Counselor Education Program State’s Best

Left to right: Mississippi Counseling Association President Dr. Doug Copeland presents Delta State counseling faculty Dr. Mary Bess Pannel, Dr. Natasha Barnes, and Dr. Cat Vincent with the program of the year award on Nov. 7 at the association’s conference in Biloxi.


The Delta State University Counselor Education Program has been chosen as the College Counseling Program of the Year by the Mississippi Counseling Association. 

“We are extremely proud that our counseling program has received such recognition,” said Sally Zengaro, associate professor of psychology and division chair. “The faculty are dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to improve mental health resources and access to mental health care in the Delta and beyond. Faculty are committed to providing the best education possible to prepare our students to serve in their communities.”

Delta State was recognized during the opening session of the association’s conference in Biloxi on Nov. 7. Delta State faculty members Assistant Professor Dr. Natasha Barnes, Assistant Professor Dr. Cat Vincent, and student T. J. Hendrix presented a session entitled, “Is Wellness Part of Your Counselor Identity?” and Assistant Professor Dr. Mary Bess Pannel presented on “Creative Strategies for Advocating and Marketing Data-Driven School Counseling Practices.” Other Delta State students attended.

Left to right: Dr. Cat Vincent, Dr. Natasha Barnes, and student T. J. Hendrix pose during their presentation at the conference.

“It is always gratifying to see programs—and more importantly the faculty within those programs—recognized for their commitment to quality programming for students. Such is the case with our counselor education program,” added Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. “The entire faculty works as a cohesive whole to prepare quality counselors for the field, while also delivering outstanding professional service that benefits the greater good of the counseling profession community. I commend the faculty upon their receiving this worthy recognition.”

Delta State offers a psychology, an ME.d. in counseling, and an Ed.S. in counseling. The counseling master’s program prepares students to be clinical mental health counselors or school counselors. Graduate students participate in traditional coursework and extensive field experiences with clients in mental health settings and students in school settings. Delta State students also have opportunity to join Chi Sigma Iota, the international honor society for counseling. For 2016-17, 98 percent of the program’s students were hired as counselors within six months of graduation.

Other recognition the counseling program has received include being ranked No. 1 in the state in 2016 by And Dr. George Beals, assistant professor and graduate program coordinator, received the Janie G. Rugg Career Contributor award in 2016 from the Mississippi Counseling Association.

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