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EU Alumni Perspective: Michelle Houghton

Name: Michelle Houghton

Graduation Year: 2009

Major: Master of Science, School Counseling

Current Position: Director of Chapter Services, Care to Learn

City and State: Springfield, MO


Tell us about your career and what you do now.

After graduating with my Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Evangel, I worked in Ozark, Missouri as a School Counselor in the Junior High. It was an excellent position for me—I absolutely adored working with students and families, especially Middle School students who tend to be a bit dramatic. (Yes, I really did love that part!) After starting a family while I was in that position, however, I decided I wanted to step back from a full-time working experience. I moved to a position working part-time with Care to Learn, the non-profit I currently am employed with.


Care to Learn works in partnership with school districts across the state of Missouri to provide immediate funding to meet emergent needs in the areas of health, hunger, and hygiene so every student can be successful in school. Our mission goes hand in hand with what I did as a school counselor previously, so the transition into my role as Director of Chapter Services was an easy one; one I immediately understood and valued.


I have since moved into a full-time role with Care to Learn and am passionate about the work I get to do every day. I love working with school employees all across the state of Missouri, assisting them in the awesome work they do to support students and families in need. I truly believe in education and the impact just one caring adult can have on a student’s life, and I live that mission every day. It is truly a blessing and dream come true.


Outside of my professional experience working with schools, I also dabble in a variety of arts-related projects and passions. I am a painter and sell my artwork locally and through commission based projects. Painting is a hobby-turned-semi-profession I enjoy as someone who sees the world through a creative lens. I often say I wouldn’t be “me” if I was unable to paint or have a creative outlet to put my efforts into.


I also often work as an actress and writer alongside my husband, Jeff Houghton, who is an entertainer and TV-show host. His show The Mystery Hour was syndicated nationally and has won four Emmys among other awards. I actually have an Emmy with my name on it from a video we worked on together, Instagram Husband. I have performed, written, and acted for the show, and continue to collaborate with Jeff on various commercials, sketches, and videos.



What is your favorite memory from Evangel?

Definitely working as a Graduate Assistant for Debbie Bicket. She was such a delight and really supported me as I was learning about the world of School Counseling.


How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?

When I enrolled in Evangel for my Master’s program, I worked with students with mental health disorders, teaching them social skills through a program I developed called KLASS for Burrell Behavioral Health. At the time, I knew I wanted to take my career and education to the next level but really struggled with what path to take it down. I knew I didn’t want to do the traditional track of becoming a Psychologist or Counselor, and Debbie in the School Counseling department really helped me see the benefits of working in the school setting as a counselor for a school district. I’ve adored working with schools ever since.


How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?

I had already graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology when I started at Evangel, but I was in my early 20’s and still had a lot to learn about the professional world when I started my Master’s Degree. I really valued meeting other school professionals in my Master’s program who opened my eyes to what it was like working in a school setting before I entered it myself. I still work with many of the professionals I graduated with, as they are now School Counselors in many of the School Districts I work with for Care to Learn.


What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

Be open to the ebbs and flows of life. Your career often doesn’t end up looking like what you thought it would—the “master plan” is only a track to get you started. What matters most is making the next best decision that feels right in the moment. Sometimes that means quitting something that you outgrow or doesn’t fit your needs any longer. That’s okay. Life changes.  You change. It’s all part of the process.


What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?

Someone who is passionate about what they do and is open to learning new things.