Graduate Student Receives National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program Award


ATLANTA – Mercer University graduate student Shabria L. Caldwell has been awarded a $5,000 fellowship from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Caldwell, a master's degree student in Penfield College's Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, will receive funding and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations, with a specific focus on transition age youth (ages 16-25), as part of the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program-Youth (MFP-Y).

She is the third Mercer student to receive an NBCC award and the second this year. Tavonda Hudson, who is pursing a Master of Science in clinical mental health counseling as well as a Master of Divinity from the University's McAfee School of Theology, was also chosen as one of the 40 master's-level counseling students to receive an a fellowship in 2015.

“The Penfield College faculty and I continue to be proud of the outstanding accomplishments of our students in our graduate degree programs in counseling, like Shabria and Tavonda, who have received national recognition for their commitment to improving behavioral health care outcomes,” said Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, dean of the College.

Caldwell is from Atlanta and earned her undergraduate degree from Georgia State University. She plans to work with minority women and youth to achieve higher levels of mental and physical well-being and fight against the socioeconomic injustices that affect these populations, not only through counseling services but also as an advocate for those who are overlooked or misunderstood.

The NBCC MFP-Y is made possible by a grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in September 2014. The NBCC Foundation administers the NBCC MFP-Y as well as training and collaboration activities that are open to all National Certified Counselors (NCCs). The goal of the program is to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health care outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse populations by increasing the available number of culturally competent behavioral health professionals.

The NBCC Foundation is the nonprofit affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), based in Greensboro, North Carolina. NBCC is the nation's premier professional certification board devoted to credentialing counselors who meet standards for the general and specialty practices of professional counseling. Currently, there are more than 55,000 National Certified Counselors in the United States and more than 50 countries. The Foundation's mission is to leverage the power of counseling by strategically focusing resources for positive change. For more information, visit

About Penfield College of Mercer University

Penfield College of Mercer University, established as the College of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2003, is committed to serving non-traditional learners and currently enrolls more than 1,300 students. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to working adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Educational programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary programs that integrate theory and practice. The College offers general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer. Another initiative called the Bridge program transitions students enrolled in Mercer's English Language Institute and other international students to undergraduate programs throughout the University. Areas of study include organizational leadership, counseling, school counseling, human services, human resources, informatics, public safety leadership, nursing preparation, liberal studies, psychology and communication. Programs are offered on Mercer's campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as multiple regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County, Newnan and Eastman, and online. To learn more, visit


Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.