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Alumni Success

Clinical Mental Health Grad Makes an Impact with the Military

Sybil McCarrol sits with notepad and a client sits across the room on a couch.

“My program has helped me grow as a writer, thinker, parent, spouse and counselor,” says Sybil McCarrol, who earned her Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling this spring. 

McCarrol enrolled in the program in 2018 with a goal of working with the military community, veterans and their families. And she’s meeting that goal as an intern with the Watters Family Life Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As a retired Navy veteran and Army spouse, McCarrol feels lucky to be able to work in a military setting.

Even though McCarrol was hoping to join the in-person program, she decided the online option was the best fit. 

“Online for me was a great decision, it made my life much easier,” she adds.

On balancing the responsibilities of life, work and school, McCarrol says, “I had the support of my professors, my cohort at State, my husband, daughter, daughter’s teachers, site supervisor and interns at my site. I could not have made it without them!”

McCarrol persevered through the challenges of completing her practicum experience during COVID-19 — which closed down her site completely for two months. 

“I was frustrated that I couldn’t see clients and lost my groove for a while. Dr. Lupton-Smith was encouraging and supportive and kept me grounded as well as my friends at my site. My site supervisor, Chaplain Daniel Hardin, fought hard to get our telehealth program up and running during the COVID lockdown period. We needed to be able to reach our clients who were isolated and struggling. We had to come together to make it work,” she adds. 

McCarrol expresses her gratitude for the faculty in the M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online program. 

“My professors were emotionally supportive in such uncertain times. I will never forget their kindness,” says McCarrol. “Dr. Braga for her empathy and compassion while I struggled during my internship with my husband being deployed! And for writing references for me, so helpful! Dr. Mitchell as my advisor answering all my questions, writing references and her awesome sense of humor! Dr. Lupton-Smith for keeping me sane during practicum and COVID and helping me believe in myself as a counselor!” 

McCarrol also appreciates the program’s focus on culture, inclusivity and intersectionality, noting its helpfulness in preparing her for the populations she works with. 

Her advice for others considering a graduate degree online? “Don’t forget as you do research on your desired program to reach out to alumni from colleges you want to attend,” she says. “Their perspective is invaluable!” 

Congratulations to Sybil and the rest of #NCState21! 

Are you interested in advancing your career by earning an online Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling? Visit the program page or online.ncsu.edu/programs for a full list of degree and certificate programs.

This post was originally published in Online and Distance Education News.

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