Department Scholarship Awards

La’ Teia Randolph
Commonwealth of Virginia Graduate Tuition Assistance Award
As far as my career goals go as of now, I want to graduate with my masters and rehab and mental health counseling and obtain all of the required certifications and licenses to be an LPC. I do want to eventually work towards having my own private practice in the future, possibly returning to school to get a doctor in clinical psychology. This scholarship definitely made a difference in my life. I am a first generation college student that went through an experience that changed my entire life completely and as a result did not even think that I would return to complete my education. With things like this in place to help people like me, and paying for tuition and books to be able to go back to school and make something out of themselves is something that I cannot put into words. I am very grateful that I was chosen for the scholarship. It has helped in motivating me to be the best student that I can be.

Noura Ismaeil
Marjorie Howard Scholarship for Distance Education
My career goals are focused on developing a thriving private practice & becoming an advocate for minority access to mental health services. I have a keen interest in group counseling because I believe in the power of connection and healing as a way to create strong communities. My interest in trauma, ptsd, attachment theory and creativity are aspects of my professional identity that I'm looking forward to developing throughout my career. The Marjorie Howard Scholarship is such a gift as it offers me the financial support to study remotely and focus on my academic goals. I am honored to receive this scholarship as it makes the cost of graduate school more accessible which is something I hope to create for others as well.

Camryn Cross
Anne L. Chandler Scholarship
I am currently working for a non-profit that does professional development for underemployed, unemployed, and homeless women. This job only pays a small stipend but the work is so rewarding. Due to this scholarship, I don't have to forfeit my position at the non-profit for a higher paying job, and I can continue to do this rewarding work.

Rachel Banos-Diaz
Anne L. Chandler Scholarship
I am currently in my second semester studying to become a licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Florida. This award will help me pay for my summer classes, the additional classes necessary for the Florida Board requirements, and keep me on track to graduating on time. It also comes at a time during a difficult financial transition in my life, so this award has helped me immensely. I am incredibly thankful to VCU and the faculty of the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling department for the Anne L. Chandler Scholarship award.

Colleen Atilano
Blair Craig Memorial Scholarship
I plan to finish my certificate program in May and then work with children and adolescents in an outpatient setting. I stopped working as a school counselor in order to finish classes as quickly as possible. The scholarship really helped my family offset the cost of tuition.

Abigail Hopkins
AD Williams Scholarship Award
Counseling is a profession that has grown to be very important in my life and I am eager to become a Licensed Professional Counselor following my graduation from the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (RMHC) program at VCU. I am interested in working with people with disabilities and individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ from underserved areas to provide support that may be missing from their lives and create a more uplifting community. Throughout my experiences working with people with severe mental illnesses I have gained skills in listening, empathy, compassion, and patience, which are all essential aspects of a therapeutic relationship. These experiences have greatened my confidence in my career choice and as I continue to build knowledge and skills in this field, the more my passion grows. This award has given me the ability to reach my goals and relieve some financial stress that comes along with being a full-time student and part-time employee. The reason I am willing to put in so many of my hours working and going to school is because I recognize the importance of investing in my education and I am fully determined to overcome obstacles in order to reach my goal of becoming a counselor. The AD Williams Scholarship Award along with my dedication to the VCU RMHC Masters program will allow me the opportunity to eventually help others improve their mental health and quality of life, which is the most rewarding part of becoming a counselor.

Cloey Bibbs
Anne L. Chandler Scholarship
Once I graduate from this program and obtain my LPC license, I plan on starting a practice. Receiving this scholarship means a lot to me as an independent full-time student, because it not only helps with financial stress, but it shows that VCU cares and that they support their students. I have had experience where I had to stop going to counseling due to how much it costs, as well as experience with having affordable counseling, but with poor quality. I view mental health counseling as a necessity, not a luxury for only the middle-class population. Many people from underrepresented communities face severe mental health challenges every day and are forced to live with it alone due to the inaccessibility of mental health services. My goal is to extend these opportunities to those from low-income and underrepresented communities, and to ensure that everyone is receiving high quality services. It is great to see that colleges, like VCU, are dedicated to increasing diversity in their programs. As a result, this will help this practice consist of counselors with various backgrounds to best suit the rates of diversity that will be brought here in the future.

Brenna Denicola
The Marcia J. Lawton Quality of Life Scholarship and the Blair Craig Memorial Scholarship
Once I obtain my master's from VCU, I plan to become a licensed therapist and pursue additional training in Somatic Experiencing. I am passionate about working with individuals experiencing trauma and anxiety disorders. I am supporting myself through the program, and I already have substantial student loan debt from my undergraduate studies. Receiving these tuition assistance awards has made a big impact on my life because it alleviates some of my financial burden moving forward. To be recognized by the department for my efforts and commitment to the counseling profession also affirms for me that I am on the right path.

Marjan Habib
Commonwealth of Virginia Graduate Tuition Assistance Award
I am grateful to be a recipient of this award, as it has significantly eased the financial stress of pursuing a Master’s and allowed me more time focusing on my academic and professional goals. My hope is to make meaningful contributions to the mental health field by providing culturally-sensitive, compassionate, and accessible counseling. As a child of refugees myself, I hope to work with individuals who are immigrants and refugees to ease the acculturation process and ensure healthy adjustment in their new home country. This award allows me to be a step closer in achieving my dream.

Sonia Meyer
Commonwealth of Virginia Graduate Tuition Assistance Award 
I am very grateful to have received this award as this allows me to learn even more during my time in this program. I have been fortunate enough to be able to pursue research and volunteer opportunities as well as my classes and internship. This award has given me the space to learn more about careers in counseling and mental health that focus on international needs and disaster aid. I am excited to be able to pursue these interests more after graduation and hopefully be able to bring some of my experience back to this program in the future.

Naomi Othman
Marjorie Howard Scholarship for Distance Education and the Richard E. Hardy Scholarship
I am hoping to work in emergency services once I graduate from the program and receive my LPC. I have a passion for crisis counseling and helping bring up those who are at their lowest. Both of these awards have eased my financial burden as I am an independent full-time student. I no longer have to worry about textbook costs or tuition for summer classes- which I am endlessly thankful for.

Karen Melcho
Marcia J. Lawton Quality of Life Scholarship and the Blair Craig Memorial Scholarship
As I matriculate through the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program, my goal is to work with individuals who identify with substance use disorders. Receiving tuition assistance awards from the department not only let me know that VCU is supporting my efforts, but they also believe in me. These awards are helping me continue my volunteer work in the recovery community, as they are alleviating some of my financial stressors. The more I am able to freely give back, the more I gain in terms of experience, strength, and hope.

Fran Singson
Commonwealth of Virginia Graduate Tuition Assistance Award
When it comes to my career goals, first and foremost, my mission is to make mental health care accessible to all individuals—regardless of age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. Specifically, my goal is to provide accessible and quality care to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community in my native Virginia Beach, including my own Filipino-American community. I hope to establish an environment that not only provides culturally competent and accessible care to this target population, but also works to educate and inform individuals of all generations on the importance of a proactive approach to wellness.

This award makes a huge difference in my life, as it allows me to pursue my education while alleviating some of the financial burden from my family. I am grateful, as this award has allowed me to dedicate more time to take part in research opportunities; I hope that this will put me on the path of confronting intergenerational trauma and normalizing mental health literature that focuses on the Filipino-American community.

Taylor Davis
Commonwealth of Virginia Graduate Tuition Assistance Award
Once I obtain my master’s from VCU, I hope to move on to a clinical psychology PhD program to become a children's psychologist. This award has brought me one step closer to achieving my goals and solidified my reasons for pursuing this path. I moved to Virginia on my own and have been supporting myself through school so to be recognized for all my efforts has made me so grateful.

Abbey Maslyn
Anne L. Chandler Scholarship
A passion of mine is working to improve access to mental health services and holistic care for vulnerable populations. I work with adolescents in foster care and am able to develop programs and implement holistic treatment methods that include movement therapy, mindfulness, meditation, and art therapy. After I graduation I would like to continue to serve this population in a new capacity as a licensed therapist. This scholarship allows me to continue working with non-profit organizations that strive to increase access to care.