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NMSU College of Education to receive nearly $3.5 million in federal funding for scholarships

  • By Adriana M. Chávez
  • 575-646-1957
  • adchavez@nmsu.edu
  • Jun. 30, 2020
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The College of Education at New Mexico State University is set to receive nearly $3.5 million from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to fund scholarships for economically disadvantaged students and underrepresented minorities.

The scholarships will benefit doctoral students studying counseling psychology, and master’s students studying clinical mental health counseling, over the next five years.

Eve Adams, interim head of the Counseling and Educational Psychology department, is also the training director of the counseling psychology program at NMSU and will oversee the scholarships for counseling psychology doctoral students as project director. Andres Perez-Rojas, admissions coordinator for the counseling psychology program, is the project co-director.

Adams said among the objectives of the grant are to achieve a 60 percent enrollment rate of disadvantaged students within the counseling psychology Ph.D. program; achieve a 33 percent enrollment rate of underrepresented ethnic minority students within the program; and achieve a 100 percent graduation rate of economically disadvantaged and underrepresented ethnic minority students within the counseling psychology Ph.D. program. In total, the scholarships will be awarded to 20 counseling psychology doctoral students each year.

“Given the huge burden of student loan debt that so many doctoral students have when they enter a Ph.D. program, this award will be very helpful in recruiting doctoral students from around the country,” Adams said. “Providing this level of financial support to students from disadvantaged backgrounds aligns with the goal of NMSU’s strategic plan, NMSU LEADS 2025, to enhance students’ social mobility.”

The clinical mental health counseling program will use the funding to emphasize diversity, multiculturalism and social justice in serving medically underserved communities. Among the program’s goals are to achieve a 50 percent enrollment rate of economically disadvantaged students within the NMSU master’s in clinical mental health counseling program and a 40 percent enrollment rate of underrepresented ethnic minority students, as well as achieve a 100 percent graduation rate of economically disadvantaged and underrepresented ethnic minority students. The grant will fully fund about 50 percent of program students over the next five years.

“Consistent with the missions of our university, college and department, our program is strongly committed to both providing training in culturally competent care to all students and actively recruiting and retaining students who come from disadvantaged and underrepresented minority backgrounds,” said Anna Lopez, training director of the clinical mental health counseling program at NMSU and grant project director. The program’s admissions coordinator, Michael Kalkbrenner, will serve as the project co-director.

The counseling psychology program was previously awarded scholarship funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in 2012 and 2016. This year marks the first time the clinical mental health counseling program has received U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration funding for scholarships.

“While many students will benefit from these much-needed grants, communities in the state that have traditionally lacked in mental health services will benefit as well, ” said College of Education interim Dean Susan Brown. “This will also help create a multicultural workforce that is sensitive to the needs of our diverse population.

The scholarships will be awarded beginning this fall.