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Three Educational Psychology and Counseling Masters Students Selected for NBCC Fellowships

Three masters students in the department of Educational Psychology and Counseling (EPC) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) are the recipients of a prestigious fellowship award. Abigail Gomez, Ulika Scout, and Tyler Ricks are part of the latest cohort in the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Minority Fellowship Program (MFP).

As part of the NBCC, the MFP is a prestigious, rigorous, and highly effective program designed to enhance the workforce of professional counselors who have specialized skills to meet the unique needs of underserved communities. According to the organization’s website, the NBCC is the premier credentialing body for counselors. Once nationally certified, NBCC credentialed counselors have achieved the highest standard of practice through education, examination, supervision, experience, and ethical guidelines. As of today, there are over 69,000 national certified counselors in more than 40 countries.

Meet the NBCC MFP Fellows

Portrait of Abby Gomez. She has long black hair and brown skin. She is wearing glasses and is smiling in the picture.

Abby Gomez

Abby Gomez is a master’s student who wants to work with underserved populations to provide much-needed quality mental health care.

“I am thrilled to be a part of such a prestigious organization aimed at equipping counselors to support underserved communities, said Gomez. “Not only do I believe that this will profoundly impact my professional development, but that it will also strengthen and equip me to provide quality mental health care to the Hispanic population.”


Portrait photo of Tyler Ricks. She has dark skin and black hair. She is wearing glasses and is smiling in the photo.

Tyler Ricks

Tyler Ricks will work with the Minority Fellowship Program for mental health counselors.

“Receiving the NBCC Minority Fellowship opens doors that Black women like myself can’t always access. Unparalleled mentorship, networking opportunities, and financial support are just a few of the ways being an NBCC fellow will advance my career in the counseling field,” stated Ricks.


Portrait photo of Ulika Scout. She has light skin and light brown hair. She is smiling in the photo

Ulika Scout

Ulika (Ulli) Scout master’s studies focus on how counselors may play a role in helping others in facing the challenges of addiction and recovery.

“I am honored by the recognition and investment from NBCC in my current studies and my future as an addiction counselor. I see the previous recipients and those within my new cohort and feel as though I am right where I need to be,” said Scout.

A Program for Professional and Personal Development

“Unmet mental health needs have a significant impact on the wellbeing of our communities in Tennessee and beyond,” said Casey Barrio, department head in EPC. “Sometimes, mental health need goes unmet because there are simply not enough accessible providers. At other times, mental health need goes unmet because community members do not perceive the help that is available help as responsive to their beliefs, values, or context. This unique program targets both areas, equipping participants with unique skills for providing accessible, culturally sustaining counseling services in their communities.”

Jamian Coleman is a previous NBCC Minority Fellow and is an assistant professor in EPC. He credits the fellowship with having a transformative impact on his professional and personal growth and development.

“The NBCC fellowship provided me with invaluable support, mentorship, and numerous opportunities for professional development,” said Coleman. “It significantly influenced my career path, and I am thrilled and proud that three of our outstanding master’s counseling students have been chosen for this fellowship. This reflects the fellowship program’s commitment to nurturing counselors to serve historically marginalized communities. My involvement in theNBCC community has been truly enriching, and I look forward with enthusiasm to witness the ongoing positive transformations it brings about for our students selected for this upcoming NBCC fellowship cohort.”

Established in 1982, NBCC’s original and primary purposes have broadened, and its divisions and affiliates have taken on additional responsibilities to advance the counseling profession and enhance mental health worldwide.

“Our scholars have demonstrated strong potential to optimize mental health care in East Tennessee and beyond. We are proud of the achievements and grateful for the meaningful differences they will make in their communities,” said Barrio.