Writing Samples & Research


My most recent research project was Examining Self-Authorship in First Generation Female Student Leaders. I worked on it with two other awesome, inspirational women: Katie Dunn and Dana Calandrino, both of whom were students with me in EMU’s Department of Leadership and Counseling. We took the work on a brief little tour: we could be found in Milwaukee at the SPYPLN conference on February 23, 2013 and in Ypsilanti at TEDxEMU on March 15, 2013 talking about our little project. Very exciting! You can find a (long-ish) copy of the paper that we wrote to document the study here, and you can find a copy of our presentation slides here.

If you’re interested in connecting with Katie or Dana via email, drop me a line over here and I’ll get you in touch. You can also connect with Katie on Twitter (@dunnkat3) or via LinkedIn.


After Katie, Dana and I worked with students in focus groups on our Examining Self-Authorship project, the data from the focus groups haunted me a little even after the project wrapped up. The key points were that female first-generation students on EMU’s campus, even after they had assumed leadership roles on campus, still felt a sort of “imposter syndrome” while in these leadership roles. They had a hard time connecting their experience on-campus to their family lives (this is common to first-generation students), and they also found little support while deciding on a major. In general, the students we interviewed echoed a theme that they had found their way into their majors, leadership roles, and career goals “almost by accident”, and had wished that there had been more structure to this process of finding their way.

I ultimately developed a four-session counseling group to address this need. Contained in that .pdf are session plans for each meeting, assessment forms (pre- and post-), as well as an informed consent form and any forms needed to run the meetings. At the end of the group, students will have created a structured Career Development Plan for themselves, as well as identifying resources that will support them throughout their college experience and their transition into their career.

I believe that this group plan is versatile and can be applied to any number of populations (women, students of color, transfer students, etc.) in order to facilitate intentional, self-authored career planning. If you are interested in adapting this group to your own institution, please contact me. I would absolutely be more than happy to work with you!


My interests represent an effort to combine the things I love about counseling and student affairs into a cohesive, meaningful career path. From a theoretical counseling perspective, I am interested in feminist/empowerment and existential therapies, and am particularly interested in the way that feminist and existential therapies combine to effectively treat survivors of rape, sexual assault, and related traumas. This plays out in the work that I currently do with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as my goal to ultimately work at a women’s resource center at a university.

The counselor in me can’t resist a chance to work on personal and/or professional development with undergraduates. Here is a good example of the type of presentation I give; another department on campus requested that I come talk to their student leader group about how to prepare a conference proposal for NODA 2013. My style is largely participatory: I typically prepare handouts for each student to use and facilitate a discussion around the presentation, rather than standing near the PowerPoint and reading from it. This allows me to engage students who learn both by reading and by doing.

I am interested in evaluation & assessment, particularly as it relates to higher education, but also as it intersects with the counseling field. My undergrad degree involved taking more math than most of my colleagues. I still love statistics, and am particularly in love with data representation and reporting. Soon, I hope to upload a sample of my department’s Annual Report here. Most of the writing is not actually mine, but I manage this project, make sure it gets done, pull the data, and produce most of the charts. My main responsibility throughout the year entails monitoring our incoming data, comparing it to the last five years or so of what we’ve collected, and making usable representations out of it.