Degree In Sight

Counseling psychology students Zoila G. Tovar-Gamero and Angela Zapata want to show their doctoral-level peers at Arizona State University (ASU) that they aren't alone in struggling to balance their professional and personal lives. This past fall, they created POWER-Professional Opportunities for Wellness Education and Revitalization-to provide about 55 psychology doctoral students with peer mentoring, monthly workshops and social activities to improve their nutrition and decrease their stress.

For example, POWER workshops have included student discussions on balancing career and family and a talk by a nutritionist on different types of diets and healthy eating. Also, POWER links first-year students with advanced doctoral students for peer mentoring to share concerns, support and guide each other on classes, professors and research.

Tovar-Gamero, a third-year student, and Zapata, a second-year student, got the idea for the program after taking a health and wellness counseling class. They hope POWER-which is funded through ASU's Graduate and Professional Association-will serve as a model to other students in what they can do to improve self-care in their own programs.

"We're providing a service to our clients, and we are telling them to relax and how to handle their stress, but we're hypocrites if we're not doing it ourselves," Zapata says. "This [program] is a way to really make it salient to us that we need to take care of ourselves too."

-M. DITTMANN