Scholarship Support Helped Sarah Schuetz ’21MED Prepare for School Counseling Career Through Hands-on Experiences, Earn Her Master’s Degree
For as long as she can remember, Sarah Schuetz ’21MED was always working with children or adolescents, which inspired her to major in education. But it was her experience as a member of Camp Kesem while an undergraduate at NC State that changed her life and her career journey.
Camp Kesem is the largest national organization dedicated to supporting children who are impacted by a parent’s cancer diagnosis, at no cost to families. College students spend the entire academic year raising funds to send the children to a week-long camp free of charge.
Through that experience, Schuetz wanted to learn more about counseling and the counseling field. So she decided to change her major from middle grades math education to psychology.
“Being a part of Camp Kesem and volunteering as a cabin counselor had an impact on my decision to focus more on counseling. I looked forward to my time spent as a camp counselor for this unique population and it really helped me to develop my counseling skills,” she said.
Working at the camp also gave Schuetz an opportunity to work directly with the mental health professional who was on staff there. The mental health professional, who was a school counselor, supported the campers and counselors in case additional assistance beyond what the college students could provide was needed.
“I became very close with the mental health professional at our camp and leaned on her to help me develop more of my counseling skills. Because of her support, I felt more and more confident in helping my own campers in times of distress, as well as training other counselors to handle difficult situations with campers,” Schuetz said. “I was also able to shadow her at her school, which gave me a clearer grasp of what counseling is like in a school setting.”
With a passion for helping children in a school setting and knowing that she wanted to incorporate psychology and counseling within her career, upon graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Schuetz decided to continue her education in the NC State College of Education’s Master of Education in school counseling program.
As the recipient of the Kimberly F. Crews Memorial Scholarship, Schuetz was able to attend graduate school and earn her master’s degree, as well as gain invaluable hands-on experiences as a school counselor. The financial stress of graduate school was also taken off of her plate.
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“I am extremely honored to have been chosen for this scholarship. I think being the recipient of this scholarship has proven to me that my hard work has really paid off,” Schuetz said. “I am very thankful to the Kimberly F. Crews family in aiding me in my journey to becoming a school counselor.”
Through her program, Schuetz had the opportunity to strengthen her counseling skills through a school counseling internship with Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School, where she says she was able to pinpoint a specific counseling approach that she will use with her future students.
Even though her internship was unique due to the coronavirus pandemic, Schuetz says her internship experience was beneficial and prepared her for a career as a school counselor. She says she learned about all aspects of a school counselor with real, hands-on experience, had her own caseload of students and co-facilitated group counseling in the school setting.
“The College of Education did an amazing job with placing me at a school in Wake County for this experience and it had a huge impact on my career. It was such a great experience being able to work in a school and it really prepared me for what it could be like as a school counselor on my own,” she said. “I was able to develop my own approach to counseling and I have become confident in who I am as a school counselor.”
Schuetz is currently interviewing for school counselor positions in Wake County. She says her goals are to support students in an educational environment and help students realize their full potential, academically, and in their pursuits of a future career.
Health and wellness is also very important to Schuetz, who enjoys lifting weights, going to a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class, running and doing yoga. She tries to set aside an hour a day to focus on moving her body. And she wants to bring that same passion and enthusiasm into her classroom.
“A career goal of mine is to incorporate (health and wellness) into my future school as well, making sure my students are supported in their development socially and emotionally. I have many ideas on how to do this, such as starting a Girls on the Run Club, to help promote health and wellness in young girls,” she said.