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Illuminating the Loyola Difference: CRISP Scholars' Passion for Counseling Underserved Students

Students stand in front of the Loyola Graduate Center in Timonium Maryland

In the realm of education, there is a unique scholarship that is igniting change and fostering passion in the hearts of future counselors. Loyola University Maryland's School Counseling Scholarship, known as CRISP (Culturally Responsive and Inclusive School-Counselor Preparation), is a beacon of hope for students seeking to make a difference in the lives of underserved students.

Loyola’s School Counseling Program in the School of Education was recently awarded a $3.3 million School-Based Mental Health Services Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant provides urgently needed resources to increase students’ access to school-based mental health services by increasing the number of qualified and culturally responsive mental health counselors working in K-12 schools.

The 5-year collaborative grant will have a transformational impact on the School Counseling program, Loyola, and BCPS. In this blog, we'll explore the common threads that bind CRISP Scholars together: a shared commitment to serving underserved communities and a fervent passion for the field of counseling.

The CRISP Experience: A Journey of Empowerment

CRISP Scholars are drawn to this unique experience for diverse reasons, but at its core, their shared goal is to empower and uplift underserved students. They see the opportunity to work in high-need schools as a chance to bridge gaps and offer much-needed support. As Melissa McGee, a CRISP Scholar, puts it, "I wanted to be a CRISP scholar because I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with students in high-needs schools. I'm passionate about working with this population because I can relate to some of the problems that they're dealing with. I just really want to make a difference." Mya King adds, “the knowledge is super transferable and applicable to the population that I'm going to be working with."

The Call to Counseling: A Common Purpose

Each CRISP Scholar has a unique story, but what unites them is a deep-rooted passion for the field of counseling. Whether they come from diverse backgrounds or have personal experiences that drive them, their common purpose is to support and empower students. As Brandi Grier, another CRISP Scholar, articulates, "The reason I want to work in counseling is because I graduated from a high-needs school in an underprivileged community. I feel that I was more successful than some of my peers because I had family support and friends who were really motivated."

Unforeseen Discoveries: Enriching the Journey

The CRISP experience often brings unforeseen revelations that enrich the scholars' educational journey. Suzane Glavaris’ reflection on her time in the program echoes the sentiment shared by many: "Before going into counseling, I heard about the challenges and difficulties that children might face, but I think I didn't realize how deep these challenges were. This was very eye-opening to me and pushed me to want to get out of my comfort zone."

Connecting and Supporting: The Loyola Difference

CRISP Scholars have not only discovered their passion for counseling but have also found a profound sense of community and support at Loyola University Maryland. This tightly knit network enhances their educational journey and creates a supportive environment for personal and professional growth.

When speaking about the Loyola difference, Allar Nesmith Miller highlights, "it’s the Loyola community. The professors and teachers want us to succeed. It's not competitive or intimidating. All the students are there for the same goal and genuinely want to support each other." Madeline Christopher concurs, "How kind and caring everyone is! Professors, students, and all the admins are really supportive and try their hardest to give us the best experience while we're here." 

The CRISP Scholars at Loyola University Maryland are united by their passion for serving underserved students and their dedication to the field of counseling. Their journey, enriched by the unique CRISP scholarship and the unwavering support of the Loyola community, is a testament to the impact a committed network can make in the lives of students. These scholars are poised to create transformative change in the field of education, and we eagerly await the positive impact they will make in the lives of underserved students and the broader school community.

You can become a CRISP scholar and make a difference in the lives of students. Learn more and apply at