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Spotlight On Master’s Student Zobaida Laota

Zobaida Laota is a master’s student studying clinical mental health counseling in the department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Adult and Higher Education.

Read her personal reflection about her work, goals, and experiences in the College of Education’s counseling program.

Photo of Zobaida at her undergraduate graduation.
Photo of Zobaida at her undergraduate graduation.

My counseling perspective is a multicultural one that is centered on social justice and has been shaped primarily by my background.

I was born in Sudan and lived there for the early part of my life. I remember my transition to life in the United States after immigration so well, from my first experiences of not belonging and my resistance to learning English, to the days of helping my mother study for her naturalization exams five years later. I spent another portion of my life living in an oil compound in Saudi Arabia with expatriates from around the globe, where I had experiences that changed my views of the world.

Throughout my life, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to countries across the globe and through all of my travels, I’ve been affected deeply by the people’s experiences of hardship, oppression, and resilience. Those are the stories that drive my passion in mental health.

I’m extremely thankful to be a student in the College of Education counseling program. I knew I would be getting a good education when I started this program, but I didn’t expect that I’d be able to mold my education to my interests.

When I expressed a desire to participate in research-based projects, I was given the opportunity to complete research on Arab American youth that fit so well with my future goals. Even my assignments in courses allowed me the flexibility to explore my interests. I was able to turn a literature review in my theories class on using spiritually informed CBT with Muslims into an ACA poster proposal which I’ll soon be presenting at a conference in Montreal. My ACA poster is a good example of how I’m working towards contributing to community by tackling the detrimental effects of Islamophobia on my beloved Muslim American community.

My absolute favorite part of my experience at NC State has been the people that I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter, from the lifelong friends I’ve made to the professors who have more faith in me than I could have ever envisioned. I have felt supported through the difficulties that life has sent my way during my time in this program and that support was there for me before I even asked for it.

The education, opportunities, and support I’ve been given and the growth I’ve experienced, both personally and professionally in the last year and a half, are beyond what I could have ever imagined when I started graduate school and I am so grateful for the NC State counselor education community for allowing me that.

This article was adapted from the Counseling Chronicle (see full version here). Click to learn more about clinical mental health counseling and the counselor education program