Jo Lauren W.

Graduate Recipient

"In honor of the 25th anniversary of the AbbVie CF Scholarship, choose an event (personal or cultural/historical) from the past 25 years and describe how it has impacted your journey with CF."

I still remember standing before a classroom in the Tuscaloosa Juvenile Detention Center instructing the students on their last activity: free-style writing. Pages became filled with utmost guarded thoughts and feelings- the release was tangible. I wished to prolong my intervention experience beyond this fleeting time of therapeutic journaling- I needed to know more, do more, be more. It was then, in a state of wonder and connection, I realized my journey with CF had equipped me to be of service to this population, thus I felt called to become a social justice counselor. Through my experiences with CF, the improbable was unacceptable, so I simply had to learn to beat the odds. Like those of us with CF, oftentimes the odds are stacked against these individuals for they are easily marginalized and forgotten. They protect themselves with a seemingly impermeable exterior (one I learned to embody rather well): being tough is safe. Vulnerability is frowned upon, and feeling for others is irrational. That’s where I come in. My counseling focuses on teaching empathy, promoting autonomy, and instilling hope. The world may not have dealt either of us a winning hand, but we control just where we place our bets. “Keep the faith” is the theme that arose from my most recent group therapy session. My journey with CF has taught me we can all keep the faith within ourselves, but we can also restore that faith in others: the power is within us.


Jo Lauren W.'s Artwork

Jo Lauren W.'s Achievements

  • Spotlight Graduate Student, University of South Alabama, 2017
  • Outstanding Graduate Student for Clinical Mental Health Counseling, University of South Alabama, 2017
  • Advocate, Rape Crisis Center, Lifelines Counseling Services, 2017
  • Mobile Juvenile Court Collaborative Intern, University of South Alabama, 2016-2017
  • Graduate Assistantship Recipient, Leadership and Teacher Education, University of South Alabama, 2016-2017
  • Alabama Counseling Association Chapter VIII Scholarship Recipient, 2015, 2016
  • Upsilon Sigma Alpha Chapter Service Chair, Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society, 2016-2017
  • Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society Member, 2016-Present
  • Consultant, Writing Center, University of South Alabama, 2015-2016
  • Community Enrichment Center Coordinator, Volunteers of America, 2014-2015
  • University Honors Graduate, University of Alabama, 2013
  • University Honor's Program Study Abroad: University of Oxford: Oxford, UK, 2012
  • Radio DJ, 90.7 the Capstone, University of Alabama, 2012-2013
  • Cofounder, Creative Writing Initiative, Tuscaloosa Juvenile Detention Center, 2013
  • Mentor, Al's Pals, University of Alabama, 2011-2013
  • President and Dean's List, University of Alabama, 2010-2013
  • Capstone Scholarship Recipient, University of Alabama, 2010-2013
  • Bryant Scholarship Recipient, University of Alabama, 2010-2013