First time freshmen, transfer students and students who wish to apply for associate or bachelor’s degree programs.
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Adult learners applying to our online undergraduate or graduate degree programs.
Program of the Month Q&A: CMHC Student Jan Pelletiernext
Jan Pelletier is in her last year of the clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) program at Medaille College. An online student who currently resides in South Carolina, she chose Medaille because of the strength of the program and because it follows New York State requirements, which are among the most stringent for certification. Since Pelletier moves frequently due to her husband’s work, she likes that the high requirements make it easier to transfer licensure to another state if needed.
What led to your decision to pursue a CMHC degree?
I was volunteering as a mentor in an inner-city elementary school, working with young girls who were suffering from symptoms of childhood trauma. I noticed how a small bit of encouragement and advocacy had such a positive impact on them, and a long-held dream of mine to become a clinician was reignited.
Describe your experience in the online CMHC program. What stands out or has been a favorite aspect?
As a student in the online CMHC program at Medaille, I have been with the same group of students in a cohort since our first course in September 2015. I had no concept of how online learning would unfold. I took a leap of faith in Medaille’s endorsement of the approach, and also sought out positive outcomes from scientific studies of asynchronous learning. The biggest surprise of this experience has also been my favorite aspect: I appreciate each of my cohort members, the experiences and perspectives they represent, and the value they add to my learning.
What types of things have you learned about yourself and your career goals from your studies?
The CMHC program asserts a strong aspect of the effects of culture and society on mental health, mental illness and mental health services. I learned how passionate I am about cultural equity and personal awareness. This understanding is key to developing mental health services that are more responsive to the cultural and social contexts of racial and ethnic minorities. I learned that by respecting and approaching clients from their unique cultural context, I am not only practicing ethically and morally, but I am also contributing to the greater good of society.
What is the best advice you have received from a CMHC faculty member?
As the mother of two children, the supportive wife of a partner with a demanding career, the loyal daughter of aging parents and a dedicated Medaille student, it is very easy and natural to place my needs behind the needs of others. I have had consistent guidance and encouragement from both professor Michele Bauman and Dr. Donald Nowak to allow and value self-care. Self-care is considered to be an important aspect of resiliency; those who are able to adequately meet personal needs are often able to better cope with everyday stressors. Adopting this practice makes us better partners, caregivers, students and professionals.
What would you like to do with your degree after you graduate?
The next step after graduation is to gain licensure (to be a Licensed Professional Counselor) in South Carolina. I would love to continue the work I am doing in my internship, which is trauma-informed care for children, adolescents and their caretakers.
What advice would you give to current undergraduate students or those trying to decide on a major/degree?
A series of small goals, one after the next, can lead you to a big success. If committing to a program seems too overwhelming, break it down into smaller benchmarks. Focus on and commit to each piece. This will relieve some of the pressure of committing to the whole. Listen for negative self-speak and challenge it with a positive re-frame. Each accomplished goal will build your confidence for the next challenge. Push through the challenges and nothing will stop you!
Medaille professor Dr. Keith Klostermann has been selected to receive the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors Member Research Award.
CMHC alumna Lynn Lauria uses the information and skills she learned in the Medaille program every day in working with her clients.
Clinical mental health counseling student Jan Pelletier discusses why she chose Medaille and what has made the experience so positive.
Students from Medaille's student-run campus radio station, WMCB The Fuze, were recently interviewed on WBFO radio.
Enjoy highlights from Medaille’s Program of the Month focus on students, faculty and alumni from the College's English program.