Skip to content

Pictures from SOLES events 2014-15

May 20, 2015

The end of spring 2015 is slowly coming to a close. Here are some pictures that highlight what occurred during the year. Pictures are from a 1st year PhD social gathering, Leadership Studies Open House, USD Hiking League trips, and SOLES Student Graduate Student Association events.

Thank you to Emily Davis, Student Ambassador and MA in Higher Education Leadership student, for a majority of these pictures.










SOLES Graduate Student Association & Ways to Get Involved

May 13, 2015

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Higher Education Leadership, Emily Davis:

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.37.02 PM

I knew immediately when I began my program Fall 2014 that I wanted to be involved in something more than just academics. I certainly believe that you can grow and learn just as much outside the classroom as you can inside, so I began to explore my options. I eventually applied for the SOLES Graduate Student Association (SGSA) and accepted the position of Communications Director for the 2014-2015 academic year.

As part of SGSA, there have been several opportunities that have truly shaped my first year in the Higher Education Leadership program. Here are three highlights:

  1. Professional Development

As a Higher Education Leadership student, it has been exciting for me to explore the world of graduate student life. I have been stretched as I learned new and unique ways to market, plan, and implement events for graduate students. In SGSA you have the opportunity to represent the student voice, plan amazing events, develop a brand, manage a budget, and so much more.

  1. Fun and Memorable Events

Some of my favorite memories from my first year are at SGSA events! This year we have hosted Meet & Greets meals, Coffee Hours, a Wine & Paint night, a Brewery Social, community service events, a Holiday Brunch, and our Annual Awards Dinner. Our events are ever-changing based on the desires of the students.

  1. Relationships and Networking

I am so lucky to have worked with amazing individuals who served on the 14-15 SGSA team, and consider them colleagues as well as friends. SGSA events are great ways to get to know people from across the SOLES community, including faculty and staff. Our goal is to integrate the cohorts and programs in a way that allows you to build your professional network and memories at the same time.

I am honored to have just been appointed President of SGSA for the 15-16 school year, so consider this my formal invitation for you to consider joining our team by way of Program Representative, Committee member, or simply attending our events! If you have any questions about SGSA at any time, please contact us at I can’t wait to see you all in the fall!

Ready (Or Not) for San Diego!

May 6, 2015

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and PhD in Leadership Studies, Tara Edberg:

Moving to a new place can be daunting, moving cross-country even more so, as there is so much to think about and consider. I did it 3 years ago when I started my PhD in Leadership Studies so I thought I would share some advice. California is the 8th state I have lived in, so I have learned a thing or two in my moves. This is just my personal advice, I am sure other Ambassadors have additional advice they can share. Here are my thoughts:

  1. In San Diego most rental properties are not posted until the month they will be available, therefore when you find a place you typically move in within the month. So you do not have to look for a rental until 30 days before you move. This can be difficult to do from far away. Some people fly in, in order to find a place, others have a friend in town that can go to viewings, some do everything online (which can be risky), and still others move in to a month-by-month rental situation so they can get to SD, find the neighborhood and a place they like and then move to a more permanent location. That is what I did and it worked out great. I moved in to a bedroom in a house that I found on Craigslist, and once I was here and familiar with the area I moved to a new place a couple months after moving to San Diego.
  2. Each San Diego neighborhood has its own personality, this article ( does a pretty nice job speaking to many neighborhoods but sometimes you have to read between the lines (ex. Ocean Beach’s “1960s hippie vibe”). Also, there are neighborhoods not included on the list you may want to consider (Mission Valley, Mission Hills, Point Loma, etc.). Finally, it might be helpful to know that the beach communities have a lot of our undergraduate students in them: Mission Beach has a lot of USD students, Pacific Beach has a lot of SDSU students, etc., and some people prefer to not live in the undergraduate scene. Most of the Grad students I know live in Mission Valley/Hills, Hillcrest/North Park, and Downtown. I live in North Park and love it! If you are curious about a specific neighborhood, feel free to post your question on the Facebook group and Ambassadors will chime in.
  3. The other question you will have to consider is having a roommate vs. not having a roommate. If you are looking to find a roommate you can fill out the roommate survey and you will get the contact information of other students who are looking. Having a roommate will obviously allow you to rent a bigger space for less money. Rents vary, but most people I know pay between $750-1,200 a month. When I first moved here I found a room in a house for $600 a month, but the house and the neighborhood left a lot to be desired. For me, I knew I wanted to have my own space, in a walkable neighborhood, and preferred not to have a roommate so I was looking for a studio. I found a great studio bungalow (AKA Mother In-Law Quarters) in North Park on Craigslist that was being rented by the owners.
  4. After looking at the costs I decided it was not worth it to rent a moving truck, drive it cross-country with horrible gas mileage, and have the added stress of possibly needing to tow my car. I also looked in to Pods, which were also very expensive. In the end it would cost more to move my furniture than simply buying new. So I sold most of my furniture, stored some belongings with my parents and moved out to San Diego with what I could fit in, and on, my SUV. So be sure you look at costs of moving your belongings and consider if it is worth it. One thing I found out during my research, but I did not need, is you can actually ship boxes with Greyhound. I will probably use this service to ship some belongings on my next adventure.

These are the major questions I feel like people have when moving here. Sorry this blog is so long, but I hope you find it helpful. If you have questions feel free to post them on the Facebook page or email me (, I am staying off social media through May. Good luck in your transition! :)

The American Counseling Association (ACA) Conference in pictures

April 29, 2015

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Counseling with specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Stephanie Rankin:

This year I was fortunate enough to attend the ACA Conference and Exposition 2015 in Orlando, FL. It was not only my first conference since starting the CMHC program, but in fact, my first conference ever!

I was chosen to volunteer, and although this was not easy, it also meant I was able to attend at a reduced rate. When I was not volunteering, I attended sessions and lectures on suicidality, ethics, the gut and brain loop, and a host of other fascinating topics; I even watched a ‘live’ couples counseling session, and we met Dr. Corey, whose books we have been reading for our classes.

During my time at the conference, I was able to meet fellow counseling students from across the U.S., network with professionals, and bond with my peers. It was an unforgettable experience, both personally and professionally, and I will hopefully attend more conferences in the future.

Here are some of my favorite moments:

Steph 1

The Hyatt Regency, where the ACA Conference & Expo 2015 was held…such a beautiful location.

steph 2&3 steph 2&3_1

A very early start on my first volunteering assignment, it was still dark outside!

Steph 4&5 steph 4&5_1

The Exposition Hall had information about the profession, such as local branches and associations, and populations. Additionally, we were able to speak to professionals and receive guidance on our areas of interest.

Steph 6

We were even able to meet Dr. Gerald Corey, Author and Professor at California State University Fullerton!

Steph 7

Proud future counselors

Attending the American Counseling Association (ACA) Conference

April 27, 2015

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Counseling with specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Tamar Cassell:

When I decided to attend the University of San Diego: SOLES, I did not envision many opportunities beyond education and professional experiences in San Diego. I was ecstatic about meeting new colleagues, professors, and peers, but I never imagined having the chance to travel across the country with three friends in my cohort to attend the American Counseling Association (ACA) Conference in Orlando, FL. The ACA conference was filled with educational and networking events, and was also a time to truly bond with classmates and learn more about each other’s life experiences.

As we touched down in Orlando, I looked up at the Hyatt, where the conference would take place, looming in front of me. At that moment, I knew that it was going to be an intense weekend.

We first checked in at our hotel, and were shown to a miniscule room with two double beds and one bathroom. Initially, we were concerned; we were four women who would need time and space to get ready for professional events over the course of the weekend. However, the tight accommodations ultimately allowed us to bond as classmates, and forced us to get ready quickly and be considerate of others’ obligations and space. Overall, the room we shared was a place of laughter, chaos, and friendship, and was an aspect of the trip that I would not trade or replace.

The next day, the conference began, and there were several events, presentations, and symposiums to choose from. We downloaded the ACA conference app on our smartphones, and it provided us with a list of each seminar, speaker, or event that would be taking place each day. These included discussions such as, “Group Play Therapy: Effects on Social-Emotional Competencies”; Bullying Prevention and Treatment: A Creative Approach”; “Using Motivational Interviewing Techniques with Children in a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program”; “A Model for Changing Relational Schema of Abused Children”, and many more. The seminars ranged from counseling theories and techniques, to evidence-based research presentations, to discussions about neuroscience and how mental health affects the human body. Several events occurred concurrently, making it impossible to attend everything. But there were two discussions that resonated with me.

On day two of the conference, I had the opportunity to attend a session entitled, “LGBTQ: After Coming Out, It Gets Easier, Right?” This presentation was about how professional counselors and students in higher education graduate programs can come out comfortably in new environments, such as new job positions with diverse colleagues or in new academic settings. Often, people lose sight of the fact that coming out is a process, and that when people relocate they may have to go through this process all over again. Therefore, in this session, there was a role-play between a counselor and supervisor that highlighted the stresses of coming out in new cities or institutions, and how this could be easier. I learned to never make assumptions about one’s identity, and that as clinicians it is important to create a safe space for everyone to be comfortable and open about who they are.

During the final morning of the conference, we attended a session that provided me with the insight that I was in the right field and was truly meant to be a counselor. This event was a live couple’s counseling session featuring an actual couple grappling with the triumphs and tribulations of marriage and life. Using the perspective of Alderian therapy, the counselor went through the couple’s intake forms and then began asking questions about aspects of the relationship that they were struggling with, such as communication and openness about each other’s feelings.

As the counselor was using humor to engage the audience and to provide a more relaxed session and approach, I had an epiphany. Not only did I realize that I felt purposeful guiding others to solutions, but the professional environment captivated me, and I knew I was in the right place. While experiencing these moments with friends that now serve as a strong support system and influence on my life, I also knew that SOLES was the only program for me.

Juliana’s Blog Entry: International Perspective

April 21, 2015

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Counseling with specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Juliana Abercrombie:

I have always loved to travel, so I was immediately drawn to SOLES when I found out they had their own Global Studies Center and an international requirement for all of their students. (Finding a Master’s program with study abroad options is rare!) The opportunity to take classes abroad was a major factor in my ultimate decision to come to USD for my Master’s degree—along with the gorgeous campus and awesome faculty! Then, when the time finally came to select my international experience, I had the best problem I could imagine: too many choices! I wanted to take classes abroad over the summer, so I could pick between traveling to Jamaica, Bali, Spain, or Guatemala. Each trip offered a different selection of classes, trips, schedules, and opportunities, and I wanted to experience them all. Ultimately, I decided Spain was the right trip for me! It allowed me the chance to complete two classes (Multicultural Counseling and Group Counseling), live with a host family, spend my weekends traveling, AND practice my Spanish skills! It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

It’s been about nine months now since my classmates and I traveled to Spain. While there, we stayed in Spain’s capital city of Madrid, where we lived with different host families throughout the city, rode the metro to class everyday, and spoiled ourselves with countless Spanish tapas and pastries. Outside of class, we explored the many plazas, parks, and museums all over Madrid, and of course we ventured over to other Spanish cities as well! A few friends and I spent time discovering Granada and Sevilla in Andalucía in southern Spain, Toledo in Castilla La Mancha (south of Madrid), and Segovia in Castilla-y-Leon (north of Madrid). It was absolutely amazing!

It’s hard to fully describe the amazing experience I had studying in Spain—I fell in love with the people, the culture, and the lifestyle. I learned so much about myself, what I am capable of, how to relate with individuals from different cultures, and how to appreciate what someone else’s perspectives can teach me. I really believe that my experience abroad has helped me in my classes since, and will be of great use to me as I move on into my professional life as a counselor.

Just to give you a taste of the many wonderful, incredible things that I had the opportunity to see in Spain, check out some of my favorite pictures:

Juliana 1

The Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Castilla-y-Leon, Spain

Juliana 2

The view of Toledo in Castilla-la-Mancha from just across the river. You can see the gigantic and absolutely breathtaking cathedral in the middle of the city!

Juliana 3

Another beautiful palace garden! This one was in the Alcazar in Sevilla, Andalucía.

Juliana 4

A beautiful garden in the Alhambra in Granada, Andalucía, in southern Spain.

Juliana 5

The gorgeous cathedral in Granada, Andalucía.

It’s Something Special: The USD Way

April 15, 2015

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Higher Education Leadership, Katie Russo:


It is crazy to think that my time in SOLES is almost over. With that mindset, this time of the semester has me navigating the job search while working to complete my action research project and finishing strong in my classes. Last week I had the opportunity to attend The Placement Exchange (TPE) in New Orleans, Louisiana. This on-site interviewing experience is the largest career placement resource sponsored by six national Student Affairs organizations. As I was getting ready to embark on this experience interviewing at different schools all over the country, I had to pause for a moment of reflection. Was I nervous for the interviews? Of course. That’s normal. But was I prepared? Absolutely.

The second year Graduate Assistant seminar course, along with my colleagues and advisor, provided my cohort members and I with opportunities to do mock interviews to prepare us for this experience. Along with that, SOLES and USD Career Services partnered up to put on Conference Preparation Workshops to hear from seasoned professionals at USD who attended TPE and could tell us what the experience was really like.

If it wasn’t for the care and sincere support from the faculty, administrators and my colleagues at USD, I would have been a total mess walking into that larger than life convention center in New Orleans. I am beyond grateful for my USD family and their support through this graduate journey in order to help me reach my career goals. I feel confident that my academic courses and the professional experiences I have gained throughout my time at USD will allow me to successfully land a job after graduation. Whether I find a job in San Diego, North Carolina or Idaho, I know that I will have my Torero family to thank for helping me get to the place I am at today. The culture of care spread throughout the campus community is something I value the most about this institution. There’s something special about knowing I have countless people on campus that I can count on to advise and guide me, listen to me, laugh with me, and cheer me on. It’s just The USD Way!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 610 other followers