Dr. Barbara Beeks joins Presbyterian College as director of Jacobs Scholars Program

June 24, 2024

Dr. Barbara Beeks is the new director of Presbyterian College’s Jacobs Scholars Program.

Beeks began June 3 as the leader of PC’s signature program for students affected by foster care after serving the last eight years as student services coordinator for Greenville Technical College.

Beeks began her career as a program specialist at the Elwyn Institute in Elwyn, Penn., working with people who are developmentally disabled. She has worked at the Laurens County Disabilities and Special Needs Board as a house manager, a service coordinator and case manager, and family services director.

She also served as an intensive family services therapist and program coordinator for Family Resources Inc. in Greenwood, as a clinical counselor at Growing Home Southeast in Cayce, and as human services coordinator for Laurens County Mental Health in Clinton.

Beeks said she looks forward to being part of PC’s devotion to service.

“I was immediately drawn to this program,” she said. “Knowing that it provides an underserved group of students the opportunity to come to college free of cost and supports them throughout their college careers sounded amazing and I wanted to be a part of it.”

The Waterloo native has extensive experience working as a mental health counselor and serving a wide variety of people – from men and women with special needs, families, college students, and young people who have been in foster homes. Beeks said she specializes in showing compassion and understanding to people who have experienced hardship and trauma.

“I’ve worked in family preservation where we went into homes to work with families and their children,” she said. “Sometimes that meant reunifying families where kids were placed in foster care. I helped children with their adjustments and their anxiety in cases where they were separated from their parents.

“I’m a very caring and empathetic person. There are situations in my own lived experiences that I feel can help another student who’s been going through similar things, or if I haven’t, I know someone who has and saw them come out on the other end of it and be very successful. I would love to share that with others and show them you can do it, too.”

Beeks said she wants every Jacobs Scholar to feel welcomed and encouraged at PC.

“It is important for them to know that they belong here,” she said. “Everybody needs to hear that. We all have doubts sometimes where we ask, ‘Do I really belong? Is this right for me?’ But I have a strong faith and I know God as a purpose for all of us and I want everybody to feel that and know that. Knowing that they belong helps them engage more and be successful – and it makes you feel you a part of the college and the PC family.”

As a former member of the Laurens County School District 55 Board of Trustees, Beeks has demonstrated her public support for young people in her community. At PC, she now has the opportunity to see young men and women blossom and flourish.

“I love young people – seeing their minds develop, seeing their personalities emerge, and coming to their own as young adults,” Beeks said. “That really appeals to me.”

Beeks is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in sociology with a minor in psychology. She earned her master’s degree in counseling from Webster University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University.

In 1997, Beeks was named Family Resources Therapist of the Year. She was named President’s Innovator of the Year at Greenville Tech for 2018-19.