Adriana Del Vecchio

M.A. in Counseling, specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

About Me

I come from a military family, so I spent many of my younger years moving around the country. When my parents retired from the military we settled in Fairfax, VA, which is a large suburb of Washington, DC. I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Virginia. While completing my undergraduate degree I worked as a research assistant in a psychology lab. I was also a volunteer for a crisis hotline where I took calls from the community regarding myriad crises and trained new volunteers.

What do you hope to do with your degree?

I hope to work with the military population; specifically veterans who are experiencing PTSD and substance abuse. I am also interested in working with victims of sexual assault within the military population.

How did you hear about SOLES and why did you choose to enroll?

I knew California was an area in which I wanted to live, so I researched counseling programs across California. I found SOLES and decided to make the cross country trip for my interview. I absolutely fell in love with the campus, faculty, and department after my interview. They were very welcoming, candid, and knowledgeable. I knew this would be a great place to continue my education.

How are you involved on campus?

I also am a Campus Assault Resources and Education (C.A.R.E) Advocate through the Women’s Center. I work closely with students who are victims of sexual assault. This has been an extremely rewarding program. We work to promote awareness, prevention and accountability throughout the USD community.

Additionally, I am a mentor for two first year students in the CMHC program. This was set up through a graduate student in student government. It is a great opportunity to get to know other students in the program and be a resource for them if they need any help navigating their first year as a graduate student.

Tell us about any research or independent study you have done at SOLES.

I am doing research for Ronn Johnson with a colleague in my program. We are coding and examining data from students who were a part of a College Access Network program in LA. The program aims to provide underprivileged students with resources to apply to college and resources and support once they attend college. We hope to find some trends within the data and potentially present any findings. I have also created a presentation from work I did in my positive psychology course on hope theory. I will be presenting it at a Youth Empowerment conference at SDSU this fall.

Have you completed an international experience?

This past summer I traveled to Madrid, Spain to complete my Multicultural Counseling course. It was an amazing two weeks. I had never traveled abroad and truly enjoyed living with a house mom and fully experiencing the Spanish culture. I am so grateful that USD provided an opportunity to travel abroad. It was great to interact with our professor more outside the classroom. We also had the opportunity to get to know other people in different programs, such as MFT and School Counseling. It definitely brought us closer together.

How has your SOLES education impacted your career goals?

SOLES has really opened my eyes to a diverse group of students and some truly amazing professors that have helped me hone my interests and career goals. I always feel as though I always have a faculty member to speak to. They are always available to discuss career goals, resources or any concerns that I have. I feel constantly supported within the department.

Which class has impacted you the most?

I think that class that has impacted me the most was Clinical Interviewing with Dr. Sylvie Marques. This class taught us fundamental skills when it comes to interacting with clients. We were given the opportunity to do role plays and mock therapy sessions which was one of the most challenging and exciting opportunities in our first semester of the program. After taking this class and receiving feedback from Dr. Marques I felt like I had chosen the right path. It very much affirmed my career choice.

Are there specific SOLES faculty, staff or administrators you feel have contributed significantly to your success?

The professors have been one of the greatest parts of this program. They have so much to offer and provide such great support and resources. In particular, Dr. Sylvie Marques made a huge impact on me when she taught my Clinical Interviewing class. She was so knowledgeable and provided specific feedback that improved my counseling skills remarkably. Even small pieces of advice she gave me are things I will remember throughout my career. She enhanced her lecture with personal experiences she had working with clients in the field. It was great as a first year student to have a tangible example of an abstract concept we were learning about.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I hope to eventually work for the department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I think that there is a large need for counselors to work with veterans in order to help them transition back to civilian life as they may be struggling with mental health concerns such as PTSD and substance abuse. Coming from a military family this is something that is close to my heart and would be a population I would love to help.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students?

I would say take every opportunity you can. Get involved! Get to know the faculty and your colleagues. It’s important to become a part of the USD community and experience what they have to offer their students. Going to school in San Diego has been such a unique experience. I hope that other students love it as much as I have.