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Cruz Victorio selected for prestigious Minority Fellowship Program for Addictions Counselors

Kim Chaudoin | 

Virginia Cruz Victorio

Lipscomb University student Virginia Cruz Victorio, who is pursuing a Master of Science in clinical mental health counseling with an addiction specialization, was recently selected for the 2024 Supplemental Minority Fellowship Program for Addictions Counselors (MFP-AC). This prestigious fellowship, offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Foundation, aims to support minority students in their pursuit of careers in addictions counseling.

As a master’s fellow, Cruz Victorio will receive a $15,000 scholarship, participate in professional development and continuing education opportunities, and will attend conferences in Seattle, Washington and Charlotte, North Carolina this semester. She is the third Lipscomb student selected for this prestigious program. 

"This program is definitely opening a lot of doors for me. Although the financial assistance is great, I am most excited by the mentoring that is provided as well as the opportunity to attend counseling conferences to learn and network,” says Cruz Victorio.

DeAndrea N. Witherspoon Nash, director of Lipscomb’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, says Cruz Victorio will have a unique opportunity to deepen her knowledge of theories and clinical skill sets developed throughout the three-course series while completing her clinical experiences at Cumberland Heights, a nationally renowned substance use disorder treatment center. 

“During her time in my Introduction to Counseling Skills course, Virginia expressed a passion for working with marginalized and underserved populations, specifically individuals seeking substance use disorder treatment,” says Witherspoon Nash. “Virginia desires to gain the education and experiences needed to provide top-quality mental health care and serve our community.” 

“As an NBCC MFP fellow, Virginia will attend training sessions that address the needs of underserved populations while connecting with students and professionals across the country. Mentorship opportunities will also be available,” she continues. “This opportunity is an excellent fit for Virginia's professional goals.”

The Greenbrier, Tennessee, resident says she was inspired to pursue this graduate degree through her previous experience in the medical field, where she recognized the need for integrated care involving mental health services. When researching graduate clinical mental health counseling programs, she learned that Lipscomb’s was one of the few in the nation that was accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and offered a specialization in addiction. The program’s 100% licensure pass rate for licensure was also appealing.

"I have had a wonderful experience at Lipscomb,” shares Cruz Victorio. “The campus is so beautiful, and the facilities have so much to offer. The professors are all so knowledgeable and readily available to students. I feel as though every professor in the CMHC program is genuinely excited to help each student learn and grown. All the students in the counseling program, as well as the rest of the students at Lipscomb, are so kind. Lipscomb is just so incredibly welcoming.”

Cruz Victorio says when she completes her degree her goal is to bridge the gap in mental health services available to Spanish-speaking and underserved communities in Nashville and nearby rural areas and hopes to encourage other Lipscomb students to apply for similar fellowships to advance their careers in counseling.

Learn more about Lipscomb’s Master of Science in clinical mental health counseling with an addiction specialization.