Chelsea Latorre has known that she wanted to pursue a career in counseling since she witnessed the impact of counseling in her family. When Latorre’s younger brother struggled with bullying in elementary school, he benefited greatly from the help of the school psychologist. After a year, Latorre’s brother transformed from a student who hated school to a student who loved school.
“Watching this change unfold made me interested in being a supportive help to individuals in my community, and counseling was the perfect fit,” Latorre said.
Today, Latorre is a doctoral student in CEHS’ Counseling Psychology program. A California native, whose father hails from Bogotá, Colombia, Latorre knew that she wanted to enroll in a doctoral program that would allow her to experience cultures that were different from her hometown on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
“I wanted to apply to programs that were located in areas with different cultures than I have been exposed to – and Appalachia appealed to me,” Latorre said. “WVU was the only school toward the East Coast that I had applied to because the program was the only one that I knew would be a good fit for me, personally and professionally.”
After her program interview at CEHS, Latorre was confident that a move to Morgantown would provide her with the unique culture, research opportunities and faculty support that she desired.
“I called my mom and told her that I knew this would be the place that I was moving to next,” Latorre said. “The faculty were so supportive, the program was a good fit, and the students were so welcoming and comforting.”
Latorre has since become involved in the WVU community through her work with the student organization SORO, which stands for ‘Speak Out, Reach Out.’ SORO promotes the appreciation, awareness and discussion of diversity with campus activities such as workshops, forums, presentations and other outreach initiatives.
“SORO stood out to me because of its focus on social justice, diversity, and outreach – all values that drove me to become a psychologist in the first place,” Latorre said.
This past year, Latorre served as co-president of SORO and helped to further the organization’s reach on campus and in the community, with one of the biggest accomplishments being the opportunity for the organization to bring awareness to other regional universities. Overall, her involvement with SORO has enabled Latorre to connect with other students and advocate for causes she cares about.
“As a leadership team member, I have enjoyed being a part of the passion that the members bring to the organization,” Latorre said. “Seeing the dedication that the students have to this program and how invested they are in outreach makes it an amazing organization to be a part of.”
As she prepares to begin her third year at CEHS, Latorre continues to thrive under the mentorship of the counseling faculty. Her time here has been enhanced by her relationships with the many scholars she’s worked with and learned from.
“CEHS has some amazing faculty and staff who are dedicated and passionate about their work,” Latorre said. “I think it is important to have the kind of investment in the students that our faculty and staff do because it creates an atmosphere where I want to grow and excel.”
Latorre expects to graduate with her PhD in Counseling Psychology in May 2020. After graduation, she hopes to work as a staff psychologist at a university counseling center and eventually open her own private counseling practice.