Graduate students Seng Leang Chea and Horacio Renteria were the winners of the $18,500 stipend. Statewide, 84 stipends are awarded through the program, administered through Phillips Graduate Institute (www.pgi.edu).
David Bruce Rose, Ph.D., associate professor of marriage and family therapy, has worked closely with Chea and Renteria and nominated them for the stipend. "The students are on a mission from God. They want to serve and have excellent preparation," he said. Their work will include individual counseling and some psychotherapy, he added.
Nominees were ranked according to characteristics including their experience working in the field, their ability to speak other languages and their personal experience. Those who receive the stipend must serve for one year, in either a paid or unpaid capacity, as a marriage and family therapy intern at a qualified mental health service agency. Students must also have practicum training in agencies that provide mental health treatment to underserved communities and culturally diverse populations.
Chea works at the Fresno Center for New Americans and at Kings View Behavioral Health System in Hanford, and Renteria at Turning Point of Central California. Both are scheduled to graduate in May 2013.
Renteria and Chea are thankful for what Rose has done. "I appreciate the investment he is making and the way he values his students and is looking for more ways for people who maybe come from disadvantaged backgrounds to establish careers in mental health," Renteria said.
By Katherine Elwood