Meet Marissa: Counseling psychology

"WMU faculty prioritize wellness and are always there to listen to you and assist you in any way possible because they want to see you succeed."

  • How did you become interested in the counseling psychology program?

    I was specifically interested in this program because I knew that I wanted to specialize as a counseling therapist, and I felt WMU's program really fit all of my needs and what I was looking for. It's also an accredited university, which is super important going into my field.

  • Why WMU?

    When I was doing my research on different programs in the state, I was just drawn to WMU for multiple reasons. I really like the city of Kalamazoo and I was looking forward to exploring that. I had also heard a lot of good things about Western as a university, as a whole. 

  • What are you going to be doing as a graduate assistant?

    Next semester I will be working with Dr. Elizabeth Isidro at the McGinnis Reading Center and Clinic in the Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies. As a graduate assistant, I will be helping run the tutoring that happens on weeknights. And it's a great opportunity for undergraduate students in the Education Department to get that one on one experience with the kids. I'm super excited because it's a great program for local children that are in need of tutoring and also a great experience for the undergraduate students. 

  • What has your experience been like with your advisor?

    Working with Dr. Selena Protacio this semester as her graduate assistant has just been an incredible experience. She is so kind and understanding and sees the best in everyone.I'm so grateful that she helped me get in connection with Dr. Elizabeth Isidro at the McGinnis Reading Center and Clinic. Dr. Isidro is another great, great individual, and I'm super excited to work with both of them. They're kind, they're understanding and they want the best for everyone.

  • What has your experience been like with CECP faculty?

    When it comes to working with the CECP faculty, I have had a very pleasant experience. I have felt considered as a human, you know, going through these graduate courses. They prioritize wellness, communication and are always there to listen to you and assist you in any way possible because they want to see you succeed. With that, I also feel pushed to continue learning and striving to be the best clinician I can be in the field. 

  • Can you describe the benefits of your assitantship?

    I was blown away with the benefits that come with this particular graduate assistantship. I was able to have up to nine credits of tuition reimbursed to me as well as a stipend on top of that. It has really helped me with, you know, day to day finances. And it's great because I get an employee parking pass and as a student, that's a huge benefit. 

  • What is the best way to find an assistantship?

    The process for finding graduate assistantships starts early in the semester. They are usually posted on the WMU Handshake page. It's super easy to apply through that. But yeah, it's definitely an early process, so I recommend starting it as soon as you can.

  • Any advice for students applying for assistantships?

    Many of the graduate assistantships are filled early in the semester and usually filled internally by someone that makes a connection within the program with the faculty.  So that's why it's really important to network with the faculty. And I have felt extremely comfortable doing that. That's how I got my first graduate assistantship just getting to know everyone and kind of putting my foot in the door with the faculty here and they want to help you.

Counseling psychology at WMU

WMU's M.A. in Counseling Psychology provides, beyond the departmental required core course work, a focus on psychopathology, psychological assessment, counseling and psychotherapy theories and practices and practicum experiences. The program emphasizes and prepares students to offer services in a variety of mental health settings and is designed for students seeking limited licensure as a psychologist in the State of Michigan.

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