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Oklahoma State University

Student Spotlight: Cassie Herndon

Hometown:

Edmond, Oklahoma

Major/Degree:

M.S. Counseling, option in school counseling

Expected Graduation Date:

May 2019

You recently helped develop a new course for the OSU College of Education, Health and Aviation: LGBTQ+ Issues in Education. How did that come about?

While completing my professional education internship, I recognized the need for a course that promotes the well-being and success of LGBTQ+ students. My faculty mentor, Dr. Hugh Crethar, helped me explore resources within the College of Education, Health and Aviation and advised me to find a partner who could help develop a course around our idea. From there, we met with EHA administrators and proposed a course focused on LGBTQ+ inclusive practice.

What does the course entail?

The discussion-led, one credit hour course is the first of its kind at OSU. What is so different and exciting is the focus on connecting self-reflection to tools, and in turn, to practice. Our goal is to not only raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues in education, but to also fully prepare professionals with the tools necessary to educate the diverse population they serve. This semester, we will host panels of allies, community members and experts who will raise awareness for issues our LGBTQ+ students face.

Where does your passion for this project stem from?

My passion stems from personal experience and research. We were motivated by the need expressed by educators and students. I also believe the current climate in our nation continues to highlight a need for inclusion, rather than exclusion.

What’s your goal for this course?

I’m hoping this course will have a ripple effect in education. I want to provide pre-service educators with the tools necessary to be inclusive of LGBTQ+ students in their classroom. I hope they are inspired to advocate for all students and promote their well-being.

What are your future career aspirations?

After earning my master’s in counseling psychology, I want to continue working in public education for a few more years, either as a secondary science educator or school counselor. In the future, I want to pursue a doctorate degree in higher education leadership or education policy. I’m interested in researching best practice and advocating for historically marginalized groups in education. Eventually, I’d like to be a lobbyist for inclusive education policy at the local, state or national level.


Additional EHA Spotlight Stories here