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Alumni Testimonials

Alumni testimonials, School Counseling

What do graduates of the School Counseling program think about their experiences at the University of Dayton? How are they making a difference in their communities? Read insights from our alumni below.

Share your story! School Counseling program alumni are encouraged to contact Layla Kurt.

Valerie Durkle
  • About me: The UD School Counseling program literally made my dreams come true. My professors and cohort-family rescued me from burnout and reignited my flame for making a difference. They helped me rediscover my professional purpose and propelled me toward a brighter future for myself and my family. Throughout the program, I learned just as much about myself personally as I did professionally, and I linked arms with fellow members of my cohort who continue to walk alongside me to this day. In many ways, UD did for me what I now do for my students. I am forever grateful to the School Counseling program at UD and the professors who elevated and empowered me to do what I love AND love what I do, every single day. Together we are changing the world, one child at a time.
  • How I'm making a difference in my community: The work of a School Counselor is unique because we get to work with all stakeholders in a child’s education. It’s a privilege to build bridges between students, teachers, families, the school, local community resources, and our world. I support the whole child by meeting students where they are and breaking down barriers for learning through one-on-one, small group, and classroom lessons. As the world shifts and evolves, I pivot to respond to the ever-changing needs of the children I serve. Monthly character lessons, building-wide service projects, classroom guidance activities, and solution-focused sessions aligned to ASCA Standards are just a few of the ways I facilitate positive change. I am responsible for maintaining the multi-tiered framework of support to address student needs and often facilitate academic and behavioral interventions at a variety of levels. I implement school-wide programs and partner with outside agencies to meet the needs of struggling families through outreach programs offering things like groceries, clothing, holiday assistance, financial support, and case management. I provide the glue that holds many kids and their families together.
Joey Marshall
  • About me: The School Counseling program at UD is truly the best. The professors provided me with the knowledge and skill set to establish my foundation as a school counselor — a foundation that began on the first day of class with my cohort. That foundation grew each semester, and supported me through practicum, internship, and licensure testing, making it possible for my cohort and me to walk across that stage on graduation day. This foundation continues to guide me in my profession today. The school counseling program has given me priceless learning experiences as well as friendships with cohort members and professors that will last a lifetime.
  • How I'm making a difference in my community: As the RISE (Restorative In-School Education)/ISS (In-School Suspension) coordinator at a high school, I am responsible for addressing the behavioral, emotional, and learning needs of students assigned to my room. We address these needs by engaging with students in pro-social and restorative interventions to support the student's self-awareness, self-management, and social and academic efficacy.
Molly McClenathan
  • About me: The University of Dayton School Counseling program helped me achieve my professional goals by offering the support and resources I needed! After graduating, I was ready to start my career with confidence. During my time at UD, I made many friends in my cohort that I still keep in touch with today! We often reach out to catch up, but also to collaborate professionally and network. Looking ahead, I will be earning my LPC through UD’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling licensure program. I am looking forward to having my LPC to better understand more about the mental illnesses of my students and be more effective when collaborating with clinicians that are working with them. I plan to continue my school counseling career and look forward to taking on a small caseload on the side, when I have my LPC!
  • How I'm making a difference in my community: As a school counselor, it's my role to help support students' academic, social/emotional, and college/career readiness needs. I meet my students' needs by hosting monthly lessons, small groups, individual counseling, read alouds, and school-wide initiatives. The topics I cover range from family changes to career exploration. I also offer sessions throughout the school year for parents called Coffee with the Counselor, where we discuss many topics including how to support your student academically and talking to your student about mental health. Throughout the school year, I host many school-wide initiatives including: Random Acts of Kindness Week, Bullying Prevention Month, No-Name Calling Week, and College and Career Week. I previously facilitated a college and career week for more than 1,200 students representing 32 different colleges and 10 professions.
Ernest L. White II
  • About me: I could have never imagined that I would have met so many amazing professionals while attending the University of Dayton School Counseling program. The professors at UD's Dublin, Ohio, branch truly have a passion for their students and the school counseling profession. The classroom environment provided me with an educational experience that I will value for the rest of my journey. The students in my cohort brought so many valuable experiences and information to our classroom discussions. The education I received has allowed me to provide support to the students and families that I service. As an “at-risk” youth, I experienced trauma at an early age. Thankfully, I was introduced to a professional counselor that gave me a voice at an early age, but he also planted a seed in my spirit to be an advocate for youth managing life’s challenges. The school counseling program provided me with the tools I needed to be a change agent in our future leaders in the educational setting.
  • How I'm making a difference in my community: I'm working in the education field as a school counselor, and am the first counselor in my district to head the Strategies for Intervention & Prevention Program (SIPP). The program was introduced during the 2019-20 school year, and was developed to proactively address the needs of students displaying “at-risk” behaviors (e.g., missing assignments, attendance issues, detentions, suspensions, etc.). The program's goal is to encourage positive behaviors and improve autonomy through the vehicle of establishing positive relationships and leadership habits. This concept aligns with restorative practices with the hopes of building a sense of community. As the SIPP counselor, I have the opportunity to proactively provide students the tools they need to build self-esteem, develop positive relationships, reduce disciplinary infractions, and reach academic success.

School Counseling Program

Fitz Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2962