GS counseling center staff members receive outstanding awards


Davis Cobb, Correspondent

At the 2021 Georgia College Counseling Association awards, two of Georgia Southern University’s Counseling Center Staff came home with prestigious awards for their work and efforts.

Licensed professional counselor Nikita Robinson was named the Sylvia Shortt Counselor of the Year, while staff psychologist Mark Taracuk received awards for Clinical Program of the Year and Outstanding Professional Contribution to Knowledge.

“Nikita is always willing to help even if it means sitting outside a table offering resources to students,” said Counseling Center Executive Director Jodi Caldwell in a press release. “She deserves this award for her dedication, hard work and collaborations. Nikita truly personifies the diversity of skills, experiences and roles that come with being a counselor.”

Taracuk was recognized in large part due to his research devoted to increasing positive attitudes among college students towards transgender and gender diverse individuals and increasing participants’ willingness to engage in social action on behalf of marginalized individuals.

His Clinical Program of the Year Award was won for his three-hour interactive program “Creative Champions”, meant to help male-identifying individuals confront harmful gender norms through intentional evaluation and increasing mindful masculinity.

“It’s an incredible privilege to win both of these awards,” Taracuk said in a press release, “While the awards honor two very different projects, both are strongly rooted in the values of social justice, inclusiveness and the push to create physical and psychological safety for all people. I am incredibly proud of both of these projects and am so thankful for my fantastic colleagues and collaborative partners who seek to make a difference every day.”