by Claire Miller
College of Education doctoral student Caroline O’Hara was awarded the 2012 Courtland C. Lee Multicultural Excellence Scholarship Award from the American Counseling Association (ACA).
The award, which O’Hara received at the ACA’s annual conference in San Francisco, Calif., earlier this year, is given annually to a counselor education graduate student “whose dedication and academic work demonstrate excellence in the theory and practice of multicultural counseling,” according to the ACA’s website. The award also includes an honorarium.
O’Hara, a student in the COE’s Counselor Education and Practice program, focuses her research on counseling and advocacy, with particular emphasis on multicultural competence.
“When I think about multiculturalism, it’s a broader construct to me,” she explained. “It’s many different social identities such as race, gender, language preference, veteran status, religion. These identities are often used to marginalize individuals in some way and it’s important to prepare professional counselors to examine these intersecting identities.”
The award is named after Courtland C. Lee, professor and director of the Counselor Education program at the University of Maryland. His research interests include indigenous helping practices in nonwestern cultures, resiliency and coping process of urban adolescents, and psychosocial development of African American males.
The COE’s counselor education program has taught O’Hara the importance of multicultural counseling and the need to prepare graduates to help clients from all walks of life – ideals Lee has also worked to promote.
“To be given an award named after Dr. Lee is such an honor because he’s worked tirelessly to educate generations of counselors to strive for social justice,” O’Hara said. “I also credit the education I’m receiving at GSU. Our program really challenges students to engage in social justice and advocacy.”
For more information about the award, visit http://www.counseling.org/AboutUs/NationalAwards/TP/Home/CT2.aspx.