From Chicago to Niagara

by Kerri Winston on March 18, 2019
From Chicago to Niagara

Kerri Winston is a student in the master's of education in clinical mental health counseling program. She is also a graduate resident director in the Office of Residence Life.


Growth is the main thing I have accomplished thus far with my experience at Niagara in the clinical mental health counseling program. The journey to Niagara has been a great joy and blessing. Coming from a major city like Chicago to Niagara University has been a challenging adjustment. However, I learned multiple lessons, met amazing people, and got involved in outstanding opportunities.

Lessons. It was a transition moving away from home and all my love ones to attend this program. However, one thing that I learned throughout this experience is that everything happens for a reason. It was meant for me to attend this program and accomplish the things that I have and learn the things that I have. Another major lesson I learned in this program is how to PROPERLY take care of myself. Self-care is paramount, especially in the counseling program when you are working full time, a 25-hour internship, and going to school full time. However, despite the heavy load, the support I receive from my professors, internship supervisors, and my cohorts make this journey worthwhile.

People. I can’t even begin to explain how connected I am to a lot of the individuals on this campus. The people I have met influenced my life in many ways. My cohort and I are extremely close and I truly value all of them as friends. It is nice to stand alongside people who you can understand the things that I am going through and we can connect on that level since we are all going through the same program. Outside of the great relationships that I developed with my cohort, the professors in this program are BEYOND AMAZING! Dr. Hodges, Dr. Beebe, and Professor Rajnisz have all truly been pillars of support for me throughout the program. Their willingness to always help and provide emotional assistance with what we need has reinforced my motivation to be an amazing professional clinical counselor in the future. Lastly, my experience within the Office of Residence Life as a graduate resident director has provided me with the opportunity to get to know some of the amazing staff members on campus such as Jason Jakubowski, dean of students, Kim Fenton, director of residence life, Averl Harbin, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and many more! All of these individuals have greatly influenced my life and supported me regarding my transition to Niagara.

Overall, I love Niagara! All of the experiences, people I have met, and opportunities that I have been granted has just enhanced my decision to attend this University. Reflecting back upon my undergraduate career and who I was during that time at Northern Illinois University I am proud of the woman that I have become as the first of my family to achieve a higher form of education.

I am growth!

For more information on the master's of education in clinical mental health counseling program, please contact the College of Education Office at email or 716.286.8336.