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Inaugural fellowship opens doors for research
Melissa Wylie / Senior Staff Writer
Counseling doctoral student Kara Hurt has been chosen for a one-year research fellowship within the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
Hurt is one of two nationally selected graduate students to complete collaborative research in counseling, which will begin this month and finish in December.
This is the first Research Initiative for Graduate Students Fellowship to be awarded by CACREP.
“CACREP decided to start this fellowship so that more research could be developed about the effectiveness of CACREP and the role that it plays in counselor education,” Hurt said.
The UNT counseling curriculum is one of more than 600 CACREP accredited programs across the U.S., and the fellowship was only offered to students in accredited courses, Hurt said.
Hurt and her study partner, who is located in Syracuse, N.Y., are still unsure of what specific area of counseling they will be exploring, but she said CACREP has been supportive of their suggestions.
Hurt previously analyzed multicultural issues in public school systems, but she said she intends to focus on counselor professional identity development.
“The counseling field is pretty new,” Hurt said. “There are a lot of national laws that don’t yet recognize counselors as mental health service providers. I really want to be a part of advocating for the role of counselors in society.”
Even though this is not a stipend-based fellowship, there are monetary incentives for publishing results, writing manuscripts and presenting at state and national conferences, Hurt said.
According to CACREP, each fellow may earn a maximum of $1,750 through the public release of their research.
Counseling doctoral student Rochelle Ritzi is a member of Hurt’s doctoral group within the counseling program.
Ritzi said she and Hurt share similar research interests and hope Hurt will bring more awareness to their position as counselors.
Counseling doctoral student LaToya Smith is also a member of Hurt’s group.
“I believe she will represent us well and get our name out in the research field more and in a new way by receiving this fellowship,” Smith said. “I know that it will challenge her, but I have no doubt that she will rise to the challenge.”
Hurt said she was encouraged by her advisor, associate counseling professor Dr. Casey Barrio Minton, to apply for the fellowship.
“Kara showed a strong interest in professional development and accreditation processes,” Barrio Minton said. “We spent a little bit of time talking about her application materials and interviews, and I wrote a letter of recommendation, but all credit goes to Kara in navigating the fellowship application process.”
Hurt said she anticipates building more recognition for the UNT counseling program through her research.
“I hope that with this, people will recognize that a lot of meaningful research is coming out of our program,” Hurt said. “With the research fellowship, I want to be providing information to the field that helps propel it forward.”