Master's Student Receives Full Scholarship to Attend International Conference on Play Therapy
College of Education and Health Professions master's student Ashtyn McCain is the first in the university's history to receive a full scholarship to the Association for Play Therapy International Conference.
"I thought the odds of me getting it were pretty small because they only give it to a few people," McCain said. "I was very shocked — very excited -- but very shocked when I got that email."
McCain is one of only five students to receive a full scholarship to attend the conference, with the award valued at over $2,400.
The annual conference is set to take place in Palm Springs, California, in October.
For six days, more than 1,000 attendees go through various training and networking opportunities, all held by the Association for Play Therapy.
"I'm just so proud of Ashtyn because though many of our students have applied for the scholarship, she is the first ever to receive it," said Kristi Perryman, an associate professor in the College of Education and Health Professions counselor education and supervision program and director of the college's Office of Play Therapy Research and Training. "Her hard work and enthusiasm for play therapy make her a perfect candidate."
McCain said although she's new to the field of play therapy, she understands its importance for children.
"Children, developmentally, are obviously different from adults, and the language center of their brains aren't fully formed yet, so play is their language, and toys are their words," she said.
Play therapy is a form of counseling centered around children. The use of toys and various activities allows for a safe environment for a child to grow and explore, McCain said.
"I feel like it is really important because it does give children that space to feel like they are their own person," McCain said. "They get to direct what they do. They have the power to make their own choices. They do their own thing, and they're growing, and you're helping facilitate that. They're doing it themselves."
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