About Evangeline Murphy

“I am motivated to work with underserved populations, specifically for nonprofits,” says Evangeline Murphy, who is pursuing a master’s degree in Counseling and Community Psychology at Russell Sage College. 

She said that her Sage graduate education combined with a yearlong opportunity through the AmeriCorps VISTA program is helping her build a resume that stands out. 

Individuals in the AmeriCorps VISTA program fill a variety of roles in organizations that address community challenges. Murphy’s VISTA placement is at Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York, where she interned as an undergraduate. JFS offers support services to lower income people in the Albany, New York, area. Murphy works with its programs for older adults. She provides direct service like grocery shopping and meal delivery, shadows social workers, and is learning about aspects of nonprofit administration like data management and marketing. 

She said that extending her commitment at JFS as a VISTA member has also allowed her to gain a better understanding of the nonprofit sector as a whole. “We have monthly team-building days with other VISTAs in our cohort, so I get to form a community with people who are doing similar things to me. It’s a great way to meet similar-minded people.”

Murphy was attracted to Sage’s Counseling and Community Psychology master’s program because of its small size. “That is what I’ve been used to and find it works best for me,” she said.

She expects to complete her counseling degree in 2026 or 2027, depending on how many credits she takes per semester as she balances her graduate program and work. (Sage’s counseling master’s courses are in the evenings or over weekends, making a graduate program easier for students who work full time.) 

The combination of having a Counseling and Community Psychology master’s degree from Sage as well as the AmeriCorps VISTA experience will absolutely help me reach my career goals,” Murphy said. 

She’s entering a field where she will make an important difference: There is a critical need for mental health professionals in general, and mental health professionals focused on the needs of lower-income populations and older adults specifically. “I want to use my mental health degree and future licensure to help the populations that AmeriCorps VISTA targets,” she said.