BOONE, N.C. — The NBCC Foundation, an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), recently selected Appalachian State University’s Jessie Butler and Fiona Abrams for the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program for Addictions Counselors (MFP-AC). Butler and Fiona, both from Boone, are graduate students in Appalachian’s clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) program.
As NBCC MFP-AC Fellows, Butler and Abrams will each receive $15,000 in funding, as well as training to support their education and facilitate their addictions counseling service to underserved populations. They are among 41 master’s-level students chosen nationally for the fellowship.
The NBCC MFP-AC is made possible by a 2014 grant awarded to the NBCC by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The NBCC Foundation administers the MFP-AC, as well as training and collaboration activities, such as webinars, that are open to all board certified counselors.
The goal of the program is to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health care outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse populations by increasing the available number of culturally competent behavioral health professionals.
About App State’s MFP-AC Fellows
Butler received her B.S. in human development with concentrations in family studies and related services from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2016. She is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in the state of North Carolina.
“With this fellowship experience, I hope to develop my skills and education in order to work with and advocate alongside underserved communities by providing more comprehensive mental health and substance abuse counseling services,” Butler said.
Upon graduating from Appalachian, Butler plans to work with members of the military veteran population who have co-occurring substance misuse and mental health diagnoses. Additionally, she plans to work with and advocate for individuals with drug-related criminal offenses to support them in successfully transitioning out of the criminal justice system.
The fellowship will provide Butler with further education through counseling conferences and training programs to develop necessary skills, enhance her cultural competency and establish her counseling identity to better serve these marginalized populations.
Abrams, who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Vassar College in 2016, said the NBCC fellowship experience will allow her to better serve underserved populations by attending counseling conferences and related trainings.
“In addition to providing financial support, the fellowship will allow me to expand my professional identity and competency as a clinical mental health counselor,” she said. “The NBCC fellowship involves mentorship and educational training that will supplement my education within App State’s CMHC program, enhancing my ability to provide effective counseling services to diverse populations.”
After graduating from Appalachian, Abrams intends to work in addictions counseling with individuals with marginalized identities and those who have limited access to mental health services. She plans to use a holistic wellness approach while working primarily with women from rural communities who have experienced trauma.
This fall, Abrams will engage in a supervised practicum in Appalachian’s Department of Wellness and Prevention Services.
The foundation plans to open the next NBCC MFP-AC application period in fall 2020. Learn more about the NBCC MFP-AC and its fellows.
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About the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling
The Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling in Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education is responsible for organizing and providing instructional programs in counseling and other human development functions for public schools, colleges and universities and various agencies. The department offers Master of Arts degrees in clinical mental health counseling, professional school counseling, student affairs administration and marriage and family therapy. Learn more at https://hpc.appstate.edu.
About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.