Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Faculty Jennifer L. Scott Earns Ohio Psychological Association Award of Excellence

Ohio Psychological Association (OPA) recognizes Dr. Scott for exceptional accomplishments benefiting the profession of psychology.

Dr. Jennifer Scott, Board Certified Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Jennifer Scott, Board Certified Clinical Psychologist and Union Institute & University Core Faculty in the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) Program in Clinical Psychology, has been selected to receive the Ohio Psychological Association’s (OPA) Award of Excellence on Friday, November 1, 2013, during the organization’s annual convention awards luncheon at Quest Conference Center, 8405 Pulsar Place, Columbus, Ohio. The award is given for exceptional accomplishments benefiting the profession of psychology or the psychological and mental health of consumers or citizens.

This honor means a lot to Dr. Scott because it brings recognition to the university and to her colleagues.

“This award is not just about my accomplishments. I am a part of a fantastic team of dedicated and talented faculty delivering the highest quality education and training to the next generation of clinical psychologists,” said Dr. Scott. “Consistent with Union’s mission, our program fosters an awareness of social injustices and inspires action among our students. We are empowering adults to advocate for underserved and marginalized populations in their own communities and beyond.”

“In addition to teaching a diverse body of students to be ethical and competent psychologists, we are building a foundation for a lifetime commitment to the service of others,” she added.

In his nomination of Dr. Scott, Union Institute & University’s Dr. Richard Sears noted her passion for teaching and learning.

“Dr. Scott’s dedication to teaching was evident from the very beginning. Her courses are exemplary and have been recognized for their quality by our university. Her experience and training gave her a thorough knowledge of her course content, but she also works very hard to facilitate the learning process in a medium that is new to the field of psychology.”

To conclude his nomination Dr. Sears wrote, “Dr. Scott doesn’t talk a lot about what she does for others. When she sees something that needs to be done, she simply steps up to help, often behind the scenes. Dr. Scott is an inspiring mentor to me and to the new generations of psychologists with whom she works.”

In addition to teaching at Union Institute & University, Dr. Scott maintains a psychology practice, providing psychological assessment and consultation services to rural communities. She also supervises graduate students, giving them the necessary education, training, and support to develop their professional skills, and mentors early career psychologists.

Dr. Scott joined the faculty at Union Institute & University in the summer of 2009. She received her Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology and Certificate in Organizational Concepts and Management from Xavier University. She previously taught at Xavier University, Chatfield College and Brown Mackie College, where she also served as academic dean. Among other honors, Dr. Scott received Ohio Magazine’s Award of Excellence in Education in 2011 and was recognized at the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities Celebration of Teaching luncheon in 2012. She serves on several university committees, is a leader in her community, and contributes to her profession through publications and presentations.

About Ohio Psychological Association
Located in Columbus, Ohio, The Ohio Psychological Association is a membership organization of approximately 1,600 Ohio psychologists. Its mission is to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare. For more information or for a psychologist referral, visit www.ohpsych.org.

About Union Institute & University
Union Institute & University is a nonprofit, accredited, private university specializing in adult and distance education since 1964. Union strives to engage, enlighten, and empower students in a lifetime of learning and service. The university’s transformational and socially relevant programs promote creative and critical thinking, and connect scholarship with real-world practice. Flexible online classes, brief residencies, classroom experiences, and hybrid models of instruction lead to undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Union graduates, including 13 college presidents, leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, members of the United States Congress, and the first female prime minister of Jamaica, promote Union’s legacy of utilizing education to transform lives and communities.

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and the National Register of Health Service Psychologists Designation Committee recently voted to approve Union Institute & University’s Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program with cohorts in Cincinnati and Brattleboro, Vermont for designation. This national recognition is a strong statement of support for Union Institute & University's model of education and its commitment to academic quality.

Learn more about Union Institute & University's Doctor of Psychology program.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Free Psychology Webinar: DSM-5 an Overview of Changes

Psychology Doctorate-Union Institute & University

Thursday, November 21, 2013
12:15-12:45pm EST

This event is FREE and open to the public.

Please join us for a webinar presented by Union Institute & University’s graduate psychology programs. Jerry Fishman, Ph.D., associate dean and faculty in Union’s M.A. with a Concentration in Counseling Psychology will host the presentation.

Learn more about the features of the American Psychiatric Association’s Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-5 is a highly useful and preferred guide to clinical practice. Through much research and discussion among academics and clinicians, the disorders in the DSM-5 have been reordered into a revised organizational structure and enhanced specificity of criteria for assessment and diagnosis of presenting symptoms has been developed. This webinar will discuss the changes to the DSM-5 and outline a strategic approach for practice.

For webinar visual: http://tui.adobeconnect.com/map
For webinar audio: 1-866-951-1151
Conference ID: 3425762
RSVP requested but not required: hanna.thurber@myunion.edu

Learn more about Union Institute & University’s M.A. with a Concentration in Counseling Psychology and Doctor of Psychology programs.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Union Alum nears goal for Thanksgiving Food Drive

In the true spirit of generosity, Ft. Lauderdale Police Officer and Union alum Edgar Cruz (B.S. Criminal Justice Management 2010) is organizing his third annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. His goal is to raise $10,000 to purchase fully-cooked meals for 200 disadvantaged Ft. Lauderdale families. Each holiday dinner will be delivered by uniformed police officers in their marked cruisers.

Edgar Cruz, Criminal Justice Management
Edgar Cruz (B.S. Criminal Justice Management 2010)
Cruz has built a network of support in his city to help the food drive run smoothly. He led the project with the Black Police Officers Organization within his police department. The group, a non-profit established in 1980, generates support for the food drive by hosting fundraising events, collecting donations, and offering sponsorships. Cruz also works with grocery store chain Publix to purchase turkey dinners that include all of the trimmings. The local housing authority and social services organizations select the families who would most benefit from the meals.
“Knocking on doors and delivering meals to families who need a helping hand this Thanksgiving season is a way to say we care,” said Cruz. “Businesses and individuals care too. This outreach would not be successful without the financial support of the community. Publix is one of our largest supporters making the purchase of the dinners affordable.”
Cruz is just $2,000 shy of his goal, but Union alumni and friends can help. Each $50 raised provides one family with a complete Thanksgiving dinner, so every dollar counts. To contribute, send a check payable to the Ft. Lauderdale Black Police Officer’s Assn. (a non-profit), with “Food Drive” in the memo, to: Ft. Lauderdale Black Police Officer’s Assn., P.O. Box 65, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33302.

Union Institute & University Launches M.S. in Organizational Leadership

Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL)

Online, 12-month, results-oriented program targets emerging leaders

Union Institute & University (UI&U), a private, non-profit university headquartered in Cincinnati is proud to announce that a new Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL), an innovative academic program targeting emerging leaders, will launch in January 2014.  

The rigorous, relevant, and results-oriented program will prepare students to build their capacity, develop leadership skills and, a productive network to assist them in their profession, and to integrate their new knowledge into action.

The highlights of the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) program are:

  • 36 credit hour, online, 12-month program
  • 12 core courses in three distinct leadership modules
  • Leadership mentors assigned to each student
  • Students create a professional portfolio
  • Each course includes two 90-minute interactive webinars with scholar-practitioners
  • Each course includes at least two 30-minute one-on-one video/teleconference coaching sessions

This program was developed by Charles F. Piazza, special assistant to President Roger H. Sublett, Ph.D. for strategic innovation and planning. Dr. Piazza is also serving as the interim dean at Union’s Sacramento Academic Center. 

“Building upon Union’s legacy, the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program provides innovative education that empowers professionals to be solution building leaders who proactively address organizational and social challenges. A central component of the program’s mission is to network forward- thinking leaders so they can collaboratively devise ways to integrate social innovation into business entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Piazza.

Dr. Roger H. Sublett, president of Union Institute & University, believes the program will impact careers. “Many alumni from our bachelor’s programs have asked for a program that will help them continue to move forward in their careers. With its in-depth curriculum and its critical focus on three forms of leadership (Innovative Leadership, Networking Leadership, and Analytical Leadership), we know this program will have broad appeal.” 

Tuition for the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership is $500 per credit hour ($18,000 total, plus fees). It requires full-time study (2 courses every 8 weeks) and new students are admitted in the winter and fall semesters. This is a rigorous program and has strict admissions requirements, including an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0, three to five years of work experience, a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and an admissions interview.

The MSOL program is currently accepting applications. Prospective students can learn more by visiting www.myunion.edu/MSOL or contacting one of the enrollment counselors listed below:

Lauren Wenstrup | lauren.wenstrup@myunion.edu

Sydney Stauter | sydney.stauter@myunion.edu

Los Angeles: 
Teri Lucas |  teri.lucas@myunion.edu
800-486-8328 x1714

Francis Francois | francis.francois@myunion.edu
800-294-8884 x2130

New England:
Paul Moberly | paul.moberly@myunion.edu
802-254-0152 x8900

Christina Wilson | christina.wilson@myunion.edu
800-486-7049 x1511

Union Institute & University is a non-profit, accredited, private university specializing in adult and distance education since 1964. Union strives to engage, enlighten, and empower students in a lifetime of learning and service. The university’s transformational and socially relevant programs promote creative and critical thinking, and connect scholarship with real-world practice. Flexible online classes, brief residencies, classroom experiences, and hybrid models of instruction lead to undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees. Union graduates, including 14 college presidents, leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, members of the United States Congress, and the first female prime minister of Jamaica, promote Union’s legacy of utilizing education to transform lives and communities.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mom and son realize a dream together: Graduating college

Kim Thornhill, Dexter Thomas, Union Institute & University
Dexter Thomas and Kimberly Thornhill

Kim Thornhill and her son Dexter Thomas graduated from college together at Union Institute & University’s national commencement ceremony held on October 12, 2013 at the Hall of Mirrors in the Hilton Netherland Plaza.
Kim, a single mother of two, never envisioned that she would earn her bachelor’s degree alongside her son. Her focus on education and family is evident. “I always told my children that education was important. I also wanted to be a role model for my children. That’s why I returned to college to get my diploma,” said Kim, who earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice Management. “I am living proof that it is never too late to graduate.”
Kim is a recipient of the university’s Women in Union scholarship, which supports single, head-of-household mothers in their efforts to earn a college degree and make a better life for themselves and their families. She plans to continue her education, attend law school, and specialize in juvenile law. 
“My mom is my role model, she is the strongest person I know. I am so proud of her. She was strict growing up, but also encouraging. She always made me believe I could do anything I wanted to,” said Dexter, who received his B.S. in Business Management. Dexter plans to become an entrepreneur and eventually own a chain of barber shops.
Union Institute & University selected Kim to deliver the invocation at the commencement ceremony. Kim and Dexter joined seventy-two other graduates at the ceremony, 31 faculty, five members of the Alumni Association, and more than 400 guests. Students and their friends and family traveled from all regions of the country to attend the event, which is one of several held around the country each year, including Florida, California, and Vermont. Union Institute & University graduates about 700 students per year.
Read more about Kim and Dexter's unique and inspiring story, from Cincinnati.com here.
Watch their news story from WCPO TV channel 9 here.

Kim Thornhill, Union Institute & University
Kim Thornhill delivers the invocation at commencement

Monday, October 7, 2013

Privacy and Implications for the Field of Counseling Psychology

Shanta Crowley, M.B.A.
and Dr. Gerald Fishman, Associate Dean,
Union Institute & University 

In June, it was impossible to read a newspaper or watch the news without hearing about the NSA/Edward Snowden controversy. While this latest challenge to privacy sounds like a repeat of the privacy scandal that surfaced just a few years ago, we can’t ignore some of the ramifications this has for practitioners in the field of Counseling Psychology. In this short piece, we explore the implications of the Snowden incident in relationship to personal privacy and the professionals in the human services field.

Privacy and the Self:
We should first examine why privacy and the compromise of it is much bigger than having a paranoid feeling that the government is gathering information about your private life. According to past and present theories, privacy serves several purposes including our need to create space for ourselves and maintain relationships with others. In his 1967 work Privacy and Freedom Alan F. Westin (as cited in McDougall, 2005) expanded the definition of privacy by describing it as “…a two-tier definition… combining personal and social dimensions and consisting of four states (anonymity, reserve, solitude, and intimacy) plus four functions of privacy (personal autonomy, emotional release, self-evaluation, and limited and confidential communication).” (McDougall, 2005, para. 25)

Privacy is a concept that our society has been attempting to define long before this current social landscape. These aspects of privacy also straddle Maslow’s hierarchy of needs between the levels of safety and love/belonging. As human beings we like some level of privacy to create a sense of safety and form/maintain human relationships and trust.

Privacy, the Social Climate, and the Implications for the Field of Therapy:
When is the breach of individual privacy and confidentiality acceptable? Those who work in the field of human services regularly navigate the ethical nuances of privacy, confidentiality and legality. Some of these situations involve child abuse, clients seeking treatment for substance abuse, and a whole host of other areas. The American Counseling Association outlines the various professional ethical codes in relationship to the client, privacy, and confidentiality. The information that is shared with a counseling professional is confidential except under circumstances in which the keeping of certain information as confidential is considered to pose a danger to the client or another party. In situations in which a counselor is summoned by the court, counselors will “…obtain written, informed consent from the client or take steps to prohibit the disclosure or have it limited as narrowly as possible due to potential harm to the client or counseling relationship.” (ACA Code of Ethics, 2005, Section B: Confidentiality, Privileged, Communication, and Privacy) For example, if a counselor receives a subpoena in a criminal case involving one of their clients, this may require the counselor to release all of their client notes to the court. Thus, for those working in human services, maintaining individual client privacy and adhering to professional ethics within the context of legal obligation requires ongoing reflection.

In the situation with Edward Snowden and the government’s access to personal data of each American citizen, one of the arguments is that the privacy of the individual must be compromised in exchange for the safety of the overall group. In many ways as briefly outlined above, counselors, social workers, and other similar human service employees may be challenged to make decisions between maintaining confidentiality and individual privacy or violating it for the greater good. This raises the question of defining “the greater good.” For instance, consider these scenarios:

• Employer incentive-based wellness programs. These programs are based upon the goal of a healthier workforce or lower insurance costs if employees are encouraged to make  better lifestyle choices through various rewards. However, when does the well-intentioned wellness program infringe upon the individual’s right to personal choice? For example, mandatory gym memberships enforced by the employer override the rights of the individual in exchange for the overall good of contributing to a healthier, physically fit society.

• An individual who may be under distress or suffering from depression discloses their violent fantasies to their counselor. At what point does venting or therapeutic disclosing become a real threat or danger to the client or other people?

The distinction between what is good or safe for the individual versus a group or society is not always clear. These moral dilemmas are especially present in public health, public office, psychology, criminal justice, or other related professional fields of work.

However, in this current social climate, one does not have to necessarily be in the field of counseling psychology to be affected by issues of privacy. We are all constantly grappling with what individual privacy means now versus what it meant when it was theorized in the American Bill of Rights. With the progression of technology in regards to social media—Skype, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace—the distinction between public and private has become indistinguishable in some instances. We will most likely revisit this issue given the increased use of electronic medical records. While it offers convenience and ability to provide timely treatment to the patient, what is being compromised in regards to individual privacy or HIPAA? In addition to healthcare providers, many individuals working in other capacities within human services will have to re-evaluate what it means to be of service while navigating these ethical considerations.  As the concept of privacy continues to expand and change, those of us engaged in the field of psychology will continue to contribute to this important dialogue while navigating its impact upon our work.   

Dr. Gerald Fishman, Union Institute & University
Dr. Gerald Fishman,
Union Institute & University
Dr. Gerald Fishman is the associate dean of Union’s Master of Arts with a Concentration in Counseling Psychology program. He is a NYS Licensed Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist with additional post-doctoral training in public health, chemical dependency, and specific therapy areas. Dr. Fishman has worked with clients across the developmental spectrum in mental health, chemical dependency, school, and private practice settings for over 25 years, and has taught at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Fishman has developed and directed adolescent chemical dependency and adult outpatient co-occurring disorder programs in both upstate and metropolitan New York areas, and is the co founder of the Human Services Consultation and Training Institute, offering statewide and national professional trainings in specific clinical, chemical dependency, behavioral health, school psychology, and education areas.

Shanta Crowley, Union Institute & University
Shanta L.E. Crowley

Shanta Crowley is a multi-faceted professional with experience in management, consulting, event planning, visioning, strategy, and workshop creation and implementation. She has managed social-marketing campaigns, press conferences, city-wide health initiatives, and academic mentoring programs. Shanta is passionate about the arts. Her artistic endeavors include photography, writing, dancing, and performing.  She holds an MBA and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Her favorite hobbies include traveling and collecting fairytales, stories, and mythology from various cultures. Most recently, Shanta exhibited her photography in Surrender (Brattleboro, VT), based on her five month travels throughout India. Currently, Shanta is a contributor to the Brattleboro Reformer newspaper and writes regularly on her blog.

Article References and Resources:
ACA Code of Ethics as Approved by the ACA Governing Council. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/Resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf

Bissell, L. C., M.D., C.A.C. & Royce, J. E., S.J., Ph.D. (1987). Ethics for Addiction Professionals. (2nd ed., pp. 23-36). Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden Educational Materials.

Edward Snowden and the NSA Files — Story So Far. (2013, June 24). Retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/edward-snowden-and-the-nsa-files-story-so-far/article4846529.ece

Greenwald, G., MacAskill, E., & Poitras, L. (2013, June 9). Edward Snowden: The Whistleblower Behind the NSA Surveillance Revelations. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

McDougall, Bonnie. "Privacy." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz. Vol. 5. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005. 1899-1907. Student Resources In Context. Web. 31 July 2013.  Retrieved from

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Graduation Spotlight: Linda S. Hon, Ed.D.

To celebrate Union Institute & University's National Commencement, we are highlighting a few of the recent graduates. Each participant was asked to write a response, in their own words, to the question “How has your Union experience changed your life?”

Linda S. Hon
Ed.D with a specialization in
Educational Leadership, 2013
Twinsburg, Ohio

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams -Eleanor Roosevelt

It was this thought that encouraged me to fulfill my dream of earning my doctorate in education, becoming a college professor, and teaching pre-service teachers. So, as I neared the end of my elementary school teaching career, I began to look for a doctoral program and found Union Institute and University. I am so glad I did.

From the beginning of my first July residency at Union, there was an impression of warmth and caring, along with the perception of tough challenges ahead. Both were true, and the warmth and caring of the professors and cohort members carried me through the challenging coursework.  Union exemplifies what university education should be—theoretical and practical applications, cooperative and independent learning, varied assessments, professors imparting their vast knowledge, who are available for assistance at all times, and who also have become friends and mentors, and cohort members who have been so supportive and intellectually stimulating. This experience has given me insights and direction for my future career as a college professor.

As I pursue the next part of my dream, university teaching, I am so grateful for what I have learned and experienced, and the new colleagues and friends in my life. Wayne Gretzky, a famous hockey player, said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  I took a “shot” on Union Institute and University, on my education, on my future, and I won.

Dr. Linda S. Hon received her bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio State University and her master’s in education from Kent State University. The Ohio native taught for 35 years in the Twinsburg City School District.

Dr. Hon recently achieved her dream of earning a doctoral degree. Her future plans include teaching at the college level and instructing pre-service teachers. She is married and is the proud parent of one daughter.

Learn more about Union Institute & University's Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program.

Read more National Commencement graduate stories:
Annette Aron, Ed.D.
Kenzia Carpenter, Ph.D.
Lisha Lungelow

Graduation Spotlight: Lisha Lungelow

To celebrate Union Institute & University’s recent National Commencement in Cincinnati, we are highlighting a few of the new graduates. Each participant was asked to write a response, in their own words, to the question “How has your Union experience changed your life?” 

Lisha Lungelow
Bachelor of Science in Social Work, 2013
Cincinnati, Ohio

My experience at Union Institute & University has transformed my life. Not only have I fulfilled my dream of obtaining my degree, but I have new confidence in my abilities.

The idea of returning to college as an adult in my early 50s filled me with fear. But at Union, a college that specializes in adult learning, I found peers with similar concerns. Through interactions with other adult students, I found that I was not alone.

My coursework was challenging and rigorous. I learned to think creatively and critically. I was empowered to do my best. My professors challenged me, and the end result is my bachelor’s degree.

The boost to my self-esteem is priceless. This journey has shown me what I am capable of as an adult returning to school. I now recognize that I can move forward in my journey to obtain my master’s degree—and a Ph.D. is not out of the question.  The confidence I feel going forward and seeking employment, I attribute to Union Institute and University.

While earning her bachelor’s degree in social work, Lisha Lungelow balanced one full-time job, one part-time job, and raising two children. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the National Association of Black Social Workers. Lisha is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Learn more about Union Institute & University's Social Work program.

Read more National Commencement graduate stories:
Annette Aron, Ed.D.
Kenzia Carpenter, Ph.D.
Linda S. Hon, Ed.D.

Graduation Spotlight: Kezia Carpenter, Ph.D.

Union Institute & University's National Commencement is October 12, 2013 in Cincinnati. To celebrate, we are highlighting a few of the upcoming doctoral graduates. Each participant was asked to write a response, in their own words, to the question “How has your Union experience changed your life?”

Kezia Carpenter
Ph.D. with a concentration in Humanities and Culture, 2012
Sussman Award Recipient, 2013
New York, New York

When I encountered the complex issues that transnational families confront as an educational consultant in Ecuador and a program director for Early Head Start and Head Start programs in Queens, New York, I made a personal and professional commitment to pursue a doctoral degree to help me understand migration-based family separation. After looking at other doctoral programs, I found that Union Institute & University’s Cohort Ph.D. Program’s approach—the scholar-practitioner model—would be the right path for me. I came to Union with twenty years of experience in human services, specifically community mental health counseling and early childhood and elementary education. I am a certified teacher in New York and a licensed counselor in Ohio and New York, with graduate degrees in both of these fields. I needed a doctoral program that would help me pull together my prior professional background and take my academic and professional training to the next level.

As a student in the Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program, I strengthened my interdisciplinary foundation through the coursework and my scholarly interactions with other doctoral students and faculty at the academic residencies and conference days. The Humanities and Culture concentration was a good fit for me with its emphasis on narrative and cultural studies scholarship, along with Union’s integrated ethics and social justice focus. Listening to family member stories in Mexico and New York and trying to understand what they communicate about transnational family identity processes, agency, and family stress and resiliency was paramount to my professional goal of using my research to inform education and social service program policies. With this policy-based end in mind, I partnered with the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association for my dissertation research. Ultimately, my doctoral experience at Union helped me cultivate and strengthen my voice as an emerging leader in my fields and as an advocate for migrant and immigrant families and their young children.

Since my dissertation study and the completion of my degree, I have presented at the Head Start 10th National Research Conference, the Office of Head Start’s First National Birth to Five Leadership Institute, and the 40th National Head Start Conference. I have taken on more senior-level management responsibilities in my position as a program director for the University Settlement Society of New York. I coach other early care and education leaders at the Settlement and represent the International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers (IFS) as a member of the NGO Committee on Migration at the United Nations. This past summer I began consulting for Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services in Washington, D.C. as they develop training and technical assistance materials to strengthen collaborations between Refugee Resettlement agencies and Head Start programs across the country. Lastly, I am an international volunteer with Restoring Family Links (RFL) at the American Red Cross of Greater New York, helping reconnect family members across borders and informing their new migration initiative that is evaluating how we can use RFL services to reunite family members separated at the Mexico-US border. In many ways, graduating from Union Institute & University feels like the beginning of a new era. Post-degree I am better prepared to embark upon my life’s work and I appreciate the new community of colleagues—nationally and internationally—I have gained throughout this process.

Dr. Kezia Carpenter is the first woman on the maternal side of her family to earn a college degree and she is the proud great-granddaughter of a woman who migrated to Cincinnati during the Great Depression to give her young daughter and future family a better life. Dr. Carpenter's dissertation Family in the Borderlands/la Frontera: Transnational Narratives of Mexican Migrant Parents and their Young Children recently earned the coveted Sussman Award based on excellence in all criteria – originality, interdisciplinarity, social meaning, quality of writing, and overall presentation.

Dr. Carpenter graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University in 1988. As she embarked on her community mental health career in Cincinnati during the early nineties, she simultaneously pursued a Master of Education in Agency and Community Counseling at Xavier University (1992) and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Counseling at the University of Cincinnati (1996). Mid-career she decided to focus on serving young children and families. She moved to New York City where she attended Bank Street College of Education and earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education in 2000. Kezia is a certified teacher in New York and a licensed counselor in Ohio and New York. She is a member of the National Council on Family Relations and a member of the International Society of the Study of Narrative.

Learn more about Union Institute & University’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program.

Read more National Commencement graduate stories:
Annette Aron, Ed.D.
Lisha Lungelow
Linda S. Hon, Ed.D.