Future counselors from UTSA make voices heard at state Capitol

Students plan to take what they learned back to their peers

SAN ANTONIO – A group of University of Texas at San Antonio students recently made their voices heard at the state Capitol.

“We went around to the senators' and representatives' offices and unfortunately they were in sessions while we were there, so we didn’t get to talk directly to them, but we did speak to their offices, their aides and we let them know about a particular bill, hey, we support this and this is why, or we do not support this and this is why,” Chelsea Conaway, doctoral student in counselor education and supervision at UTSA, said.

Conaway and Brittany Hudson were recipients of a grant from the Texas Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. With help from the grant, the students returned back to San Antonio to share what they learned in Austin with their peers to better serve the mental health community. The students hosted a conference for others in their field. 

“We wanted to encourage counseling students to get involved with professional advocacy at the public policy level," Hudson said.

“We are very privileged in a sense that we have access to this information and we are knowledgeable about this. I think with that privilege comes a responsibility of engaging in advocacy,” Conaway said. 

Ashley Jackson was one of the UTSA students who went to Austin.

“I had suffered from PTSD due to domestic violence and my dad suffered PTSD due to combat, and we presented vastly different in our symptoms,” Jackson said.

Those experiences led Jackson to become a doctoral student in counselor education and supervision at UTSA.

“Growing up I didn’t know how important mental health care was. I actually refused to go until I actually sat down and decided that this would be better, and my counselor really changed it for me,” Jackson said.

About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

Jason Foster is an executive producer at KSAT. He's worked in the news industry in Texas for more than 15 years, including as a photojournalist.