Student Awards

ACA Foundation 2018 Graduate Student Essay Competitions

Welcome to the ACA Foundation 2018 Graduate Student Essay Competitions! This program is available to ACA student members and administered by the ACA Foundation. Since its inception, the ACA Foundation has been a strong supporter of graduate students in counseling. From scholarship awards for attendance at the ACA Annual Conference and Expo, to supporting the Graduate Student/New Professional Center and special education events at the annual conference, the ACA Foundation has taken an active role in helping counseling students become more involved in this exciting and demanding profession.

The ACA Foundation 2018 Graduate Student Essay Competitions, including the Future School Counselors Essay Competition (sponsored by the Roland and Dorothy Ross Trust) and the Graduate Student Essay Competition (sponsored by Gerald and Marianne Corey and Allen and Mary Bradford Ivey), will operate according to the following calendar:

  • The online essay submission form will go live on Monday, October 2, 2017.
  • All essays must be received by January 9, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST.
  • Award recipients will announced by early February 2018.
  • Essay competition winners will be recognized at the National Awards ceremony at the ACA 2018 Conference & Expo  in Atlanta, Georgia.

Essay Competitions
Two competitions for ACA student members are being held: 

Corey/Ivey Tomorrow’s Counselor Essay Competition - Supported by Gerald and Marianne Corey and Allen and Mary Bradford Ivey (open to all ACA members enrolled in counseling-related graduate studies in the fall of 2017 at an accredited college or university). This competition is open to students preparing to work in mental health, private practice, community agency, agency, organization and related counseling settings.

Ross Trust Future School Counselors Essay Competition  - Supported by the Roland and Dorothy Ross Trust (open to all ACA members enrolled in counseling-related studies in the fall of 2017 at an accredited college or university) leading to a career as a professional school counselor at the elementary, middle, or high school level.

Eligibility and Competition Rules

Only ACA student members can participate in the essay competitions. Participants may enter only one of the two competitions. 
    
Competitions are open to master's and doctoral level students. You must be a currently enrolled student (fall semester/term  2017), taking one or more graduate level courses at an accredited college or university.

For the ACA Future School Counselors Essay Competition, you must certify that you are working toward a career as a professional school counselor at the elementary, middle or high school level. 

Essays are to be 500 words or less in length, addressing an appropriate  theme from the list below, and submitted via the online essay submission form below (emailed or mailed submissions will not be accepted) by January 8, 2018 at 11:59 PM, EST.  

Previous grand prize winners are not eligible, but runners up and honorable mentioned awardees may submit essays.

The decisions of the judges are final. All entrants, by the act of entering, grant the American Counseling Association and the ACA Foundation the right to publish their essay as part of the post-competition publicity in ACA’s Counseling Today magazine and on the ACA and ACA Foundation websites. There can be no substitution of prizes. 

Prizes

Corey/Ivey Graduate Student Essay Competition

Grand Prize Winner (1) - $500 grant, Complimentary registration to the ACA 2018 Conference & Expo, Publication of essay in Counseling Today

Runners-up (5) - $250 grant, Complimentary registration to the ACA 2018 Conference & Expo,

Honorable Mention (10) - Complimentary registration to the ACA 2018 Conference & Expo

Ross Trust Future School Counselors Essay Competition

Grand Prize Winner (1) - $500 grant, Complimentary registration to the ACA 2018 Conference & Expo, Publication of essay in Counseling Today

Runners-up (5) - $250 grant, Complimentary registration to the ACA 2018 Conference & Expo

Honorable Mention (10) - Complimentary registration to the ACA 2018 Conference & Expo

Essay Theme

ACA student members wishing to participate in either essay competition must address one of the following themes:

Option A

Essay applicants for either the Tomorrow’s Counselors Competition or the Future School Counselors Competition can answer the following question:

As a professional counselor, how would you promote openness and inclusion in your work? Furthermore, how would you reach out and support under-served and underrepresented clients?

OR

Option B

Essay applicants should respond to the appropriate theme below:

Corey/Ivey Tomorrow's Counselors Competition

Strategies professional counselors can employ in addressing the current opiod crisis in America

Ross Trust / Future School Counselors Competition

The role of the professional school counselors in promoting career and college readiness with under-served and underrepresented students

 

Only one essay can be submitted. It is recommended that you write your essay in the program of choice and then copy and paste it into the online submission form below.  Please retain a copy of your essay in case there is a problem in transmission of your entry. Neither ACA nor the ACA Foundation is responsible if an entry does not reach us. Essay length is limited to 500 words. Entry deadline is 11:59 pm EST on January 8, 2018. 


Click here to read the 2017 grand prize winning essays.

Judging

All entries will be read by a team of experienced professional counselors and evaluated with respect to how effectively the essay addresses the subject and offers provocative insights into the profession of counseling and its future. Judges will want to see ideas well explained and supported, but will also be evaluating how effectively the essayist presented his/her view and how interesting that position will be seen by the counseling community at large.

Judging will be completed by late January so that winners can be notified in time to make plans to attend the ACA Conference & Expo, April 26-29 in Atlanta, Georgia. Grand prize and runners up winners will receive their grants at the ACA National Awards Ceremony.

Ready to enter? Complete the information requested on the entry form below and submit to ACA by January 8, 2018 at 11:59 pm, EST.

Contact Information

Questions? Email them to essaycontests@counseling.org.

Winners of the ACA Graduate Student Essay Competitions for 2017

The ACA Foundation Graduate Students Essay Competitions award winners for 2017 have been selected. Essayists this year were challenged to create a message for the new federal administration on the importance of supporting the counseling needs of the populace, and the counselors that provide these services in varied settings across the nation.

 Future School Counselor Essay Competition

 Grand Prize Winner (Award - $500 and complimentary 2017 conference registration)

  •  Mitra Ghandeharizadeh, Johns Hopkins University (MD)

 Runners Up (Award - $250 and complimentary 2017 ACA conference registration)

  • Trista Bruns, Plymouth State University (NH)
  • Jennifer Debevec, San Francisco State University (CA)
  • Katie Hanson, University of North Dakota (ND)
  • Claire Randall, Liberty University (VA)
  • Nicholas White, Alfred University (NY)

Honorable Mentions (Award - Complimentary 2017 ACA conference registration)

  • Megan Dunn, Monmouth University (NJ)
  • Jennifer Dwiggins, College of William & Mary (VA)
  • Jacqueline Iloh, Johns Hopkins University (MD)
  • Marcus Peerman, Virginia State University (VA)
  • Margaret Scally, Trinity Washington University (DC)
  • Austen Winkler, College of William & Mary (VA)
  • Rebecca Yellen, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi (TX)

Tomorrow’s Counselor Essay Competition

 

Grand Prize Winner  (Award - $500 and complimentary 2017 conference registration)

  •  Leah Culler, Antioch University – Seattle (WA)

 Runners Up (Award - $250 and complimentary 2017 ACA conference registration)

  • Jacqueline Barthelemy, Chicago School of Professional Psychology (IL)
  • Sam Colbert, Ball State University (IN)
  • Travis Kraemer, Western Seminary (OR)
  • Jeffrey Wilson, MidAmerica Nazarene University (KS)
  • Leah Yeomans, University of North Carolina – Charlotte (NC)

Honorable Mentions (Award - Complimentary 2017 ACA conference registration)

  • Brittany Bishop, Longwood University (VA)
  • Karen Cohen, National Louis University (IL)
  • Lauren Deasy, University of North Carolina – Charlotte (NC)
  • Jazmin Gonzalez, University of Texas at El Paso (TX)
  • Eleanor McAuliffe, University of New Orleans (LA)
  • Pneurissa Stamps, Chicago State University (IL)
  • Cassandra Riedy, Belmont University (TN)
  • Kasey Seltner, Neumann University (PA)
  • Angela Touchton, Lindsey Wilson College (KY)
  • Caleb Watkins,University of the Cumberlands (KY)

 The Grand Prize essays will be published in an upcoming edition of Counseling Today.

 

 




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Latest News

ACA Names Representatives to CDC Project

by User Not Found | Feb 27, 2014
Five expert members will contribute to the Safe and Supportive Schools Project, which will work with 19 state education agencies to promote the establishment of safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff as an approach to preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for adolescents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of the 19 million new sexually transmitted diseases reported each year occur in young people, ages 15-24. In 2010, young people, ages 13-24, accounted for 21 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S.

This alarming trend clearly indicates that a change is needed in the standard national approach to addressing human sexuality. As part of its mission to enhance the quality of life in society and promote respect for human dignity and diversity, ACA supports a proactive approach to youth health and wellbeing. That’s why we have partnered with the American Psychological Association (APA) to implement the Safe and Supportive Schools Project (SSSP). 

Funded by the CDC for a five-year period, SSSP will work with 19 state education agencies to promote the establishment of safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff as an approach to preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for adolescents.

ACA has selected five expert members who will review resources and provide implementation guidance for interventions that school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and school social workers can use in their districts.

Our representatives to the Safe and Supportive Schools Project are:

Vanessa Cantu, a school counselor at Besteiro Middle School in Brownsville, Texas.  Brownsville is currently the poorest city in the U.S. Consequently; Ms. Cantu works with many homeless students, as well as frequent drug users and students who are practicing unsafe sex.

Rick Gunsallus, PhD., who provides counseling services for schools in Broward County, Florida.  The county in which je works has the second highest number of new AIDS cases per capita in the U.S.  Dr. Gunsallus counsels homeless students, ESL students, and GLBTQ students.

Brian Law, a school counselor at Valdosta high School in Valdosta, Georgia. Mr. Law’s school has a 40% migrant population. He also has experience working in a Title I school.

Patrick Ryan Mullen, a doctoral student in Counselor Education. His dissertation is focusing on school counseling. Mr. Ryan has served as chair of the School Counseling department at Journeys Academy, an alternative and Title I school in Sanford, Florida.

Amanda Rumsey, a school counselor at McLendon elementary School in Decatur, Georgia. Ms. Rumsey enrolled in the doctoral counselor education program at Georgia State University. She has developed school-wide interventions for at-risk students.

"We are proud to play a role in this progressive initiative,” said Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji, President of ACA.  “Facilitating empowerment for youth to make better decisions early in life, rather than solely focusing on problems after they manifest down the road, is and always will be one of the underlying values of our profession.”

For additional information about the project, please contact David Kaplan at dkaplan@counseling.org.