In Focus: Courtney DeMarco
Congratulations on being awarded the Nassau Counselors’ Association 2015 Graduate Student Counselor Education award! Tell us a little bit more about what this means.
Words cannot describe what this means to me. I always try my hardest and do my best to stay humble. To be acknowledged and rewarded for my dedication and efforts throughout graduate school is an unreal feeling. I am really proud of myself and incredibly thankful for being awarded this scholarship.
Tell us about your background, what led you to be interested in the field of Counseling, and what attracted you to Hofstra’s program.
I have always loved talking with people and helping when I can. In high school, I took a psychology 101 class and became enamored with psychology. It was then that I decided I wanted to be a counselor so I could help people for the rest of my life. I went on to obtain my bachelor’s degree in psychology at Dowling College, with the plan already in mind that I would eventually attend graduate school. I fell in love with Hofstra when I came to the graduate open house and was overcome with this feeling of community amongst the faculty and students. I could not have made a better choice for graduate school.
Describe your experience working and studying with faculty in the Department of Counseling and Mental Health Professions.
The faculty at Hofstra is incredible. I have never met a group of professors who care more about their students. The professors in this program want you to succeed, and are always there for you when you are seeking advice or assistance. My first semester at Hofstra, I was blessed to have the opportunity to work for Dr. Laurie Johnson when I was asked to be her graduate assistant. I have learned so much from Dr. Johnson. She is truly inspiring, and I have been so grateful to be working for such a brilliant and prestigious woman.
Tell us about your relevant Practicum and Internship experiences and any other volunteer work you may be taking advantage of.
During my practicum, I worked with two twelve year old girls. The opportunity to have worked with the age group that I hope to work with in the future was an indescribable feeling. I could not believe the amount of progress I had made with one of the students over the course of the semester. My time in practicum has validated for me that I am undoubtedly in the right profession. This past semester, I also chose to volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island. I established such a close bond with my “little” in the program and she had such an impact on me, especially being a counselor in training. This upcoming Fall I will begin my internship in Valley Stream. I can’t wait begin!
What are your long term professional goals and how will the program help you reach them?
Upon graduating with my master’s degree this December, my hope is to become a school counselor in a middle school. I believe that so much development occurs within the school setting for children and adolescents, and I want to be the person that students feel comfortable coming to when they are in need of guidance. In the future, I plan to obtain my Advanced Certificate in Mental Health Counseling so that I can become a licensed mental health counselor as well. I have no doubt that I will achieve all that I hope to achieve, as Hofstra has helped me a great deal. Through my experience in practicum, counseling club, Chi Sigma Iota, and my position as a graduate assistant, my growth is prominent. I have become more comfortable in the counseling process, and I have gained notable confidence which I will continue to carry with me on my future job search and whatever I put my mind to.
What is your advice for prospective students looking for a degree in Counseling?
My biggest word of advice would be to get involved. Become a member of the Nassau Counselors’ Association and take advantage of Hofstra’s counseling club and Chi Sigma Iota. Being involved in these three organizations has been invaluable. I have made numerous friends who share the same interests and goals as I do, and I have learned so much from my peers as well as professionals in the field. And another word of advice: don’t forget to stay positive! The field of counseling is a competitive one, but definitely one of the most rewarding.