The UNI counseling program works to prepare students for the counseling workforce. The program prides itself on the success of its students, both upon graduation and for long-term success. The students and alumni below can attest to the role the UNI counseling program has played in their successful career.
-Group of Second-year School Counseling Students attending ISCA Conference2019
Sam Galema (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
"The UNI counseling program has influenced my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Being a part of this program has allowed me to become involved in mental health advocacy, challenged my personal values, and developed my understandings as a professional. I was challenged, supported, and encouraged by staff and students alike throughout my time at UNI. Every challenge faced within the counseling program was well worth the outcome. This program has provided me with many different experiences, friendships, and opportunities to improve myself in many different ways and I am very thankful."
Sarah Elm (School Counseling)
“The UNI Counseling Program has encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and seek opportunities beyond the classroom. The classes have been challenging and rigorous yet hands-on and useful. The coursework promotes self-exploration which has pushed me to truly understand the type of counselor I was meant to become. As a school counselor, I have taken many classes with my clinical mental health counterparts which has forced me to look at issues from a different perspective and grow my skills. Although the coursework is imperative, I have found my true passion for advocacy and leadership by being involved in the Iowa School Counselor Association as the School Counseling Student Chair. Everyone’s journey throughout the program is unique and I have discovered the necessity of being a lifelong learner.”
Abigail Van Patten (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
"UNI's clinical mental health counseling program has been both challenging and extremely rewarding. Having only been a part of the program for a short amount of time, I can honestly say that I'm not the same person I was when I started. The program is helping me come to know myself as a person and as a future counselor. The greatest part about attending here is that you're constantly supported by the amazing professors and fellow students that make up the program. Every moment I spend in class with my peers, I become even more excited and certain that the counseling profession is the best fit for me. The program truly is what you make of it and has been an experience that I will forever cherish."
Luke Polzin (School Counseling)
"I am proud to be a current student of UNI’s school counseling program! In only one semester, I have developed effective foundational therapeutic skills while also gaining an extensive understanding of the counseling profession. The classes continually challenge my thinking through rich-discussion among cohort members and the use of interactive technology to further develop essential skills. I couldn’t thank the caring faculty and inclusive cohort experience enough for insuring that I was supported every step of the way during my transition to a new university. Looking forward, I am confident that I will be able to walk away from this program feeling competent, educated, and passionate about making a change in any community that I may serve in!"
Susan Langan (School Counseling)
“The UNI professors stressed the importance of having a developmental comprehensive school counseling program and gave us the necessary tools to be effective and make a difference with ALL students. I am honored to also have worked with many UNI practicum students over the years. It is exciting to watch them apply the skills they learned in the program and help them get jobs in our great profession!! It is especially fun to connect with them at our state ISCA (Iowa School Counselor Conference) each year.”
Experience: Susan graduated from the UNI Counseling program in 1992. She began her school counseling career at the elementary level and also worked for a year in the middle school. She has been at Cedar Falls High School for the last 22 years.
Amanda Schara (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
“I always tell everyone that the three year counseling program at UNI is like hitting the fast forward button on your personal self-growth. Through the program content, experienced professors, and a supportive cohort, I was challenged to push myself in multiple areas to become a more rounded individual. This had a dramatic impact on my success as a counselor during and after the program. After graduation, not only was I prepared to diagnose and treat a variety of populations, but I walked away with confidence knowing I had the knowledge and the experience to be able to be an effective counselor.”
Experience: Amanda Schara completed her training at University of Northern Iowa, where she received a Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling in 2005. After receiving her degree, Mrs. Schara worked as a counselor at UnityPoint (at that time known as Iowa Health System) Allen Employee Assistance Program for 7 years. She then moved to Southeast Iowa where she did private practice at Family Behavioral Healthcare of Iowa. In 2013, Mrs. Schara returned to the Cedar Valley and worked as the Outpatient Substance Abuse/Mental Health Manager at Pathways Behavioral Services in Waterloo. Mrs. Schara is currently the Manager of UnityPoint Allen Employee Assistance Program.
Rebecca Lins (School Counseling)
“I attended the UNI Counseling program during 2004 – 2006! I loved learning from the professors/supervisors and collaborating with students in my cohort! Overall, I had a great experience, although challenging and rigorous, the program well prepared me for the field. I do not believe any graduate program can prepare you perfectly; there are always variables and situational differences for any district and school. However, as you uphold standards and expectations in the program, you learn flexibility, problem solving, resiliency, adaptability, and how to utilize resources…those characteristics create success wherever you are!”
Experience: Rebecca graduated in 2006. From there, she began her professional experience with Des Moines Public Schools as an elementary school counselor for Greenwood and Howe Elementary. She spent the next 3 years as a school counselor for Bunger Middle School in the Waterloo Community School District. Her dream to give back to the Cedar Falls district came true in 2010. She returned to Cedar Falls and is currently serving as a junior high counselor at Peet Junior High! For the last 5 years, Rebecca continued collaboration with stakeholders, built various student leadership groups from the ground up, and have begun work on district and state-wide committees. She is a part of the Building Leadership Team, Superintendent's Advisory Committee, as well as ISCA’s Advocacy and Government Relations Committee. Rebecca is in her 4th year of serving as a Practicum/Internship Supervisor for UNI! This Fall, she was awarded ISCA’s 2015 Junior High/Middle School Counselor of the Year.
Katie Strub (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
“I very much enjoyed my time at UNI. I had a great cohort and keep in touch with, and refer children to, many of them still. I think it is important to learn and practice clinical skills, diagnosis, and different theoretical approaches BEFORE entering a job in the field and I was very well prepared from my practicum and internship experiences. I highly recommend this program to anyone who knows their career goal is counseling.”
Experience: Katie graduated from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at UNI in 2007. She worked during the program and a couple years after doing child and family counseling at a Psychiatric Medical Institution for Children (PMIC). After that, Katie worked for the Department of Human Services for two years. In 2010, she began working for the Allen Child Protection Center, a Children's Advocacy Center, where she is a forensic interviewer. She conducts interviews of children and dependent adults who are the suspected victims of abuse or who have witnessed crime for law enforcement and DHS. Katie uses many counseling skills, knowledge of child development, and family engagement for a different purpose than "traditional counseling."
Quinn Bullis (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
“The thing I valued most about my three years in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program was the way my professors and classmates challenged me to look at problems and people in a new light. Growing personally on so many levels made me into a more complete, competent, patient, and empathic person and clinician. The program also provided me multiple opportunities to take part in leadership roles, helping me develop confidence and improve assertiveness skills.”
Experience: Since graduating from the program in 2014, Quinn has been working as a School-Based Therapist, working with children and families struggling with a wide variety of mental health concerns. Working with children was not exactly where he anticipated being right out of grad-school, but in doing so he has a greater understanding of how mental health issues develop and progress throughout the lifespan. Being able to intervene early on has been incredibly rewarding.
Kayla Selby (School Counseling)
"In my first day of the counseling program, I remember being told that this program would change you. Looking back, I think that the word "change" was an understatement. In my 2 1/2 years in the counseling program, I experienced more self-growth than I have in my entire life. This program challenges you in ways that you have never been challenged, makes you think in ways that you have never had to think, and forces you to to be uncomfortable while exploring your own personal biases and prejudices. Although my classes were extremely valuable, I would not change my experiences in my practicum & internship for anything. I don't think there is ever a way to be completely prepared for this career, but I feel that UNI got me as close as possible.
Experience: Kayla Selby completed her masters degree at the University of Northern Iowa in School Counseling in 2014. She is now in her second year as a 7-12th grade school counselor in Earlham, a small school west of Des Moines.
Eric Eittreim (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
“Being a part of the counseling program here at UNI was challenging, exciting, and a very rewarding experience for me. The program helped me come to know myself extensively as a person, substantially influencing my development as a counseling professional. The friends and relationships created here will become great resources for consulting and support throughout the program and into your future career. A great part about attending here is that you have the opportunity to make your own experience and be as involved as you would like to be inside and outside of the program, on campus, and in the community."
Experience: Eric Eittreim graduated from the UNI Counseling program in 2017. He began his professional career working as a contracted employee for UNI at the Counseling Center on campus. Currently, Eric is a full-time Mental Health Therapist at the UNI Counseling Center doing individual, group, and couples counseling. He also participates in Outreach events on campus and in the community representing the UNI Counseling Center.