Three generations of a family studying in the same graduate program may sound like a feat for a record book.
For three family members who are enrolled in the MA in Counseling program at Webster’s Rolla, Mo., campus, however, studying together seems only natural.
That’s because Vera Cumberland; her daughter, Edith Cumberland-Tims; and her granddaughter, Angela Chamberlain, like spending time together. They shop together, they vacation together, and they live next door to each other in Waynesville, Mo., a half-hour drive from Rolla.
And someday, they hope to open a counseling office together.
Vera and Angela, who have studied in the Rolla counseling program for two years, have been more than pleased about their decision to pursue an MA in Counseling through Webster University.
Enthusiasm for Webster’s counseling program has been contagious.
Their enthusiasm for Webster’s counseling program has been contagious. In fact, it was a major influence on Edith’s decision to enroll in Rolla’s counseling program. She started classes in August.
“This is an exciting moment in my life,” Edith said. “I’m proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished so far and I have big dreams for my future.”
In turn, Vera Cumberland said, “I love having my daughter in the same university that I’m going to.”
Vera said that she believes that Edith has made an excellent choice for her graduate education. “Webster’s instructors are great, and very understanding,” Vera said.
Angela Chamberlain predicted that her mother’s desire to learn and her motivation to make a difference in others’ lives will serve her well in her graduate studies. She said that she and her grandmother waited with excitement for her mother to enroll in the Rolla counseling program.
Angela said that her mother already has joined her and her grandmother in watching counseling-related videos from the Webster library. “We really enjoy getting together—usually with a snack—and watching them to find new ways to help our future clients,” Angela said. “After the video, we’ll sit and discuss it a bit.”
Ben Shriver, Rolla’s counseling coordinator and an instructor in the program, said it can be hard to realize that Vera, Edith, and Angela represent three generations of a family. Their interaction is more like that of best friends, he said.
“All three are highly regarded…”
“All three are highly regarded and respected by other students and faculty,” he added. Shriver said the group’s camaraderie has led other students to express the wish that they had family members going through the program with them.
For the past two years, Rolla has represented Webster University in the annual American Counseling Association (ACA) ethics competition. Last year, a Rolla team took second place in the competition; the previous year, a team comprising Angela Chamberlain, Vera Cumberland, and Susan VanArsdel was chosen to represent Webster.
“This year, the three-generation family is forming a group to apply to enter the ACA ethics competition as Webster’s team,” Shriver said. “Only one team is chosen to represent each university in the competition. Vera, Angela, and Edith may be Webster University’s team.”
Earning an MA in Counseling from the Rolla campus is fast turning into a family tradition for the mid-Missouri family. Edith’s daughter-in-law (also Angela’s sister-in-law and Vera’s granddaughter-in-law) is currently working to complete her undergraduate degree. As one might guess, she then plans on applying to Rolla’s counseling program.