Newly Awarded Grants Provide Exceptional Opportunities for Students

Friday, December 10, 2010

A nationally recognized, award-winning degree program at SC State University has recently received $1.25 million in federal funding to assist graduate students who are interested in working with clients with mental illness, substance abuse and addiction issues. 

Dr. Bridget Hollis-Staten, ’96, associate professor of Rehabilitation Counseling, serves as principal investigator of the newly awarded “Rehabilitation Counseling Long Term Training Grant in Addictions Rehabilitation and Substance Abuse.” This grant will award $750,000 over the next five years to the Rehabilitation Counseling program. Additionally, Dr. Michelle Maultsby, associate professor of Rehabilitation Counseling, serves as principal investigator of the “Long Term Training Project Rehabilitation of Individuals who are Mentally Ill.” This grant will award $500,000 for the next five years to the program. The awarding of two new grants will allow students enrolled in the Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling degree program to receive free tuition, a $500 monthly stipend and professional development opportunities during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Dr. David Staten, ‘92, ‘94, associate professor of rehabilitation counseling, says these newly awarded grants and others provide huge benefits to students and the Rehabilitation Counseling program alike.  “We are pleased to be able to attract and recruit the best and brightest students through these grants and others within our program,” says Staten.  “We primarily like to provide opportunities locally and therefore recruit students from SC State University and Claflin University, but we receive students from across the state and other locations as well,” he notes. 


n 2001, when Staten returned to his Alma Mater, he found the Rehabilitation Counseling program without any active grants to provide student support.  Having benefited from grants while enrolled in the program himself, Staten quickly embraced the opportunity to assist students in similar ways. He and his wife, Dr. Hollis-Staten, who also obtained her Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling degree from SC State, became actively involved in obtaining grants for the program. In 2003, Hollis-Staten was awarded her first $750,000 grant for student scholarships, stipends and professional development opportunities. In 2005, the Staten team served as co-project directors on their second awarded long-term training grant, in which they received $750,000 to provide the same opportunities. Two years later, they submitted five grants, in which four were awarded.  Collectively, the husband and wife team have been instrumental in obtaining close to $5.25 million in federally funded grants for the Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling program.

“The feedback we have received regarding the grants has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Staten.  “Not only have students received scholarships, but after they graduate, they have been able to obtain jobs as counselors, working with state and federal agencies and working with veterans with disabilities.  Many of our students have gone on to pursue PhD’s as well, to include enrolling in doctoral programs at the University of Iowa, Southern Illinois, Pennsylvania State, Florida State and many other universities.”

Staten’s doctoral opportunity came while he was enrolled in SC State’s Rehabilitation Counseling program and was awarded the Patricia Harris Roberts Fellowship, a national fellowship which enabled him to receive full tuition, an $833 monthly stipend to assist with college expenses and other valuable, life-changing opportunities. 

“That particular fellowship allowed me to receive professional development opportunities, attend conferences and meet professors. Those resources ultimately assisted me in getting accepted into the Rehabilitation Counseling PhD program at the University of Iowa,” he says.

This is the same motivation exhibited through the Rehabilitation Counseling faculty when writing their grants, to ensure they include professional development opportunities for their students to travel so that they are exposed to leaders in the fields. “When it’s time to pursue PhD programs, a lot of our students are already established with faculty at various universities across the country,” mentions Staten.

In 2008, the Rehabilitation Counseling program was awarded federal funding from the U.S. Department of Postsecondary Education to implement the Disability Enhancement Project (DEP), which is designed to increase the awareness and support for faculty, staff and administrators as they meet the academic needs of students with disabilities.  Dr. Maultsby and Dr. Dwight Varnum, who serve as co-directors of DEP, were instrumental in obtaining $957,635 for the three-year grant (2008-2011).