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100 years of making an impact

OSU’s counseling program celebrates milestone anniversary

Oregon State offers three CACREP-accredited, graduate-level, part-time hybrid counseling programs designed for working professionals that feature in-person classes and online course work delivered by Oregon State Ecampus, a national leader in online education. View the 100-years of counselor education at Oregon State timeline PDF.

By Heather Doherty  
Dec. 8, 2017

One hundred years. A full century. That’s how long Oregon State University has made a commitment to training students to become world-class counselors who make a positive difference in the lives of others.

It’s a commitment that transformed the way counselors are educated, creating access nationwide through an innovative hybrid delivery method (in-person classes paired with online courses delivered by Oregon State Ecampus).

It’s a commitment that undoubtedly touches the lives of many, sending more than one thousand qualified counselors into the workforce in communities around the world.

Gideon Litherland, Ph.D. in Counseling student, explains his research at the 100-year anniversary event.

And it’s a commitment the university can be proud of, knowing that every degree granted is a door opened for not only the student, but also for those whom they serve.

“The kind of person who goes into this work is someone who is reflective and introspective and wondering, ‘How do I make my mark and make a difference within my community,’” says Ph.D. in Counseling student Gideon Litherland, who works as a mental health outpatient therapist in Chicago. “The social justice counseling framework within this program is what really resonated with me.”

To celebrate its legacy and give thanks to those who have contributed to the program’s continued success, the OSU College of Education hosted a 100-year anniversary event at the Wilsonville Training Center near Portland, Oregon, where in-person classes for hybrid programs are held.

“There are many people across this country who are in a counseling program somewhere, but how many people can say they were in the second counseling program in the country behind Harvard? We can. That’s a big deal.”

“There are many people across this country who are in a counseling program somewhere, but how many people can say they were in the second counseling program in the country behind Harvard? We can. That’s a big deal,” says 2015 Ph.D. in Counseling alumna Arien Muzacz, instructor and coordinator for the clinical mental health counseling option. “We’re part of such an incredible legacy.”

The event featured a professional development opportunity, a networking hour and poster presentation, and a catered dinner with remarks from various college leaders. Cass Dykeman, College of Education associate professor, concluded the night with a brief history lesson, noting the program’s first dive into distance education was back in 1932. Current and former faculty, students, alumni and their friends and family attended the milestone celebration.

Arien Muzacz, Ph.D. in Counseling alumna and coordinator of the clinical mental health option, presents her research during the celebration.

“To be able to celebrate an educational tradition that is about access to education with the hybrid model, and to be able to hear the narrative of how the program identifies and how it’s grown and evolved, that’s integral to my own buy-in as a new student,” Gideon says.

Oregon State offers three CACREP-accredited, graduate-level, part-time hybrid counseling programs designed for working professionals – Master of Counseling with an option in school counseling, Master of Counseling with an option in clinical mental health counseling and Ph.D. in Counseling – that feature in-person classes and online course work delivered by Oregon State Ecampus, a national leader in online education.

Each program prepares graduates with the credentials needed to succeed in the workforce and skills essential to providing effective counseling services for those in need.

Marinda Peters, who graduated in June 2017 with a Ph.D. in Counseling, decided to enroll with Oregon State so that she could further her career, continue helping children and do so while balancing work and family.

“The reality that I needed to be able to continue to work and balance my life was important, and this hybrid format allowed me to have access in a way that no other program was even close to allowing me,” she says.

Marinda was inspired to become a school counselor after witnessing firsthand the importance of a positive role model. As a 10-year-old, she looked up to her elementary school counselor who she says created a culture of acceptance and love.

“I’ve become a better school counselor because of my Ph.D. and because of the education I received here.”

“To be able to go to work every day and know that I’m making a difference, and to feel that difference and to see that growth, it really binds well with the passion that I have,” says Marinda Peters, Ph.D. in Counseling alumna.

“I didn’t have a lot of role models as a Latina professional, so her identity and what she brought to the school, as well as how she made the environment a better place for us as students, made me want to replicate that,” says Marinda, who also serves as an adjunct instructor in the counseling program at OSU-Cascades in Bend, Oregon.

“My passion is for the betterment of our society, and I truly believe that our young people are our future. If we can support them to be the best citizens they can be or the most successful they can be within their definition of success, I want to be a part of that,” she says.

Marinda works with more than 420 children as a middle school counselor in Forest Grove, Oregon, on issues ranging from the stress of applying for scholarships to suicide prevention. While a student in OSU’s Ph.D. program, she earned the prestigious title of the 2014 Oregon School Counselor of the Year from the Oregon School Counselor Association. By providing equitable and socially just services, Marinda aspires to create access for all children, no matter their background or experiences.

“To be able to go to work every day and know that I’m making a difference, and to feel that difference and to see that growth, it really binds well with the passion that I have,” she says.

“I’ve become a better school counselor because of my Ph.D. and because of the education I received here. I have a better theoretical base now and the skills I have are much more refined, and I serve my students better because of that.”

2 Comments

  • Paula says:

    This was such an inspiring story! Marinda sounds like the best of the best of counselors! As Marinda mentioned, she was inspired by her counselor, I can only imagine the many young children Marinda inspires! Sincerely, Paula Kahn

  • Shirley Pate says:

    Marinda,

    I am so proud of you and the work you are doing to move the school counseling profession forward. I love the fact that I have known you as a former high school student and later reconnected as a fellow school counselor in the same district. Your students are so fortunate to have you as their counselor.

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