Florida Counseling Association Conference 2011

Several UF Counselor Education students attended the FCA conference. While there, they participated in several activities.


Association for Counselor Education and Supervision 2011 Conference

Several of our doctoral students presented at the ACES conference in Nashville, TN. Additionally, we also ran into alumni who presented as well. All of our students are to be commended for their hard work and high quality presentations. Kudos to the faculty mentors!!!

Fall 2011 Alumni Workshop

Katie Fields

Katie Fields is a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Education, Counselor Education program. Immediately following graduation, Katie secured a job as a Crime Prevention Analyst for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. In this position, Katie partnered with a grassroots organization, known as SWAG, the Southwest Advocacy Group, to advocate for resources in the underserved neighborhoods of unincorporated southwest Gainesville. Katie’s role in SWAG is to promote community crime prevention, an approach that addresses the social conditions that are believed to sustain crime. Such conditions include individual and family instability particularly due to poverty, its accompanying stress, and the difficulty in accessing community resources that can create opportunities and facilitate success.
SWAG Family Resource Centerpresentation


Alumni in the Field

While in the DC area for the American Counseling Association’s Governing Council meeting, Dr. West-Olatunji had an opportunity to catch up with one of our alumni, Sharilyn Wiskup. Sharilyn is most remembered for her parting comments at the graduation ceremony: “A ship in harbor is safe but that’s not what ships are for.” I captured this saying last year when I led a People to People delegation to India and visited a school for children with physical disabilities. The quote was on a poster at the school. Sharilyn took this saying to heart and dashed off to DC to find a counseling job and somewhere to live. Well…she did it! Sharilyn is now gainfully employed at a residential facility that provides after-school care for adolescents with varying mental health concerns. As you can see, she has adapted quite well to her new environment.


UF College of Education Poster Session Symposium

Counselor education students and faculty participated in the College of Education Symposium.


MHC Fall 2011 Pot Luck Supper

Life Imitating Art: Standing in Front of our Website


On Monday, October 10th, 2011, the Mental Health Counseling program track held a pot luck supper for program students and faculty. This was an opportune time for students to get acquainted and re-acquainted with each also. This event also provided students to mingle with faculty in a relaxed atmosphere with good food, toe tapping music, and great discussion.



Visiting Scholar-Fall 2011

This fall, we are pleased to welcome Dr. MiJin Yang as a Visiting Scholar with the Mental Health Counseling program track. Dr. Yang is an Assistant Professor at the Korea Youth Counseling Institute in Seoul, South Korea and also serves as director of the Competence Development Division at the Korea Youth Counseling Institute. MiJin Yang has over 15 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, 3 book chapters, and is presently the editor of the Korean Journal of Youth Counseling. Research areas of interest include: school adaptation among adolescents and multicultural family counseling.

As part of her duties as Visiting Scholar, Dr. Yang will provide a workshop for the counselor education community on her research activity and will also conduct a guest lecture in one of the clinical core courses in Mental Health Counseling.

New Faculty Member

Dr. Jacqueline Swank is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Florida. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) prior to coming to UF.

Dr. Jacqueline Swank’s web page

Haiti 2011 Outreach

Haiti 2011 Outreach

UF Haiti Outreach 2011 (photos in Quicktime movie format)

In the fall of 2010, former UF faculty member Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji received a UF Faculty Enhancement Opportunity grant to augment understanding of post-disaster resilience and coping within a multicultural context.

To connect with knowledgeable scholars and representatives at non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Dr. West-Olatunji partnered with Project Teach: Haitian Institute for Studies in Education, From Gainesville With Love, the UF Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and the UF Counselor Education program. Dr. West-Olatunji’s team of clinical professionals (that included one art educator) collaborated with community members to determine service needs and provide services informed by the needs of the community members. More importantly, the interventions used were drawn from local contexts.

The 12-day outreach trip occurred on July 16th – 28th, 2011 wherein the team members experienced clinical encounters in various settings, such as community agencies, neighborhoods, and institutional settings. These encounters served as a foundation for upcoming outreach trips that will involve extended engagement. Most importantly, the outreach experience provided participants with the opportunity to develop relationships with individuals while practicing culture-centered counseling.

Three objectives guided the 2011 Haiti Outreach trip. First, the team wanted to determine the disaster mental health needs of individuals and families in Port-au-Prince communities. Second, it was also vital to offer consultation to mental health professionals and outreach workers serving individuals experiencing primary and secondary effects of the 2010 earthquake. Third, the team was able to provide valuable direct clinical services in the form of individual, group, and family counseling, as well as art therapy, to community affected members.

This outreach trip was successful for a number of reasons. The team partnered with a local community agency to deliver 4 professional development workshops where they were able to exchange information with other mental health professionals, and non-profit agency representatives, such as the United Nations, USAID, and MADRE. They also provided private consultation with local psychologists, and assessed the mental health needs of the community.

As professional development experience, this initiative contributes to the education of students and professionals in a number of ways. Primarily, immersion experiences increase multicultural competence by providing a more accurate portrayal of individuals in affected communities. Additionally, outreach advances understanding about culture-centered disaster interventions. Finally, disaster outreach aids in comprehension about catastrophic disaster relief within a longitudinal context. The team’s blog is available for viewing at the following location: