Amazing Students Profiles

Billy Yarbrough

Billy Yarbrough

Billy Yarbrough is working to help make a difference to African-American youth. He volunteers at AIDS Athens by running support groups for clients. He also serves as a practicum counselor in the department of counseling and human development services at UGA. He works with Deryl Bailey in the Empowered Youth Program and Project: Gentlemen On The Move in the College of Education. Yarbrough’s academic research and writing is about identity construction among African-American males as well as cultural socialization as a moderator of behavior management among African-American adolescents. He recently co-authored a publication on cultural values in the Encyclopedia of Counseling, and he has presented at regional and national counseling and multicultural conferences. He serves as the student representative to Division 49—Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy—of the American Psychological Association, and he plans to start a student affiliate group. After graduation, he plans to enter a private counseling practice and continue working with underserved populations.


Dayton, Ohio

High School:

Jefferson Township Senior High School

Degree objective:

Ph.D. in counseling psychology

Other degrees:

Ed.S., professional counseling (emphasis in child and adolescent development), Georgia State University.
M.S., professional counseling, Georgia State University
B.A./B.Sc., human resource development, Southwest Texas State University

Expected graduation:

Spring 2009

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Before I came to UGA, I retired from the U.S. Air Force. While there, I received the Academic Achievement Award as well as the Distinguished Graduate Award through Air Force Military Training Academy. I received the George Washington Honor Medal for my essay titled “What Price Freedom.” Additionally, I am a member of Chi Sigma Iota National Honor Society, and I was on the Dean’s List for all of my senior year as an undergraduate. I am a mentor with “Friends for Life.” This agency provides mentors for children who have at least one parent who is or has been incarcerated. I am a member of Pi Lambda Theta International Honor Society and Professional Association in Education. I am a National Certified Counselor through the National Board for Certified Counselors, and I am a member of the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia. I am member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. I am the organist for Springfield Baptist Church in Athens. I co-facilitate a support group at the Healing Place, and I facilitate a self-concept group with fourth graders at Gaines School Elementary.

Current Employment:

I work with Deryl Bailey’s Empowered Youth Program and Project: Gentlemen On The Move. I assist by providing administrative support to the programs. I also conduct the self-discovery course for the high school participants. I tutor high school students in math and science during the Saturday Academy, and I take part in the spring and fall exam lock-ins. Additionally, I have begun working with the Adults In the Making (AIM) project through the Behavioral Research Center. I conduct weekly psychoeducational groups with high school seniors in Eatonton, Ga. Now, as a volunteer, I co-facilitate a bi-monthly support group at AIDS Athens. I also serve as a minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church West. I provide musical accompaniment for the various choirs as needed.

Family Ties to UGA:

My family ties to UGA do not involve my biological family, yet they are strong nonetheless. I am part of a cohort which has become as close as any family. The eleven of us come from different backgrounds from across the country yet we feel as though we have known each other our entire lives. There is nothing I would not do for a member of my cohort, and I believe this feeling is mutual.

I chose to attend UGA because…

…I became familiar with the outstanding educational programs offered here at UGA as well as the high-profile faculty and staff. Additionally, because my great-grandfather was an enslaved man in Georgia and was never allowed to attend school, I chose to return to Georgia to complete my education to show my appreciation to those who came before me who were not afforded the privilege of education.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…going through the stacks in the various libraries. I also enjoy spending time at the campus bookstore. I love books, and I am drawn to anyplace that houses them.

When I have free time, I like…

…doing family research. Geneology is one of my hobbies. I also love to roller-skate and play piano. I am an animal lover, and I spend time with Thor, my collie. Perhaps my favorite leisure activity is relaxing in my hot tub at home.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

…while working on my master’s degree, I hosted a foreign exchange student from Mongolia. We decided to drive to Mexico for a weekend to do some shopping. I told him to make sure he had his passport, and he assured me that he did. After our shopping spree, we were stopped at the border, and we were denied re-entry into the United States because he did not have his passport. We were forced to remain in Mexico until the passport could be sent to us.

My favorite place to study is…

…at home. I have surrounded myself with my favorite decorations and motivational posters. This allows me to focus my energy and efforts on my academic pursuits (when “The Golden Girls” reruns aren’t on TV).

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

…my father’s father. He died in 1944, which was before I was born. I have heard stories about this tremendous man my entire life. There are no pictures of him, so I don’t even know what he looked like. I would love to spend an afternoon with the ancestral patriarch of my family.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

…provide individualized educational interventions to the youth of Athens, Ga. to boost their scores on the various high-stakes standardized tests.

After graduation, I plan to…

…enter private counseling practice working with underserved populations. I would like to continue conducting research in the field of counseling psychology. My interests include achievement deficits of American males of African descent and grandparenting issues.