2023 Supplemental Master's Fellows

graphical divider

Master's Fellows

Meet the 37 mental health counseling master’s students named as 2023 NBCC Foundation Supplemental MFP Fellows.

Mental Health Counseling Master's Fellows

Each MFP mental health counseling master’s fellow will receive $10,000 to support their counseling education and to recognize their commitment to underserved and underrepresented communities.

The bio image for fellow,

Sobia Ahmed (she/her) – Princeton, New Jersey

Sobia Ahmed is a graduate of The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at The College of New Jersey.

After graduation, Sobia intends to work specifically with Muslim women, particularly from immigrant and refugee backgrounds. As a first-generation American Muslim, she is familiar with the complex challenges facing this growing group of people. She is also interested in conducting research on accessible community-based intervention programs that provide trauma healing for Muslims in a safe space. As an educator, she speaks to women and young adults on topics regarding emotion regulation, spirituality, and resilience. She feels many marginalized groups have overlapping concerns and wants to work with other underrepresented groups. Sobia hopes this fellowship will equip her with a broader experience and further professional development that will allow her to be a means of upliftment and meaningful change through her profession.

The bio image for fellow,

Martha Baez (she/her) – Springfield, Massachusetts

Martha Baez is a graduate of the Universidad Catolica Santo Domingo. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Capella University.

As a migrant originally from the Dominican Republic, Martha is passionate about expanding access to mental health services, especially for migrant and refugee families in the area. After graduating, she plans to work with youth and families impacted by trauma from separation, uprooting, discrimination, and the barriers from the United States immigration system and commits to providing a sliding scale for this population. She also intends to collaborate with community and state agencies to push for legislation and funding to incorporate more immigrants in the mental health counseling field in Massachusetts who might not otherwise become licensed due to a lack of financial resources and other barriers. This fellowship will provide Martha with relevant training and networking opportunities needed to achieve her goals.

The bio image for fellow,

Tiffany Booth (she/her) – New Orleans, Louisiana

Tiffany Booth is a graduate of Xavier University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at the University of Holy Cross.

Tiffany is passionate about increasing access to mental health services for underserved and marginalized communities. As an educator, she understands the impact that a lack of accessible mental health resources can have on children and adolescents. She is particularly passionate about addressing the mental health needs of youth from underrepresented groups. After graduation, Tiffany plans to provide education, advocacy, and counseling services to young people struggling with various mental health concerns. She will primarily focus on school-aged individuals dealing with the effects of trauma. In the long term, she hopes to establish a nonprofit supporting schools in providing mental health services to students. The fellowship will provide her with the opportunity for training, mentorship, and support. It will also facilitate Tiffany’s growth as a counselor and support her in her endeavors to help future clients.

The bio image for fellow,

Jada Alaina Brown (she/her) – Columbia, South Carolina

Jada Alaina Brown is a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She is currently a master’s student in the mental health counseling program at Bowie State University.

After graduating, Jada intends to concentrate on her platform, “Purpose, Persistence, Prosperity: Walking in Your Purpose, Maintaining Persistence, and Achieving Prosperity.” She wants to broaden this platform and share her expertise and commitment to African Americans of all generations, especially Black women and girls, to better assist the underprivileged. Historically, African Americans have been thoroughly and extensively excluded from the mental health care system in a variety of ways, which has led to ongoing mental health issues that adversely affect people’s personal, familial, social, and societal well-being. She hopes to establish a mental health nonprofit organization and a space focused on assisting African American women and girls in her community. The subject of anxiety and depression in African American women, mothers, young couples, youth, dysfunctional families, and refugee populations has occupied a significant amount of her graduate studies and initiatives. Through the fellowship, Jada hopes to gain knowledge about advocating for marginalized individuals and to use the skills and qualities she will need to advance her profession as a mental health counselor.

The bio image for fellow,

Nicole Calivo (she/her) – Tacoma, Washington

Nicole Calivo is a graduate of The Evergreen State College. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Seattle University.

As a multicultural counselor-in-training, Nicole is dedicated to helping those who experience marginalization and internalized oppression to find and reclaim their voices and their right to use them. She is especially passionate about working with women and girls from communities of color. As a mixed-race woman from a low-income background, having grown up between her two families in the Puget Sound and Oahu, she has an intimate understanding of the challenges faced by those straddling multiple minoritized identities and is keenly interested in serving clients who share the complex experience of navigating cultural intersections in our rapidly diversifying society. Upon graduation, she is committed to providing accessible mental health services to underserved members of her community. With a particular interest in grief counseling, she aims to work with agencies that serve immigrant and refugee clients. She also plans to pursue specialized training in eating disorder recovery with the aim of combating the stigma and disparities of treatment that exist for people of color who struggle with eating disorders. The fellowship will provide Nicole the opportunity to work alongside a mentor and attend conferences and trainings that will enrich her development as a culturally competent counselor and social change agent.

The bio image for fellow,

Sumona Das (she/her) – Ashburn, Virginia

Sumona Das is a graduate of St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi, and the Institute of Professional Studies and Research. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Adler Graduate School.

Sumona is originally from India and immigrated to the United States in 2001. She was a volunteer tutor for the “Read to Learn” English literacy mission when she found her passion for helping immigrant women and children. She worked and volunteered for a children’s nonprofit in the Washington, D.C., metro area for over a decade. Her lived experiences encompass an immigrant woman, wife, mother, community member, employee, and community volunteer working for underprivileged women and children. Inspired by the Adlerian philosophies, Sumona believes that personal upliftment comes from community upliftment. As a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC), she aspires to help and bring awareness to the South Asian population with their often ignored mental health needs. Sumona looks forward to sharing her experiences as an Indian American with her peers and learning from NBCC Foundation members. She hopes to contribute to the Foundation through dialogues on cultural diversity, work ethics, professional humility, and camaraderie.

The bio image for fellow,

Erynne C. Dixon (she/her) – Brookeville, Maryland

Erynne C. Dixon is a graduate of Michigan State University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Bowie State University.

Erynne is driven by her social justice orientation to help and advocate for others. She believes the mental health sphere is an adaptable arena that can be transformed to support the needs of all people, regardless of their identity. She frames mental health as a form of self-care and envisions a world where one day all people will have access to resources tailored to fit their needs and unique backgrounds. After graduation, she intends to work with marginalized populations across racial, ethnic, gender, and class categories, integrating a social justice orientation into culturally conscious therapeutic modalities. Long term, she would like to be an individual and group clinician who uses feminist therapy in the context of prejudice, bias, and social justice to support marginalized clients of color through identity development and life transitions. She would also like to expand her future practice and find ways to support nonracist and anti-racist White identity development through implicit bias training and cross-cultural communication. Erynne’s ultimate goal is to create systems-wide change to support marginalized groups and individuals.

The bio image for fellow,

Monica Godinez (she/her) – Cypress, Texas

Monica Godinez is a graduate of Texas State University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at St. Edward’s University.

As a Mexican-American woman who grew up in an under-resourced community, Monica has a deep understanding of the disparities underserved communities face. As such, she has a cultural sensitivity toward all multicultural considerations. As a counselor-in-training, she is dedicated to advocating for marginalized groups like hers. As a future counselor, she is especially passionate about working with Latine, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA2S+ populations. Monica hopes to advocate and destigmatize mental health among these communities by creating a safe, supportive, and open environment for people of all intersecting backgrounds. Upon graduating from her master’s program, she intends to work with individuals who are navigating their sexual and gender identities. Her mission is to help BIPOC individuals process their feelings regarding their authentic selves and learn to accept and honor their chosen identity. Monica hopes to utilize this fellowship program as an opportunity to gain a trusted network of colleagues, further her knowledge on multicultural and social justice areas of competency, and have an in-depth experience that will allow her to better suit the needs of underrepresented and underprivileged communities.

The bio image for fellow,

Christopher Hicks (he/his) – New Orleans, Louisiana

Christopher Hicks is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College. He is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at the University of New Orleans.

Upon graduation, Christopher plans to work with LGBTQ+ and clients of color, particularly those who hold both Black and sexual/gender minority identities, in light of the additional challenges posed to these individuals by intersectional discrimination and lack of access to affirming care. This fellowship will enable him to serve these populations in the New Orleans area and beyond by cultivating a practice grounded in affirmation, collaboration, and advocacy.

The bio image for fellow,

Victoria Anne Roberts Jamison (she/her) – Traverse City, Michigan

Victoria Anne Roberts Jamison is a graduate of Central Michigan University and The Art Institute of California. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Central Michigan University.

Victoria spent 18 years in the creative marketing industry, then decided to switch to a career that had more meaning to her. Entering the helping profession by providing mental health services in her community is her calling. She started by administering assessments to individuals who suffer from cognitive disorders or difficulties, and this is where she discovered her passion for providing mental health services for older adults. She is interested in finding ways to expand mental health awareness and services for older adults. Some of her interests include evidence-based approaches for older adults confronting the many changes throughout their lives as they age, such as death, diagnoses of cognitive or terminal illness, anxiety, depression, immobility issues, and more. She is passionate about increasing her competency to approach each person through a multicultural lens. In addition to serving older adults, she aims to provide supportive services for other underserved communities in the rural areas of Northern Michigan, such as African American, Asian American, Latinx, LGBTGEQIAP+, veterans, and families of veteran populations. Victoria hopes to integrate what she has learned through the fellowship to continue growing as an advocate for marginalized communities, support social justice initiatives, and provide resources for future clients.

The bio image for fellow,

Cara Li Janowsky (she/her) – Wheatfield, New York

Cara Li Janowsky is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose, where she is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program.

After graduation, Cara plans to work with postpartum women of color. She has observed the lack of support within the community and feels inspired by this group of women. She will listen to their stories and advocate on their behalf for increased access to mental health care, curated treatment modalities for the population, and recognition of this population’s strength and power. Earning this fellowship will allow her to make the connections she needs to get in touch with this population and understand their needs. Cara looks forward to developing her counselor identity in a professional setting and utilizing the resources provided by the fellowship to truly make a difference for postpartum women of color.

The bio image for fellow,

Giovania Jones (she/her) – Laurel, Maryland

Giovania Jones is a graduate of New Jersey City University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Bowie State University.

Giovania desires to become a certified dance therapist and own her own private practice. She is dedicated to expanding her knowledge and seeking new opportunities. She intends to work with pre-adolescents within urban communities by incorporating holistic wellness, building strong relationships among the youth, and implementing leadership skills to empower youth within their communities. She is also interested in working with trauma, depression, relationship dynamics, and anxiety. Earning this fellowship will allow Giovania to attend counseling conferences to strengthen and expand her professional identity. It will also aid her in networking with other professional counselors and learning evidence-based practices to better serve her population of interest.

The bio image for fellow,

Mariah N. Jones (she/her) – Trenton, New Jersey

Mariah N. Jones is a graduate of Stockton University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Kean University.

In her experience working in a group home for adolescents, Mariah found her passion for learning about their experiences and assisting them in their journeys. After graduation, she plans to work in community-based mental health, working with LGBTQ+ youth from urban areas, focusing on gender-inclusive care for gender-diverse youth. This fellowship provides her with educational expenses, opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, and space for her evolving interests while strengthening her counselor identity.

The bio image for fellow,

Rach Junard (they/she) – Portland, Oregon

Rach Junard is a graduate of the University of Indianapolis. They are currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Portland State University.

Rach is a first-generation Nigerian, born in the United Kingdom but raised primarily in Nashville, Tennessee. They are passionate about building new systems that support those closest to the pain and uplift them to places of collective power for a better future. After graduation, they intend to work with Black queer women and first-generation folks who deal with depression, anxiety, and complex trauma simply because of the identities they may hold. She will also continue to build spaces for Black and brown women, femmes, and nonbinary individuals to experience a holistic wellness experience that serves their needs by using evidence-based practices.

The bio image for fellow,

Emily G. Jung (she/her) – Temple City, California

Emily G. Jung is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton, where she is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program.

Upon graduation, Emily is committed to providing multiculturally competent and equitable mental health services as a future Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). She is interested in exploring intergenerational trauma and destigmatizing mental health care within Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Specifically, she would like to examine the intersection of ethnicity, race, and queer identities. She intends to work with marginalized groups focusing on LGBTQ+ individuals, Asian immigrant parents, and Asian American children. Earning this fellowship provides Emily the opportunity to broaden her education beyond her coursework and enhance her knowledge of best practices and current research in serving underserved communities.

The bio image for fellow,

Sylvia Kim (she/her) – Dallas, Texas

Sylvia Kim is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently a master’s student in the mental health counseling program with a focus in children and adolescents, and trauma at Southern Methodist University.

Upon graduation, Sylvia intends to work with children and adolescents. She is especially passionate about working with underserved populations, particularly first-generation Asian Americans. She would also love to eventually devote a part of her career to research and explore the nuances of being a first-generation individual from an underrepresented community in America today. After interning at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County, Sylvia also gained a newfound desire to serve children and teens who have undergone abuse and/or significant trauma. She wishes to work with these intersecting groups in the hopes of providing stable and secure therapeutic bonds with youth, which she believes can be a source of healing in itself. Being awarded this fellowship opportunity will allow her to grow greater cultural awareness, compassion, and counseling skills as a future LPC.

The bio image for fellow,

Valerie Jocelyn Leija (she/her) – Brownsville, Texas

Valerie Jocelyn Leija is a graduate of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program.

As a Latina feminist counselor-in-training, Valerie is passionately committed to serving women, Latinx/e, and LGBTQIA+ people upon her graduation. She intends to specialize in treating issues such as sexual harm and trauma, body dysmorphic disorder, body image issues, intergenerational trauma, and eating disorders. Having grown up in a community with high poverty rates and a large immigrant population, she is keenly aware of the influence of systems of oppression and injustice on mental health. As such, she strives to provide trauma-informed care from an intersectional feminist lens and place social justice advocacy at the center of her work as a counselor. In doing so, her mission is to facilitate her clients’ self-compassion, healing, liberation, self-love, and empowerment. Valerie is immensely grateful to receive this fellowship, as it will allow her to continue growing as a counselor and advocate through professional development opportunities, mentoring, and networking with individuals who share her passion for social justice and the counseling profession. As a Mexican American woman, she is honored to help the counseling profession move toward a more diverse future so marginalized and underserved communities can have access to mental health services provided by counselors with a myriad of perspectives and lived experiences.

The bio image for fellow,

Kim Liao (she/her) – Santa Ana, California

Kim Liao is a graduate of the University of California, Fullerton, where she is currently a master’s student in the marriage and family therapy program with the Animo: Latinx Counseling Emphasis program.

Kim is receiving specialized training to work with Latinx clients in Spanish and English, with culture playing a principal role in the therapy room. She is committed to working with clients of all ages and backgrounds in Hispanic communities. Kim hopes to provide access and representation to clients who have historically been underserved in mental health, including immigrants, low-income, Spanish-only, and undocumented people. Additionally, she looks forward to working with LGBT youth as they navigate the many challenges of coming out and living authentically. It is her goal to assist young queer people through this process to lessen the negative and oftentimes life-threatening consequences of inadequate support.

The bio image for fellow,

Naomi K. Lu (she/her) – Los Angeles, California

Naomi K. Lu is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Concordia University: Townsend Institute.

Raised cross-culturally in Asia and the United States, Naomi is passionate about Asian mental health and wellness and the intersectionality between psychology and spirituality. After graduation, she hopes to work as a couples and family counselor with an emphasis on serving the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and multicultural families. She is committed to furthering mental health care access for Asian American clients and offering services that account for cultural differences. As a Chinese-American, she also hopes to offer services in Mandarin and English. Currently, Naomi is working on research on Asian mental health, and she looks forward to contributing to the ongoing work to destigmatize mental health for Asian Americans.

The bio image for fellow,

Abby Macario Gomez (she/her) – Knoxville, Tennessee

Abby Macario Gomez is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health and school counseling program.

Abby has a passion for working with Hispanic communities and rural communities, particularly in advocating for an increased awareness of mental health care and resources to a population that is underserved. During this fellowship, she plans to provide services for families facing the challenges of having a Hispanic background and empower them through counseling. She also wants to incorporate her language skills in Spanish to expand her counseling services to primarily Spanish speakers. She holds this fellowship in high esteem and is excited about the incredible opportunities she will experience, as well as grateful for the support to further her knowledge. She hopes to grow professionally and better serve the needs of her target population.

The bio image for fellow,

Elvira Alejandra Marin (she/her/ella) – Austin, Texas

Elvira Alejandra Marin is a graduate of Sam Houston State University. She is currently a master’s student in the Latine counseling program at the Seminary of the Southwest.

As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, Elvira feels a strong sense of responsibility and honor to serve the Latine community, especially those seeking a Spanish-speaking counselor. She is passionate about advocating for mental health access and plans to find creative ways to make counseling more accessible and affordable. As a somatic and systems-based counselor, she hopes to have a holistic practice where her clients feel heard, understood, empowered, and celebrated. She will be working with English- and Spanish-speaking BIPOC clients of all ages in the Richmond, Texas, area upon graduation in 2025. A leader of her school’s Counselors for Social Justice Chapter, Elvira is passionate about ways to bring about change for a more equitable and just community. Her goal is to challenge the counseling field to center the liberation and joy of Black, brown, and queer people in this country by championing and joining the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ voices already doing anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and anti-imperialist work in the field. As a part of this fellowship, she hopes to meet other social justice advocates and learn more ways to continue decolonizing and bringing about long-lasting change in the counseling profession.

The bio image for fellow,

Beth Marshall (she/her) – Ypsilanti, Michigan

Beth Marshall is a graduate of Concordia University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Eastern Michigan University.

Beth is focused on healing trauma and helping people thrive. Her primary interest is in doing trauma work in urban spaces, particularly with the LGBTQIA2+ community. She’s passionate about offering counseling services to underserved folks and plans to practice Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and other trauma-informed methods in her work after graduation. This fellowship will allow her to build strong professional connections, provide access to best practices for working with diverse populations, and help her gain the skills to advocate for policies and practices that benefit all people.

The bio image for fellow,

Eight Matallana (she/they) – Bend, Oregon

Eight Matallana is a graduate of New York University. They are currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Oregon State University.

Eight was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and raised in New York City within a multicultural family deeply rooted in Russian and Colombian heritage. Now based in Oregon, Eight plans to work with queer, trans, and BILAPOC communities who have been disproportionately harmed by systems of oppression and the generational impacts of colonization. Eight is passionate about building safe and inclusive environments, which includes creating educational resources to elevate cultural competency among practitioners who intend to serve marginalized populations. Currently, they are advocating for accessibility, education, and ethical standards around psychedelic treatments, particularly when it pertains to the needs of BILAPOC individuals. Eight recently completed Psychedelic Integration training with Marc Aixalà and David Lodoño through Barcelona’s International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service (ICEERS) Academy. Overall, Eight aims to bridge indigenous wisdom with the dominant Eurocentric frameworks of today’s mental health care culture. This prestigious fellowship was an honor for Eight to receive, especially alongside so many other amazing Fellows and future counseling colleagues. This opportunity will offer access to professional resources, mentorship, and valuable training that will enhance Eight’s education and allow them to better support underserved populations.

The bio image for fellow,

Precious Morris (she/her) – Bloomfield, Connecticut

Precious Morris is a graduate of Virginia State University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical professional counseling program focusing on clinical mental health counseling at Central Connecticut State University.

After graduation, Precious intends to work with underserved populations such as marginalized women, children, and young adults who are facing mental, social, and emotional conflicts in their everyday lives. She intends to create and promote programs relevant to helping individuals become more comfortable within themselves and their surroundings and have the reassurance that they are important and deserve to be heard. One of her goals is to work toward eliminating the negative stigma that surrounds mental health. She intends to do this by making mental health topics not only more relevant but also more accessible for Black women, minorities, children, and all other underserved populations. Earning this fellowship will allow Precious to attend counseling conferences that will help her strengthen her counselor identity and learn and gain new skills, techniques, and resources to meet her goals.

The bio image for fellow,

Ruth Newton (she/her) – Saratoga Springs, Utah

Ruth Newton is a graduate of Buckinghamshire New University and Worcester University, England. She is currently a master’s student in the mental health counseling program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Upon completing her studies, Ruth has set her sights on specializing in trauma counseling. She has a deep-seated passion for veterans impacted by trauma and aims to serve this population. Furthermore, she is committed to supporting and treating individuals who have experienced various forms of trauma. Earning this fellowship will facilitate her continuing education at The Chicago School and provide her with access to mentorship, counseling conferences, and evidence-based training, which will bolster her professional development as a counselor.

The bio image for fellow,

Leiah Ortiz (she/her) – Nolanville, Texas

Leiah Ortiz is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University Pomona. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Texas A&M Central Texas.

Leiah is a first-generation college graduate who plans to dedicate herself, as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) in Texas, to serving the underprivileged and underrepresented populations at risk for and currently experiencing houselessness. This fellowship will help her obtain resources to become an effective counselor and advocate to adequately serve these populations. After graduation, Leiah hopes to pursue her doctorate degree to fill in the gaps in current research related to the unhoused, Latinx population, LGBTQ+, and other underserved communities.

The bio image for fellow,

Jessi H. Pham (he/his) – San Gabriel, California

Jessi H. Pham is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine. He is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at California State University, Fullerton.

Jessi is passionate about recognizing the interactions of multiple marginalized identities and how they impact one’s navigation of the world. Upon graduation, he intends to work with Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPoC) with a particular interest in the Queer Asian Pacific Islander South Asian American (APISAA) community. He has an open mind for taking on different specialties, accepting that he will discover multiple populations with whom he enjoys working. His experience as a queer, second-generation Chinese/Vietnamese American, cisgender man informs his approach to counseling and advocacy. As a counselor, he hopes to provide affordable services to marginalized communities, engage in community outreach to destigmatize QTPoC mental health, and commit to continual learning and cultural humility. Earning this fellowship will allow him to further his academic and professional development by funding his membership in professional counseling associations, attending national conferences, and training in socially just counseling practices. Ultimately, Jessi’s goal is to make an impact in the world, one client at a time, one group at a time, and in multiple communities simultaneously.

The bio image for fellow,

Niesha Radovanic (she/her) – Clearwater, Florida

Niesha Radovanic is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University, where she is currently a master’s student in the mental health counseling program.

Niesha’s passion is advocating for individuals silenced by oppressive systems. After earning her graduate degree, she plans to provide mental health services to marginalized groups such as adolescents, women, individuals within the African American community, and low-income populations. She hopes to create a nonprofit organization that offers low-cost mental health services to low-income families during her career. Niesha is on a mission to hold space for others while empowering them to recognize that they have everything they need within them to heal. She is so grateful and excited to grow her professional identity as a future counselor and connect with the Fellows, mentors, and staff of the NBCC Foundation.

The bio image for fellow,

Tyler Ricks (she/her) – Knoxville, Tennessee

Tyler Ricks is a graduate of Kennesaw State University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Tyler passionately advocates for high-quality, accessible, and culturally relevant mental health care within the Black community. Her goal is directly engaging with the community, reducing stigma through psychoeducation, and promoting early intervention. She plans to serve Black women dealing with disordered eating, intergenerational trauma, and identity development issues. Postgraduation, she will pursue certification as an Eating Disorder Specialist and apply the Health at Every Size principles in her practice. Tyler is honored to receive this fellowship and intends to utilize the funds for her career development and education focused on supporting Black women with eating disorders.

The bio image for fellow,

Justin Ridgell (he/his) – Fairfax, Virginia

Justin Ridgell is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. He is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at George Mason University.

Upon graduation, Justin intends to work with victims and survivors of sex and labor trafficking, specifically people of color and documented/undocumented immigrants. Earning this fellowship will allow him to attend counseling conferences and trainings that will help him be better equipped to work with this population equitably. He has also been able to network with different nonprofits and federal agencies and establish a strong professional identity as a counseling student.

The bio image for fellow,

Lairet Rosario (she/her) – Arlington, Virginia

Lairet Rosario is a graduate of Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Liberty University.

Lairet is passionate about psychoeducation, and her goal is to destigmatize the need for mental health care and empower the Hispanic community. After graduation, she wants to work with Hispanic women, participate in research that can further the understanding of the needs and appropriate interventions with this minority group, and become a faculty member to foster Hispanic representation in high-education settings.

The bio image for fellow,

Martina Y. Rush (she/her) – Mullins, South Carolina

Martina Y. Rush is a graduate of South Carolina State University and Winthrop University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Webster University.

Upon graduation, Martina plans to work with underserved rural populations, particularly the Black community. In the Black community, spirituality and religion are important, and she plans to use evidence-based treatments that effectively incorporate spirituality and religion in mental health settings. Her experience in education for the past 30 years in South Carolina’s “Corridor of Shame” uniquely positions her to serve clients with unresolved adverse childhood experiences. Through advocacy, education, and community-based efforts, Martina hopes to destigmatize the meaning of mental health in the Black community by offering a holistic treatment approach that is client-centered and culturally responsive. This fellowship will help her to further develop her identity as a counselor through mentorship while allowing her to learn evidence-based practices through counseling conferences and trainings. Additionally, she will be equipped with the tools, resources, and knowledge she needs to effectively serve underserved communities.

The bio image for fellow,

Donna Mittrecy Smith (she/her) – Warner Robins, Georgia

Donna Mittrecy Smith is a graduate of Alabama State University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical rehabilitation counseling program at Fort Valley University.

Dedicated to advancing mental health in Georgia, Donna is pursuing licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Emphasizing relatability for Black youth, she plans to collaborate with schools, community leaders, and businesses to create programs that enhance awareness and accessibility to mental health resources. With a background in rehabilitation services, Donna aims to lead outreach initiatives, introducing vital mental health services to the Black community. She strives to educate parents and community leaders on advocating for quality care. Donna aims to develop skills for creative outreach, contributing significantly to her community’s mental health landscape. The fellowship marks a crucial step in realizing her vision of a more supportive and accessible mental health environment.

The bio image for fellow,

Chiền Binh Sơn (she/her) – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Chiền Binh Sơn is a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Mount Mary University.

Chiền Binh has treated adolescents and adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), substance use, and trauma at a behavioral health hospital for the past six and a half years. After graduation, she plans to continue her education, apply for a PhD in counseling psychology, and continue to serve people through clinical work and research, specifically people and communities historically and systematically excluded. Her primary clinical and research interests are trauma, specifically racial trauma, historical trauma, attachment trauma, developmental trauma, chronic illness and trauma, and OCD. She examines all things from an intersectional liberation, abolition, and decolonization lens and stands firmly that there is no social justice without disability justice. She plans to serve both adolescents and adults. She is incredibly honored and grateful to have been named an NBCC MFP Fellow and is grateful for the support to learn, grow, and connect with others, in addition to helping her future to work with people who have been traumatized from systems, history, and colonization through clinical work and research.

The bio image for fellow,

Berenice Soto (she/her) – San Diego, California

Berenice Soto is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara. She is currently a master’s student in the Latine counseling program at the Seminary of the Southwest.

Berenice is committed to serving Latine, immigrants, and other marginalized populations whose mental health is impacted by colonialism. She hopes to be part of a mental health practice that does not center on pathology and profit but is committed to supporting people’s healing and liberation journeys. Drawing from her experiences helping her family navigate the unjust health care system, advising first-generation college students, and creating programming for Latine young adults, she is passionate about making mental health accessible and sustainable. She hopes to take a strength-based, communal, and decolonial approach by helping BIPOC tap into their community resources, ancestral wisdom, and cultural healing practices. During her fellowship year she hopes to gain connections, mentors, and knowledge that help her provide the services she desires to Latine communities.

The bio image for fellow,

Myldha Verdelus (she/her) – Littleton, Colorado

Myldha Verdelus is a graduate of the University of Florida and the University of Southern California. She is currently a master’s student in the dual clinical mental health counseling and school counseling program at Denver Seminary.

Myldha is empathetic and warm and enjoys leading her relational interactions with curiosity and care. She is a first-generation Haitian-American master’s counseling candidate who knows intimately the challenges of navigating dual-identity cultural status and co-occurring worldviews. As a daughter of immigrants, she is passionate about increasing health equity and access to diverse populations to fully retain individuals’ and families’ rights to dignity and respect when traversing the health care system. Her counseling interests include identity formation, counselor formation, intergenerational trauma, immigrant and refugee mental health, and restoring relational health within parent-child and child-family dynamics. She enters the counseling field with professional experience as a pediatric occupational therapist and hopes to integrate modes of sensory and emotional regulation into play therapy techniques with children and adolescents. She eagerly looks forward to the clinical trainings, research and teaching experience, and mentorship networks available through the NBCC Supplemental Minority Fellowship Program. As a master’s Fellow, Myldha aspires to extend this professional immersion into the holistic and therapeutic care she will provide diverse community members across the varied social locations and systems in which they exist daily.

The bio image for fellow,

Arzu Vig (she/her) – Rockville, Maryland

Arzu Vig is a graduate of the University of Maryland and Duke University. She is currently a master’s student in the clinical mental health counseling program with a specialization in children and adolescents at Northwestern University.

Arzu founded an organization that provides educational, preventive, and interventional consultancy to schools and daycare centers in underserved and rural areas to help revamp their mental health support services in collaboration with licensed clinicians. She also designed a low-cost teletherapy solution for disadvantaged communities in need as a Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fellow at Duke University. Currently, she works in K–12 schools with autistic students and has experience working in venture capital and health care and education consulting for large corporations. After graduation, she plans to work with children and adolescents with severe learning and developmental disabilities and wants to provide a comprehensive continuum of care for children and adolescents across the human development life span. She also hopes to become involved in advocacy for people suffering from chronic health conditions and disabilities. Earning this fellowship will strengthen her professional development and counselor identity as she gains mentorship, attends counseling conferences, and engages in evidence-based training.