Addictions counseling program benefits students, community

Nicole Nightengale

MCHENRY — Nicole Nightengale is confident that Garrett College’s addictions counseling program will meet its dual goals of preparing students for employment in a fast-growing field and addressing a pressing community need.

“There is a nationwide opioid crisis and the demand for substance abuse services continues to grow,” said Nightengale, who recently joined Garrett College as an assistant professor in addictions counseling as well as academic program director for social and behavioral sciences. “Employment in the substance abuse field is currently one of the occupational fields with a high projected growth potential.”

A former adjunct instructor at West Virginia University, Nightengale has worked as an alcohol and drug counselor for both the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and the Cumberland Treatment Center.

“Nicole brings valuable professional experience to her new role through her service as a licensed counselor,” said Qing Yuan, dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer. “In addition to her educational and professional qualifications, Nicole is very motivated and enthusiastic about this new opportunity.”

“I’m passionate about the helping field and am excited to be a mentor to others who are interested in making a difference,” said Nightengale, who is a licensed graduate professional counselor with master’s degrees in rehabilitation counseling and educational psychology from WVU. She also earned a bachelor’s degree from Frostburg State University.

Nightengale’s first goal is building relationships with treatment programs that can partner with GC in offering required field placements for students in the addictions counseling program. In about a month on the job, she has already secured field placement partnerships with the Cumberland Comprehensive Treatment Center and the Joseph S. Massie Inpatient Treatment Program through the Allegany County Health Department.

Nightengale said she has meetings scheduled with other local organizations, including the Garrett County Health Department and Garrett Health and Wellness.

“Community partnerships are critical for the addictions counseling program,” said Nightengale.

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