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My high-touch experience in the Master's in School Counseling program at Loyola University Maryland

Photo of Liz Burton

Elizabeth “Liz” Burton is a full-time student in the Master’s in School Counseling program at Loyola University Maryland. Burton, who is originally from Delaware, graduated from the University of Delaware with a business degree in hotel, restaurant, and institutional management. Burton, who always knew she wanted to work in a field centered around working with people, started out in property management before realizing teaching was her true passion.  

How does Loyola engage students?

Loyola engages students by regularly and consistently challenging them to get outside their comfort zone and look at new perspectives in the community and classroom. During my time at Loyola, I’ve learned and grown through opportunities like practicum, as well as frequent practice-based activities and active discussion in my weekly classes.

What do you like about the community at Loyola?

The passion and experience that the professors share in the school counseling program is what drew me to Loyola. It is apparent that the professors care about our success in the program and they are always willing to provide extra help or advice to students. 

What personal experiences have you had at Loyola?

This past semester I completed the practicum portion of the program at an elementary school in Baltimore county. So far, this has been one of the most positive experiences I have had. This gave me the opportunity to experience and better understand the role of a school counselor. I was able to apply the skills I learned at Loyola to the students in the classroom. However, since this was the first time I had been using these skills in the real world, I was nervous, but the Loyola faculty gave me the support I needed to succeed. 

Tell us about your graduate assistantship and how it has benefitted you.

I am a graduate assistant for Jenn Watkinson, Ph.D., in the school counseling program. As a graduate assistant, I receive financial assistance and had the opportunity to dive deeper into the school counseling profession by viewing the profession from a research standpoint. I have been a graduate assistant for a year so far and I have worked with Watkinson on a few different research projects she has been involved in. Watkinson, who has published many research articles in the past, has shown me what it takes to conduct research, analyze research, write an article, and work towards having the article published. I have been lucky enough to learn about and assist her in conducting each of these steps as she works towards writing future articles. 

I have found my graduate assistantship to be one of the most valuable parts of my Loyola experience. 

Grillo Family Fellows award: What is it? How did you win?

The Grillo Family Fellows award was established in May 2012 by Anthony and Elaine Grillo. Their daughter graduated from Loyola in 2008 and the family has been involved with Loyola ever since. Elaine Grillo is a former elementary school teacher, so she has special interest in the School of Education. The purpose of this fellowship is to provide financial support for graduate students working with faculty on research and scholarship within the School of Education. Watkinson nominated me for this and I was ultimately awarded the fellowship by the dean of the School of Education in consultation with the director of financial aid. 

Tell us about your upcoming presentation with Jenn Watkinson, Ph.D., director of school counseling.

We recently found out that we have been accepted to present at the Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference (EBSCC). The conference will be held at the University of Columbus, Ohio in March. Our presentation is titled “Mindfulness Approach to Supervision,” and will focus on how counselors in training experience mindfulness as an approach to supervision. We address how it is common for counselors in training to experience anxiety throughout this learning process, specifically anxiety related to the ambiguity associated with applying their skills in a practicum or internship setting. We examine how the use of mindfulness with supervision can help counselors in training manage this anxiety and use it as part of the learning process. 

Learn more about the Master’s in School Counseling programs. Applications are accepted for a fall or spring start each year.