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Grad student Sobia Ahmed earns $10,000 fellowship

Sobia Ahmed, a graduate student in The College of New Jersey’s master’s in clinical mental health counseling program, has been named a fellow in the NBCC Foundation Minority Fellowship Program.

This $10,000 award provides financial support to one student who is currently enrolled in a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs-accredited counseling master’s program. The student must commit to serving underserved populations in New Jersey inner cities within one year of graduation for a minimum of at least two years post-graduation.

“It was a thrill to get that call that I had won the fellowship,” Ahmed said. “I am looking forward to helping and working with underrepresented and marginalized groups in the state.”

Ahmed, who is in her second year of the program at the college, will create an intentional and specific plan outlining how she hopes to progress as a counselor during her fellowship year.

She is confident her experiences in TCNJ’s program have prepared her well for the responsibilities and requirements of the fellowship.

“I took a research class last term where we had to think about a proposal involving a population that we’re interested in academically, so it was already on my mind,” she said. “Experiences like that will help me build on what I have learned and identify the overlap in barriers and issues these New Jersey residents face.”

Throughout the fellowship period, Ahmed will set goals, report on her progress, and create and present a final project based on her discoveries and achievements

Ahmed was nominated for the award by Corinne Zupko, adjunct faculty member in the Department of Counselor Education at TCNJ.

“Certain students stand out and positively influence the culture of the entire class,” Zupko said. “Sobia is one of these students. Through her participation and assignments, I got to know a person who is caring, warm, conscientious, and will be an asset to the field of counseling.”

Ultimately Ahmed, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan before she was born, hopes to continue her career path by making underserved populations more comfortable seeking counseling when they need it and seeing themselves represented in the person sitting across from them. Ahmed wants to change that.

“I want to work in a community that has diverse populations — immigrants, refugees, different diverse people of color,” she said.  “I know so many people who just will not go to a therapist because most therapists are white and they don’t feel that connection. They feel like they won’t be understood properly.”

For more information on the NBCC Foundation, please visit the organization’s website.