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Student Spotlight: Derek Joyles, MS in Mental Health Counseling

Graduate Student Appreciation Week Student Spotlight: Derek Joyles, MS in Mental Health Counseling

Mental health counseling student Derek Joyles ’12 (BS) has spent his entire life in Rochester, where he continues to work as an educator in the Rochester City School District while working toward his master’s degree.
What is your current career?
I have taught in the Rochester City School District for about nine years. I currently teach Earth Science and Environmental Science at Franklin Upper High School, and I am grateful to work in a career in which I can help the youth of our community through education and mentorship. I also work part-time as a pharmacy tech at Health Direct.
Why mental health counseling?
I began to pursue a career in mental health counseling because of my growing interest in human psychology and behavior, and my desire to work in a profession where I can help the community at large (particularly healthcare).  Initially, my original career goal was to seek a career in medicine.  Over time, though, I realized that a career in mental health would allow me to help people and continue to grow in my understanding of the human mind. With years of experience as a teacher, I have often found myself in the role of an unofficial counselor, which I have always enjoyed.
Why Warner?
After researching schools within the area that offer graduate programs in mental health counseling, I found that the Warner School was one of them. As an alum of the Class of 2012 with a bachelor’s from the University’s School of Arts & Sciences, I thought it would be nice to continue my education with my alma mater. I can rest assured that I made a good choice!
What have you enjoyed most at Warner?
During my tenure at Warner, I have enjoyed my experiences of meeting new people and faces.  I’ve been able to learn so much from the perspectives of others regarding different cultures and communities. I am learning just as much from fellow students/peers in my classes as I am through my studies. I have found myself to be in a fortunate position of having very supportive professors and staff at the Warner school who are compassionate and understanding of us as graduate students. My learning experiences have been fun and fulfilling as I continue my educational experiences as a mental health counselor.
How have you volunteered in the community?
I spent seven years (2013-20) working as a blood service volunteer with the American Red Cross, where I helped register and organize blood donors and canteen service (providing snacks and drinks to blood donors and making sure there were no complications). I also worked as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Rochester Medical School’s STEP and Mini-Medical school program (2013-14), where I worked alongside colleagues from the medical school to help educate students with career interests in science and medicine. 
What does the future look like for you?
After graduation, my primary goal is to work toward my licensure. I have been thinking about possibly working in an outpatient setting or crisis intervention as a mental health counselor, but I am still giving my future plans some considerable thought and time. For now, I’ll continue to take the time to enjoy my graduate school experience.