Students talking to each other in front of posters

Nia Walters

Image of Nia Walters

Nia Walters

Hackensack, NJ

Academic School

Social and Behavioral Sciences


New York

What are your career goals / academic goals?

My career goals include obtaining the opportunity to flourish in the world in mental health by helping individuals of all backgrounds to understand and move past the hurdles they may experience in life. I am happy to be able to get my start in the clinical world after having such an amazing experience at Marist.

Why did you choose to pursue your graduate degree at Marist? Why did you choose to pursue this degree program?

Having been a Red Fox within my undergraduate years, I knew that Marist was the place where I wanted to stay to continue my academic career. I had been familiar with the professors and the great atmosphere of the campus and, honestly, it provided a lot of comfortability in my learning experience. That’s not to say that the courses weren’t challenging, but the challenge was beneficial to my growth as a student and now a practicing clinician. After completing my Psychology degree, I was unsure of the direction I wanted to take my career, so I kept my mind and options open. After attending the open house for the Clinical Mental Health Program, hearing current and previous students about their experience, and understanding more about what the program entailed I knew that being able to apply what I’ve learned in Psychology to a more application-based approach is the route that I wanted to take. What stood out to me in the Marist program in comparison to other programs was the academic relationship developed between the professors and members of the cohort. The time and attention that we were provided in class because of our size made it easier for us to process our discussions deeply and take away knowledge that has and will continue to help me in my professional career.

Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development / academic development.

One class that was meaningful to me was the course titled, Group Supervision. In my opinion, this class allowed us to think and understand each other as clinicians. The course included group discussion as well as a case conceptualization project. While this was considered the most “demanding” of the semester, the project required us to think outside of the box, understand the many layers to a problem, and provide differing perspectives. Not only was the process rewarding, but also, I was able to see a more professional side of myself and other members of my cohort in the discussions we had about each case, as well as the feedback I received from my peers. In the course, being able to hear how other students perceived each case was an experience in and of itself. Overall, the class provided a space for us to be vulnerable with one another and learn more about who we are, academically and professionally.

Tell us about a meaningful experience you had at Marist as it pertains to your degree (whether that be with a Professor, Marist service, Scholarship opportunity, etc.).

During my time in the program, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to complete a graduate assistantship for a couple of the undergraduate level courses. The professor who I worked alongside, Dr. Jason Trent, made the work manageable and enjoyable. In doing this I was able to tap back into what I loved so much about Psychology and the amazing theories studied in the courses. I feel that this was a meaningful experience to me because in some way I was able to give back to other students by encouraging them to dive deep into their thoughts and maybe even challenge what they’ve learned about a topic. This experience also allowed me to understand the minds of current undergraduate students as it directly helped my experience during my internship.

What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing this degree at Marist?

For any student considering pursuing an academic degree at Marist. I would say go for it! Understand that there are times when things will be a breeze, but also other times when you will be challenged exponentially and maybe you’ll even question why you pursued this at all. However, the amount of support you’ll receive from not only your professors, but also your peers as well as the rewarding feeling you’ll get from being able to work one on one with clients will make those challenging times worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to question theories, or even your own previous ideas as it will only make you stronger and Marist provides the space for you to do so.