Amber C. Richardson, a first-year graduate student in the specialist in school psychology program, is a 2018 recipient of the Donald F. McHenry Fellowship.

Richardson was born and raised on the west side of Chicago in the Austin community. She graduated from Roosevelt University in May of 2016 with a bachelor in honors psychology minoring in sociology with a focus on children and families. She also graduated as an Honors Program Scholar.

For the first two years following graduation, Richardson worked as a school age teacher in the 5-12 years department and a teacher’s aide for the infant and toddlers department at Marillac St. Vincent Family Services Agency on the west side (Garfield). Having worked with youth and children since high school, she enjoys the relationships and learning experiences she has gained. As a teacher, she has learned the struggles of working in a classroom with thirty different personalities at once, while also handling curriculum load, administrative duties, and more. Her experiences and her coworkers taught her the important role of the school psychologist in schools and communities.

Richardson is interested in gaining more knowledge of the needs and concerns of teachers, parents, and students through the specialist in school psychology program at Illinois State. After completing this degree, she plans to return to her hometown and serve as a school psychologist in the Chicago schools.

“Having love, support, and motivation from my family, my best friends, my boyfriend, high school teachers, my college professor mentor, my Marillac “family,” and now my new School Psych “family,” I have become successful in all of my educational and career goals that I have [set] in life,” Richardson said. “Most of all, my Marillac students became the greatest sign that inspired me to continue my career for school psychology. My experiences have showed me the importance of serving the youth to support them through important times, assist them with development, and connect with those who have great influence on their lives.”

Donald F. McHenry ’57, a United States Ambassador to the United Nations, participated in many student activities during his time at Illinois State. He was a member of the student chapter of the NAACP and the student radio station and participated in theater productions. In 1956 he captained the debate team and was named Outstanding Debater at Illinois State and in the United States. McHenry attributed much of his success as a diplomat to these and other experiences at Illinois State that helped him strengthen his communication skills and deepen his understanding of the great issues that helped him so ably serve in his role as ambassador.