Program of the Month Q&A: CMHC Student Jan Pelletier
Jan Pelletier is in her last year of the clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) program at Medaille College. An online student who currently resides in South Carolina, she chose Medaille because of the strength of the program and because it follows New York State requirements, which are among the most stringent for certification. Since Pelletier moves frequently due to her husband’s work, she likes that the high requirements make it easier to transfer licensure to another state if needed.
What led to your decision to pursue a CMHC degree?
I was volunteering as a mentor in an inner-city elementary school, working with young girls who were suffering from symptoms of childhood trauma. I noticed how a small bit of encouragement and advocacy had such a positive impact on them, and a long-held dream of mine to become a clinician was reignited.
Describe your experience in the online CMHC program. What stands out or has been a favorite aspect?
As a student in the online CMHC program at Medaille, I have been with the same group of students in a cohort since our first course in September 2015. I had no concept of how online learning would unfold. I took a leap of faith in Medaille’s endorsement of the approach, and also sought out positive outcomes from scientific studies of asynchronous learning. The biggest surprise of this experience has also been my favorite aspect: I appreciate each of my cohort members, the experiences and perspectives they represent, and the value they add to my learning.
What types of things have you learned about yourself and your career goals from your studies?
The CMHC program asserts a strong aspect of the effects of culture and society on mental health, mental illness and mental health services. I learned how passionate I am about cultural equity and personal awareness. This understanding is key to developing mental health services that are more responsive to the cultural and social contexts of racial and ethnic minorities. I learned that by respecting and approaching clients from their unique cultural context, I am not only practicing ethically and morally, but I am also contributing to the greater good of society.
What is the best advice you have received from a CMHC faculty member?
As the mother of two children, the supportive wife of a partner with a demanding career, the loyal daughter of aging parents and a dedicated Medaille student, it is very easy and natural to place my needs behind the needs of others. I have had consistent guidance and encouragement from both professor Michele Bauman and Dr. Donald Nowak to allow and value self-care. Self-care is considered to be an important aspect of resiliency; those who are able to adequately meet personal needs are often able to better cope with everyday stressors. Adopting this practice makes us better partners, caregivers, students and professionals.
What would you like to do with your degree after you graduate?
The next step after graduation is to gain licensure (to be a Licensed Professional Counselor) in South Carolina. I would love to continue the work I am doing in my internship, which is trauma-informed care for children, adolescents and their caretakers.
What advice would you give to current undergraduate students or those trying to decide on a major/degree?
A series of small goals, one after the next, can lead you to a big success. If committing to a program seems too overwhelming, break it down into smaller benchmarks. Focus on and commit to each piece. This will relieve some of the pressure of committing to the whole. Listen for negative self-speak and challenge it with a positive re-frame. Each accomplished goal will build your confidence for the next challenge. Push through the challenges and nothing will stop you!
Medaille Partners With Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications to Offer New Opportunities to Communication StudentsMedaille has signed three agreements with the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University — a 4+1 program, a 3+1 program and a 30% scholarship agreement — that will take effect immediately and will create new opportunities for communication students.
Medaille College Receives Say Yes Grant From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Expanding Support and Opportunities for Buffalo StudentsAs part of the newly established Buffalo College Success Network, Medaille is able to offer increased access, support and opportunities to students from the city of Buffalo, thanks to Say Yes Buffalo and a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This June, Associate Professor of English Dr. Alice Villaseñor participated in the “Activism and Empathy” Children’s Literature Association Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, speaking about her experiences teaching children’s literature courses in partnership with the Buffalo City Mission’s Literacy and Enrichment After-School Program (LEAP) Program.
Living out community as one of Medaille's core values, College administration, faculty and staff members gave back to the WNY community by volunteering at local organizations as part of 2019 Day of Service events held in Buffalo and Rochester.
Department of Education Chair Participates in the Council for Exceptional Children Leadership InstituteDepartment of Education Chair Dr. Colleen Wilkinson participated in the 2019 Council for Exceptional Children Leadership Institute in Washington D.C. earlier this month, and facilitated discussions about professional development opportunities for New York State educators.
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