Grad counseling student wins national award

In a steep competition against graduate students from counseling programs across the country, MAC student Quinn Sparks has been awarded the 2020 Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGVTIC) Graduate Student of the Year Award.

The Graduate Student Award, was established to honor a graduate student member of ALGBTIC who has contributed significantly in one of three areas: 1) Representing or embodying the mission of ALGBTIC through direct service for ALGBTIC or in the field of counseling; 2) Furthering knowledge of LGBTGEQIAP+ issues through an outstanding research contribution; and 3) Providing service or research that specifically focuses on furthering the knowledge of and commitment to issues of diversity within the LGBTGEQIAP+ community.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Counseling Association Conference, where Quinn was to receive her award on a national stage, was cancelled. 

Quinn’s professor, Dr. Meagan McBride, addressed her qualifications for receiving the award.

“In efforts to further her knowledge, and through her commitment to the LGBTGEQIAP+ community, Quinn began working on a presentation titled Creating a Gender Affirming Counseling Space and submitted a proposal to Ohio Counseling Association’s call for Graduate Poster Presentation. She and her partner on this project were accepted and presented in November 2019. She is currently working with Dr. Stacey Litem to submit for OCA’s Spring Conference as well,” Meagan wrote in her letter of recommendation

Quinn did not stop here. While developing the presentation for OCA, and advocating at her university level, she advocated within her field site for updated intake paperwork to remove binary and non-inclusive identifiers, and developed and implemented a study to better understand how small college campuses can better meet the needs of the LGBTGEQIAP+ community. 

“I cannot help but be amazed by the work Quinn puts forth to serve those in the community and to educate those around her,” Meagan said. “So many of the areas she advocates in and serves are not seen by many. She will feel undeserving of the praise and works merely to do what she views as her part to create liberated spaces for everyone.”

In December 2019, Quinn was invited to present a training at a community agency based off her presentation at OCA and has recently on-boarded as a regional representative for ALGBTIC-Ohio.

“We have been fortunate to have Quinn in our program, and look forward to seeing the impact she has with clients, communities, and more as she enters the profession,” Meagan said.

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