Nieto named Saint Martin’s College Faculty
Of The Year
May 9, 2005
Lacey, Wash. – Prof. Leticia Nieto, Ph.D., who teaches
in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MAC) Program at Saint
Martin’s College, is the 2005 recipient of the Monks of Saint Martin’s
Abbey Outstanding Faculty Award.
The award was established in 1994 by the Saint
Martin’s monastic community as a symbol of support for the college’s
faculty and for excellence in teaching. It carries with it a $1,500
In addition to 16 years of teaching psychotherapy at
Saint Martin’s, Nieto is known for her work in expressive arts therapy,
diversity issues and community activism, Prof. Godfrey Ellis said. Ellis
is director of the MAC program.
“Although it is an individual achievement, it reflects
very well on the entire program and brings credibility to the work we do
as a team,” Ellis said. “The students deeply sense her commitment to
them and to the learning process. We are lucky to have her at the
college – she could teach anywhere.”
Nieto said she was very surprised that she received
the honor during the Saint Martin’s Convocation on April 26.
“I had gone to witness a student I know getting an
award. I was completely unprepared,” Nieto said. “It’s a huge honor.”
Nieto works one-on-one with graduate students as many
of them prepare for a career in counseling. She has taught developmental
theory, gender and cultural issues in psychotherapy, and treatment for
substance abuse, as well as supervised interns. She notes that learning
to be a good counselor takes more than studying theory in class.
Students must also be compassionate and able to listen to their
“Based on research, the relationship a patient has
with a counselor has the most effect on healing,” Nieto said.
In addition to her academic studies, Nieto is a poet,
visual artist, dramatist and performer. Using Playback Theatre, she
works with two groups. The first, which she helped found, is True Story
Theatre/Teatro de la Vida Real, a Latina improv company that brings to
life the personal stories of audience members, many of whom are also
Latina. The other group is “Acting for Change,” which deals with social
justice issues through theater. Both groups have performed around the
state at community centers, schools, hospitals and prisons.
Nieto, of Olympia, graduated with a doctorate in
clinical psychology from California’s Ryokan College in 1987. She has
taught at Union Graduate School, Pacific Oaks College, The Evergreen
State College, Azusa Pacific University, Marymount College and Citrus
and Pasadena community colleges.
Her family includes longtime partner Garth Johnson,
mother Leticia Fernandez, stepfather Jacky Astruc and sister Lilia
Saint Martin’s is an independent, Roman Catholic
coeducational college founded by the Benedictine Order. About 1,050
students are enrolled on its main campus and about 600 more in programs
at the college’s extension campuses at Fort Lewis Army Post, McChord Air
Force Base and Olympic College.
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