Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is granted to outstanding SHRS alumni who have distinguished themselves through their academic, professional and humanitarian accomplishments. Their commitment to professional excellence and dedication to serving their communities through scholarship, education and advocacy exemplify the core values of SHRS.
Catherine (Armstrong) Getchell (Rehabilitation Counseling, MS '04)

BA – Yale University, Linguistics, 2002
MS – University of Pittsburgh, Rehabilitation Counseling, 2004

While a student at Pitt, Catherine Getchell was a research associate conducting transportation accessibility studies and providing cognitive rehabilitation services. During this time, she was also named by County Chief Executive Jim Roddey to serve on the board for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, making her the first individual with a disability to serve as a board member.

Getchell is currently the director of the Office of Disability Resources at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to that, she was a vocational rehabilitation counselor and district administrator for Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, a state agency that assists people with disabilities in obtaining employment and independence. Over her professional career, she has worked with individuals with physical, sensory, cognitive and emotional disabilities. 

Getchell continues to contribute to the school’s mission by guest lecturing and participating in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling activities. For the past three years, she has supervised counseling students for 600-hour paid internship experiences through the CMU Office of Disability Resources. She provides a setting where students can hone their skills by providing valuable in-the-moment feedback on clinical techniques. Getchell is an excellent mentor to our counseling students and generously provides her expertise to the immense benefit of our program.