Alumnae receive psychology awards

Lauren Cole, Staff Writer

On Nov. 24, two Francis Marion University (FMU) graduates were presented with awards by the psychology department.

Jennifer Elkins (’95, ’98) and Melinda Fuller (’95, ’98) are graduates of the FMU Master of Science in Applied Psychology-Clinical/Counseling track.   Elkins currently works in her own private practice and Fuller is a licensed professional counselor/supervisor in a private practice.  Both women work in the Florence area and have dedicated countless years of service to South Carolina and the Pee Dee region.

In addition to serving families, children and individuals in Florence County, both women serve as adjunct professors of psychology and help train master’s students at FMU.  Elkins and Fuller have given back to FMU in various positions and roles since graduating.

The Psychology Alumni Award is given to FMU alumni that excel in their profession, give back to the community and are well-received by others.  The entire psychology department selects the nominees for the award.  After the nominees have been selected, the committee of professors meets to discuss each candidate.  Elkins and Fuller were chosen to receive the awards because of their years of dedication and service to South Carolina, psychology and FMU.  The awards were presented by associate professor of psychology Ron Murphy.

The Alumni Awards have been presented each year since 2007 and are a cornerstone in the department’s calendar.  Department Chair of psychology and director of the clinical counseling program Will Wattles looks forward to the award ceremony each year as a way to recognize the hard work of FMU graduates.

“It is quite an accomplishment,” Wattles said.  “They have truly excelled in their profession and served their alma mater well.”

The recipients proudly displayed their plaques that will hang on the walls of their practices.  Both women say they are proud to be FMU graduates and will continue to give back to the psychology program with their time and passion.

Combined, both Elkins and Fuller have worked in a clinical role at over eight different organizations in the Pee Dee region including: Pee Dee Mental Health, Florence School District One and Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault.

Associate professor of psychology Teresa Herzog has worked with both students in their capacity as adjunct professors at FMU.

“Both ladies are such a great help in the department,” Herzog said.  “They really love what they do.  They are so helpful with all the students.”

Elkins and Fuller have embraced their education received at FMU and have propelled themselves forward in their careers.  The women have both created an impressive resume for themselves in the clinical psychology field.  Both Elkins and Fuller want to encourage all students in the FMU psychology program to embrace their fellow students, ask their professors for help when needed and to enjoy each second at FMU.