Letters of Leadership: CESA

Greetings all,

I am proud to have this opportunity to share a bit about CESA, our student organization with a mission to promote networking, personal and professional growth among NEIU counselor education students.  CESA is a chapter of the Illinois Counseling Association and includes a chapter of Chi Sigma Iota honor society.  I have had the honor of serving as CESA president for the past two years and watching our organization grow in response to students’ needs.  NEIU trains school, family, mental health and rehabilitation counselors who go on to work in nonprofits and agencies across Chicagoland with underserved and vulnerable populations; and CESA supports the work of these students and alumni through our communications and events.

CESA runs a peer mentor program which pairs new counseling students with final year students to provide support in navigating their first year.  Collaboration has been a guiding principal in recent years as we have been able to partner with local professional organizations to offer campus trainings and workshops to students on various topics such as play therapy, expressive arts counseling, yoga and trauma counseling, and couples and family counseling. Two favorite events we provide each year are the fall internship panel which brings in both alumni and current internship students to talk with students currently searching for internships, and also the spring licensure workshop which provides information and answers questions as students get ready to apply for counseling licenses.  In addition, CESA provides bi-monthly newsletters written by and for students, holds monthly business meetings, and has grown an active online presence with neiucesa.weebly.com and facebook.com/groups/NEIUCESA and our alumni LinkedIn Group.  Information on meetings and events can be found on these sites.

We encourage counseling students to get involved by attending meetings and events, authoring articles for our newsletter, serving as mentors and mentees, and providing their voice in shaping the organization. In the past year we have provided opportunities for students to volunteer, present at, and attend state and national professional association conferences, and hosted the national winning team of the American Counseling Association Ethics Competition.  Involvement in CESA has been a defining force in my own personal and professional growth, and I invite other counselor education students to grab the opportunity to get involved and not only increase their professional presence, but make friendships and connections that will last for years to come.  If you would like more information on CESA, please email [email protected].


Leslie Contos, on behalf of

Counselor Education Student Association (CESA)