Graduate student wins state counseling award

Above, Traci Westin (back row, second from left) poses with faculty and students from the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation.  From the bottom left to right is Dr. Meredith Rausch, Dr. Margaux Brown, Ashley Jackson, Travis Keels. From top left to right is Matt Bestic, Traci Westin, Tracey Carter (LPCA Eastern District Co-Chair), Joshua Littleton , Alfredo Perez and Alana Fletcher.

AUGUSTA, GA. – Traci Westin, a graduate student at Augusta University, has been awarded the Georgia College Counseling Association’s Graduate Student President’s Award (2016-17).

“This is a huge honor and we are excited that she is being recognized. She is definitely deserving of the award as she has already demonstrated tremendous passion and advocacy for the profession,” said Dr. Richard Deaner, professor of counseling.

Westin has served as both a graduate assistant and practicum student at Student Counseling & Psychological Services at Augusta University since Fall 2015.

“Traci plays many roles at our center, including providing direct clinical services, coordinating and providing outreach events, and working directly with me in developing psychoeducational presentations,” said Dr. Mark Franklin Patishnock, director of Student Counseling & Psychological Services.

Westin’s academic success, and her work helping to provide comprehensive mental health services to students demonstrated her dedication to her future profession.

The award provides opportunities for Georgia students who are in masters, specialist, or doctoral level counseling or counseling related programs. Winners of the grant receive a $750 cash prize, and registration, travel and accommodations for the annual Georgia College Counseling Association conference.

Westin has previously presented at the NCAA Peachbelt Conference on the topic of stress management, and is developing a presentation to educate and empower faculty at our institution to respond appropriately to students in distress. And at the Georgia College Counseling Association conference on Jan. 25-27, Westin presented on Laughter Yoga and Creating a Positive Work Climate.

“She is highly respected and seen as equal to the full-time clinical staff members that comprise our team. She is one of the most hard-working, professional, and humble yet extremely competent student I have ever had the privilege to work alongside,” Patishnock said.

Westin is a second-year student in the Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in the College of Education’s Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation.

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