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Established to honor the memory of Nancy L. Oyler who best exemplified an enduring commitment to excellence of the Rehabilitation Counseling profession in service to persons with disabilities, the Nancy L. Oyler Student Award is designed to support and encourage graduate level training and clinical excellence in Rehabilitation Counseling.  

A maximum of three scholarships per year will be awarded. Students who compete successfully for this award will receive a maximum annual scholarship award of $10,000.

All applicants to the Counseling Program are eligible and encouraged to apply for this award. Students may re-apply for the award for a second year of support.

Awardees must be accepted into the Counseling Program and enrolled as a full-time student.

2022 Awardees

Janaya Carlisle:

"The Oyler scholarship will allow me to pursue my goal of assisting children and families who may have difficulty accessing mental health treatment. With the scholarship, I can concentrate on my studies rather than the financial strain of higher education, allowing me to be dedicated to the fullest extent to my academic career. I'd like to express my gratitude to the Oyler family for supporting me in moving closer to my future in mental health services. After completing this degree at Pitt, I will be equipped to help people who lack resources and access to mental health services, a dream that is made a reality thanks to the Oyler scholarship."

Jackilyn Garces:

"“¡No te rindas, no dejes de estudiar!” ("Don't give up, don't stop studying!") my mother would say as she emphasized the importance of pursuing a higher education. Moving away to pursue my master’s degree in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling has been a challenging yet rewarding experience as a first-generation graduate student. Throughout my studies, I realized that there’s many Latinx individuals in Pittsburgh that face challenges when seeking mental health services and that there is a great need for Latinx mental health counselors in federal spaces. This award will propel me forward in achieving my educational and professional goals as a Rehabilitation Counselor within the VA system and relieve the financial burden as a graduate student. This has been my first scholarship award as a graduate student, and I will never forget the Oyler’s generosity. On behalf of all the students working to overcome financial difficulties to achieve their dreams, I would like to the Oylers for all that they’re doing."

MeLoni Griffin:

"Receiving the Oyler scholarship not just once but twice means so much to me. It means that my hard work is paying off and that I am in the counseling program for a reason. Receiving the award empowers me to continue to create a positive impact in the community and in my profession. It pushes me to continue to be the best me that I can and to inspire others to go after their passion as well. It is an honor to receive this award and I would encourage future and prospective students to also apply because it has been a major help during my graduate studies. "

Christina Murzynski:

"Being an Olyer scholarship recipient means being assisted by past rehabilitation counselors in the advancement of the practices and advocacy that will support persons with disabilities in the future. I am deeply grateful for the trust placed in myself as a student through this award. In the future, I hope to use my education and experience to scaffold young students with disabilities in the pursuit of their own education. Ideally, the work I could contribute to the greater community would make Pittsburgh schools a national representation of best practices where students with disabilities can thrive socially and academically while being well-supported by their teachers and administrators."

Application Information

Application Deadline: March 1 2023

The application process involves submission of an application and a 750-word (maximum) statement, written by the candidate, outlining the goals the applicant expects to achieve as a rehabilitation counseling professional and how the student plans to impact the profession and/or service to persons with disabilities. Specifically, the applicant should outline plans for advocating for people with disabilities in the greater Pittsburgh community (i.e. through professional organizations or other methods). This may include plans for clinical practicum and internship placements, or employment post-graduation that reflect the applicant’s potential to impact the profession of rehabilitation counseling and the individuals with disabilities served by the profession.

Applications and statements should be emailed to Melanie Cherry ( by the deadline of March 1. A selection committee consisting of full-time Counseling faculty members will determine the successful student awardees who will be notified of the award by May 1 prior to the academic year of support.