Foundation Mentor Calls Passion of Fellows 'Inspiring'
Although she had been a counseling professional since 1997, Dr. Susan F. Branco first became involved with the NBCC Foundation in 2014. That's when she was selected for the 2014 Minority Fellowship Program in the cohort that calls themselves "Fabulous Fellows II."
Her volunteer work comes amid a career dedicated to helping others.
After earning her BA in human services and her MA in rehabilitation counseling from George Washington University, she also earned her PhD in counselor education and supervision from Virginia Tech. Her diverse background includes working in community mental health, prenatal care clinics, and with immigrant populations. Dr. Branco has also worked with individuals and families connected to adoption and foster care. All of which has provided her with a great deal of experience to be a mentor.
Dr. Branco is dedicating her mentorship in the 2018–2019 fellowship year to NBCC Foundation staff members for their encouragement and support. She credits Dr. LaVerne Hanes Collins, NBCC’s Interim Vice President of Foundation and Professional Services, and recently retired NBCC Foundation Volunteer Coordinator, Rita Maloy, for encouraging her to become an NBCC Foundation mentor.
Dr. Branco has viewed mentoring as a learning experience for herself, as well as her mentees. She says as she continues to guide and assist her mentees, she notices they also help with her own growth as a mentor, especially mentees from under represented backgrounds and first-generation students.
“Mentoring, more than anything, has been a learning experience for me. I have learned so much from the people whom I have encountered that has enriched my life greatly,” she says.
Dr. Branco also appreciates the opportunities to learn how others are succeeding in their counseling education and supervisory journeys. She says she admires the dedication to the profession of the mentees because it inspires and motivates her daily.
She also says it is exciting to see the commitments to working with underserved populations as mentees continue to grow in unique and creative ways.
“Their dedication to the profession is inspiring and motivates me!” she says.
She also gives credit to the help of colleagues and peers ahead of her in the counseling profession while she was in her doctoral program. The feeling of giving back and learning from her mentees while earning her own doctoral degree was what helped push her to complete her educational goals.
“In fact, it is the spirit of kindness and collaboration that has made it possible for me to continue to remain in academia,” Dr. Branco says.
Outside of her mentoring, Dr. Branco is a full-time core faculty member and Clinical Training Director with the Family Institute at Northwestern University. Outside of this role, she values spending time with her family. As an advocate of self care and wellness, she enjoys making time to attend to those areas daily.
She plans to work with her current mentees even after the official fellowship year ends.
“I hope to continue to attend to scholarship, publications, and presentations surrounding my areas of interest to include transracial adoption and training or supervision practices for counselors of color,” she says.