Student News

School counseling graduate students take second and third place at the NCSCA fall conference

Two groups of current graduate students in the Master of Education program in School Counseling participated in the poster session at the North Carolina School Counselor Association Annual Fall Conference, Nov. 4-6, 2009. The groups took second and third place in the poster competition, which was held at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C.

The team taking second place included M.Ed. students Elizabeth White, Kerel Pinder and Luuly Thai. Their presentation, titled “Addressing Academic Self-Efficacy,” focused on self-efficacy and how it affects K-12 students’ academic achievement. They emphasized the importance of students’ self-regulation of time, materials and the environment, and pointed out that counselors are in a unique position to model persistence and self-confidence. The goal of the presentation was to highlight resources that counseling professionals can use in communicating with teachers, parents and students.            

The team taking third place consisted of students Barbie Green and Aniesha Jackson. Their presentation, titled “Why Bother? Motivating Students Who Don’t Care,” sought to identify tools to help teachers and school counselors work with unmotivated students so that these students may reach their fullest potential. The student researchers interviewed 34 ninth graders from Apex High School in Wake County, N.C. They identified the top five reasons for lack of motivation as reported by the high school students: students have other things on their mind; classes are boring; classes are not engaging; lessons are not applicable outside of school; and students say they have better things to do. The researchers suggested numerous strategies for teachers and counselors to use in motivating students, such as including engaging activities in class, providing time to complete work at school and communicating their care and concern to the students.

Both groups used a variety of resources, including Strengths-Based School Counseling: Promoting Student Development and Achievement, a book by John Galassi and Patrick Akos, both of whom serve on the faculty of the School Counseling program.

“Our faculty is extremely proud of our students’ engagement in research and in our professional association, especially while balancing a heavy course and clinical load,” said Associate Professor Akos, who coordinates the School Counseling program. “We have built an intentional focus on academic development in our program, and it is satisfying to see how they are translating their experiences into practical ways to help K-12 students achieve and thrive.”

Furthermore, he noted, “It is extraordinary that they are demonstrating leadership this early in our program, and we plan to continue to nurture it.”