COLUMBUS, Miss.--Courtney Reed wanted more.

Reed loved the idea of becoming a teacher when she arrived at Mississippi University for Women in the fall of 2013. Soon, though, the senior from Millington, Tennessee, realized she could channel her passion in another direction, so she switched her major from elementary education to family studies.

The decision paved the way for Reed to close her senior year in style, as she recently received National Council on Family Relations honors. Reed’s award, which recognizes outstanding undergraduate and graduate school students throughout the country, marks the second-straight year a student from The W has been selected. Last year, Ashley Barksdale was honored.

“She is an excellent student,” said Dr. Dorothy Berglund, a professor of family studies at The W and chair of the school’s Department of Psychology and Family Studies. “She has a 3.56 in her major, which is above the grade-point average requirement for NCFR honors.”

Reed’s achievements in class are only part of her story. She also was president of The Mam'selle Social Club for two years, was in the Jester Honorary Social Club, is the assistant manager at Malco Theater in Columbus and the supervisor for Telefund at the Foundation. She has juggled a schedule that has stretched to as many as 70 hours per week after she was diagnosed with Lupus and endometriosis at the end of her sophomore year. She has had four surgeries since 2017 and has had to take time away from her studies. Still, she has found a way to balance her “type-A personality” with her passion for helping others.

“Being recognized by NCFR is such an honor,” Reed said. “It is a significant recognition of how far I've come and how hard I've worked. Being honored by NCFR feels like an affirmation that I did find my ‘niche,’ and I'm doing what I'm supposed to even on days that it's really hard.”

Learning to listen to her body has helped her not give up, even though she admits there were times she could have. She is thankful for everyone at The W who assisted her and cared for her on her journey and is eager to help children who need someone to intervene on their behalf. Reed said she wants to pursue clinical social work and become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Reed recently completed an internship in Intervention court. She may want to continue as a case manager in that environment, but she also is interested in working for child protective services. Her ultimate goal is to be a victim's advocate.

“Patience, empathy and compassion are the most important qualities to have in family studies,” said Reed, whose research on the rate of eating disorder onset in adolescents was accepted to Southeastern Council on Family Relations to present. COVID-19 (coronavirus) forced the event to be canceled.

“You are working with families which are complex units, but in many cases, you are working with families that are in crisis are undergoing trauma or life-changing events. Being patient with families and clients is vital, even if you do not agree with their life; it is your responsibility to serve them to the best of your ability. They may not want your help but you have to be patient and continue trying your best. The same goes with empathy and compassion. If your heart is not in it, you will burn out.”

Berglund said she will miss Reed and all of her classmates in the internship class who agreed to create a brochure for students experiencing crises.

“Courtney is very thoughtful in her responses in class,” Berglund said. “She has maintained her work at a high level and always has something to contribute to class and wants to help.”
Reed’s biggest contribution may be she has learned to become a leader, even if she doesn’t play the part like everybody else.

“Everyone thinks you're supposed to lead from the front and be assertive and take charge, but I lead by supporting and building up my team,” Reed said. “Teams are more successful when they feel supported and safe. Leading from the ‘back’ allows you to support your team in the most crucial areas, as well as encourage everyone, which leads to success.”

April 21, 2020
Contact: Adam Minichino
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(662) 329-1976