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Commencement addresses hopes and trepidations of graduating educators and counselors

May 26, 2010

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The Graduate School of Education and Counseling held its 2010 commencement ceremony on June 6. Anderson J. Franklin, professor of psychology and education at Boston College, delivered the commencement address and Colin McCrudden ’10, a member of the counseling psychology program, served as the student speaker.

Franklin, a professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, has published widely on psychological well-being, resilience and health of African Americans, and the impact of stereotypes and marginalization of the African American community. His current work has an emphasis on transforming communities and public education systems through a focus on after-school programs.

In this Q&A, McCrudden talks about the value of counseling at a time when so many challenges face our local and global communities.

How would you describe your chosen field, community counseling, to someone unfamiliar with this work?

Community counseling is a helping profession that focuses on supporting individuals and families through life’s many challenges and changes. A community counselor can help people navigate their emotional, psychological, interpersonal, social, and professional struggles from a holistic perspective by helping the individual draw on their strengths and personal resources to respond and adapt to life in positive ways.

What inspired you to pursue community counseling?

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005 and the experience of adapting to life’s challenges revealed skills and resources within me that I believe can be of service to others in their own times of challenge and struggle.

Do you think community counseling translates across cultures and countries?

I believe that when considering the challenges faced by peoples across the globe, a helping profession such as community counseling is in great need. Throughout history, communities and cultures have had “counselors” in many forms, from clergy, to health care providers, to educators, etc. Going forward training programs, such as the Lewis and Clark Graduate School, will benefit from the understanding that the core service being provided is elemental to the human experience.

Do you think there is anything unique about your educational experience at Lewis & Clark that has better prepared you for this work?

I believe L&C’s attention to cultural diversity and social justice will be of great benefit to my future in this field as these issues are essential elements that will inform my worldview and goals as a professional in a helping field.

What do you hope to convey to your fellow graduates with your remarks at commencement?

The special honor that is ours as professionals in a field where people invite us into their personal experience, sharing both the good and bad, and to appreciate the special opportunity to bear witness to and help facilitate life-affirming change in the experience of others.

What are your hopes or plans after graduation?

I hope to find work that will allow me to continue working with military veterans and their families, as I served as a counseling intern at the Portland VA Medical Center, and to continue to grow as a counselor through opportunities I have yet to imagine.

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