Student Awards

ACAF 2014 Graduate Student Essay Competitions Winners Announced

The 2014 ACA Foundation Graduate Student Essay competitions have come to a close and the 32 winning essayists are identified below. A record 400 essays were submitted for the annual competition, exceeding the 2013 entries by 139 essays.

ACA student members were competing for prizes in two essay competitions, 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). Formal recognition of the winning essayists will take place at the ACA Conference and Exposition, March 27-30, 2014 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Gerald and Marianne Corey and Allen and Mary Bradford Ivey Graduate Student Essay Competition

Grand Prize Winner:  Everett Painter, University of Tennessee

Runners-up: (in alphabetical order)

  • Brad Carmichael, Old Dominion University
  • Julia Olson, Regis University
  • Sara Pomerantz, University of Vermont
  • Erin Wenzel, Antioch University Seattle
  • Tanya Willson, Barry University  

Honorable Mentions: (in alphabetical order)

  • Saihba Ali, Southern Methodist University
  • Elizabeth Ballenski, Colorado Christian University
  • Alice Boertje, Concordia University Chicago
  • Justin Cook, Missouri State University
  • David Ray Dingus, Lindsey Wilson College
  • Eric Esters, Argosy University
  • Katherine Kingra, Husson University
  • Arnold P. Sprague, University of Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • Justin Trout, Lindsey Wilson College
  • Lorilee Virnig, St. Mary’s of Minnesota

Roland and Dorothy Ross Trust Graduate Student Essay for Future School Counselors

Grand Prize Winner:  Claire Nawojchik, University of Virginia

Runners-up: (in alphabetical order)

  • Mary Feamster, Appalachian State University
  • Miranda Pool, Vanderbilt University
  • Laura Preston, Campbell University
  • Danielle Sheppard, Northeastern Illinois University
  • MaryBeth Yeaman, Purdue University

Honorable Mentions: (in alphabetical order)

  • Emily Bess, University of Virginia
  • Sisi L. Chen, University of Rochester Warner School of Education
  • Emily R. Hess, The George Washington University
  • Norma Leaf, Johns Hopkins University
  • Holly Shepherd, University of Virginia
  • Joe Murphy, Jr., University of Tennessee
  • Amanda Shapiro, Purdue University
  • Kristin Studle, Eastern Kentucky University
  • Tyler W. Wasson, Northwest Nazarene University
  • Jessie Youngblood, University of Northern Colorado

 

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Latest News

ACA Names Representatives to CDC Project

by Amber McLaughlin | 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.