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Apr 3, 2023 | News

Every year, the Idaho Counseling Association (ICA) Presents awards to local counselors. This year, NNU faculty and students were recognized.

Headshot of Bethany TownsendDr. Bethany Townsend | NNU Faculty Counselor Educator of the Year

Bethany graduated from Adams State University in Alamosa, CO, with a BA in Psychology in 2001, an MA in Human Performance and Physical Education with an Emphasis in Coaching in 2009 and an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2015. In 2019, she earned her Doctor of Philosophy, Counselor Education and Supervision Dual minor in Quantitative and Qualitative Research from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY.

Bethany is in her fourth year as an Assistant Professor in the Counseling Department at NNU. As an LCPC, she also works at an agency one day a week to provide counseling to clients. She’s currently finishing her term as the past president of the Idaho Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

“I have really good colleagues and students who refused to give up on me or let me give up. This award is a testimony to their faithfulness.”

Headshot of Chris McNaughtChris McNaught | NNU Adjunct Professor & Alumni
NNU Supervisor of the Year

Chris graduated from Northwest Nazarene College in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and in 2004 with a Master of Science in Counseling, with an emphasis in School Counseling. He started working that fall in Wendell, Idaho as the elementary and middle school counselor.

In 2006, Chris was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aggressive progression of the disease forced his resignation from Wendell in 2010. He was physically unable to withstand the rigors of the job and moved back to Nampa, Idaho, to be close to his family. Since he was near the NNU campus, Chris was able to begin teaching more classes for the graduate counselor education program, adding classes in internship, family counseling, and several in the school counseling track. Now, as Registered Supervisor (LPC-S), Chris is focusing on helping train the next generation of counselors through supervision.

“I am honored to be able to work with the interns in the counseling program. It’s because of them that I’ve received this award. Their enthusiasm and passion encourage me. Every semester, the interns teach me how to be a better counselor, supervisor and communicator. I love getting to see their unique perspectives on counseling and their clients.

And the faculty and staff in the department are more than coworkers—they are my friends. They teach, encourage and hold me accountable—all indispensable qualities in friends and coworkers. Being a part of NNU’s graduate counseling program is so fulfilling for me; it brings me joy and helps me feel important and needed.”

Headshot of Kurtis PughKurtis Pugh | Current NNU Counseling Student
People’s Choice Award

Kurtis is finishing his second year in the Master of Science in Counseling program at NNU. Throughout the program, he has been developing and honing his two interests in the power of play and the power of meaning as he has studied play therapy and Logotherapy. As a future Counselor and Mental Health Consultant, he hopes to use these two interests and his skills in them to serve young children and their parents as they seek meaning and joy in their lives.

“My presentation was a great source of joy for me, as I am passionate about the topic and hope to keep theorizing and researching about combining the power of play and the power of meaning. My joy was multiplied when I was informed that I had won the People’s Choice award. It was almost as if it were a sign or a hint that I should keep going with these ideas I love.”

Headshot of Denise WinkelDenise Winkel, LPC | NNU Alumni
Rising Star Award

Denise Winkel is a licensed professional counselor who owns a private practice at Nampa Valley Counseling Center in the old Masonic Temple downtown. She graduated from NNU in 2021 in marriage and family counseling and misses being a part of the supportive and educative NNU department that helped her grow and develop in the profession. Denise splits her time in her practice between

individuals with trauma-related issues and couples counseling. She has been trained in EMDR, Brainspotting, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and is currently being trained in the Developmental Model through the Couples Institute.

Denise has been the Conference Chairman of the Idaho Counseling Association (ICA) the past two years and recently won the “Rising Star” award through the ICA.

“I was shocked, excited and humbled to receive the Rising Star award. I am trying to live up to the expectation of this award by seeking out continual education in my field and doing my best to love and honor each client. I am grateful for an amazing husband, my five kids, friends, family and community who have supported me in my mission to help others forge stronger relationships and work through the trauma that binds them. I also find so much value in the ICA—their work with lawmakers, educating counselors in the area, helping counselors to network and stay connected—thereby assisting us in being ethical professionals. I have been blessed to work with and learn from those in the ICA!”

NNU is so proud of its faculty and students recognized this year at the ICA Conference. Join us in celebrating their amazing accomplishments!