The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Produces 'Change Makers' Next Generation of Mental Health Professionals Earn Degrees
Washington, DC | November 01, 2022 06:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time
The next generation of mental health professionals - some 275 “change makers” were awarded master’s and doctoral degrees last Friday at two commencement ceremonies for the Washington, DC campus of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
The graduates enter a profession dealing with severe shortages at a time when experts say as many as one-in-five people in this country suffer from a mental disorder, and only half of those who need help can get it.
In addressing the graduates, Dr. Michele Nealon, Psy.D. President of The Chicago School, said “I hope that your time as a Chicago School student has lit a fire within you – a fire to provide empathetic support for those in need. I urge you to follow your passion for service as far as you can and to light the way for others.”
Joining Dr. Nealon in awarding diplomas was Dr. Donald Schultz, Ph.D, Chief Academic Officer of The Chicago School and Dr. Thelma Day, Ph.D., recipient of an honorary degree for her contributions as a counselor-educator, organizational leader and college professor.
One of two student speakers was Dr. Akshaya Parthasarathi, Ph.D., a data analyst at the federal Office of Minorities and Women Inclusion, tasked by the U.S. Congress to develop policies to ensure equitable treatment of all by the nation’s financial institutions. She shared her story as an international student who is grateful to her professors and fellow students.
“What looked like a distant dream for a girl from India, to study abroad in an institution like this, was made possible because of each of you. Accepting me as I am--allowing me to be different--has let me grow into a global citizen with varied experiences and stories in my pocket,” she said. “My goal is to share these experiences with people of the world, to show the power of community, and the success one can achieve when people let you be you.”
Another student speaker, Dr. Bethany Patterson, Ph.D., serves as clinical director at Helianthus Positive Behavior Supports, provider of counseling services to children and families in Virginia and North Carolina. She told her story, as she sought an institution that would support her role as a military spouse and mother of three.
“I needed a school that was supportive and respectful of the military lifestyle because I had unique needs,” she said. “I found a place where the learning environment is optimized by active learners with diverse cultures,” she said. “Today I embody The Chicago School’s values of innovation, service, and community-- I am giving back by creating a space to encourage other military spouses to further their education.”
The Chicago School serves a majority minority student body in which two of three students identify as individuals of color. The 43-year old non-profit institution has more than 6,000 students enrolled in 30 degree and certificate programs.
About The Chicago School of Professional Psychology:
Integrating theory with hands-on experience, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology provides education rooted in a commitment to innovation, service, and community for thousands of diverse students across the United States and globally. Founded in 1979, the nonprofit, regionally accredited university now features campuses in iconic locations across the country (Chicago, Southern California, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Dallas) and online. To spark positive change in the world where it matters most, The Chicago School has continued to expand its educational offerings beyond the field of psychology to offer more than 30 degrees and certificates in the professional fields of health services, education, counseling, business, and more. Through its engaged professional model of education, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and an extensive network of domestic and international professional partnerships, The Chicago School’s students receive real-world training opportunities that reflect their future careers. The Chicago School is proud to be a part of TCS Education System, a nonprofit, integrated system of colleges and universities that works collaboratively to advance student success and community impact. To learn more, visit www.thechicagoschool.edu.