The NBCC Foundation, an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), selected College of Education & Human Development graduate students Jacklyn J. Byrd and Nicolas Williams for its Minority Fellowship Program.
Byrd was one of 30 students nationwide chosen for the program’s $10,000 mental health counseling master’s fellowship, which works to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health care outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse populations by increasing the number of available culturally competent behavioral health professionals.
Williams was one of 20 doctoral students from across the country chosen for the $20,000 doctoral fellowship, which is designed to strengthen the infrastructure that engages diverse individuals in counseling and increases the number of professional counselors providing effective, culturally competent services to underserved populations.
Byrd is currently a master’s student in the CEHD’s clinical mental health counseling program. Upon graduation, she intends to work with people with marginalized identities, particularly those living with addiction, crisis and trauma. She would also like to serve gender and sexual minorities and people living with disabilities. Byrd hopes to also work in communities with mental health disparities due to geography or identity-based issues. Earning this fellowship will allow her to advocate for the counseling profession while furthering her education in evidence-based somatic practices designed to treat trauma and addiction.
Williams is currently a doctoral student in the CEHD’s counselor education and practice program. He is interested in researching the referral process of Black church clergy to professional mental health services and examining ways mindfulness practices might be adapted to increase cultural comfort and accessibility, and reduce stress and anxiety for African-Americans seeking counseling. This year, Williams will be a student intern providing counseling services to clients affected by HIV at an integrated health center in the greater Atlanta area. This fellowship will help Williams to further his research agenda and contribute to the knowledge base of his research areas of interest. This fellowship will also support Williams’ participation in specialized education and training, community involvement, and outreach initiatives to provide quality services to underserved minority populations.
To learn more about the NBCC Foundation and its fellows, please visit www.nbccf.org/Programs/Fellows.