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Counseling PhD student Monica Phelps-Pineda wins minority fellowship award


Monica Phelps-Pineda won the National Board of Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Award, which included a $20,000 prize. The award will help Phelps-Pineda with her goal of securing a faculty position in a CACREP-accredited counseling program, where she intends to apply a “very necessary social justice lens” to counseling, education, dialogue and practice. It will also help her as she continues her doctoral research on multicultural counseling supervision. (Photo Courtesy of Brittany Ruess) While working her way through school as a substitute ESL teacher, Monica Phelps-Pineda heard the same stories over and over again from her students.

They couldn’t dedicate necessary time to homework because they worked to help support their families and lacked access to basic resources that were crucial to their learning. Phelps-Pineda said they also “faced various other social determinants of health disparities that were disproportionately affecting their community, representing the academic field’s narrative shift from ‘achievement gap’ to ‘opportunity gap.’”

At the time, Phelps-Pineda was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in theater at Berry College, but those conversations changed the trajectory of her life and academic career. Compelled by a deep interest in better serving those students and her faith, she changed her major to psychology.

“I wanted to further […]

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