Christine Chasek, Matthew Mims get national recognition for counseling work

Matt and Tina Award Photo

KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney faculty Christine Chasek and Matthew Mims have been recognized with national awards for their work in the counseling profession.

Chasek received the Addictions/Offender Educator Excellence Award from the International Association of Addictions & Offender Counselors. She also was given the Robert H. Rencken Emerging Professional Leader Award from the American Counseling Association. Mims was honored with the ACA Counselor Educator Advocacy Award.

They were recognized at the IAAOC and ACA annual conference in Montreal.

Chasek is an assistant professor and Mims an associate professor in UNK’s Counseling and School Psychology Department.

Mims was recognized for involving students in lobbying activities, leadership development, and direct connection with state and national representatives and senators.

“He often illustrates how counselors-in-training should engage around issues, be active at the local, state and national levels, and be a voice for others who do not have a voice,” read his nomination. “He has presented at the national level in leadership development and really believes that counselors need to be engaged with advocacy and participate as a ‘lifelong’ commitment.

Mims was applauded for his influence in legislative action, engagement of counselors on a political level, engagement of graduate students and professional counselors to become involved in license laws, access to services, LGBT issues and refugee services.

“His work is not limited to advocating for only one field of counseling as he is active as a clinical mental health practitioner, school counselor and as student affairs professional,” said the nomination.

In receiving her educator excellence award, Chasek was noted for outstanding teaching in the area of addictions and offender issues, and her commitment to the education of professional counselors.

She was praised for her ability to help students understand material in order to effectively work with clients who struggle with addictions. “She has been able to bring real-world experience into the classroom and give students real experiences to practice their addiction counseling skills,” read her nomination.

Chasek developed the first graduate and undergraduate certificate programs at UNK in Addictions Counseling, where students can obtain the initial education required to become licensed alcohol and drug counselors in Nebraska.

She is a sought after presenter on addiction related topics locally and on the state, regional and national levels.

“She is at the forefront of integrating behavioral health care into medical health care, especially in rural Nebraska, where there is a behavioral health care workforce shortage,” said her nomination. “Dr. Chasek has forged many community partnerships, increasing access to integrated behavioral health and enhanced training for the workforce.”

The Rencken award was presented to Chasek for her leadership in the counseling profession, including numerous appointed and elected leadership positions at the state and national level.

Among accomplishments noted was her role in rebuilding Nebraska’s Day on the Hill, where Nebraska Counseling Association members are invited to the Nebraska Legislature to advocate for bills on important counseling-related issues such as opposing consciousness clause language, increase funding for providers, and supporting expansion of behavioral health providers in rural and underserved areas.


Writer: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454,
Source: Matthew Mims, Counseling & School Psychology, 308.865.8625,
Source: Christine Chasek, Counseling & School Psychology, 308.865.8361,