Four students in University of the Cumberlands’ School of Social and Behavioral Sciences have been selected for a fellowship or scholarship through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Foundation.

Casey McDevitt (Anchorage, AK; master’s student), James Norris (Arleta, CA; doctoral student) and Shahna Creagan (Vancouver, WA; master’s student) were awarded Minority Fellowships, and Derrick McCluskey (Northfield, MA; master’s student), won a Rural Scholarship.

Through the fellowship, McDevitt, Norris and Creagan will work to improve the mental health of the underserved and never-served, per NBCC Foundation’s mission. Fellowship awardees have committed to teach, administer services, conduct research and/or provide direct mental health counseling to a minority group following the completion of their fellowship. The NBCC Foundation Rural Scholarship helps provide the financial support needed to become a professional counselor and serve in a rural area post-graduation.

“These are competitive programs, and it is an honor to be among the recipients,” said Dr. Matthew Lyons, professor and dean of the School. “We are extremely proud of our students on being selected. Their devotion to their studies and their passion for helping others are inspiring. We look forward to hearing about everything they accomplish this year.”

The job outlook for counselors with concentrations in substance abuse, behavioral disorders or mental health is expected to grow 23 percent between now and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is much faster than the national average. The increase in demand is consistent with the evaluations from data collected by Mental Health America, which reports a continued increase in mental health conditions in youth and a remaining shortage of the mental health workforce. According to their findings, approximately one in five Americans experiencing a mental health condition still have an unmet medical need. It is possible that, if more mental health professionals join the workforce, that ratio could change. Master’s degrees are often required to become professional mental health counselors.

Cumberlands merged its human services, psychology, counseling and criminal justice programs to establish the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in April 2018. The School encompasses all undergraduate and graduate programs, both on campus and online. For more information on the University’s psychology and mental health programs, visit