Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

2014 Award Citation

Counseling Psychology Program
Alumna Award

Karen O’Brien, PhD 1993

Dr. O’Brien is currently Professor of Counseling Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland.  Her research and scholarly activities are meritorious.  She has published 52 articles in refereed scholarly journals with most being in the most prestigious journals in counseling psychology (Journal of Counseling Psychology and The Counseling Psychologist), vocational psychology (Journal of Vocational Behavior, Journal of Career Assessment, and Career Development Quarterly), and multicultural psychology/gender studies (Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, Psychology of Men and Masculinity, and Psychology of Women Quarterly).  Her research is, therefore, not only, plentiful, but also clearly represents well the social justice mission of the School of Education.

Dr. O’Brien has also received university and national awards for teaching, service to students, and leadership.  These include The Raymond D. Fowler Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Professional Development of Students (American Psychological Association), Behavioral and Social Science Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award (University of Maryland, 1997 and 2007), and Inaugural member of the Leadership Institute on Women in Psychology (American Psychological Association).  She is also a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and has served as Associate Editor of both the Career Development Quarterly and the Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Finally, her service to the community is equally extensive as is her preparation of students for social justice work.  She received the Social Justice Award from the Society of Counseling Psychology (APA) in 2013 for her community work.  In terms of mentoring students for social justice work, Dr. O’Brien developed a two semester undergraduate course on domestic violence at the University of Maryland that requires undergraduates (as part of a service learning component) to provide supervised volunteer services in a domestic violence shelter.

Needless to say, we think the Dr. Karen O’Brien is an exemplar of a social-justice oriented professional psychologist who infuses social justice into all of her academic activities—research, teaching and mentoring of students, and service to others and her profession.  She is clearly deserving of being named the Counseling Psychology Program’s first Distinguished Alumni Award winner.