The Professional Counselor (TPC) recently recognized the winner of its annual Dissertation Excellence Award, which recognizes original research that significantly contributes to the counseling profession and is judged according to the presentation and clarity of ideas, sound methodology and interpretation of findings, innovative quality, and overall utility to the future of the counseling profession.
This year’s winner is Dana L. Brookover, PhD, NCC. Her dissertation, The Relationship between Access to School Counseling and Students’ Attainment and Persistence in Postsecondary and STEM Education Outcomes, was completed in pursuit of her doctorate in counselor education and supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University, which she earned in December of 2020. Dr. Brookover previously earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Christopher Newport University and a Master of Education in school counseling from The College of William and Mary. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Dr. Brookover worked as a professional school counselor.
“I am honored to receive this award and want to thank TPC and NBCC for the opportunity,” said Dr. Brookover. “My dissertation was dedicated, in part, to my former K–12 students and my school counseling colleagues. I knew entering my doctoral program I wanted to engage in research that advocates for equity in education, for students, and for the role of school counselors. My hope is that my dissertation is a starting point for that.”
Dr. Brookover is an assistant professor in the University of Scranton’s counselor education program in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Her research interests include PK–16 education equity, including topics such as access to school counseling, first-generation college student success, and STEM equity. She also researches social determinants of health and the related impact on well-being and education outcomes. She currently has 11 peer-reviewed publications, has presented at state and national counseling and counselor education conferences, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision. She is a researcher and educator who emphasizes centering a systems perspective in counseling, taking into account how economic stability, discrimination, social support, and education influence well-being.