Graduation may intimidate some seniors, but Cierra Hill, ’11, knows exactly what she will be doing next year and where she will be doing it.

Hill was recently accepted into the masters of education program in school counseling in the College of Education at UNC Chapel Hill, a 14-month program that will lead her to a K–12 license in school counseling. The program includes a one-year field experience component at a school, with her preference of grade level.

“The one-year clinical experience of UNC Chapel Hill’s program enables students to become accomplished scholars and capable practitioners,” Hill said.

Hill has been building up to a counseling career since the day she stepped on campus at the University of Richmond. She is a resident assistant, a mentor for the Virginia Mentoring Partnership, a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and studied abroad in Argentina and Ghana.

When she applied to graduate school, in addition to the traditional application, Hill interviewed with three primary faculty members in the UNC program.

“The interview process was typical, but the personalities and the compassion of the faculty members really resonated with me,” Hill said. “I was even more certain that UNC Chapel Hill was where I wanted to be. The campus was beautiful, and its architecture was strangely reminiscent of Richmond’s.”

Hill found out about her acceptance three days after she interviewed. She credits her mentor with showing her the influential power that guidance and mentorship can have on a student’s life and academic progression.

“Her help had a trickling effect on me, and now I desire to help students overcome obstacles and make it to college,” Hill said.

During her time at UNC, Hill hopes to further grow personally and academically — as a student and a professional — and reaffirm her love for counseling. Her ultimate career goal is to establish a college preparatory boarding school for orphans and students that reside in low-income communities.