Who we are


Welcome to the in the career and college exploration and preparation processes. Over the years, I have worked with parents and students to help them navigate the college admissions process. As a credentialed counselor and former assistant professor with admissions experience, I wholeheartedly believe in a personalized, goal-oriented approach to helping students both identify the colleges that meet their “best fit” criteria and develop strong college application essays.

Together, the students and I will focus on college environments that foster their academic progress and sense of belongingness. Knowing that students have different experiences and goals, my approach fosters student ownership of their career development and post-high school plans. For this reason, I focus on the whole student by taking into account students’ socio-emotional and academic needs as well as the students’ cultural backgrounds.

Zoraida R. Cozier
Owner and Career Counselor,
V.A.T. Career Counseling Services, San Diego
Masters, School Counseling, PPS, University of San Diego
Ph.D. Speech, Public Relations, Purdue University

Career Counselor-Advocate

• Credentialed Career Counselor with experience in admissions, academic advising, occupational assessments, and college planning.

• A social justice advocate who has conducted school counseling research projects on diverse student populations as follows:

(a) Social-emotional development of gifted students (pilot study);
(b) Vocational guidance in Black public schools, 1900-1940;
(c) Group study of a restorative justice program; and
(d) Native American students’ sense of belonging (Capstone Project)

M.A., PPS, University of San Diego, 2019, School Counseling, 4.0/4.0
Additional courses in higher education leadership, 3.56/4.0
Ph.D., Purdue University, June 2001
Major: Human Comm.; Specialization: Organizational Public Relations, 3.81/4.0;
Alan H. Monroe Scholar, 2000; Doctoral Fellowship
M.S., Syracuse University, December 1991
Major: Organizational Public Relations, 3.58/4.0
Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for Public Relations Research, 1992
B.S., SUNY College at Fredonia, May 1989
Major: Human Comm.; Concentration: Law, Justice & Society, 3.58/4.0
Arthur Maytum Scholarship, Fredonia State Communication Department, 1989

V.A.T. Career Counseling Services, Owner, Escondido, CA
• Conduct formal and informal assessments of students’ occupational interests and values
• Guide students as they develop five-year action plans and set goals
• Identify “best fit” colleges based on students’ academic, personal, and occupational profiles
• Teach students how to write sophisticated college application essays and navigate the college admissions processes
• Prepare students for college admissions interviews
• Identify students’ socio-emotional needs that implicate their college planning process
• Help students develop coping strategies to manage anxieties and fears

Counseling Internship
Warner Springs Junior/Senior High School, Warner Springs, CA, November 2018-May 2019
• Counseled 90 middle and high school students
• Developed internship sites and a system for credit-based internships
• Coordinated a “College and Career Fair” for 90 Jr./Sr. High Schoolers and an Elementary “Career Day” for 110 K-6th graders
• Led Champions, Sr., girls of color group, to develop resilient students

Counseling Practicum
Epiphany Prep Charter, Escondido, CA, January-May 2018
• Counseled 11 TK-6 students by utilizing social-emotional strategies, including assertiveness training, role playing, positive-self talk, and use of behavioral charts

Career Counseling Internship
Abraxas High School (continuation school), Poway, CA, January-May 2017
• Counseled 31 seniors and created career development activities and exercises to guide students as they developed their 5-year educational and/or career plans

• Gatekeeper, Suicide Prevention, SDCOE, Dec. 2019
• Restorative Justice Practices and Using Circles Effectively, SDCOE, Jan. 2019, San Diego
• FEMA Certification-Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools, Feb. 2019
• C-SSRS Training-Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Certification, Feb. 2019
• Counselor Conference, Exploration to Career, Spring 2018, San Diego
• Western Association of College Admissions Counselors, 2019
• American School Counseling Association, Jan. 2017-Present
• Women of Influence, San Diego, 2018-Present

Certified Excellence in Writing Teacher/Career Development Mentor
Institute for Excellence in Writing, San Diego County, August 2010-August 2016
• Employed an inquiry-based approach to teaching literature/writing courses
• Taught year-long Excellence in Writing coops and writing camps to 4th-10th graders
• Guided students throughout the college application process (e.g., essays)

Assistant Professor of Public Relations, Internship Coordinator
Communication Arts Dept., Georgia Southern University, August 2004-July 2006
• Taught courses in public relations and speech comm. Also taught PR Writing, Corp. PR, Public Speaking, & Senior Seminar
• Capstone students successfully designed campaigns for the East Ga. Regional Medical Center, GSU College of Education, Dean of CLASS, etc.
• Placed and evaluated 50-70 students a year as the Internship Coordinator. Streamlined the Public Relations Internship contract/syllabus. Increased the internship site list from 80 to over 190
• Advised approximately 30 students every year

Adjunct Instructor Positions
• Taught Speech, Concorde Career College, December 2006-May 2007
• Taught Speech, Power & Discourse, Comm. and Gender, & PR, CSUSM, 1997-1998, 2001-2002

Admissions Counselor for Minority Concerns, Cornell Univ., March 1992-February 1993
Coordinator of Minority Student Services, Western Oregon Univ., OR, January-July 1994

Cozier, Z.R. (2020). Restricted “Choice”: A Review of the Vocational Guidance Practices in African American Public Schools throughout 1900-1940. In L. Rowell (Ed.) (under review)

Cozier, Z. R., & Witmer, D. F. (Summer 2007). A structurationist approach to the life cycle of Internet publics and public participation. In S. Duhe, (Ed.), New Media and Public Relations. NY: Peter Lang Cozier, Z. R., & Witmer, D. F. (2001). The development of a structuration analysis of new publics in an electronic environment. In R. Heath & G. Vasquez (Eds.), Handbook of Public Relations (pp. 615-623). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


“Critical and Rhetorical Approaches to Public Participation”, Boston, Mass., Nov. 2005. Panel proposal accepted. A collection of papers on discursive publics presented to the Public Relations Division of the National Comm. Association.

“Restructuring Public Participation: A Structurationist Analysis of Three Alliances for the Mentally Ill”, Boston, Mass., Nov. 2005. Competitive paper presented at the National Comm. Assoc. convention. Diane F. Witmer, professor, CSUF, is the second author.

“Ideological Underpinnings of Social Movement Transformation: A Structuration Analysis of an Alliance for the Mentally Ill Organization”, Cambridge, England, July 2005. Competitive paper presented at the Fourth International Critical Management Studies Conference.

“A Structurationist Perspective of Public Relations: A Metatheoretical
Discussion of Boundary Spanning”, Miami, Fla., Nov. 19-23, 2003. Paper presented to the Public Relations Division of the National Comm. Association.
Diane F. Witmer, professor, CSUF, is the second author.

“Enacting Collaboration through Emancipatory Politics and Discursive Closure:
A Structuration Analysis of an Alliance for the Mentally Ill’s Communicative Role”, Lancaster, England, July 2003. Competitive paper presented at the Third
International Conference on Critical Management Studies.

“Ethical Implications of a Public Participation Framework: A Case Analysis of a Special Education Organization’s Communicative Role”, Chicago, Ill., Nov. 1997.

Top Four Paper presented to the Public Relations Division at the National Comm. Association Convention.

“The Development of a Structuration Approach of New Publics in an Electronic Environment”, Montreal Canada, May 1997. Competitive paper presented to the Public Relations Interest Group at the International Comm. Assoc. Convention.

“The Political Function of ‘Sharing Time’ in an AMI Group: A Structuration
Analysis of a Public Health Campaign”, San Diego, Calif., Nov. 1996. Competitive paper presented to the Organizational Comm. Division at the Speech Comm. Association Convention.



An Extension of Systems Public Relations: A Structurationist Approach to an Organization’s Public Relations Comm. and Communicative Role

This dissertation extended the systems perspective of organizational public relations by developing a Structurationist Perspective (Giddens, 1979, 1984, 1993) of Public Relations. Design: The study entailed a seven-month analysis of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill’s (NAMI) public health campaigns at the local level in southern California. Three ethnographic case studies of NAMI affiliates investigated how each affiliate’s: (a) public relations comm. was constituted in everyday interactions and (b) dominant ideological stance impacted its public comm. Efforts in relation to the campaign goals of the parent organization.

The Utility of Ehling’s Means-Ends Paradigm: A Case Study Design: A 15-month case study examined an Spanish-language organization’s communication strategies with opposing publics over policy issues elated to English-only bills NY.

Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award. 1992
Alan H. Monroe Graduate Scholar Award, Purdue University, 2001
Arthur R. Maytum Scholarship, SUNY College at Fredonia Comm. Dept., 1989

Student Testimonials

Mrs. Cozier was a great fit for our son. Her dedication and perseverance towards my son was beyond words. Our son’s success to get admission in his top choice college University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is all because of Mrs. Cozier’s undivided attention and hard work.