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Hayden FergusonHayden Ferguson

University of Montana
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
General Emphasis
Class of 2020

Greetings Prospective Students!

I grew up in central Montana and attended college in western Montana, earning my undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Fine Art from the University of Montana in Missoula. During my undergraduate career I worked as a research assistant in a variety of psychology research labs covering topics such as LGBTQ issues, substance use disorders, and animal research. I also worked as a teaching assistant and independent instructor for introductory psychology courses. I am currently a full-time student with a general emphasis in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at William James College. I also work as a student research assistant for the Office of Research in Program Development, Monitoring, and Evaluation.

After completing my undergraduate degrees, I worked for Montana State University for 2 years as a program coordinator on a number of different research projects coving topics such as women’s health, dance/movement therapies to treat depression, investigational new drugs for substance-use-related mood disorders, and psychometric meta-analyses. My work as a program coordinator provided me with the opportunity to co-author a number of published manuscripts and present our findings at conferences. I felt my time as a program coordinator better prepared for graduate-level work, so I started searching and applying for programs in the summer of 2017.

William James College immediately caught my attention in the vast pool of possible graduate programs in the Boston area. Faculty-to-student ratio was important for me in selecting a school and William James College provides just that. I knew building strong connections would be important for my success in graduate school and beyond, and the school has exceeded my expectations. My experience with faculty and administration has been exactly what I was hoping to get: the closeness only a connected community can provide. Faculty members and administration have been extremely supportive of my learning goals in the program, while also encouraging me to solidify and attain my long-term career goals.

I was also drawn to William James College’s model of experiential education. In my experience, I have learned much more effectively through doing. During my first year I was applying skills and theories learned in class. These ideas and skills are no longer in the theoretical sphere, they are now part of my experience as a clinician. William James College requires significantly more clinical hours each year than is required by the commonwealth, which means you leave the school with considerably more experience than students graduating from similar programs.

As you can probably tell from the paragraphs above, I have a profound interest in research. My experiential education at William James College has gone beyond the clinical realm since starting my position in the Office of Research under the supervision of Dr. Sonia Suri, Director of Program Development, Monitoring, and Evaluation. I have continued gaining research experience and learning outside the classroom, but I also found another community that I connected with immediately. These experiential components of the education process not only give you an edge over the competition as a future clinician, they also provide you with connectedness not always found in other higher-education settings.

During my time in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program I have further sharpened my areas of interest; I am in the general emphasis, which allots me the freedom of taking electives from the other areas of emphasis. I have come to realize my passion is working with older adults, specifically within the realm of neurological disorders. Upon this realization, I have decided to apply for the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) Program for admission in the fall of 2020, hoping to concentrate in Neuropsychology with an emphasis in Geropsychology, after my completion of the Master’s program. Administration, faculty, and staff have been incredibly supportive helping me attain my long-term career goals by connecting me with clinical faculty, providing the opportunity for conferences related to my areas of interest, securing potential job interviews, demystifying the transition process, and helping me search for scholarships. William James College, while a small institution, has a vast number of programs and different opportunities within the school which offers a unique opportunity.

The administration, faculty, staff, and student body at William James College are truly dedicated to serving the underserved, building diversity in the mental health field, and educating the next generation of clinicians. I am honored to be a part of this community and look forward to my future as a graduate from this program. If you have any questions about anything, please feel free to reach out to me via email.