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LIU Post Grad Hillary McGrath Trades Retail Clothing for School Counseling

Adult student from Roslyn Heights wins campus Student Counselor Award, earns 4.0 GPA; plans new career in school & mental health counseling


Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University

Brookville, N.Y. -- As the owner of an upscale children's clothing boutique with locations in Manhattan and Roslyn, N.Y., Hillary McGrath often found herself offering support and guidance to teenaged employees who were having difficulty in school.

"I had to get them to understood that a school exam did not define who they were as individuals – that they were more than a test grade or a class rank," she said.

When the time came to close the business and change careers, McGrath chose to enroll at LIU Post for a master's degree in school counseling. She will graduate on May 4 with a 4.0 GPA, the top score at LIU Post on the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination and the LIU Post Student Counselor Award.

While working on her degree, she undertook three co-op internships working with children on the autism spectrum, and has been an active member and officer of the Chi Sigma Iota national counseling honor society.

"LIU Post has supported me the entire way," the Roslyn Heights, N.Y. resident said. "I've met wonderful professors here and worked with very talented people. My professors have been tremendous mentors for me."

As a nontraditional student who returned to college as an adult, McGrath found that her professional and personal experiences (she and her husband, John, raised three foster children along with their own daughters, Hana and Rachel) prepared her for academic work.

"I have learned from my vast array of experiences, which allows me to have greater clarity in my ability to prioritize and use my reasoning skills," she said.

Along with school counseling, McGrath said she plans to work toward certification in mental health counseling, and ultimately hopes to earn a doctorate.

"I'm going to be a lifelong learner," she said.

LIU Post's 2012 Commencement ceremonies will be held Friday, May 4 at 11:30 a.m. on the Great Lawn. The commencement address will be delivered by Dr. Steve Collins, founder and chairman of Valid Nutrition, and creator of the community-based Therapeutic Care model, which delivers nourishing, ready-to-eat foods to severely malnourished people in Africa.

Posted 05/02/2012

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