Alumni Highlights: Clinical and Counseling Professionals

The paths taken by our alumni offer valuable insights and inspiration for current Roanoke students as they contemplate their post-graduation plans. We are thrilled to showcase the diverse and impactful careers of a subset of students who graduated from Roanoke College with a degree in Psychology! Each week, until the ever-famous Alumni Weekend (April 19-21), we will be highlighting professionals within a specific career track. The graphic below displays the specific tracks that we will feature!

Before we jump into our alumni’s stories, we want to say thank you, again, to our wonderful alumni who have generously shared with us reflections on their time at Roanoke College, as well as details about their professional roles. Their stories serve as a testament to the breadth of opportunities available in the field, and the positive influence that Roanoke College can have on your future. If, as an alum, you would like to share your story for inclusion in a future post, please reach out to Dr. Powell (

How would Taylor describe her position to others?

“I am a clinical therapist who works with adolescents, adults, and couples with varying mental health concerns… My approach is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused therapy with person-centered care… As the company’s Culture and Communications Coordinator, I am in charge of creating a fun and positive culture at the company by organizing activities for team bonding. In my communications role I go out into the community and give talks to schools about various mental health topics, as well as promote the company at primary care offices for referral purposes. I am also on the marketing team for L&B and you can find many videos of me promoting mental health topics on our social media.”

What is Kira’s favorite part about her job?

“When a child shows progress in communicating, or when they meet other goals such as joint attention or functional play. It always brings me joy when it seems that something finally clicks!”

What did Kelsey’s path look like, following her time at Roanoke College?

“I received my MSW and went on to get my Clinical Social Worker License. While at Roanoke, I had an internship with the VA working with older adults in an at-home care program. After graduate school, I coordinated care for older adults in living HUD-subsidized affordable housing. My current full-time position is with a non-profit senior living agency.”

What is Morgan’s favorite part about her job?

“My favorite part of my position is being able to connect with people. Humans are interesting and unique, so I never have a uniform day at the office. I am rarely certain about what my clients may bring week to week, which challenges me to continue learning on the job. I especially love working with couples and families because they are so dynamic. I often witness special moments in real time, which is a part of what makes this work so fulfilling. Additionally, it is always a gift to walk the journey of life alongside others, supporting, caring for, and hopefully ushering them to health and happiness.”

What path did Cedric take to end up in his current role?

“In addition to obtaining my Bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College my educational journey includes obtaining my Master’s degree in professional counseling, licensure from the VA state board and now several others. Formational moments within my work experience included my residency at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, an Acting Director position at Shenandoah University’s Student Counseling Center which finally inspired me to open my own mental health counseling practice.”

How would Cody describe his day-to-day duties?

“Primary Care Mental Health Integration at the VA (PCMHI for short) provides brief mental health services to Veterans and conducts the initial assessment and referral process for more intensive care. As a psych tech (and a newly added position to the team) I have my hands in a lot. I am on-call to see folks same-day in primary care to conduct assessments and referrals, I help conduct group therapies, I complete referral management to administer screeners and ensure Veterans attend their initial therapy intakes, I conduct brief alcohol interventions and follow-up tobacco cessation appointments, and I do some light data tracking for our clinic. This is besides the other random responsibilities and tasks that come up weekly!”

What is Sophie’s favorite part about her internship?

“I love this work so much, and I think a big part of the reason is that I get to use both my creative and investigative sides. Young children can’t always tell you how they feel, but by using expressing arts techniques, I can help them show me.”

What does Kelsey do as a Recovery Support Specialist?

“I work at an outpatient detox center for opiates, alcohol and benzodiazepines. I help guide patients into their first steps in recovery after completing their detox by providing talk therapy, resources in their community (therapists, psychiatrists, and/or substance use programs) and by facilitating weekly support groups.”

What is Lauren’s favorite aspect of her work?

“It’s inspirational; watching someone come from horrible circumstances like jail, homelessness, addiction, poverty, trauma, etc., and seeing them grow into productive members of society is amazing… You develop amazing relationships with people, and you learn something from them every day, just as they learn things from you. That doesn’t mean that working as a therapist (especially in substance use) is easy, because it’s not – but it really is so rewarding when someone who has been using substances for 10+ years shows you their 30 day NA key tag. Even on the hard days I love my job because I know that I’m making a difference, and in this field, sometimes you are literally the difference between life and death for someone.”

How would Amy describe what her duties are?

“I provide therapeutic services to first responders in Western North Carolina with a primary focus on Asheville’s fire and police departments. However, my job is not typical for a therapist. The embedded component of my job means that I work intertwined with the firefighters and officers on a daily basis. I spend time in each of the stations and get to ride along regularly to help create greater connection and decrease the stigma of mental health within the first responder community.

How did Megan reach her current position; what did the timeline look like for her?

“After graduating from Roanoke, I worked for a nursing home as part of the social services team. I then went to Virginia Commonwealth University for my Masters of Social Work with a clinical concentration which included two years of internship experience. After I graduated, I worked in outpatient therapy settings and participated in licensure supervision to gain the hours of practice to qualify for licensure examination to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.”

What does Kaillee value as her favorite parts of each of her positions?

Adjunct professor: “Seeing my student’s reactions to new and interesting topics. Most of my students have an interest in forensic psychology which I studied in my Master’s program, so bringing in elements of forensic psychology and tying it back to our development has been insightful to my students and it is exciting to see them become so engaged in these new topics.”

Trauma-informed counselor: “Seeing clients learn and take skills from sessions, apply them to their routine, and experience improvement in their mood and well-being. As I work with a lot of survivors of crime, getting back into a daily routine can be challenging but when small signs of progress are made and noticed, it goes a long way in treatment.”

These alumni stories exemplify the diverse and rewarding career paths available in clinical and counseling psychology. From working with individuals, couples, and families to providing support in community settings, each alum’s reflection demonstrates the impact they are having in their work with others.

We also asked our alumni to share what Roanoke courses or experiences have served to be most relevant to their current career. 

In terms of classes, alumni named PSYC-101 Introduction to Psychology, PSYC-251 Social Psychology, PSYC-332 Drugs & Behavior, PSYC-381 Abnormal Psychology, PSYC-221 Developmental Psychology, and many noted their courses for the Human Development concentration. Taylor Kracht, LCMHC also included that “Roanoke’s class difficulty levels made it so that I was well beyond prepared for the requirements of a counseling graduate program”. So, while you may feel overwhelmed at times, know that your professors are serving you well and helping you prepare for life after college.

Other beneficial experiences that were said to make our alumni stand out in their graduate school applications and job interviews included research experiences, having their research published, and completing relevant internships. Many alumni also expressed great gratitude to the professors who helped them along their way; Dr. Allen, Dr. Powell, and Dr. Buchholz were specifically named!

Amy Conner, MS, LCMHC says “I credit a lot of where I am today to my experience at Roanoke”. Similarly, Kaillee Philleo, MA, MHC-LP shared, “I truly mean it when I say Roanoke College gave me all the foundational skills and experiences I needed to be successful in grad school and my career as a counselor and professor. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities and support I was able to experience from the Psychology Department at Roanoke”. The department is so grateful to have received such positive responses from our alumni, and are appreciative of their willingness to share their inspiring journeys with us all! 

We look forward to sharing more alumni stories from the additional tracks in the coming weeks before Alumni Weekend. Stay tuned for next week’s spotlight on another exciting career track!

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