Over 30 Years of Service to the Mental Health Community

MaMHCA: Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association



Scholarship Winners



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Sarah Deschenes and Kendra Knauf

Sarah Deschenes is an outstanding student who has described as: “… very passionate about her clinical work and demonstrates great ability to express herself in a professional manner.” Sarah looks forward to working with children and adolescents, a population in great need of services. She also believes her role extends beyond her work as a clinician to include being a social advocate for mental health.  In a relatively short time, she has become involved with MaMHCA and participated in a number of MaMHCA activities.

Kendra Knauf is an excellent student whose goal is to work with clients and families on the issue of suicide which is a growing problem. She currently is engaged in research to understand protective factors and how to cultivate them into our clients’ lives.  Along with this research she is also conducting a longitudinal study about college students with a history of trauma influences their educational persistence and success. Kendra is described as “… passionate about practice, creative in approach to intervention strategies, and a true team player.”



E_Fitzgerald      V_Taylor

Erin Fitzgerald and Venus Taylor

Erin Fitzgerald has achieved success during her undergraduate and graduate careers both in and out of the classroom. She has gone the extra mile to immerse herself in the field through research in addition to her course work and internship. She also serves on Assumption’s Judicial Appeals Board.

Erin was in Japan conducting a cross-cultural research project and working as an undergraduate intern at the Tokyo English Life Line Counseling Center in 2011 when the earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit. She volunteered for two weeks, working eighteen hour shifts, at the crisis center that was established by the U.S. embassy aiding both Americans in Japan and their family members in the U.S. 

As one of Erin’s professor’s described her: “In addition to being intellectually gifted, dedicated, and resourceful, Erin is also remarkably resilient.” Another professor described Erin this way: “Erin is a remarkable young woman who is intelligent, intuitive and dedicated to the helping profession at many different levels. She is an extremely strong graduate student who is well respected by professors and students alike.

Venus Taylor describes herself as being passionate about family and youth counseling and started on that path during her teen years. As a young adult, Venus worked with young people in Boston public schools as a Prevention Specialist. Additionally, she has authored a book, Becoming the Mom I Wish I’d Had, about her raising and homeschooling her two children.

She has excelled academically and in her practicum where she devoted twice the amount of hours required of her. Venus has future plans for working with children and families that will mark her as a leader in our field while providing much needed services for children and families.

Venus has been described by one of her professors thusly: “Venus not only excels in her clinical skills, but in her natural ability to form meaningful connections with the children and families n client load. It is clear to me that Venus has a real commitment to her clients, career, and Community.” Her practicum supervisor said: “Ms. Taylor would often go above and beyond her role to make sure that all family members were connected to the most appropriate community supports.”




Courtney Carpenter

Courtney stood out amongst these excellent students with her work in and out of the classroom.  She has demonstrated a strong interest in helping others during her undergraduate and graduate years along with working in the mental health field in-between. She ranks at the top or near the top of all her classes, has shown strong leadership qualities everywhere she has been, and has demonstrated the attitude and skills to be an effective counselor. 

Additionally, Courtney has participated in a number of significant research projects and was recently awarded a highly coveted research assistant position for the next academic year. 




Christina Hampton

Christina, a student in Expressive Therapies and Mental Health Counseling, was selected from among eleven outstanding graduate students, representing five colleges and universities, who applied for the scholarship.

Christina is described as a leader with strong clinical skills and as an individual who “has always demonstrated an extremely high level of academic integrity, insight, and achievement.” She has diverse experience having worked for a number of agencies, both as an undergraduate and graduate student, primarily working with children. Christina is also actively involved in the Expressive Therapies Division at Lesley while volunteering her time as a Big Sister and play space activity leader at a family homeless shelter. Christina’s goal upon graduation is to work with children who have experienced trauma.

Christina has received a $1,000 scholarship for the 2011-2012 academic year, a one year MaMHCA membership, mentoring support including but not limited to licensing support services, and free admission to MaMHCA's 2011 Annual Conference.