Counselor Ed’s Kristina DePue receives national research honor

ACES President Heather Trepel presents research award to Kristina DePue

ACES President Heather Trepal presents research award
to Kristina DePue

After nearly three-and-half years of conducting behind-the-scenes research, Kristina DePue was suddenly overcome with emotions earlier this month when she was thrust into the spotlight in her field of counselor education.

“Honestly, I broke into tears,” DePue said when she received one of the most prestigious awards given annually by the American Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES).

DePue, an assistant professor of counselor education at the University of Florida College of Education, accepted the Research in Counselor Education and Supervision Award at the southern region ACES conference in New Orleans attended by scores of her peers from across the country.

“I was shocked,” DePue said. “It was an honor to be recognized, especially as I’m one of the newer faculty members in our field.”

Lead author on research project

DePue was the lead author of a research project that measured the strength of the relationships between graduate student counselors and their supervisors, as well as the relationships between these students and their clients.

The clients are people who come for therapy because of they are under mental distress, such as depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Professors in the studies provided live clinical supervision of graduate students, as is typical in counseling education.

The report, titled “Investigating Supervisory Relationships and Therapeutic Alliances Using Structural Equation Modeling,” is slated to appear in the December issue of ACES’ Counselor Education and Supervision, a leading journal in the counseling field.

Benefits of strong student-supervisor relationships

The study found counseling trainees who reported strong relationships with their supervisors also had the strongest relationships with their clients. In a follow up study, DePue and her co-authors discovered that both the relationship between the client and counselor, and the relationship between the counselor and supervisor predicted client improvements.

Counterintuitively, DePue’s studies show these relationships work independently of each other. While these findings may seem obvious, they are not linear — in contrast what was previously thought. Instead, the two relationships (supervisor-supervisee and client-counselor) work independently, though both directly impact client change.

DePue and her co-authors are submitting this second study to the Journal of Counseling and Development.

Although the importance of supervision is undeniable, few researchers have investigated the influence of the supervisor-supervisee relationship on whether clients’ distress is lessened in therapy, Jacqueline Swank, UF assistant professor of counselor education, wrote in a letter nominating DePue for the award.

DePue came to UF in 2013 after earning a doctorate in counselor education from the University of Central Florida, where data for the study was collected. The project had the participation of 169 master’s-level counseling trainees and 253 clients served by UCF’s community counseling center.

DePue led a team of three other researchers: Ren Liu, a doctoral student in the UF College of Education’s Research and Evaluation Methodology (REM) program, Glenn Lambie, a professor of counselor education at the University of Central Florida, and Jessica Gonzalez, an assistant professor in counseling and career development at Colorado State University.

Sources: Kristina DePue, 352-273-4339, Kathryn Henderson, ACES awards co-chair

Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449 (office), 352-431-2269 (cell)


Six new professors join College of Education faculty

UF’s College of Education this year welcomed six new additions to its faculty: Kristen Apraiz, Kristina DePue, Nicholas Gage, Ashley Macsuga-Gage, Diane Porter Roberts and Rachel Wolkenhauer. 

KristenApraizKristen Apraiz is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, in which she teaches elementary mathematics education courses. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from Florida State University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in mathematics education at the College of Education. Previously, she taught mathematics for middle and high school, as well as adult education, for eight years. Apraiz’s research is focused on education for pre-service mathematics teachers. 



Kristina DePue is an assistant professor of counselor education in the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education. DePue graduated from Vanderbilt University with both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She received her doctoral degree in counselor education from the University of Central Florida. There, she led a multi-year study in the Community Counseling Clinic that focused on counselor development and supervisory relationships. Her personal and research interests include helping individuals struggling with dependence from alcohol and other drugs. 



Nicholas Gage is an assistant professor of special education in the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Goddard College, and an additional master’s degree from the University of Missouri. He graduated with his Ph.D. in special education from the University of Missouri. Gage worked at the University of Connecticut’s Center for Behavioral Education and Research as an Institute of Education Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow. His research is focused on identifying policies and practices at the national, state, local and classroom level to support the academic, social and behavioral needs of students with or at-risk for emotional and/or behavioral disorders. 



Ashley Macsuga-Gage is a visiting clinical assistant professor of special education in the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in special education. In addition to her doctoral studies, she also earned two additional graduate certifications in positive behavior interventions and supports and program evaluation. Macsuga-Gage’s research interests include the implementation of class-wide and school-wide positive behavior support practices. 



Diane Porter Roberts, or “DP,” is an assistant clinical professor of personnel in higher education in the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies. She has served as the program coordinator and director of the student personnel in high education graduate program since 2008. She received her bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degrees in education from Appalachian State University. She received her Ph.D. in higher education administration from UF’s College of Education. Prior to joining the College of Education full time, she worked for UF’s Department of Housing and Residence Education for 18 years. Her research specialties include the competencies of professional and graduate housing staff, living learning communities, college student learning outcomes assessments, and advising student organizations, among others.   


Rachel Wolkenhauer is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, in which she teaches about culturally-responsive classroom management. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of South Florida, and her master’s and doctorate degrees in curriculum and instruction from UF’s College of Education. She recently published the book “Inquiring into the Common Core” with College of Education professor Nancy Fichtman Dana and Jamey Bolton Burns, a program coordinator for the Lastinger Center for Learning. Her primary research interest is in practitioner inquiry for teacher professional development.