Alayna Collins, a third-year doctoral candidate in the PsyD in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University’s Seattle campus, has been awarded a Veterans Affairs Health Professional Scholarship. This scholarship provides financial assistance to students receiving education in a health services discipline, in order to assist in providing personnel for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For Collins, this is exactly the effect the scholarship is having. As she says, “This scholarship is a huge step toward fulfilling my career goals of working with military service members and veterans as a clinical psychologist.”
Collins is honored to be selected for this scholarship and looks forward to serving veterans. Inspired by her older brother’s service in the Nebraska National Guard, Collins has tailored her education, research, and clinical goals to military service. This led her to her studies at Antioch. During her studies, she has served as a student therapist at the Antioch Community Counseling and Psychology Clinic, and she currently provides individual and family therapy as a mental health clinician at Therapeutic Health Services. Before studying at Antioch University, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
By winning this scholarship, Collins fits into a larger story of how Antioch University is working to help veterans to reach their professional and educational goals. Liz Carson-Murphy, the Director of Veteran and Military Connected Student Affairs, explains that Antioch University is currently creating a web-based resource room where military-affiliated students will be connected to these types of scholarships as well as other resources such as discounts, health service initiatives, and professional development.
As part of the terms of the Veterans Affairs Health Professional Scholarship, Collins has made a three-year commitment to working with veterans at a VA medical center after she graduates. The VA uses this scholarship to fill the hardest-to-recruit and hardest-to-retain positions across the United States. Clinical psychologists are needed by the VA to address the high incidence of psychiatric disorders in veterans. The recipient’s specialty determines the number of job options available to them at graduation, and it is crucial that they be open to relocation. The scholarship covers all tuition, books, and includes a cost of living stipend.
According to Jude Bergkamp, program chair of the PsyD in which Collins is studying, the program has a record of veteran-focused dissertations and research projects. “Alayna has been an impressive student in our program since admission,” Bergkamp says. “Her dissertation addresses reintegration issues for military veterans, and this scholarship will hopefully pave the way for many more to come in our program.”
To read more about the Veterans Affairs Health Professional Scholarship, visit the VA’s website for the scholarship. To read more about Antioch University’s Veteran and Military Connected department, visit the university’s webpage detailing resources for military-connected students.