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EMU College of Education's counseling program provides the power of hope

By Linda Hass | Published September 23, 2014

Tahani Dari (MA12), school counselor and assessment coordinator at Central Academy in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tahani Dari (MA12), school counselor and assessment coordinator at Central Academy in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The power of hope. That's the gift Eastern Michigan University's counseling program, in the Department of Leadership and Counseling, enabled Tahani Dari (MA12) to give others.

"I've always had a passion to help underserved minority populations, but Eastern's rigorous curriculum and hands-on experiences unleashed my potential to empower clients," says Dari, a school counselor and assessment coordinator for kindergarten through 12th grade students at Central Academy, a public school in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

"Hope is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone less fortunate," adds Dari, who also works as a private practitioner assisting clients with a broad spectrum of issues, including career development, college advising, depression, anxiety and stress. "It spills over into people's social, psychological and emotional well-being and can lead to personal growth, development, and success."

Dari credits Eastern's program with honing her ability to pass on life-enhancing skills and with expanding her knowledge of resources, such as grants for students unable to afford college. Her master's degree in school counseling also paved the way to a recent national honor.

This past May, the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation (NBCC Foundation) selected Dari for its Minority Fellowship Program (MFP). The prestigious award provided funding and training to further her service to underserved minority populations and to support her pursuit of a doctorate in counselor education at the University of Toledo. She expects to graduate in 2017.

"Eastern prepared me well for the national counseling exam, which I had to pass in order to be eligible for the Fellowship," says Dari. She also credits two program offerings in particular: a seminar style course called Advanced Multicultural Counseling and Eastern's Counseling Clinic, which offers practical experience in the field. "There's no doubt that both played a key role in my Fellowship selection," she says.

The Clinic, in the John W. Porter Building on campus, gives graduate students an opportunity to offer personal, family, career and academic counseling to adults, adolescents and children throughout Washtenaw County. It runs in conjunction with didactic and experiential coursework under the direct supervision of counseling faculty who are licensed professional counselors and supervisors, said Perry C. Francis, professor and clinic coordinator.

Tahani Dari works with high school students at Central Academy

Tahani Dari works with high school students at Central Academy

The clinic is one of many assets drawing prospective students into the counseling program's gravitational pull. Other claims to fame are the program's multiple offerings, a strong labor market for professional counselors, and its national accreditation. Master's programs in School Counseling, College Counseling, and Clinical Mental health Counseling are fully accredited through 2021 by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

"Accreditation demonstrates our program's commitment to meeting the highest academic standards," says Irene Mass Ametrano, professor and counseling program coordinator. "Accreditation enhances our program's reputation, as highly qualified students are more likely to seek enrollment in an accredited program." About 200 students are currently enrolled in Eastern's counseling program, she adds.

Employment figures also fuel interest in the program, said administrators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors is expected to grow about 12% from 2102 to 2022, translating into an impressive 31,200 new jobs. The Bureau reports that school counselors brought home a median salary of $53,610 in 2012, with the highest-earning counselors working in the federal executive branch, labor unions and elementary and secondary schools. (1)

But it was more than encouraging statistics that attracted Dari to Eastern's counseling program. "Eastern was my top choice because it is accredited and because of the strong recommendations I received from successful professionals already in the field," Dari says.

Professors are just as complementary about the standout alumna. "Ms. Dari consistently demonstrated strong academic skills, commitment to the counseling profession and exemplary leadership in our master's counseling program," says Diane Parfitt, associate professor who conducts post-master's group supervision attended by Dari. "She's an exemplary alumna, leader and professional."

For more information, visit the Counseling Program's website or contact Irene Ametrano, Counseling Program Coordinator, at iametrano@emich.edu.

To make a difference in the lives of future Counseling Program students, donate to a Counseling Program fund or scholarship, or contact Rae Anne Yuskowatz, COE Director of Development at raeanne.yuskowatz@emich.edu.

  1.  For sources of employment statistics, see: http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/school-counselor and http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm