Marymount Grad Wins Fairfax County Counseling Award

Ashlee Nelson received the 2014 Outstanding First Year School Counselor Award from Fairfax County Public Schools. Nelson, who received her master’s degree in counseling from Marymount University in 2012, is the fourth Saint to win the award since its creation in 2010.

“I’m honored to receive this recognition,” said Nelson, who has counseled seventh and eighth graders at Irving Middle School in Springfield. “I love working with students and can’t imagine a job that’s a better fit for me.”

Dr. Michele Garofalo, director of Marymount’s school counseling program, said Nelson is a hard-working, dedicated educator.

“She’s a pleasure to work with and an exceptional school counselor,” said Garofalo, who noted that Fairfax County has one of the largest school systems in Northern Virginia.

The previous winners, all of whom received master of arts degrees in counseling from Marymount, were Heather McCarthy, ’10; Jeremy Moftt, ’11; and Paul Smith, ’12.

“We’re very proud of our students,” Garofalo said. “They go out and do amazing things!”

Garofalo said one of Marymount’s great strengths is its size.

“We’re a small program and we give our students individual attention,” she said. “Our professors know them, develop strong relationships with them and include them in their research and presentations. We work very hard to make sure that they leave us with the knowledge and skill base to be successful.”

Nelson praised Marymount’s requirement that its master’s degree candidates spend a full year interning at one school, which she said provides time to develop relationships with peers and students. Her internship was at Robert Frost Middle School in Fairfax.

She is an Arlington resident.