Graduate counseling student and professors to present at national conferences

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A Waynesburg University Graduate Counseling Program faculty member, as well as a faculty-and-student team, recently had scholarly papers accepted for presentation at national conferences.

Dr. Devon Manderino, assistant professor of counseling, will present her original research on spirituality in counseling at the North Atlantic Regional Conference of the Association of Counselor Educators and Supervision in Providence, R.I., later this month. 

Additionally, Laura Smith, a graduate counseling student; Dr. Scott Tracy, director of graduate programs in counseling and assistant professor of counseling; and Dr. Mark Lepore, an adjunct faculty member, will present their clinical poster, “Risk and Resiliency: The Prevention and Aftermath of School Violence,” at the Annual Conference of the American Counseling Association in Orlando, Fla., in April. 

“Waynesburg University students and faculty are committed both to adding to new knowledge about relevant counseling topics and serving the Christian mission of the institution,” Tracy said. “Both of these projects represent those commitments, as well as receiving the approval from peer reviewers.”

Manderino studied how spirituality has been directly linked to positive outcomes in counseling, while spiritual crises contribute to psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and psychosis. Despite this recognized link, counselor training related to spirituality is inconsistent and untested.

She said her project was aimed at developmentally educational activities that may significantly improve counselor trainee competency levels regarding the role of spirituality and religion in counseling.

Smith, Tracy and Lepore’s poster focused on the prevalence of school violence incidents, which have illuminated the need for a better understanding of the factors that predict mental health outcomes for students, teachers, school administrators, first responders and adjacent school communities.

“In almost all instances of school violence, somebody close to the perpetrator knew of the plan before it happened; however, in most cases the warning signs become clear only after the event takes place,” Smith said.

The poster outlines a model for understanding community needs that result from exposure to school violence with treatment strategies that may help affected communities heal and move forward.

“This project proposed the development of a collaborative system for students, teachers, parents and community members to provide children with emotional and social skills training, and when necessary, report concerns about the threat of violence,” Tracy said.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
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