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Jaime Castillo

Jaime CastilloPh.D. Counseling and Counselor Education

Hometown: Towanda, PA

What about Syracuse University, the School of Education, and the Department of Counseling and Human Services contributed to you deciding to pursue your degree here?
The rich history of the School of Education in disability studies and advocacy for underserved populations matched my personal beliefs and professional aspirations. The small size of the counseling program, paired with the outstanding leadership and research of the faculty was also a big factor. Ultimately, I decided to attend Syracuse University because I felt that I would be supported as a student and mentored as emerging scholar and educator at university, school, and departmental level. Nearly 3 years later, I have been blown away at the opportunities and support I’ve received as a student within the SU community.

What opportunities have you had as a student that have enhanced your professional identity development and level of preparation for being a professional?
Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to TA as well as independently teach several classes. These teaching experiences have been coupled with ongoing mentorship in teaching, thus preparing me for the professoriate. I have had a unique opportunity to be involved on school committees, such as a recent Dean search, and counseling leadership positions. Learning to balance roles as a teacher and engaging in university service at Syracuse has prepared me for the many responsibilities faculty are expected to have upon entering the professoriate. Lastly, I have received travel funding from the School of Education and the Department of Counseling and Human Services on several occasions that allow me to attend conferences. Supporting doctoral students in this way contributes greatly to our professional development as we are able to present our research and network with others in our field.

How do your experiences in the Department of Counseling and Human Services promote your growth and development as a leader?
From day 1 the faculty within the Department of Counseling and Human Services have always encouraged me to get involved in the field. Whether it was getting involved in committee work with professional associations, applying for research opportunities, or getting involved in grant work, the faculty have always gently mentored me to push myself.

What are you doing now in your doctoral work of which you are most proud?
My dissertation!

What are your professional plans when you complete your doctorate in Counseling and Counselor Education? How has your degree helped prepare you to excel in your intended career trajectory?
After I complete my doctorate at Syracuse I plan to begin my career as a Counselor Educator. I'd like to be a faculty member in a counseling program where I can not only focus on teaching, supervising, and mentoring emerging counselors, but also engage in active scholarship. Additionally I would like to continue to be an emerging leader in professional associations within our field of Counselor Education and Supervision. I have found engagement in such opportunities fulfilling, so I would like to continue to dedicate time to professional service through leadership.

What has been a transformative moment for you in your program?
After working nearly a year and a half on my RAP, I finally completed and I submitted it for publication. In the same week, I successfully passed my comprehensive exams. So I'd say the most transformative moment was when I became a doctoral candidate during the second week of January, 2015. I think I was able to relax for about 15 minutes that week, haha!

What are some current leadership, scholarship, or professional activities in which you are involved? How do you see them shaping your development?
I am involved in leadership, scholarship, and professional activities at the university and within the greater counselor education community. At Syracuse I had the tremendous opportunity to serve as the graduate student representative for the School of Education’s Dean Search Committee. Although that process was demanding, I had the opportunity to be a part of a search process from beginning to end, engage in critical discussions with other faculty, as well as other members of the School of Education community. Additionally at Syracuse I am part of the Future Professoriate Program where I attend ongoing workshops on university teaching, and receive feedback from faculty teaching mentors. Both of these experiences at SU have and continue prepare me for a career as a faculty member. Within the field of Counselor Education I am involved in a number of leadership roles including being active member of Chi Sigma Iota (counseling honor society) as the SU Chapter President, serve on the Graduate Student Committee for the Northeastern Atlantic Regional Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and volunteer as a conference proposal reviewer for the American Counseling Association. Additionally, I just concluded a graduate research fellowship with the Council for Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Over the last few months I have begun to focus on my writing more intentionally and have a few manuscripts out or soon to be out for publication. I think that getting involved in leadership and scholarship at the university and professional levels is important as a student because it prepares you for much of the same experiences you will have as a future faculty member.

What are things you do to relax and have fun as a doctoral student?
I have several regular podcasts and audiobooks that I subscribe to each week that I find comforting and relaxing. I've played soccer my entire life, so keeping in shape by playing a couple times of week is important for me. On some weekends I love just crashing on the couch with my wife and watching Netflix. Those days are vital!

What are the top three things you enjoy about the Syracuse community?
1. Knowing doctoral students in other departments within the School of Education. Because the School of Education is fairly small in size, I love being able to really get to know other doctoral students. That was something I wasn't expecting when I came to Syracuse, now I consider it one of its greatest strengths.
2. The bonds formed while surviving the winters!
3. Wegmans.