Thursday, February 8, 2024

Ryan Frank knew he wanted to bring social emotional learning into educational settings after his experience working with students for AmeriCorps. 

Frank, a second-year school counseling graduate student from Cedar Rapids, worked at the non-profit Catherine McAuley Center as part of his AmeriCorps placement after he received his undergraduate degree in social work and Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa. 

He worked at the center to create a program for refugee and immigrant students to maintain their learning over the summer, while also providing social, emotional, and behavioral support.

“As I was deciding my next step after AmeriCorps, I was looking back on those experiences and that was something that I just found a lot of joy and fulfillment with,” Frank says. “I started looking for different education programs and school counseling kind of fit that profile of working with students, working in an educational setting, but also providing social and emotional education and support.” 

Frank is one of 22 students in the College of Education's School Counseling Program, ranked No. 12 in the nation in the U.S. News and World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings in 2024.

Frank’s favorite part of the UI College of Education’s School Counseling Program is the cohort model and the shared experience he has had with future counselors. 

“Those relationships turn into a professional network once we leave,” he says. “I'm looking forward to entering this field with them.”

Frank is also president the Student Iowa School Counseling Association (SISCA), which connects the two cohorts of the school counseling program. 

“We bring the two together, not only to share over our love and appreciation for the field that we're entering, but also to provide each other with another space for professional development and creating a space where our program can be closer and come together around the different ideas and principles that school counselors believe in,” he says.

Additionally, Frank says the faculty in the department are “the most supportive professors that I've ever worked with in my entire post-secondary career.”

Frank will graduate with a Master of Arts in School Counseling this spring. He says the program has given him a great foundation for his future career. 

"I also entered this field because I find great purpose in the work of social justice and supporting students with marginalized identities,” Frank says. “This profession is rooted in the belief that every student deserves to be seen, heard, celebrated, and advocated for. In the world we live in, I couldn't imagine pursuing a career that doesn't inherently work toward a more just and equitable future."