In Focus: Stacie Mitchell '12
Tell us about your path to Hofstra University.
I knew while working as a peer mentor and tutor for College Assistance Migrant Program at West Texas A&M University as an undergraduate student that I wanted to work in higher education. I enjoyed working with the students one-on-one and helping to make a difference in their lives. As I learned more about the field of student affairs, it became clear to me that it was something I wanted to pursue. With my background in psychology and my interest in helping people change and grow, I knew that I wanted to attend a graduate program that was grounded in counseling theory but that also had a focus on college student development. Hofstra’s program gave me both of these.
What was it like moving to New York?
I relocated from Pittsburgh to attend graduate school at Hofstra. I’d been to visit New York City once before moving, but I was still really excited to live so close to the city and to be able to take a train there in less than 45 minutes. I grew up in the Panhandle of Texas, so living so close to such a big city was incredible and a little overwhelming. But living in Long Island first while attending Hofstra made it much easier to adjust, and after graduation, I moved to Manhattan!
What made you choose to apply to the M.S.Ed. in Counseling?
As I said above, I wanted a program rooted in counseling with a focus on working with college students in particular. College students go through so many changes in the four years they are in school and my goal as a counselor is to help them through those changes. I believed that the best way to prepare myself for that goal was to focus on learning counseling theory and skills.
What student organizations were you a member of at Hofstra?
I was a member of Counseling Club and Chi Sigma Iota and attended their meetings regularly. This helped me to make more connections in the field and also to learn more about it. In my last year of graduate school, I was Co-President of Chi Sigma Iota. It was a great leadership experience for me and was something I could proudly talk about in my job interviews and while networking. It also helped to create further connections in the counseling/student affairs field.
Did you encounter any inspiring faculty at Hofstra?
Dr. Johnson is very inspiring to work with. She really knows her stuff and will challenge you as a counselor. She teaches that if you want to be a counselor, you should be a counselor in all things, every day, and learn to really listen to others and show compassion. Learning to really listen to others is easier than it sounds, but a true counselor listens more than talks.
Have you found mentors among any of the faculty here?
I absolutely love Dr. Seirup! She’s an inspiration and has so much valuable experience in higher education. She is very knowledgeable in higher education administration while she herself has a background in counseling, which makes her a wealth of knowledge for those in the College
Student Development specialization. She’s a great professor who encourages discussion and professional development.
Tell us about your internship experiences.
I worked in my dream internship during my last year in the program. I went into the counseling program hoping to ultimately become a Career Counselor at a college or university, and being able to work as an intern at Hofstra’s Career Center ultimately made this dream a reality. The connections I made and the experience I gained there are what caused me to land my current job as a Career Counselor. I was able to counsel students individually and in groups on career development as well as develop three large student programs on social media and the job search. The experience I gained there gave me more confidence in my counseling skills and in my abilities as a Career Counselor.
How did your experience prepare you for your job search?
I believe that with my education, internship experience, leadership experience as Chi Sigma Iota Co-President, and my graduate assistantship in Residence Life, I was fully prepared for my job search and had many transferable skills within the field of counseling in student affairs. I know that the practicum experience along with my internship at Hofstra’s Career Center really helped to set me apart from other applicants, and I had a job offer before I even graduated! Now I am working as a Career Counselor at LIM College in Manhattan, and I couldn’t be happier!
How were you able to finance your education at Hofstra? Did you receive any scholarships or assistantships?
I was offered a graduate assistantship through the Office of Residential Programs at Hofstra. I had been working in Residence Life at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and with that experience I became an Assistant Resident Director at Hofstra. I was able to live on-campus for free as well as get 18 credits of tuition covered each year. I highly recommend looking at assistantship positions on Hofstra’s website and applying early (early spring through summer).
What advice would you give to others considering attending Hofstra?
Visit the campus and talk to the professors in the Counseling department. They all care so much for the students in the program. They will mentor you and guide you along the way so that you become a great counselor before you leave. You will become incredibly close to the people you take classes with as well. If you are truly meant to be a counselor, you won’t regret attending!