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Graduate Profile: Becoming the Best Version of You

You are not just training to become an effective therapist for your future clients, you are learning to become the best version of yourself for yourself.

It had been more than a decade since Jennifer Young had earned her bachelor's degree in psychology at another university when she discovered Governors State University was where she needed to be to make her dreams a reality.

Now graduating with her Master of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling, Young has the world ahead of her including offers from several clinical positions, a newly published children's book, and her recent acceptance into Governors State's Doctor of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision.


GSU Newsroom: What brought you to GSU?

Young: I have had a desire to counsel couples and families for a long time. Unfortunately, I could never find the right program, so I held off on pursuing my dream for over 10 years. After speaking with a friend in the field about my passion and dream, she suggested GSU. I researched the program and it seemed to be a perfect fit.

GSU Newsroom: What are some of the highlights from your time at GSU?

Young: Some of the highlights of my time at GSU include making new and lasting friendships with other students in the program, being able to develop professional relationships with the faculty and staff, being inducted into Chi Sigma Iotainternational honor society of counseling, and having the multi-cultural counseling experience abroad in Thailand.

During my time as a student, in the midst of classes and interning, I was also able to publish my first children's book entitled Olivia's Brook. 

GSU Newsroom: Who were some of the professors who shaped your experience and your future?

Young: Tracey Kim Snow was my very first professor in the program. Connecting with her helped relieve me of the fears I had regarding the program and profession and eased my anxiety about this uncertain territory I was beginning to explore. Dr. Sonya Lorelle and Dr. Katherine Atkins Wix opened my eyes to a world of possibility through the multi-cultural experience in Thailand.

Professor Kimanne Foraker-Koons taught me how to assess for trauma and to service clients from a trauma informed lens. She also taught me the importance play therapy and instilled in me that play is the natural language for children. Dr. Kimberly Melton Lechner helped to strengthen my development of treatment plans and objectives. She also provided emotional support and pushed me when I wanted to give up. She saw greatness and potential in me when I could no longer see it in myself. Dr. Ileana Ungureanu led me on a path to discovering my theoretical lens and provided unwavering support throughout my journey.

GSU Newsroom: What's next after graduation?

Young: I have been offered several clinical positions after graduation. I have not decided on which one to take. However, I plan to continue my educational pursuit at GSU. I have been admitted into the doctoral program for counselor education and supervision and I will begin the program fall of 2021.

GSU Newsroom: What advice would you give GSU students?

Young: Enjoy the journey. While it is important to pass each class and to do well academically, I think it is equally as important to be in the moment and take it all in as much as possible. Some courses and semesters will be more demanding than others; however, whenever possible, stop and realize you are on a journey of a lifetime. Make friends. Lean on each other. Embrace asking for help, provide help to others when you can, and give yourself some grace. You are not just training to become an effective therapist for your future clients, you are learning to become the best version of yourself for yourself.