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Loyola University New Orleans Announces Outstanding Graduate Students

By Loyola University on Wed, 05/15/2019 - 18:35

Loyola University New Orleans proudly announces two Outstanding Graduate Students to receive the university’s 2019 Ignatian Award, Loyola’s highest award for students. Ida Ansell and Oriel Romano, who each received Master of Science in Counseling degrees at Commencement on Saturday, May 11, this year developed an important self-research study designed to help aspiring counselors assess their own racial identities and multicultural competencies in order that they may better serve their communities and clients.

While it is unusual to have a pair of students nominated for this single award, these two students have completed remarkable things together in their time at Loyola, said Dr. Kathryn Benning, a Loyola counseling professor. In response to student requests, Oriel and Ida created an innovative and effective opportunity for students to develop their own racial identities and multicultural competencies. Drawing on advice from external professionals, they recruited competent facilitators and organized an intensive 6-week program to effectively train future counselors – their legacy to Loyola and to future students and clients.

Over the past year and a half, Ansell and Romano have secured four grants to help support the program, and as a result of their ingenuity and passion, almost half the students in the Counseling Program have taken advantage of the intensive training, Benning said. The program has helped to distinguish Loyola’s program from others in the country, while also helping graduates who aspire to be multiculturally competent and socially active counselors in the New Orleans community to leave Loyola both better prepared and more marketable.

Outstanding students, Ansell and Romano have served the community as mental health counselors for the last 12 months providing clinical services to underserved populations and have been active on campus and statewide advocacy efforts. They were also integral members of Students Addressing Race and Privilege (SARP), a student-led group that works to increase counselors’ multicultural competence and social justice advocacy.

Learn more about the Outstanding Undergraduates Charlie Seiter and Rula Thabata