Dr. Shannon Hodges at the home of Nauiyu elder Miriam Rose-Bauman, former principal and teacher at S. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Daly River, Australia, during one of his volunteer trips to train and consult on trauma treatment and behavioral issues.

With the increasing incidents of suicides, opioid addiction, and other mental health concerns, qualified mental health professionals are needed more than ever. Dr. Shannon Hodges, a professor in Niagara University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, is hoping to make pursuing this career path a little easier for graduate students.

Four years ago, Dr. Hodges established a scholarship in memory of the Rev. Michael T. Mazurchuk, C.M., a student in the program, and Dr. Morgan C. Brooks, Hodge’s colleague, to fund tuition for graduate students and their professional development in that program. He donated the royalties from three of his books and ran the Mighty Niagara half marathon to raise the seed money for the scholarship. To date, the scholarship is only $8,000 from endowment.

“This scholarship is a way to help students who want to be part of the program, but might not necessarily be able to afford it, because there is not much financial aid available for graduate students,” Dr. Hodges explains. “This profession is ever more critical, based on the opioid addictions, PTSD, the walking wounded, and the continued destigmatization of mental health issues of this kind. That’s where this program and this scholarship can be very, very important.”

Dr. Hodges notes that the job market for clinical mental health counselors is excellent, and that they find jobs in a variety of areas, working with “people struggling with life’s transitional issues.” Niagara’s three-year program attracts students locally, nationally, and internationally, and has a 100% placement rate upon graduation.

For more information about the scholarship, and to help close the gap to endowment, supporting future clinical mental health professionals, visit https://support.niagara.edu/scholarships or contact Claire Crean, major gifts officer, at ccrean@niagara.edu or 716.286.8789.

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