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2023-2024 Maryland Counseling Association Emerging Leaders PrograM

MCA 2023 Emerging Leaders Application

MCA 2023 Emerging Leaders Application.pdf

 The MCA Emerging Leaders Program was designed to provide graduate counseling students, new professionals, and experienced professionals with cultivating experiences that support leadership skill and competency development, and diverse opportunities to actively participate in MCA Executive Board meetings, serve on a committee, task force, and/or engage in projects of interest, receive mentorship, build professional networks, and gain exposure to the responsibilities associated with fulfilling elected leadership positions. 

Up to 12 individuals will be selected from the following applicant categories to participate in this program:

  • graduate counseling students (master’s or doctoral)
  • new professionals (within one-year post graduation), and
  • experienced professionals (graduated before 2020).

 MCA Emerging Leaders will provide a minimum of 30 hours of service to MCA during the 2023-2024 fiscal year (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024). Recipients must be an MCA member at the time of application submission, and status (i.e., master, doctoral, new professional, experienced professional) should be based on student/graduation status as of June 1, 2022. New professionals must have graduated within the previous calendar year (2022) to qualify for the program; otherwise they should apply as an experienced professional.

Emerging Leaders will receive free registration to the 2023 MCA Annual Conference ($250 value!), receive mentorship from a MCA leader, meet and network with other emerging leaders in the program, and be recognized at the conference as an Emerging Leader. Recipients will also be recognized on MCA’s website, be featured in the MCA newsletter Compass Points, and have the opportunity to bolster and expand resume content through the development of helpful videos and web information for counseling students throughout the State of Maryland. 

Applicants who have exceptional leadership potential, that hold a willingness to serve MCA in a variety of roles, and have a passion for the betterment of the counseling profession are sought.

Interested applicants should submit the following to no later than June 1, 2023:

1.     The MCA Emerging Leaders application
2.     Your curriculum vitae (no longer than three pages)
3.     Two letters of recommendation (one page each) describing your leadership skills and experiences, and reasons why you should be selected to serve as an Emerging Leader

Applications can be found on the MCA website at under the Emerging Leaders tab.

The selection committee will notify applicants of the status of their application on or before June 15, 2023. Upon receipt of an application, a confirmation email will be sent. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Emerging Leader Chair

Jasmin Sias

Jasmin is originally from Brooklyn, NY, and moved to Maryland to pursue her Master's degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Jasmin is now a Mental Health therapist currently providing neurofeedback and psychotherapy to children and adults. Working adults and children with neurological disorders have allowed Jasmin to understand neuroscience and the different functions and how they related to psychological disorders. She is currently licensed as an LGPC and is working towards full licensure. Jasmin has a passion for helping clients break down walls to achieve personal and meaningful growth. In the future, she hopes to get her Ph.D. and conduct research that will benefit the Black and mental health community. Jasmin aspires to take on leadership roles to be at the forefront of change. Being a first-generation college student, her ambition and desire for self-improvement led her to the emerging leader program. Since joining the emerging leader program, Jasmin has embraced the program's different opportunities that helped promote her professional and personal development. Having the opportunity to be advised by other professionals has helped foster her ideas and revamp what it means to a leader.

Emerging Leader Co-Chair

Marja Humphrey PhD, NCC

Dr. Humphrey, an assistant professor of School Counseling at Bowie State University, prepares graduate students to work professionally with students, families, and individuals in urban communities. In the past, she has taught, advised, and counseled K-12 students, college students with disabilities, and adults with depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. A coauthor of Elements of Culture in Counseling, a multicultural counseling text, and several published articles, Dr. Humphrey has also presented at state, regional and national conferences. Off campus, Dr. Humphrey serves non-profit organizations as a discussion facilitator and board member. She completed her doctorate at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Emerging Leader Co-Chair

Mark A. Bolden

Mark A. Bolden is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling at Bowie State University where he teaches in the Mental Health Counseling program and co-advises the African Psychology Student Association. In addition, he provides African mental health consultation at Ascensions Psychological and Community Services in Southeast Washington, D.C. He is a co-founder of The Fanon Project, a group of scholar warriors who engage in healing the wounds of political violence, terror, torture, and trauma. He holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in African Psychology. Through the research team of his jegna, Dr. Shawn O. Utsey, he is completing a mixed methods study on the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma and Resilience of the 1921 Tulsa Race War Survivors and their families.

Emerging Leaders for 2021-2022

Julie Beckmann, Advocacy

Julie (she/her) is in the clinical mental health counseling master’s program at George Washington University. Julie is MCSJ’s student representative and the secretary for Chi Sigma Iota’s Rho Theta chapter. Julie currently interns at two sites: a community mental health clinic and a community based family clinic. Upon graduation, Julie hopes to continue providing quality mental health care to all regardless of socioeconomic means. Ultimately, Julie would like to focus on working with survivors of sexual trauma both domestically and abroad (she would like to see more decolonized international development/aid efforts in the area of mental health), and perhaps one day earn her doctorate in counselor education and supervision. Through her first career in libraries and her experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Julie has come to believe that learning through service and participatory community action, both locally and abroad, offers one of the most profound and lasting paths to personal and systemic change.

Naliah Beckford, MAMCD

Naliah Beckford is a Special Education Teacher for Prince George’s County Public Schools. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Spanish from Albright College, she is currently pursuing her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Bowie State University. Naliah has a passion for working with youth and adolescents, especially the foster care population. She joined the Mental Health field because of her desire to educate youth and bring about a greater sense of understanding and purpose to the field. She enjoys having a lasting impact on the lives of others. Naliah looks forward to learning and growing from like-minded leaders. She is passionate about applying new skills and knowledge gained from the EL program with advancements in her field.

Naliah thoroughly enjoys painting and expressing her thoughts and emotions on canvas as a practice of self-care. She desires to bring these practices to the population she serves.

Logan Dechter, Advocacy

Logan is a second year master's student in University of Maryland's School Counseling program. He received a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a bachelor's degree in Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture from University of Maryland. Logan currently works as an Academic Advisor at University of Maryland, as a Hotline Operator for Prince George's County's Homeless and Domestic Violence Hotlines, and as a Program Assistant for Camp Kesem, a nonprofit organization that supports children who are affected by a parent's cancer. Logan is passionate about suicide prevention and intervention and about removing barriers to academic success for all students. He is excited to serve on the Advocacy Committee and to get the opportunity to expand his advocacy from the school counseling profession to the counseling profession as a whole.

Joan Furlani, MASERVIC

Joan is a 2021 graduate of Liberty University’s clinical mental health counseling masters program. Entering the profession after an extensive background in teaching and performing music, she brings a level of creativity and collaboration into her work with clients and colleagues. Joan has a passion for providing care to the grieving and strives to integrate each client’s spiritual worldview into their journey to finding meaning, growth, and wholeness after loss. As she also has a drive to educate and mentor others, Joan hopes to pursue a PhD in counselor education and supervision within the next several years. She is deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve MASERVIC as a member of the EL program this year.

Brittany Spoor, MACES

Brittany is in the clinical mental health counseling master’s program at Hood College. Brittany is a member of Chi Sigma Iota, the international and professional academic honor society for counseling students. Brittany is currently a therapist intern at Frederick County Mental Health Association. Brittany is the lead graduate researcher for Dr. Atiya Smith’s research lab at Hood College. Brittany was accepted to the ACES conference and is presenting at her first national conference. Professionally, Brittany is a Direct Care Counselor for children and adolescents at Excel Youth. Upon graduation, Brittany hopes to work with underserved communities and continue to provide mental health services to diverse populations. Brittany would like to pursue a PhD in counselor education and supervision following graduation. She is excited to serve with the MACES division as a member of the EL program this year.

Emerging Leaders for 2020-2021

Angela Bates, Emerging Leader for MASERVIC Division

Angela is a Residential Services Specialist at New Hope Housing, a homeless shelter in Arlington, VA. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland University College and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Walden University. Angela started her career in the administrative field; however, helping people suffering from depression and anxiety soon became her passion. She hosts vision board and empowerment parties to uplift women. Her other areas of interest are in meditation, emotional freedom techniques, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Recovery.

Sara Fox, Emerging Leader for the Advocacy Committee

Sara Fox is a first-year graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Johns Hopkins University. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in Business and Merchandising, Sara spent a decade working as a retail buyer for several major companies, including Ralph Lauren and Under Armour. In 2019, Sara initiated a career change to follow her true passion of helping others. She is currently working as a Special Education Assistant Teacher at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Sara is active in her community, volunteering as a student mentor and a telephone crisis counselor.

Connie Gago, Emerging Leader for the Membership Committee

Connie is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Liberty University. She has a background in marketing and communication, and she is fluent in Spanish. Connie’s passion for equipping people in need led her to the counseling profession; her interests include the role of epigenetics, trauma, culture, and spirituality in a client’s healing process. As an MCA Emerging Leader, she hopes to not only grow professionally, but to also grow as an advocate for clients and social issues in the counseling profession. If Connie isn’t studying or working with victims of sexual assault, you can find her hiking, reading a book, or attempting to start a garden.

Leilani Fryauff, Emerging Leader for the Newsletter Committee

Ms. Fryauff is in her last year of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Clinical Mental Health Program. She has been the Newsletter Chair for the Maryland Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development for two consecutive years. She has volunteered and interned for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. While obtaining a B.A. in Psychology at UMBC, she discovered positive psychology and has a deep interest in integrating positive psychology aspects, counseling, & spirituality. Ms. Fryauff also has a BA in communications as well, and has a passion for creating artistic work through writing, painting, drawing, digital work, and other mediums.

Desvan Moody, Emerging Leader for MCDA

Desvan L. Moody is a Baltimore native and alumnus of Baltimore City College with four years of college attainment experience. Desvan earned his undergraduate degree from York College of Pennsylvania in 2012 and is currently a graduate student at Loyola University Maryland in the School Counseling program. Most currently, Desvan’s research has focused on increasing the social and emotional skills of English Language Learners in Baltimore through a summer youth program, a collaboration with the Esperanza Center of Baltimore and Loyola University Maryland. In his free time, he enjoys biking, gardening, reading, and studying African American history.

Taysue Morris, Emerging Leader for the Human Rights Committee

Taysue was born and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland and has worked as a paraeducator with Montgomery County Public Schools. Working with diverse populations, Taysue has had the luxury to facilitate safe, meaningful dialogue which has developed into valuable relationships. Currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University studying clinical mental health counseling, Taysue completed her practicum experience at George Washington University Counseling Center during summer 2020. Taysue looks forward to this year as a MCA Emerging leader working alongside counseling professionals to connect and serve.

Ricardo Phipps, Emerging Leader for MAMCD Division

Ricardo Phipps is Director of Clinical Training for the Master’s Counseling programs at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology—DC Campus. He began his tenure at The Chicago School as Assistant Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Fall 2019. He is licensed as a professional counselor in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Ricardo has a strong clinical interest in working with college/university students and in the integration of spirituality and religious themes into counseling. He is passionate about using counseling as a tool to help clients grow in their sense of meaning in life.

Jasmin Sias, Emerging Leader for the MCA President

Jasmin is originally from Brooklyn, NY, and moved to the DMV area to pursue her Master’s degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Jasmin is now a Mental Health therapist currently providing substance use treatment for adults and adolescents. She is currently licensed as an LGPC and is working towards full licensure. Jasmin has a passion for helping clients break down walls to achieve personal and meaningful growth. In the future, she hopes to get her PhD and conduct research that will benefit the Black and mental health community. Jasmin aspires to take on leadership roles to be at the forefront of change.

Dr. Sadé Dunn - Emerging Leader for MCSJ Division

Dr. Sadé Dunn is an approved supervisor and Licensed Professional Counselor/Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. She is a graduate of Governors State University and Bowie State University. Dr. Dunn previously served as the secretary for the MCA ALGBTQ board from 2015 until 2018. Sadé has over 9 years of experience in the mental health field and is trained in EMDR, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and CBT. Dr. Dunn is a Reiki Level II Practitioner and registered yoga teacher. In her free time, she makes it a good practice to engage in healthy self-care initiatives that include spending time with her family, going to the movies, reading, practicing her yoga, and exercising.

Emerging Leaders for 2018-2019

Keith Gethers, MA Candidate, Clinical Mental Health

Mr. Gethers is completing studies in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Trinity Washington University, where he has distinguished himself by spearheading the formation of the first Graduate Counseling Association. He is a career-change professional who has worked in Law Enforcement, Education and Victim Advocacy, and whose current areas of interest include Addictions, Public Safety, Workplace Issues and Social Justice. Mr. Gethers has also earned degrees from Johns Hopkins University (MS, Management), Frostburg State University (BS, Political Science), and Valley Forge Junior Military College (AA, Criminal Justice). 

Annyck Hamez

Born and raised in France, I studied Education with a minor in Psychology in the 80ties. I have been an enthusiastic teacher, and engaged person, in the journey of life, in the Metropolitan area. Lessons in my class were created to engage and stimulate the young learners’ passion in their own life. I have been curious and observed how people think and act, and I am highly multicultural. My passion has been to help young children, and prepare them to become our next leaders, increased with my experience at an inner-city charter school in DC, in 2012. Seeing children with various levels of social-emotional distresses completed my motivation to join the Trinity Washington University Counseling Master’s Program. I presented a research on “Refugees and Immigrants” and the relationship with Counseling, in 2016. I have designed and applied a research: “Inside Healing for Better Learning” that increased student’s achievements, the 2016-2017 school year. I presented this project at the MCA annual conference in November 2017. This past school year, Montgomery County Public Schools chose me to represent the French Immersion Teachers, for Teacher Appreciation week.

Kenya A. Kirkland

I am currently an Academic Advisor at Trinity Washington University, where I work with and support undergraduate students through their academic journeys. Higher education is a transitional time that impacts students’ emotional, social, academic, and professional development. I held various positions in higher education over an eight-year span, and understand the impact of the college experience on students’ beliefs about themselves and their abilities. I am pursuing a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Trinity Washington University, and my goal is to continue to work in higher education, especially with minority students who attend Predominantly White Institutions (PWI). Since starting the master’s program, I have presented at Trinity’s Research Colloquium and Social Justice Research Forum on issues including LGBTQ advocacy, Post-Incarceration, and Substance Abuse. I am a two-time graduate from Georgetown University; I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. I am excited about the opportunity to serve as an Emerging Leader and connect with other members in the field.

Rachel Stivers 

Rachel s a first-year student at Argosy University perusing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a 2018-2019 Emerging Leader for the Maryland Counseling Association. Rachel currently works at the National Evaluation System for health Technology Coordinating Center and was previously employed at the National Health Council, where she has focused on amplifying the patient voice in health care settings. In her future counseling career, she has interests in trauma in children and teens in in-patient settings.

Emerging Leaders for 2017-2018

Mikyala Ayers, MA, LCPC

Many people experience various stressors in everyday life. I have a passion of working with people who have experienced the most severe life stressors yet have developed a resilience unlike most others. As a program manager of a mobile mental health treatment team for People Encouraging People, I assists severely mentally ill clients navigate everyday life by guiding my staff of clinicians to provide wrap-around supports and services to them in the community. I have worked in the mental health field for 9 years: 1 year as a counseling intern at Montgomery County Crisis Center and 8 years in the mental health field at People Encouraging People as a case manager, team leader and program manager for various mobile mental health treatment teams. I graduated with a Masters in Community Counseling from George Washington University and a Bachelor's in Psychology from University of Maryland-College Park. I recently received my LCPC for the state of Maryland, as well as became certified to be a DLA-20 trainer, i.e. a mental health assessment required for treatment authorizations through insurance providers.

Perri Hooper, BS Psychology, BS Sociology

I am a current Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Forensic Psychology student at Marymount University. I received a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Towson University, in Baltimore, Maryland. Within the first year of the counseling program, I have presented at the VACES and Illuminate conferences involving research around gender dysphoria and eating disorders. I am currently a practicum intern at a juvenile detention in Northern Virginia, where I work with at risk youth. I am particularly interested in working with LGBTQ+ populations which my current research is centered around. I have five years of leadership experience in my previous career and I hope to learn how to apply those skills to my counseling career. In the Emerging Leader's program I hope to make network and learn from many professionals in the MCA.

Maryland Counseling Association

915 Russell Ave, Suite B Gaithersburg, MD 20879


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