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School Counselor Austina Bruton Earns 2nd Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at EKU

EKU College of Education Alumnus Austina Bruton

After Austina Bruton graduated with her undergraduate degree, she worked in banking. But she knew she wanted a career that made more of a difference in the lives of children.  “At first, I thought I wanted to be a teacher but I talked to several mentors who encouraged me to explore all career possibilities in the field of education. I knew I truly wanted to reach students and advocate for their emotional needs and help them be well-rounded individuals. I realized that school counseling was what I needed to do. I knew it would be a sacrifice to go back to school but I knew EKU was where I needed to be.”

Bruton earned a Master of Arts in Education in school counseling in 2015 from EKU’s College of Education. She worked for several years as a high school counselor at George Rogers Clark High School in Clark County. Last year, she began working as a counselor at Mary Todd Elementary in Fayette County. And in May 2020, she completed her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at EKU to further her skills in meeting the social and behavioral needs of children and adolescents.

“I recommend earning both degrees to best serve students. I can better understand the diverse needs of students as well as help to educate teachers and administrators about the mental health issues of students.  I feel that I am even better prepared to engage and reach out to children and adolescents,” said Bruton.

Bruton loves seeing students grow and blossom over time.  “As a high school counselor, I was able to help students better understand themselves and figure out their goals. I helped them to learn how to handle the issues in their lives. It’s so rewarding to see students progress from their freshman to senior year.  We all know that kids have potential but to see them actually DO what they are capable of, it’s amazing to see that growth.  Every year at graduation I would cry tears of joy just like they were my own kids.”

Even though Bruton begins each day by greeting the students, what follows is far from routine.  At her elementary school, Bruton has a caseload of students she sees regularly to work on challenges such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or trauma. “Sometimes one of my students might be having a really bad day, a temper tantrum for example. So, I visit the student’s classroom to help with coping skills and teaching the student how to calm down.”

Sometimes students express thoughts of suicide or harming themselves or others, so she must quickly assess the issue and take immediate action. “I’m thankful I’m there in the building and able to help individual students personally,” said Bruton.

“I’m thankful for EKU and the opportunities they gave me to obtain both my masters.  Everybody raves about EKU’s outstanding reputation in the College of Education whether it be teaching, administration, or counseling.  EKU’s counseling program has a wonderful, patient faculty who always answered my questions.  They are nationally accredited and that matters!  I think if anyone as the opportunity to do this program, they will not regret it. EKU trained counselors are better at helping P-12 students and understanding the impact of academics and school culture. It’s a great program!”

To learn more about EKU's College of Education counseling programs, visit

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Published on June 25, 2020

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