Dana Daugherty (M.A., Counseling Psychology) | Teachers College Columbia University

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Dana Daugherty (M.A., Counseling Psychology)

Dana Daugherty (M.A., Counseling Psychology)
Life before TC
After graduating from Dartmouth, Daugherty worked in Washington, D.C. as a career counselor and career transition coordinator for Youth Build, a vocationally-oriented public charter school for students ages 16-to-24 who have previously dropped out. The school, one of 275 such institutions around the country, offers students internships, jobs and certification in construction.  

Daugherty, who created her own job at Youth Build, developed career transition plans for each of the school’s 120 students there, spoke with other faculty  members and, in general, incorporated a concrete “next steps” focus into the school. 

Why TC
“What I loved at the charter was when students would come in and say, ‘Ms. Dana, this is what’s going on in my personal life.’ I saw they faced more barriers than just lack of professional skills. And those were the barriers I wanted to tackle. I realized that my real strength was in counseling them.”

TC Takeaway

The Counseling Department is unique and amazing. People there are so passionate about changing the world through psychological counseling, through listening to people’s problems and being part of the solution. You get to know your fellow peers really well because you have to counsel one another first before helping others.
TC’s multi-cultural lens was also really huge for me. I took Lena Verdeli’s course in global mental health – it was great for me. “Global” can be in the U.S. now – we’re so much more of a global world.

I was also really influenced by Laura Smith – her focus on poverty and social class, and her use of participatory action research, which means focusing on projects that the community itself identifies as important. I ended up working on one of her sub-teams on the Lower East Side, in a naturally occurring retirement community. The seniors there are people who have lived in the neighborhood for 60 or 70 years.  They started off doing a biographical project. Each of them submitted the story of his or her life. We created a biographical book, and now we’re working on a brochure to recruit more members. 

It’s been really exciting. A couple of the people in the group have been selected to speak or be present at City Hall.

What’s Next
Working in a school was a good foundation, but I want to move out more into the population I was working with, which is low-income, primarily immigrant women. I’m interested in resettlement issues, global mental health.
My hope is to eventually move out-of-country and do mental health counseling. But right now I’m looking at refugee organizations here.  It’s best for me to start in a resource-filled area.

Published Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2014