Demetrious “Trā” Nicholson ’24 MEd, a student in the University of Lynchburg’s Master of Education in School Counseling program, was recently named a 2022 Pete Warren Student Fellow by the Virginia Counselors Association Foundation.
Nicholson, a 4th-8th grade school counselor at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia, was one of six counseling education students from across Virginia who were recognized. The award is named for Dr. D.L. “Pete” Warren, a counselor educator and longtime member of the University of Lynchburg community, who died in 2013.
According to the VCAF, Pete Warren Student Fellows receive, among other benefits, paid registration to the Virginia Counselors Association Conference and the VCA’s Leadership Academy, as well as paid membership in the VCA and the student’s VCA chapter.
“I have been honored to experience the impact great leadership can have on institutions and organizations at various levels,” Nicholson said. “The Pete Warren Scholarship grants me the opportunity to continue to explore my own leadership traits and characteristics through collaborating and learning from other leaders in the profession.
“I hope to add value and growth to the counseling profession by providing new perspectives and experiences that will help address the ever-changing challenges of our society and our role in responding to the needs of the world. To me, leadership is influence, and influence is limitless.”
Nicholson, a first-generation college student originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in higher education from the University of Virginia. He also was a standout cornerback on the Cavaliers’ football team.
After graduating from UVA, he worked as a teacher, coach, mentor, and advisor, including a two-year stint at Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg. A mentor and colleague told him about the University of Lynchburg’s Master of Education in School Counseling.
“I learned how the program allowed for both personal and professional growth, and helped students meet the requirements of the … [Virginia] Department of Education, while also providing the necessary coursework to pursue an LPC,” he said, referring to the licensed professional counselor certification.
“During the application interview process, I was intrigued by both the questions asked and the conversations that took place. I felt this program would synthesize my lived experience and further my education with the fundamental counseling skills needed to strive in this field.
“Lastly, the schedule allows me to work and attend graduate school at the same time.”
This past spring, Nicholson created what he described as a “constructivist résumé.” It was an assignment for Career Counseling, a course taught by Dr. Sara Bailey, an assistant professor of counseling at Lynchburg.
As he completed the assignment, he began to realize some things about himself and his career path. “[It] allowed me to explore my passions and foreshadow my career journey,” Nicholson said.
“While I plan on immersing myself as a school counselor after graduating, I also realize my goals extend beyond school counseling, trickling into supporting the underprivileged broader communities.
“Furthermore, I have aspirations of writing influential books that can be used as resources providing relatability, teaching resilience, and inspiring dreams for students of all kinds. I hope to be in a position to help a wide range of people through both direct and indirect forms of service.”