Over 40 Years of Service to the Mental Health Community

MaMHCA: Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association

Scholarship Program


Past Scholarship Winners:

2016:  Denise Galford-Koeppel and AJ Guerrero

Denise Galford-Koeppel (Bay Path University), whose passion is helping at-risk families, has been a research assistant for the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, a developmental specialist in early intervention, and a special education advocate. Some of her professors’ comments include: “…I have been thoroughly impressed with her professionalism, dedication, and intellectual abilities”; “Denise exhibits and gift of working with people and I expect it will not only flourish as she continues her graduate studies, but this will carry her to a high level of success in her career.”; “Her work products are of the highest caliber.”; and This student is also a leader within her academic program.”

AJ Guerrero (UMass Boston), whose strong interest lies in multicultural issues in counseling particularly those of LGBTG individuals, has been a research manager at the Center for Psychosocial Health Research, a teaching assistant and has presented research at the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. Some of her professors’ comments include: “She stands out among her peers in terms of the breadth and depth of her experiences providing both service and research in the community, in addition to her academic strength and leadership as evidenced by numerous honors, scholarships, and awards.”; “… a passion for counseling.”; “In addition, she uses her research opportunities to strengthen her clinical skills and knowledge.”; and “In conclusion, it is my pleasure to give my highest recommendation for AJ to your award program.”


2015:  Lucie Monroe and Ruby Stardrum

Lucie_Monroe      Ruby_Stardrum

Lucie Munroe is an outstanding student who is specializing in trauma work at Lesley University. Her interest in trauma work began when she spent her early childhood in a war zone and continues today as she begins her work as an intern at the Boston Veteran’s Center. Lucie’s work at Lesley has been highly praised. One professor had this to say: “Lucie’s academic work is among the best I’ve ever seen in over 20 years of teaching - is psychologically insightful, reflective, and perceptive and also thorough, detailed, analytical and conceptual. Her dedication and sense of purpose and commitment to her learning and to the clinical mental health field stand out to me”.

Ruby Stardrum has been a strong advocate for the well-being of others for her entire career. She has worked as an eighth grade learning specialist and LGBTQ youth group advisor. She is a strong advocate for others and has worked with them on how to advocate for themselves. Ruby has been described by one professor thusly: “Ruby is hard-working and dedicated and has developed skills that will serve her well in the field of human services in general and mental health counseling in particular. Her personal and  professional attributes, in addition to a strong work ethic and the ability to work independently, including real commitment to the profession of mental health, and a great deal of insight and thoughtfulness regarding the human condition.”


2014:  Sarah Deschenes and Kendra Knauf

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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.”


2013:  Erin Fitzgerald and Venus Taylor

E_Fitzgerald      V_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.”


2012:  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. 


2011:  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.