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COEHD Doctoral Student Wins $20,000 from the National Board for Certified Counselors

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Contributions by Deborah Silliman Wolfe

The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Angelica Tello was awarded a $20,000 fellowship from the National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program and Affiliates. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision in the College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Counseling.

“I was definitely excited when I heard I had received the fellowship,” Tello said. “It is really nice to be recognized by a major organization in my profession [NBCC] that is willing to support my work.”

As a National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Fellow, Tello will receive funding and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations.

Dr. Thelma Duffey, Professor and Chair in the Department of Counseling, said she believes Tello is richly deserving of this honor. 

“Angelica is a most committed student and truly dedicated to the needs of people whose voices are not always heard,” Duffey said. “We are so pleased to hear that NBCC will be supporting Angelica and her research on first generation minority college students. This is an important focus that has the potential to deeply impact the futures of many young people and their families. We couldn’t be happier for Angelica, nor could we be more proud!”

Department of Counseling associate professor Dr. Heather Trepal also has positive things to say about Tello.

“Angelica has an amazing work ethic,” Trepal said. “Her research interests in first generation minority college students have wide-ranging implications for the counseling profession. I am so very proud of her for receiving this fellowship and look forward to seeing all of the wonderful things that she will do in the future!”

In her application for the fellowship, Tello describes how, as a Mexican-American woman from a low socio-economic (SES) background, she felt out of place as an undergraduate student. In her experiences, she said she felt that professionals in the helping professions, such as counseling, did not understand the needs of those living in poverty and have a cultural awareness of Mexican Americans. Her personal experiences have fostered her passion to work with clients from minority backgrounds, predominately Mexican American and low SES.

“The counseling department at UTSA is focused on providing support to underserved areas of San Antonio, Texas,” she said in her fellowship application. “As a future counselor educator, I see where my lived experiences and cultural backgrounds add a much needed voice in our field. This fellowship will be a great source of support on my way to graduating.”

The NBCC MFP is made possible by a grant awarded to NBCC by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in August 2012. The Foundation is contracted by NBCC to administer the NBCC MFP, as well as training and collaboration activities that will be open to all National Certified Counselors. The goal of the program is to strengthen the infrastructure that engages diverse individuals in counseling and increases the number of professional counselors providing effective, culturally competent services to underserved populations.

The NBCC MFP has distributed $20,000 education awards to Tello and the 23 other doctoral-level counseling students selected to receive the fellowship award. Tello received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and her master’s from The University of Texas at San Antonio, where she is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision. Her counseling experience includes working with college students at public four-year institutions and working in agencies serving children and adolescents from low-income communities.

The Foundation plans to open the next NBCC MFP application period in December 2013. To learn more about the NBCC MFP and its fellows, please visit


About the NBCC Foundation
The NBCC Foundation is an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), based in Greensboro, North Carolina. NBCC is the nation’s premier professional certification board devoted to credentialing counselors who meet standards for the general and specialty practices of professional counseling. Currently, there are more than 52,000 National Certified Counselors in the United States and more than 50 countries

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