Jacob Horen

Class of 2024: Jacob Horen

Continuing a family tradition of careers in education, Jacob Horen is graduating with his M.Ed. in Counselor Education.

Laura Hoxworth

Jacob Horen may have been following in his family’s footsteps by pursuing a career in public education, but the joy he found connecting with students and helping address school mental health needs drives his passion for school counseling.  

In 2023, Horen received the Tamara E. Davis Graduate Student of the Year award from the Virginia School Counselor Association, which recognizes an outstanding graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in their program of study, displayed passion for entering the school counseling field, and who shows great potential.  

Q: What inspired you to choose a career in school counseling?

My mother is a school psychologist, and my grandparents were teachers for over 35 years. They instilled in me a love for public service and the amazing opportunity that working in public schools can offer. I chose school counseling because there are a lot of mental health needs in schools, and I believe a lot of students are misunderstood. I wanted to be the person who could provide understanding for the children I work with. I think social emotional education in the early grades can create a beautiful safety net for students to rely on as they get older and enter the world beyond school. Most importantly, the bliss I experience when connecting, laughing, and growing with students is priceless!

Q: Why did you choose the UVA School of Education & Human Development for your program?

How could I have not chosen the UVA School of Education and Human Development! The extraordinary faculty and ample opportunities to grow as a student can’t be beat. The faculty are truly there to see you grow and succeed. They will facilitate any learning opportunity that is within their grasp and that you are interested in. Not only will they assist you in your endeavors, but they are some of the most knowledgeable counselors I have ever met. Their expertise and generosity are unrivaled.

Q: What is the most significant thing that has shaped your time here?

It is hard to pinpoint one single experience, but if I must choose, I will say my internship was the most formative. Being in the school three days a week for a whole year was the best training that I received here. Being under the tutelage of an experienced counselor was extraordinarily helpful. It provided me a space to ask questions, hone my skills, and connect with students.  

Q: What is one thing you learned during your studies that surprised you most?

One thing that surprised me was the use of data in our role as a school counselor. Oftentimes people think of school counselors as only providing guidance and career planning. While this is a part of the job, it does not fully encompass our role by any stretch of the imagination. Using data is a large piece of our job as it holds us accountable for our work and is the driver of a comprehensive school counseling program. Making informed decisions based on data, and not our gut feelings, was a refreshing surprise.

Q: If you can, name one person who has made a special impact during your studies and how?

An innumerable amount of people have been pivotal in making my time here impactful, but there is one individual who stands out to me. Dr. Julia Taylor has helped me from the moment I walked in the door on the first day of classes. She is genuinely interested in my success and well-being, not only in this program, but also as a professional in the field and as a person. She answers my infinite questions with patience and a smile and also asks me thought-provoking questions that stretch me as a budding school counselor. Dr. Taylor sees me as a person, not only as a student.  

Q: What will you be doing next?

Beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, I will be the full-time school counselor at Greenbrier Elementary school in Charlottesville City Schools. Go Reading Stars!

Class of 2024 Graduation Profiles

We invite you to get to know a few members of the UVA EHD Class of 2024 as we celebrate the accomplishments of the entire class.

News Information

Media Contact

Laura Hoxworth

Research Center or Department

  • Human Services