Adon Martin, a College of Education counseling psychology master's student, was awarded the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) in Services for Transition Age Youth (STAY) in May. The fellowship is awarded by American Psychological Association through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It supports the training of master's students preparing to provide mental health services to transition age youth (ages 16 to 25) and their families. 

"This fellowship means that I will be placed in positions to learn in depth about the systems and factors that impact communities of color, black communities specifically, and be better trained to assist in the radical healing and progress of these communities," said Martin. 

As part of the fellowship, Martin will receive a $10 thousand stipend for one year, as well as training, professional development and mentoring during that year. Additionally, he will be granted lifetime access to a network of more than 2,000 Fellows.

Martin reports that he worked as a teacher for nearly seven years where he witnessed the devastating effects addiction, poverty and lack of mental health resources had on his students, their families and the community. 

"It has been my mission ever since to be a part of the solution in black people giving their hearts and resources to the advancement of other black people," said Martin. 

Martin's advisor and Counseling Psychology Program Coordinator Diana Wildermuth says he is an asset to the classroom, program, university and community. 

"[Adon] has not only met the expectations of his professors but has offered insight that he has gathered from his past teaching experience and is consistently working to build his body of knowledge to be best fit in providing resources and assistance to a diverse student body," said Wildermuth. 

Martin's time at the College of Education has given him access to professional and educational opportunities that have helped him identify his strengths, aspirations and areas of growth. One of his goals for the fellowship is to create a network of mental health support that is family centered and robust enough to meet the demands of communities receiving the brunt of negative impacts of change.

"This fellowship also means that I will be surrounded by professionals in the field of psychology who have completed years of research, have years of experience that I will gladfully sit under and learn from, positioning myself as a life-long learner devoted to providing equitable and adequate emotional, mental, economic and social resources to communities that have been devastated by racism," said Martin.

He encourages students who are interested in applying for the fellowship to work closely with students, academic advisors and professors to identify strengths and blind-spots. He wants students to look beyond the award stipend and see the fellowship as a chance to make a real difference. 

"[Apply to the fellowship] because you are a believer in collaborating with others in facilitating spaces for family and community healing while being a part of dismantling the impacts of racism and colonialism on groups that have not been given the space to be vulnerable and receive the grace society extends to others who need and receive mental health assistance," said Martin.