LSU Alum Spotlight: Sharae Vicknair

September 20. 2022

BATON ROUGE, LA - Sharae Vicknair is a recent graduate of the Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in the LSU School of Education that is now working with LSU Student Support Services. Sharae is a life-long Louisiana resident, growing up in Denham Springs and receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Southeastern Louisiana University and Masters of Science in Psychology from University of Louisiana at Lafayette. While at UL, she wrote a thesis statement evaluating the way people see terms used to describe the LGBTQ+ community.

Bringing your real-world experience back into the classroom

Sharae has previously worked in the mental health field, including at an inpatient facility for women. This job was the reason she applied to the counselor education program at LSU as she realized she wanted to receive her certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Coming into the program, Sharae was unsure if she wanted to go deeper into the field of psychology or counseling. However, through the program she was able to realize that she identifies more with the holistic, wellness perspective of counseling rather than the diagnostic labeling typically associated with psychology.Sharae Headshot

Finding your passion

Coming into the program, she never really wanted to work in higher education, however, her internship at Baton Rouge Community College helped her see that it is truly a population for which she has a passion. She loves the fact that college students have a built in motivating factor for change. She sees that attribute as an opportunity for them to use that motivation to change in more than just their academic pursuits, but also in their personal lives. Then, that personal betterment will transfer back to their academic lives and the cycle of self-improvement will hopefully continue.
Sharae is so excited about her job in Student Support Services (SSS). She never realized a job like this was even possible. The SSS is a federally funded program present in universities nationwide. It serves 288 students that are either first generation college students, have a disability, or are income eligible. Sharae loves that these students are brought into the SSS as a cohort as it gives them a community of people that show them they are not alone. Sharae is able to do academic support and career counseling for the students as well as teaching SSS 1001 on Tuesdays and Thursdays which is a class that gives the students necessary skills to succeed in college.
The LSU Difference

Sharae is able to utilize the skills gained at LSU such as empathy, positive regard, and rapport building with her students on a daily basis. Furthermore, she can identify when a student needs additional services in mental health or is in crisis and give them an appropriate reference. Finally, she feels that the program helped her see the students for all that they are and build a holistic relationship.