Article Published: 6/22/2022
The Professional Counselor (TPC) recently recognized the winners of its annual awards, the Dissertation Excellence Awards and the Outstanding Scholar Awards.
Dissertation Excellence Awards
The Dissertation Excellence Awards recognize original research that significantly contributes to the counseling profession and are judged according to presentation and clarity of ideas, sound methodology and interpretation of findings, innovative quality, and overall utility to the future of the counseling profession. In this ninth year of the award program, TPC expanded the Dissertation Excellence Awards to include one award for quantitative research and one for qualitative research.
The winner of TPC’s 2022 Dissertation Excellence Award in the Quantitative category is Chelsey Zoldan-Calhoun, for her dissertation entitled The Contribution of Spiritual Well-Being to the Self-Efficacy, Resilience, and Burnout of Substance Use Disorder Counselors.
Zoldan-Calhoun, PhD, NCC, LPCC-S, LICDC, earned her MSEd in clinical mental health counseling from Youngstown State University and her PhD in counselor education and supervision from the University of Akron. She is an adjunct faculty member in both the Department of Psychological Sciences and Counseling at Youngstown State University and the School of Counseling at the University of Akron. She enjoys teaching courses on diagnosis, counseling interventions, and ethics, as well as supervising counseling trainees during their practicum experiences.
In clinical practice, Dr. Zoldan-Calhoun specializes in the treatment of adults presenting with PTSD, trauma-related issues, and substance use disorders. She is a Certified EMDR Therapist and has a special interest in working with military service members, veterans, and emergency first responders. Additionally, she has a passion for working with both those in recovery from substance use disorders and their loved ones. Dr. Zoldan-Calhoun has experience providing and supervising counseling services in university and community-based mental health and addiction counseling centers across northeastern Ohio.
Dr. Zoldan-Calhoun has contributed numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles to the professional counseling literature. Her research has focused on spiritual well-being, resilience, and burnout among counselors treating substance use disorders. Dr. Zoldan-Calhoun is a member of the Editorial Review Board of The Professional Counselor and has served on boards for the American Counseling Association, Ohio Counseling Association, and Association for Humanistic Counseling. She is a previous recipient of the Ohio Counseling Association’s Graduate Student Award and the Association for Humanistic Counseling’s Emerging Leader Award.
The winner of TPC’s 2022 Dissertation Excellence Award in the Qualitative category is Anabel Mifsud, for her dissertation entitled Exploring Community- and Society-Level Interventions for Healing Historical Trauma: A Grounded Theory Study.
Mifsud, PhD, NCC, is an assistant professor of professional practice in the counselor education program at the University of New Orleans. She earned her PhD in counselor education and supervision from the University of New Orleans and her MSc in health psychology from University College London and King’s College London. Dr. Mifsud’s research interests include historical and intergenerational trauma; multicultural issues; social justice and advocacy; the internationalization of counseling and counselor education; the role of counseling in community healing and development; and behavioral health services for immigrants, refugees, and persons with HIV. She has worked with individuals and couples experiencing homelessness and comorbid issues, persons with HIV, immigrants, and asylum seekers. Dr. Mifsud has presented at local, state, national, and international conferences and seminars and has published articles and book chapters on social justice, immigrants, and counseling ethics.
Outstanding Scholar Awards
The Outstanding Scholar Awards—one each in the categories of Concept/Theory and Quantitative or Qualitative Research—are selected each year from the articles published in that year’s volume, and are chosen based on their scholarly style, innovative and inventive material, and relevance to the counseling profession.
Shaywanna Harris-Pierre, Christopher T. Belser, Naomi J. Wheeler, and Andrea Dennison received the 2021 Outstanding Scholar Award for Concept/Theory for their article, “A Review of Adverse Childhood Experiences as Factors Influential to Biopsychosocial Development for Young Males of Color.”
Shaywanna Harris-Pierre, PhD, LPC, is an assistant professor of professional counseling at Texas State University. Her research centers on the psychological and physiological impact of trauma and race-based traumatic stress. Dr. Harris-Pierre serves her community through facilitating free workshops for couples where she provides psychoeducation on communication skills. Dr. Harris-Pierre also serves the counseling profession through her position as secretary for the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling, and her role as an editorial board member for the Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, and the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development.
Christopher T. Belser, PhD, NCC, is an assistant professor in the counselor education program at the University of New Orleans. He earned his PhD in counselor education and supervision at the University of Central Florida and his MEd in school counseling at Louisiana State University. Dr. Belser has experience in Louisiana public and charter schools as a middle school counselor and a high school career coach. His research interests include school counselor preparation/practice and interdisciplinary P–16 STEM career development initiatives. Dr. Belser has delivered dozens of presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences and has published numerous articles and book chapters on counseling and career-related topics. He is the current associate editor of the Journal of Child & Adolescent Counseling, served as Chi Sigma Iota’s 2020–2021 Edwin Herr Fellow, and previously won The Professional Counselor’s 2018 Dissertation Excellence Award.
Naomi J. Wheeler, PhD, NCC, LPC, LMHC, is an assistant professor in counselor education and supervision at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research builds on her professional and clinical experiences to examine relationship health across the life span, including the role of early life family adversity (such as ACEs) and couple stress as contributors to health disparities. Dr. Wheeler is also the co-director for the Urban Education and Family Center at VCU, which serves as a hub for community-engaged research and program services that address educational attainment, economic mobility, and individual and family well-being for historically marginalized populations living in poverty from a two-generational approach. The Center strives to harness research to improve the quality of life for Black and Latinx families in the greater Richmond area through community-based work.
Andrea Dennison, PhD, is an assistant professor at Texas State University.
Fei Shen, Yanhong Liu, and Mansi Brat received the 2021 Outstanding Scholar Award for Quantitative or Qualitative Research for their article, “Attachment, Self-Esteem, and Psychological Distress: A Multiple-Mediator Model.”
Fei Shen, PhD, is a staff therapist at the Barnes Center at the Arch – Counseling at Syracuse University. Her clinical and research interests include attachment and trauma healing. She specifically focuses on understanding the impact and prevention of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in marginalized communities, as well as identifying mediating and moderating factors that can protect survivors from the negative effects of trauma.
Yanhong Liu, PhD, NCC, is an associate professor in the Counseling & Human Services Department at Syracuse University. She also serves as the MS in School Counseling P–12 Program Coordinator. Her scholarship centers around marginalized youth and supporting systems. She has published widely and consistently in counseling as well as interdisciplinary journals on the topics of adopted youth, school bullying, school-based programs, and counselor training.
Mansi Brat, PhD, LPC, LMHC, is an adjunct professor at Syracuse University. Dr. Brat’s scholarship focuses on mindfulness-based programs (MBP), social justice, counselor professional identity and advocacy, contemplative sciences, and humanistic psychology. She has published across interdisciplinary journals and is extremely passionate about furthering her research in highlighting the many layers of implicit bias that remain critical in dismantling racism and oppression amongst dominant groups.
Read more about the TPC scholarship awards here.
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