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NBCC welcomes Amie A. Manis, PhD, NCC, ACS, LPC, as the new editor of The Professional Counselor (TPC), our open-access, online academic journal. Manis served as a member of the editorial board for TPC since 2013.
“We are so excited to have Dr. Manis with us,” says Catherine Clifton, Director of Professional Resources, who serves as TPC’s managing editor. “Her expertise and passion for counseling and counselor education are huge assets for the journal, and we can’t wait to see what’s ahead.”
Here, Manis answers a few questions about her career journey and herself.
What motivated you to become a counselor?
I would describe counseling and counselor education as the second wave of my life’s work. I began a career in human services after completing my undergraduate degree in sociology at Harvard University. While I was a student there, I had the opportunity to work as a camp counselor in inner-city Boston with children in an after-school and summer program, and later to direct the program. This was one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences I had experienced with work, and I found I loved it.
That was the beginning of a 15-year career in human services that I began with a great deal of passion and little preparation other than my hands-on learning with each position I held. In the course of this part of my career, I worked as a victim witness advocate, then as director of a community action agency in Southwest Virginia, and then as the founding director of one of Virginia’s Free Clinics. As I advanced in my career, I realized how much I had gained personally and professionally in these positions and that I wanted to have a deeper knowledge base. I also wanted to return to direct service.
So, as a late bloomer in my mid-thirties, I returned to school to get a master’s degree in counselor education and supervision at Virginia Tech. During my master’s training, I was inspired by the faculty at VT to consider my professional development in ways I hadn’t contemplated when I began the journey. I also learned to value those early “baptisms of fire” in the profession and all I was taught by the communities and people I encountered as exceptionally valuable to knowing how to practice. As I prepared to graduate, I knew I wanted to enhance my preparation as a counselor and draw on my training and experiences in the profession to empower others to do the very important work that is needed in our communities. And so I went on to pursue my doctorate in counselor education and supervision at the University of Virginia.
Can you tell us about your experience with TPC thus far?
I remember the inception of The Professional Counselor, as the first issue was published shortly after I launched my career as an online counselor educator. At that time, a decade ago now, I experienced a sense of pioneering new frontiers in online counselor education and scholarship. All indications were that these media would be increasingly relevant and held potential to democratize higher education and scholarship. Yet in my experience, they also sparked curiosity and skepticism through the light of dominant lenses in academia. At the encouragement of a mentor, I had my first encounter with TPC as an author in 2012. In 2013 I joined the Editorial Review Board as a peer reviewer and enjoyed the opportunity to review manuscripts on a range of topics of relevance to the profession.
I was honored to step up late last year to serve as Special Editor, and now to assume the role of Editor. I quickly discovered the visibility with which an editor is privileged to just a fraction of the research and scholarship proposed for publication is energizing, both personally and professionally. For me, it represents the depth of shared commitment to advancing knowledge and practice, to raising visibility of best practices and innovative ideas, and to advancing the professionalization of counseling and social justice. This matters now more than ever before in my lifetime.
As I hold each manuscript up to the light and consider its prisms through the eyes of our dedicated editorial board members, I’m grateful. While some may be diamonds in the rough, part of the challenge for me is to synthesize and deliver the editorial feedback in a way that recognizes the intent, labor, and promise of each manuscript we receive. I’m excited by the passion of TPC’s authors and how they are helping to shape our knowledge base and inform us through their interests and pursuits, by bringing attention to especially current and relevant topics through leading special issues, and through dedicated scholarship. This is essential to cementing the foundation of our maturing profession and charting the course forward with a view toward the national and international future of counseling. And so are the professionals at NBCC who bring their expertise in writing, web design, and publication to bear in preparing and launching each and every open-access issue to readers worldwide.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself and how you like to spend your free time?
Summer has been busy in the Blue Ridge. We’ve had a bumper crop of cucumbers and tomatoes! And that’s meant putting up food for winter. More time at home has reminded me of the beauty of Virginia and simple pleasures like delivering fresh veggies to family and friends. It’s also meant Sunday afternoons spread out near the grill with my husband, Logan, and son, Skye; learning about cool lenses on Facetime with my granddaughter, May; Zooming with my mom and aunts in Boston as we research our family tree; picking up hiking again; lots of walks with my dog; and evenings on the porch watching fireflies.
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