for providing aid to trauma victims is what lead her to pursue further education in the field of counseling.

"I wholeheartedly believe that the SPC program at Regent has everything I need to live out the calling in my life," said Vazquez. "It's like a match made in Heaven, the ideal place for me to get equipped. And I'm hoping to learn and glean from the program as much as possible."

Learn more about the School of Psychology & Counseling.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

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