School Counseling Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Meet our First-Year Students: 2024-2026 Cohort

Dilorom Akramova
Ava Barrios 

Hello everyone! I'm Dilorom Akramova, and I’m excited to join the School Counseling Program from Uzbekistan. With a background in psychology and teaching experience in Uzbekistan and France, I'm eager to bring my skills and insights to make a meaningful impact in school counseling. My passion lies in fostering a nurturing and supportive environment that promotes both academic success and holistic well-being for students. Outside of school, I love spending time with my family and running a mom lifestyle blog on Instagram in Uzbek, which I find to be a wonderful creative and emotional outlet. I can't wait to reconnect with my alma mater, the University of Maryland, and look forward to learning and growing together with all of you!


Hi, my name is Ava Barrios! I am from Bethesda, MD, and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland. Throughout my life, I have always had a passion for mental health advocacy and wanted to pursue a career where I could provide a safe space and support to others. Working with children since I was 16 has brought me immense joy, further solidifying my desire to become a school counselor. In my free time, I love listening to music (specifically Taylor Swift), reading, and spending time with my loved ones. I am ecstatic to be joining the UMD School Counseling program and can’t wait to get started!


Marissa Bribiesca 
Colin Hendy 
Cohort bio

Marissa (she/her) proudly hails from Burbank, California. She earned her Child and Adolescent Development degree, with a minor in Human Sexuality, from California State University, Northridge. Her significant experiences ignited Marissa's journey into school counseling, particularly her work with special education students and her efforts to support students in the South LA area with their attendance and academic goals. Marissa enjoys exploring various food and coffee spots outside her professional endeavors. Additionally, she loves embarking on adventures with her loyal dachshund, Dash. Marissa eagerly anticipates the opportunity to explore the DMV area, embracing new experiences and connections along the way.

Cohort Bio 2

Colin is a rare DC area native. He is a lover of food who loves eating, as well as cooking new intriguing meals. Because he is a super social person, he loves interacting with new individuals and traveling. LA is my favorite domestic travel spot, and Osaka is my favorite international destination.

Nicholas Hughes
Annabelle Lillard

Hello, I am Nicholas Hughes. I will be joining the program from Gainesville, Georgia. I aim to ensure that students can overcome emotional issues and help enable them to succeed in their education and pursue their goals. I chose to get into school counseling after volunteering at a summer camp “Read, Write, to Lead” which helped children from mostly non-English speaking communities retaintheir English skills over the summer so they could be ready for the next semester. In my free time I enjoy playing games with my friendsand taking walks around my neighborhood. I am looking forward to meeting with and working alongside all of you!


Hello everyone! My name is Annabelle Lillard and I am excited to be joining the School Counseling program. I am originally from Connecticut, but have been a Maryland resident for over ten years now. I have over fifteen years of experience in youth services, which has ultimately inspired me to pursue this degree is School Counseling and learn how to equip the youth with the tools they need to become successful individuals. In my free time I love to binge watch tv shows, dance, and spend time with my family and friends. I am looking forward to meeting you all! 

Lauren Pierce 
He Wen 

Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Pierce and I am from Montgomery County, Maryland. I am passionate about supporting students with their various needs, from their mental health to academic goals. I currently work as a substitute teacher. Outside of school, I enjoy visiting Washington D.C., and watching movies.



My name is He (Henry) Wen, and my hometown is Nanning,

China. I am passionate about supporting students, providing professional assistance, and advocating for counseling programs. Counseling reflects my personal development, where professional assistance changed my life, helped me succeed academically, stood with academic justice, and provided social-emotional well-being. Before joining the program, I volunteered as a peer mentor at the University of Connecticut Academic Achievement Center and also a coach to the newly joined mentors. Outside of school, I enjoy restaurant hunting, outdoor walks, and spending time with friends and family, and during wintertime, I especially like skiing.

Sylvia Young

Hi, I’m Sylvia Young! I’m originally from Carlsbad, California. I graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and minored in Spanish. At UMD, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to develop skills as a school counselor in order to help students on both individual and structural levels. After years of working as a tutor and spending a summer as a Teaching Fellow at Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia, I found that my passion was in forming relationships with students and helping them to grow. I enjoy reading, museums, and watching women’s soccer.