Marquis Emerging Leaders

Andrea Echols

Title: Mental Health Counselor

Company: Hillcrest Behavioral Health Services

Location: Alabama

Education: MEd, Mental Health Counseling/Counselor, University of Montevallo (2019); BS in Psychology, University of Montevallo (2012); Pursuing PhD in Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services, University of Alabama

Career History: Teaching Intern, University of Montevallo (2021-Present); Mental Health Counselor, Hillcrest Behavioral Health Services (2019-2021); Graduate Research Intern, University of Alabama (2021); Graduate Student Intern, University of Montevallo (2020); Graduate Research Assistant, University of Alabama (2019-2020); Intern, Hillcrest Behavioral Health Services (2019); Administrative Assistant, Magic City Title Inc. (2016-2019); Night Manager, Oak Mountain Lanes (2014-2018)

Andrea Echols, Mental Health Counselor at Hillcrest Behavioral Health Services, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of counseling.

Driven by her perfectionism and natural ability to listen well, Ms. Echols has dedicated time and energy toward her studies and building a career as a mental health counselor and educator. Most recently a teaching intern at the University of Montevallo and a graduate research intern at the University of Alabama, she previously served as a mental health counselor at Hillcrest Behavioral Health Services from 2019 to 2021. Prior to these appointments, she cut her teeth as a graduate student intern at the University of Montevallo in 2020, a graduate research assistant at the University of Alabama from 2019 to 2020, and excelled as an administrative assistant at Magic City Title, a top producing agency, from 2016 to 2019.

Throughout her professional journey, Ms. Echols has most enjoyed learning about herself, her clients, and other cultures—all with the mindset of helping others; she has made a significant difference in the lives of several clients. She is also grateful that she has been able to persevere despite the many challenges she has faced in her career. Believing that “everything happens for a reason,” she first gravitated toward her profession when she was young and realized that she was a person that others would talk to about problems they were having and she always listened. After learning what counselors did, she realized she was a natural fit. Her many mentors throughout her life include Tracy LaForty, her best friend and mentor who serves as a licensed marriage and family therapist and greatly inspired her, Dr. James Jackson, Dr. Judith Harrington, Dr. Eric Baltrinic, and Pamela Pierce.

A gifted and hardworking student, Ms. Echols attended the University of Montevallo, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology in 2012 and a Master of Education in mental health counseling in 2019. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in counselor education, school counseling, and guidance services from the University of Alabama in the hopes of becoming a teacher to other counselors, a degree she plans to obtain in 2023.

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