The June Comola Student Scholarship Fund:
A Short History
by: Suzanne B. Phillips, MLPCA Historian
The former MCMHCA, now MLPCA, created a memorial scholarship fund for graduate students who are studying counseling. It is in memory of June Comola, and is known as the June Comola Student Scholarship Fund. A scholarship is awarded each year during the MCA, MLPCA Fall Conference to at least one graduate student who already has a proven record in graduate school, and who plans to continue.
June was one of the finest, and most caring professional mental health counselors whom I have had the privilege of knowing. She was a Master’s Degree graduate in Psychology at Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, and was licensed as a Psychologist in that State. June was one of the persons who was truly instrumental in establishing Mental Health Counseling services in Mississippi. She worked with the original team that established the Region 3 Mental Health Center in Tupelo. She continued to see clients there, part time, even after beginning a private counseling practice, and almost until her death in December of 1995.
June and I met in Nashville, Tennessee in 1981, where we were taking the written exam necessary to complete requirements for becoming Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CCMHCs). Certification at that time was handled by the National Academy (NACCMHC). The Academy was later dissolved, and the designation of CCMHC became a specialty area under the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). June and I became friends during that meeting, and became the first two Mississippians certified as CCMHCs. We remained close friends and colleagues throughout her life.
June participated in many mental health related professional activities. She was present as an officer at 12:00 noon on Nov 21, 1980 during annual business meeting when F. J. Eicke, President of MPGA, now MCA, presented to MCMHCA their official Charter. June served as first Secretary through 1982, and again as secretary, 1986 – 1987. She served as Awards Chair and as Resolutions Chair for MCMHCA during various administrations. She was the proctor, 1982, for the first National Academy Exam given in Mississippi.
June was so excited when the Professional Counselor Licensure Bill had been drafted and introduced in the MS Legislature that she set up a meeting in Tupelo, during annual MPGA meeting, for several members to meet with her own Representative. After that, she contributed unselfishly in time and effort to promote passage of the Bill. Shortly after the Bill became Law in 1985, she applied for and was granted a license as a MS Licensed Professional Counselor.
Her tendency was to remain in the background, quietly and effectively working behind the scenes for progress in the mental health field. Her two main goals seemed to be those of helping as many people as possible to achieve optimal mental health, and to help raise standards of care in the profession. June’s contributions to the mental health field did not go unnoticed. Her efforts were officially recognized by many of the people and organizations which she served so faithfully. In 1988, after reviewing glowing letters of recommendation from present and former colleagues, the MCA Awards Committee chose her as the recipient of the MCA Community Counselor of the Year Award. She was the first MCMHCA member to receive this prestigious award.
In 1993, she was honored once again, this time with a first ever MCMHCA Reception for an individual member. It was called “An Evening with June Comola”. From a personal viewpoint June served as an informal supervisor and consultant to me when I encountered difficult cases in my own private practice. Character, dedication, competence and caring, along with a healthy sense of humor were some of June’s attributes. She will never be forgotten by those many persons who were fortunate enough to know her as family, friend, colleague or caring counselor. Thus it is only fitting that the June Comola Student Scholarship Fund has been established in her memory, with the goal of assisting deserving graduate students who are studying in the counseling field.
The June Comola scholarship is a $750 award to go towards tuition, MCA Conference expenses, or research.
- Be a student who has completed a minimum of 24 semester hours in a masters counseling program at a regionally accredited college of university; or hold a master’s degree in counseling or closely related field and are enrolled in a doctoral program in counseling or counselor education
- Be a member of MLPCA or submit membership form along the scholarship application form