Counselors are encouragers, active listeners, hope givers and they inspire us to be better humans. For Rogers State University student Beth Smith, the tools she’s been given in her undergrad has prepared her to become an advocate for others in graduate school.
A psychology and sociology senior, Smith has been accepted to the University of Arkansas Master of Science in Counseling program for fall 2021.
The Locust Grove native was also recommended for an assistantship for parent and family programs. The assistantship includes full tuition, a $15,000 salary and will cover off-campus living expenses. This will allow Smith to focus on becoming a fully equipped counselor while gaining experience working with different family dynamics.
Counselor’s possess empathy, acceptance, strong interpersonal and communication skills. Smith possesses all these qualities and more.
“Beth has been an amazing student. She is always full of insight and kindness. She is remarkably intelligent and very well-loved,” Assistant Professor Chrissy Whiting-Madison said. “She is driven and does everything with a kind heart. Her passion for helping the world is evident in everything she does. I cannot wait to watch her grow and become the catalyst for change and inspiration she was meant to be.”
Smith spent her senior year interning at RSU’s Counseling Center shadowing Nikki Phillip, the coordinator of counseling services. The experience gave her insight into the internal workings of a counseling center including scheduling appointments, organizing files, administering intakes, researching mental health grants, creating group counseling material, and planning events to build relationships between the counseling office and the campus community.
“Beth has been a constant source of joy, encouragement and support for me. This wonderful young woman has countless gifts to share with the world,” Phillip said. “She sets the pace for greatness when she is around others and encourages them to do well through her leadership. These characteristics will make Beth a great counselor.”
Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health.
“From working in Nikki’s office, I directly learned how important mental health resources are for higher education. Counselors wear multiple hats. While I do not sit in on sessions with her, we discussed therapeutic processes, new techniques in the counseling realm, and we collaborated to make the counseling services the best for RSU students,” Smith said.
A member of the President’s Leadership Class, Smith’s journey to RSU is unique. While she had other plans for her life, a campus tour changed everything.
“I dreamed of opening a quaint bakery and bookstore and live happily ever after, but God had other plans for me. With encouragement from my father, I took a campus tour at RSU and fell in love,” Smith said. “I am incredibly grateful for the experiences RSU has given me, and I am proud to leave my paw print here as I transition to my next home in Arkansas. I am a prime example that higher education will in fact change the trajectory of your life if you just take that first step.”
Smith has been involved in many clubs and organization on campus including student ambassador, Student Government Association representative, President’s Leadership Council secretary, Active Minds co-founder, vice president of Psi Chi, Hillcamp co-director and First Year Experience peer mentor.
Smith is equipped for her master’s level courses because of attentive professors who are committed to her success.
“I am walking into my master’s program already prepared. Psychology and sociology faculty truly want to see you succeed in the world of counseling,” Smith said.
After receiving her master’s degree, Smith plans to pursue a doctoral degree, become a published author and help families heal from trauma.
“Counseling is more than a career. The best counselors already have the fundamental skills before their feet ever touch the floor of a classroom,” Smith said. “These characteristics are instinctual, intuitive and are enhanced when given the proper education and knowledge. I look forward to giving hope, helping heal and be a haven for others.”