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How It Paid Off: Financial Manager to Counselor and Educator
NAME: Dr. Lotes Nelson ’15, ’11
DEGREES: PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision, MS in Mental Health Counseling
TITLE BEFORE MY DEGREE: Financial Sales Leader
TITLE AFTER MY DEGREE: Psychotherapist (private practice); Assistant Professor of Counselor Education, Montreat College Charlotte
CHANGING COURSE: I decided to go to graduate school in 2008, but I had no idea what degree I wanted to pursue—I just knew I wanted to help people. I worked in financial management for nearly 15 years, but I was thinking about a transition into the counseling field. When I reached out to Walden, my Enrollment Specialist helped me translate what I was looking for in a career and assign a label to the degree program that would be best to help me get there. They were so genuine in their approach, and I was happy to have someone understand what I was looking for. It was crucial for me to be able to hold a full-time job and balance my personal life (specifically spending time with my family and traveling) while pursuing my degree, and I was able to do so through Walden’s online capabilities.
MAKING AN IMPACT: I took a year off in between getting my master’s in 2011 and going back for my PhD in 2012. During that time, I opened my own private practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I counsel individuals, couples, and families as a licensed professional counselor (LPC). After obtaining my PhD, I accepted a professorship role in the clinical mental health counseling program at Montreat College Charlotte, with occasional teaching assignments at other campuses. I also work with immigrants and refugees to help them transition from their native country to mainstream U.S. I love making an impact on the underserved and unserved populations and bringing about positive change in people’s lives by helping them navigate the challenges they’re going through.
MOVING FORWARD: As a part of my professional development, I plan to increase my publication work and take on leadership roles in various counseling professional associations. Becoming a counselor educator and providing one-on-one clinical work were two of my long-term goals, which were made possible by my Walden education. Now that I’m doing both, I feel like I’m where I need to be.
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