Alexander Awarded Prestigious Scholarship from the National Board for Certified Counselors

| Awards

Chelsea Alexander headshotTrevecca Ph.D. candidate Chelsea Alexander was recently awarded a scholarship through the Minority Fellowship Program from the National Board for Certified Counselors. The scholarship provides financial support to counselors in master’s and doctoral programs that work with underserved populations.

The $20,000 scholarship award can be used to further Alexander’s education and career, potentially covering tuition, books, conferences, training opportunities and professional development. 

The news of winning the award was truly a surprise for Alexander, who applied for the scholarship on a whim during an Association of Counselor Education and Supervision Conference. Dr. Susan Lahey, the director of Trevecca’s graduate counseling and Alexander’s dissertation chair, had encouraged her to fill out the application. 

“I didn’t think I'd get it because there were hundreds of applicants, the application was due in 10 days and I didn’t have my laptop with me,” Alexander said. “Dr. Lahey thought it was important so she went to her room and got her laptop so I could submit everything.”

The opportunity has challenged her to get out of her comfort zone and connect with a broader audience on issues of mental health. 

“I'm not an extrovert. I'm usually just the person in the corner just trying to do what I need to do,” Alexander said. “But this is definitely teaching me how to network and be more talkative.” 

Her commitment to underserved populations began long before she received the recognition. 

“In my undergrad program, I volunteered with CASA, child advocacy services, and I used to go to court for children who had been abused or neglected,” Alexander said. “I wanted to continue walking the path with kids in those situations, so I applied for a master’s program in counseling.” 

She graduated from the counseling program at Southeastern Louisiana University in 2018, and expanded upon her experience, working in geriatric psychiatry and at a pediatric inpatient facility. After discovering and applying to Trevecca’s Ph.D. program for clinical counseling: teaching and supervision in 2020, she moved to Nashville and continued working with the vulnerable. 

“I was one of the first therapists at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office Behavioral Care Center. We took inmates who had a mental health or substance abuse disorder diagnosis and gave them therapy and the services to overcome the issues that had led to their incarceration,” Alexander said.

Now years into her doctoral program, she plans to graduate in May 2025 after completing a dissertation on a subject that means a lot to her. She will be looking at counselors in training who are people of color, examining their sense of classroom community and belonging at predominantly white institutions and at historically Black universities. 

Armed with this knowledge, she hopes to teach graduate students herself, and create a classroom environment that is welcoming and equipping for all. 

“When faculty take time to recognize their students and are open to feedback, change and one-to-one connections, it creates a sense of belonging for all students,” Alexander said. “Teaching has been my passion, and I look forward to pouring into students in that way.”