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NATIONAL rehabilitation

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NRCA Awards

All National NRCA award recipients will be announced at the NRCA awards meeting at the national conference.
Below are the awards presented along with their criteria.

Seeking 2022 Award Nominees

The National Rehabilitation Counseling Association (NRCA) is seeking award nominees for the following awards:

Counselor of the Year
Distinguished Service
National Citations
Rank of Fellow
Harley B. Regar Memorial

Deadline for nominations is September 2, 2022.

Nominate Someone Today!

2021 Distinguished Service Award - Dr. Sharon Brown

Dr. Sharon Brown, received her Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Education and Cultural Diversity and Disability Adjustment from the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio in 1997 and her Master of Education in Rehabilitation Counseling from Kent State University in 1985. Dr. Brown’s research areas include cultural diversity and disability adjustment, HIV/AIDS prevention/education among college students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), substance abuse and mental health among black women, and Post-Secondary Education for Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities, ages 18 to 21.

She currently serves as Coordinator of Rehabilitation Counseling/Director of Bulldog LIFE Postsecondary program as Program Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Counseling at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. Alabama A&M University (AMMU), a Historically Black University located in Huntsville, Alabama which reflects the uniqueness of the traditional land-grant institution combining teaching, research, service, liberal arts, and vocational fields. The Madison County area and surrounding communities were in desperate need of a program that promoted the general welfare of individuals with intellectual disabilities. 

2021 National Citations Award - Steve wooderson

Steve Wooderson is the CEO of CSAVR. Prior to joining CSAVR, Steve was the administrator of Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services. He oversaw the state VR and independent living programs, as well as the disability determination services bureau. His experience in VR spans over 35 years of service in the vocational rehabilitation program. Steve started as a VR counselor in south-central Missouri in January of 1981 and he enjoyed a 20-year career with the Missouri VR agency. He is a certified Dale Carnegie trainer and a retired Army Reserves Lieutenant Colonel. The pride of his life is his three granddaughters; Ruth, Emma, and Anna. In his free time, he enjoys the great outdoors and fishing the many waterways and lakes of Minnesota.


Counselor‑of‑the‑Year awards were established in 1965 by the Elkin's Institute of Radio and Electronics "in recognition of the pursuit and attainment of excellence in counseling the handicapped."  This award honors rehabilitation counselors who have made an outstanding contribution to improve services or more effective use of existing resources and approaches for persons with disabilities.  The Elkins Award has been replaced by the NRCA Counselor‑of‑the‑Year Award. 

Criteria for nomination for Counselor‑of‑the‑Year are as follows: 
  • Nominee must be employed as a full‑time counselor working with a caseload of persons with Disabilities.
  • Nominee must be a member of NRCA.
  • Nominations may be submitted by anyone but must be endorsed by a NRCA member.
  • Nominee's efforts should far exceed standard performance.
  • Nominee's accomplishments should be recognized by co‑workers, supervisors, and community.
  • Nominee should exemplify individual achievement in the field of rehabilitation counseling as well as in community activities.
  • Nominee must be a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).

The NRCA Distinguished Service Award

This award was established to recognize unusually or significant professional or technical achievement in the field of rehabilitation counseling services for persons with disabilities on a national basis. 

Persons eligible for the Distinguished Service Award nominations would include:

  • A rehabilitation counselor who has put into practice a technique or method which has affected rehabilitation practice.
  • A rehabilitation counselor who has developed a technique useful in the rehabilitation of certain groups of disabilities.
  • A member of a professional organization whose activity in rehabilitation counseling services has heightened the interest of that profession or group.
  • The author of a treatise or study of rehabilitation counseling services for persons with disabilities.
  •  A person with a disability whose example has inspired others and has had an effect on rehabilitation counseling services.
  •  Any individual who has made a major contribution to services for persons with disabilities on a national level.

National Citations Award

National Citations were established to recognize meritorious service or significant achievement in the field of rehabilitation on a local, state, regional, or national basis. 

Persons eligible for a National Citation nomination would include:

  • A person who has demonstrated outstanding quality of achievement in rehabilitation counseling services for persons with disabilities.
  • A community or organizational leader who has contributed to outstanding services to the Association in areas such as branch development, legislation, membership activities, publications, or professional services.
  • An employer who has shown an outstanding contribution in employment of people with disabilities.
  • An individual showing outstanding contributions to persons with disabilities in their community, state, or region.

903.386.3433 | admin@rehabcounseling.org
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