Posted on October 29, 2021 by Christopher Reichert


UTSA’s Department of Counseling in the College of Education would like to congratulate doctoral student Madelyn Duffey for earning the Texas Counseling Association’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Originally from San Antonio, Duffey has a diverse educational background, earning a BA in humanities, with concentrations in history and English from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MA in southern studies from the University of Mississippi, before returning to San Antonio and earning her MS in clinical mental health counseling from UTSA in 2020.   

“The faculty at UTSA is so well known, and it’s such a good program that it made a lot of sense to come here and go to UTSA,” Duffey said.   

Now working on her Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision, Duffey is being recognized by the TCA for her academic and professional dedication to the field of counseling. According to the TCA, recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award must show a commitment to the field through their own independent work. This includes developing innovative programs and community service and advocacy, both of which Duffey is heavily involved. In 2019, she was part of the team that launched the  College of Education and Human Development’s Student Success Center , which was conceived as a means to provide resources such as tutoring and professional development guidance to undergraduate students and serve as a central location for COEHD students to study and interact.   

“It was really neat,” Duffey said, “I was in the first group to provide those services to the students and was able to do it for multiple semesters.”  

She also assisted professors in developing materials for the Center, offering a student’s perspective on what to include and how to best clarify items. Duffey says this time working with professors and the support they gave were valuable learning opportunities for herself and her other graduate colleagues.  

When she’s not studying or mentoring undergraduate students, Duffey spends her time serving her community, volunteering her time and helping people with their resumés and preparing them for interviews.  

“I guess my hobby outside of school really is community service and involvement,” she said. “I always have fun being part of community projects and fundraising.”  

Yet despite this work at the college and in the community, the TCA award announcement caught her completely off guard.   

“At first I wondered if there was a mistake. But it was very exciting and really heartwarming to know that someone took the time to submit an application for me.”  

“I didn’t know that I had been nominated,” she said. “At first I wondered if there was a mistake. But it was very exciting and really heartwarming to know that someone took the time to submit an application for me.”   

Instrumental to winning this award and achieving her career goals, Duffey says, has been working with UTSA’s faculty, including Dr. Priscilla Prasath, who nominated her.  

“The faculty have been really wonderful at modeling professionalism and care and consideration for others, hard work, and being very welcoming to students,” she said.   

In the meantime, Duffey’s focused on finishing her program and graduating with her Ph.D. She has expressed interest in teaching and research, while still sharpening her counseling skills. She’s especially interested in career counseling and working with women and other marginalized people. Duffey attributes her interest in career counseling to her parents, both of whom cultivated careers they were passionate about.  

“I saw how much of our lives we spend at work and thinking about work and doing work, and how important it can be to individuals and to their identities and to their families and their lives,” she said.  

Duffey will accept the award in November at the annual TCA conference in Galveston, where she will deliver a speech and have a chance to meet other award recipients.  

“For me, it’s a huge honor and is energizing me to continue and keep doing all of the work I’m doing,” she said.


-Christopher Reichert


— Christopher Reichert