Jennifer Woodrum ’15, a first-year graduate student in the clinical-counseling psychology program, is a 2018 recipient of an Illinois State University Foundation Fellowship.

Woodrum (formerly Jaroch) graduated summa cum laude from Illinois State and was also an Honors Program Scholar, Robert G. Bone Scholar, Illinois Lincoln Laureate (2014), and Illinois Education Association Student of the Year (2014). She majored in mathematics teacher education with a Spanish minor. After graduation, Woodrum started as an algebra and geometry teacher at Bloomington High School.

“I loved working with the students and helping them learn,” Woodrum said. “But I kept wishing that I could do something more personal.”

Woodrum found that she thrived when she got to work one-on-one with students and support them when they came to her with emotional crises. When two of her students attempted suicide, she began to research the clinical-counseling psychology program at Illinois State.

“I was really longing for a profession where I could work hands-on with individuals who were facing mental illness and difficult life experiences, as those students were,” Woodrum said. “After teaching, I spent some time trying to figure out what the next step was to reach my goal. Working at PATH Crisis Center in Homeless Services for the past year gave me an opportunity to provide direct services and case management to individuals experiencing homelessness who often were living with mental illness, substance abuse issues, and traumatic situations.”

While working at PATH, Woodrum was able to do research with Illinois State Psychology Professor Jeffrey Kahn. She also gained experience as a teacher assistant and took classes as a visiting graduate student to prepare her for the clinical-counseling psychology program.

Woodrum has found that she loves direct interactions with individuals in need of support and guidance. She says the clinical-counseling program will prepare her to provide mental health diagnosis and treatment. She would like to become licensed as an LCPC (licensed clinical professional counselor) to practice as a clinician and is open to the possibility of pursuing a Ph.D. in the future.

The Illinois State University Foundation Fellowship is awarded to three doctoral and three master’s level students each year. To be considered for this award, applicants must demonstrate a potential for academic success at the graduate level, having attained a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 on a 4.0 scale, among other qualifications.