Counseling master’s student Elzetter Norris has been awarded a national fellowship to support her education at UNC Pembroke. The Pembroke native has aspirations as a professional counselor working with individuals suffering from mental health and addiction disorders.
Norris is among 40 graduate students nationwide to win the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Minority Fellowship Program for Addictions Counselors. The highly competitive fellowship is valued at $15,000.
The program’s goal is to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health care outcomes for diverse populations by increasing the available number of culturally competent behavioral health professionals.
Norris is a second-year student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Additionally, she’s earning a graduate certificate in addictions counseling, the Department of Counseling’s newest program.
“Being awarded the fellowship is quite an honor,” she said. “As a native of Robeson County from the Lumbee Tribe, I have seen the struggles of my community throughout my life. The funding will support my education and the professional development opportunities will strengthen my professional counselor identity and facilitate my advocacy efforts for underserved transitional aged youths struggling with addiction in the rural communities of Robeson County.”
Norris feels a responsibility to give back to her community.
“Across my lifespan, mentors have inspired me to rise above poverty and oppression while pursuing my dreams. I hope to help empower those I serve to rise above the struggles life has rendered them, advocate for them, and above all, believe in them.”
Norris, who holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UNCP, is scheduled to graduate in May 2021.
“We are incredibly proud of the fact that one of our very own Department of Counseling GCAC students received the NBCC Minority Fellowship for Addictions Counselors,” said Dr. Stephanie Robinson, an assistant professor in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.
“Receiving this award and fellowship opportunity is a testament to what a stellar graduate student Elzetter is and speaks to her commitment to make a difference in the lives of the underserved individuals with mental health and addictive use disorders. We are confident that she will make a significant impact in her community.”