Eliza Daniels, a third-year master’s student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program in the Department of Applied Psychology at Antioch University New England (AUNE), has been awarded the first Toni Murdock Student Innovation Award.
Daniels developed a training program for clinicians during her internship at ServiceNet, a large community mental-health agency serving the most vulnerable populations in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley. Working at Pathways, a therapeutic after-school program for adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems, she put together a self-care training seminar for outpatient clinicians and counselors.
Daniels took the initiative in making deep and important changes at ServiceNet, said Catherine Lounsbury, director of internships and practica for the Department of Applied Psychology. “Eliza has not only excelled in both her academic and clinical work, but she has truly embodied AUNE’s mission, continually seeking ways to use her learning to make positive changes in the world,” Lounsbury said. “While Eliza has consistently chosen to immerse herself in meaningful and transformative work, both in research and in practice, her initiative in effectively leading a systems-level cultural shift at her internship agency makes her an ideal candidate as the first recipient of this award.”
Daniels said she came to AUNE because of its emphasis on fostering change in a powerful and compassionate way. “AUNE’s values align well with my own personal and professional identity,” she said. “The CMHC program and its faculty promote learning through a humanistic and relational model, which matched what I was looking for.”
Toni Murdock was chancellor of Antioch University for six years before retiring last June. “It’s exciting that Eliza Daniels has been selected for this award as she represents what Antioch and this award is all about—innovative thinking and addressing social challenges,” Murdock said. “This scholarship is an honor to me, but more important, it is dedicated to our students, who are the core of our mission.”
AUNE President Dr. David A. Caruso reiterated the importance of innovation at the core of AUNE’s purpose of building a just and sustainable society. “The selection committee applauded the innovative approaches of all the nominees for this first Toni Murdock Student Innovation Award,” he said. “We are thrilled to see such outstanding initiatives developed by AUNE students.”
The other two nominees for the Toni Murdock award were Meenakshi Dalmia, a master’s student in the Department of Education’s Educating for Sustainability program; and Laurie “Duck” Caldwell, a candidate in the MBA in Sustainability program.
The award is given to a student whose graduate work has demonstrated a fresh perspective and an innovative or entrepreneurial approach to scholarship or practice that advances AUNE’s purpose of innovation for a just and sustainable society. Winners receive a $1,000 cash prize and the opportunity to work with AUNE’s Center for Academic Innovation on the development of an initiative or program related to the work for which the award was given.