Newswise — Alexandria, Virginia (March 27, 2024) — Each year, the American Counseling Association (ACA) recognizes excellence in research, career and humanitarian achievement among counseling professionals and students with its awards and honors program. This year’s awards will be presented at ACA’s 2024 Conference & Expo in New Orleans, held April 11–April 13.

Meet our 2024 award winners:

ACA Fellows Award
The ACA Fellows Award is a distinctive honor that recognizes ACA members who have advanced the counseling profession throughout their career. We welcome the 2024 Fellows cohort:

  • Christine Suniti Bhat, PhD, LPC, Ohio University
  • Jeff Moe, PhD, LPC, LPCC, Old Dominion University
  • Benjamin V. Noah, PhD, Veterans of Foreign War #9168

Best Practices in Research Award
ACA recognizes best practices research projects conducted by a practicing counselor, faculty member and student.

  • Practitioner Award
    Julia Conroy, LAC, The Joshua Center, Fayetteville, Arkansas

  • Faculty Award
    Jennifer D. Deaton, PhD, LCMHC, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Student Award
    Cheolwoo Park, PhD, University of Florida
  • Educator Advocacy Award
    Charmayne Adams, PhD, Gonzaga University

  • Extended Research Award
    Melissa M. Luke, PhD, LMHC, Syracuse University

  • Professional Development Award
    Malti S. Tuttle, PhD, LPC, Auburn University

  • Research Award
    Yusen Zhai, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Arthur A. Hitchcock Distinguished Professional Service Award
    Yoon Suh Moh, PhD, LPC, Thomas Jefferson University

  • Carl D. Perkins Government Relations Award
    Jordan B. Westcott, PhD, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Courtland C. Lee Multicultural Excellence Scholarship Award
    Tianka Pharaoh, PhD, University of Central Florida

  • David K. Brooks Jr. Distinguished Mentorship Award
    Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, PhD, American University

  • Don Dinkmeyer Social Interest Award
    Szu-Yu (Darlene) Chen, PhD, LPCC, Palo Alto University
  • Dr. Judy Lewis Counselors for Social Justice Award
    Connie Jones, PhD, LCMHCA, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Garry R. Walz Trailblazer Award
    Amanda L. Giordano, PhD, LPC, University of Georgia

  • Gilbert and Kathleen Wrenn Award for a Humanitarian and Caring Person Award
    Gene N. Dockery, PhD, LPCC, Seattle University

  • Glen E. Hubele National Graduate Student Award
    Azadeh Ahmadi, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Kitty Cole Human Rights Award
    Stephanie F. Dailey, EdD, LPC, George Mason University

  • Ralph F. Berdie Memorial Award
    Rattanakorn (Gon) Ratanashevorn, PLPC, University of Missouri, St. Louis

  • Richard K. Yep Award
    Paul L. Nelson, Retired
  • Robert H. Rencken Emerging Professional Leader Award
    Matthew L. Nice, PhD, LPC, Indiana University of Pennsylvania 

  • S. Kent Butler Transformative Impact Award
    Anita Young, PhD, Johns Hopkins University 

  • Thelma T. Daley Advocacy and Equity Award
    Beatrice Tatem, PhD, LPC, Wellness Initiatives LLC

  • Thomas Hohenshil National Publication Award
    L. DiAnne Borders, PhD, LCMHC, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Thomas J. Sweeney Award for Visionary Leadership and Advocacy
    Shawn L. Spurgeon, PhD, LPC, St. Mary’s University


Graduate Student Ethics Competition
These awards recognize exceptional, demonstrable understanding of the ACA Code of Ethics — the foundation of ethical professional counseling practice — in both master’s and doctoral student categories.

1st Place — Master’s
University of Texas at San Antonio
Travis Walker, Emma Tharp, Elaine Oyama (Barbara Herlihy, PhD, Adviser)

2nd Place — Master’s
Johns Hopkins University
Cindy Bul, John-Henry Strong, Tanya P. Vasunia, TW Cherry Ng (Sterling P. Travis, PhD, LCPC, LPC, Adviser) 

3rd Place — Master’s
University of South Carolina School of Medicine
Erica Hoyer, Hayden Petee, Samantha Haering (Christine Sacco-Bene, PhD, LMHC, LPC, Adviser)

1st Place — Doctoral
Oakland University
Kaitlin Farver, Hayley Ostlund, Stefan Radke (James Hansen, PhD, Adviser)

2nd Place — Doctoral
University of the Cumberlands
Alicia Spomer, Pete Stern, Beth Bell, Jennifer Hartman (Colleen Grunhaus, PhD, LPC, LCMHC, Adviser)

3rd Place — Doctoral
Bowie State University
Carolyn Thorpe, Emilia Henry, Xiomara Medina (Kimberly Mills, PhD, LCPC, Adviser)

Student Essay Competitions

Tomorrow’s Counselors Essay Competition
This competition recognizes graduate counseling students with exceptional insight and understanding about the counseling profession and the work of professional counselors in mental health, private practice, community agency, agency, organization or related counseling settings.

  • Grand Prize
    Clinta Stanislaus, University of Massachusetts Global

  • 1st Place
    Gracie Edler, Loyala Marymount University

  • 2nd Place
    Peter Simon Walsh, The George Washington University

  • Honorable Mention
    Joan Bambrick, Bellevue University
    Barry Gibson, University of New Orleans

Future School Counselor Essay Competition
This competition recognizes graduate counseling students with exceptional insight and understanding about the school counseling profession and the work of professional school counselors who interact with elementary, middle or high school students.

  • Grand Prize
    Sanjana Sheth, Merrimack College

  • 1st Place
    Jennifer Russell, Lamar University

  • 2nd Place
    Carlie Carter, College of William and Mary

  • Honorable Mention
    James Harris, Regent University
    Tiffnie Sevin, 
    Nicholls State University


The American Counseling Association is a not-for-profit professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession. Founded in 1952, ACA represents nearly 60,000 members and is the world’s largest association exclusively representing professional counselors in various practice settings.