Elon senior wins prominent fellowship for psychology

The American Psychological Association has awarded a prestigious fellowship to Jessica "Jessi" Young, an Elon University senior preparing to attend graduate school for her doctoral degree in counseling psychology.

Jessica Young
Young, 22, was named the recipient of a 2008 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Fellowship, part of a federally funded grant program administered through the APA’s Minority Fellowship Program. It is the first time an Elon student has ever received the award, which entitles recipients to financial support for graduate study along with professional development opportunities.

The psychology and Spanish major from Richmond, Va., plans to attend Virginia Commonwealth University in her hometown. Her research interests include identity development, personal narratives and ethnic identity.

The fellowship provides financial support for up to three years of postgraduate study.

According to the APA web site, criteria for selecting scholars includes:
    1.) Commitment to ethnic minority mental health and substance abuse services
    2.) Knowledge of ethnic minority psychology or mental health services issues
    3.) Fit between career goals and training environment selected
    4.) Potential to become a culturally competent mental health service provider demonstrated through accomplishments and goals
    5.) Scholarship/grades
    6.) Letters of recommendation

“This award is such an honor because, in addition to the money I will receive for schools, it will give me specialized training and a wide network of people who are working in the field to learn from and observe,” Young said. “It will go far beyond my graduate school experience and be an invaluable asset to my counseling career.

“To receive a fellowship from a prestigious organization such as the APA is a blessing.”

A graduate of Saint Gertrude High School, Young is the daughter of Dr. Mary H. Young and the late Rev. Barry T. Young.

Young’s accomplishments at Elon include the following:
    – President’s List scholar
    – Honors Fellow
    – Member of Phi Kappa Phi
    – Recipient of a Black Excellence Award all four years at the university
    – Rawls Scholar for 2006-2007 (scholarship supported independent research)
    – SURE Fellow for Summer 2007 (scholarship supported independent research)

Her extracurricular achievements:
    – Peer educator for the SPARKS team, which teaches students about alcohol, drugs and sexual health.
    – Gospel Choir
    – Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
    – Student ambassador for Multicultural Admissions

“Her intelligence, motivation, career goals and past experiences make her a perfect candidate for this fellowship,” psychology professor Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, Young’s thesis adviser,wrote in a letter of recommendation for the fellowship. “Her analytic and writing skills place her in the top 1 percent of students with whom I have worked over the past decade. 

“Jessi has a delightful sense of humor, and is clever, interesting and a good storyteller,” Vandermaas-Peeler writes. “She is highly personable and well-liked by her peers. Those who know her well are deeply impressed by her indomitable will and strength of character.”

For more information on the APA Minority Fellowship Program, visit the link below.