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Published November 04, 2019
Two University of Wyoming faculty members in the School of Counseling, Leadership, Advocacy and Design recently received awards for their service to the Wyoming Counseling Association (WCA) and the counseling profession.
Assistant Professor Amanda DeDiego, who teaches at UW-Casper, was named the recipient of the WCA Outstanding Service Award during the association’s annual conference Sept. 26-28. Professor Emeritus Mary Alice Bruce received the WCA Lifetime Professional Service Award during the event.
The Outstanding Service Award is given to a WCA member or student member who has made an outstanding contribution through service to the WCA. The award has been continuously presented since 1961.
“Amanda emulates a fierce loyalty to the profession and the people she serves as an educator, counselor, advocate, collaborator and mentor, with kindness and compassion,” says Chris Clark, past president of the WCA. “Her service has already touched thousands through the education and advocacy work she has done. She will continue to touch the lives of thousands as she prepares future counselors as a counselor educator.”
DeDiego has served on the WCA board in numerous positions, including secretary, president-elect, president and past president. She currently serves as treasurer. In these roles, she has helped guide the statewide group of counselors as it advocates for the counseling profession and supports counselors across the state in their work and continuing education.
In addition to her roles with the WCA board, DeDiego has supported the planning and organizing of state counseling conferences. She also has worked to build partnerships with the National Association of Social Workers and the Wyoming School Counselor Association (WySCA) through an interdisciplinary state conference that strengthened and supported both organizations’ initiatives.
DeDiego also works to bring a Wyoming perspective to the regional and national stages. She currently serves as president-elect of the Rocky Mountain Association for Counselor Education and Supervision and publicity chair for the Association for Creativity in Counseling. She is an advocate for increased access to mental health resources, and she has traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Wyoming legislators to change Medicare rules so counselors can be considered mental health providers.
Earlier this year, DeDiego received the Robert H. Rencken Emerging Professional Leader Award from the American Counseling Association (ACA). This national award recognizes an ACA member who has demonstrated the potential to become a dedicated leader of the counseling profession in future years.
“In rural states, such as Wyoming, building connections among mental health practitioners is really important for the wellness of professionals and their clients,” DeDiego says. “Serving in leadership has allowed me to help build those connections so that we can all better work together to address the significant need for mental health services in our state.”
DeDiego offers advice on how students can get involved.
“I encourage students to connect with organizations that align with their passions or goals, and just find out how they can contribute,” she says. “It is easy to convince yourself that you are not qualified or do not have enough experience to get involved with professional communities. The only way to overcome this is to get involved!”
The Lifetime Professional Service Award is presented to a member with more than 20 years of dedicated service to the counseling profession. Bruce is the fourth recipient of the award.
Bruce received the honor in recognition of her more than 20 years of local and national service to the counseling profession; undertaking significant leadership roles; and for mentoring countless numbers of students and professional counselors as a counselor educator.
“She has impacted the profession in Wyoming and nationally, especially school counseling in Wyoming, more than she will ever know,” says Janet de Vries, WCA board member.
Bruce has been honored with a number of awards from the association, including the 2007 Bob Porter Service Award; the 1999 F.L. Sievers Human Service Award; and the 1996 J.R. MacNeel Award. Earlier this year, she received the WySCA Service Award.