Interviewed by Lilly Whalen, Secondary Education, Class of 2018
Tammy became interested in counseling while attending Northeast Missouri State University, which is now known as Truman State. There she began her undergraduate studies as a political science/pre-law major. During this time, Tammy had an opportunity to study abroad for two weeks in Japan which changed her worldview and career direction. Through this eye-opening opportunity she met Mrs. McKinney, who was the international student advisor. Tammy thought Mrs. McKinney had the coolest job ever and wanted to follow her footsteps. Because of Mrs. McKinney, Tammy ended up taking a counseling class, and she absolutely loved it. Tammy completed her degree in political science, but never looked back at law school and went on to get her Ph.D. in Counseling.
Tammy’s favorite part about working with WSU students is that every day is different. She explains that students often share their personal stories with her and sometimes tell her things that they have never told anyone else, and she thinks that it is incredible to have such a privilege. Tammy also loves the WSU community. She has seen that people truly care and try to do the right thing. She also likes how involved the staff and students are with each other.
The most rewarding part of counseling for Tammy is when students come back and stop in or stay in touch after college; seeing students succeed makes her day. If there was one thing Tammy wishes she would have known about mental well-being in college it would be the importance of finding a balance. She explained that she was always focused on her school work, and felt guilty about taking breaks. Tammy wants students to know it is okay to relax, to take a break, and have fun; although it may feel like it, life and happiness are not tied to getting a good grade.
Tammy believes it is important to practice what she preaches and enjoys lots of activities such as cross country skiing, kayaking, rollerblading, and singing with Rock Voices. Tammy also enjoys spending time with her wife and two young children.
Suzanna Adams, MA, NCC, LMHC
Associate Director and Counselor
Lammers Hall A104
Interviewed by Marissa Cremin, Communications, Class of 2018
Suzanna began her journey to counseling when she was an undergraduate student studying psychology and she went on to get her Master’s in counseling in 1983. She has worked in a number of college counseling centers of which WSU’s is the fifth. She began at WSU in 1995, at the inception of the Counseling Center.
Her favorite part about working with students on campus is the seasonal aspect of the job. It’s a semester-based process, and she explains that the natural ends and beginnings seem to help with problem solving. She believes that with the proper accommodations, students can excel to their greatest potential.
Suzanna describes the most rewarding part of counseling as seeing people grow after a struggle. She loves it when students are able to see after the work they have done, the growth they are experiencing in their lives. Suzanna wishes that when she was in college, mental health struggles weren’t so stigmatized. A lot of people were suffering, but it was hidden because people just didn’t understand.
Suzanna loves the beauty of Western Mass, and especially the beauty that can be found right on campus. She explains that she is lucky to be able to work at the same place as her husband who currently works on the academic side of the campus. In her free time, Suzanna enjoys singing in various classical music groups in the area. She also loves to bake, and regularly makes treats for Counseling Center staff to enjoy.
Brian Cahillane, MSSW, JD, LICSW
Associate Director, Substance Abuse Specialist, and Counselor
Lammers Hall A105
Interviewed by Marissa Cremin, Communications, Class of 2018
Brian’s first position in human services was at a treatment center for adolescent substance abusers. He specializes in substance abuse counseling and guiding substance abuse prevention efforts on campus.
Brian’s favorite thing about working with students on campus is that he is constantly surprised in a good way. He loves that Westfield is a place where you can make a difference.
Brian wishes that in college he had known more about mental health issues. When he was in school, there was no counseling center. If someone were to exhibit signs of mental illness he and his fellow students would not have had the same resources to figure out how to recognize mental illness or how to help someone.
Brian is a foodie who loves to explore new restaurants. He also loves to travel and has served as instructor and staff for WSU J-terms to Morocco and Ireland/Northern Ireland.
Julia Nedry, MSW, LICSW
Lammers Hall A102
Interviewed by Monique Desnoyers, English, Class of 2017
Julia knew she was interested in social work since her teenage years. Julia recalls staying up late talking with one of her best friends, dreaming up plans for how they would change high school, if it was up to them. This strong desire to use knowledge to improve things is what propelled Julia to find a career she loves in social work, outreach, and counseling.
Julia’s favorite part of working in the Counseling Center is that she gets to support students through a time that is full of changes, whether it be living away from home for the first time, finding new levels of independence, shifting relationships…there are so many changes that happen during college. She loves the chance to help students come up with their own decisions. It is gratifying for Julia to help students feel empowered. Witnessing students figuring out who they are, especially by overcoming a struggle, gives her hope.
In addition to counseling one-on-one, Julia truly loves her outreach work. As an Outreach Coordinator, she works towards expanding mental health education. Julia enjoys that her outreach allows her to work with the enthusiastic students at WSU.
When it comes to her free time, Julia likes lots of time with no plans – so she has the freedom to do what she really wants to do. She says that she can relax by simply spending time at home with her husband and adds that she enjoys eating a good meal – especially if she doesn’t have to cook it. Above all, Julia relaxes by going to yoga.
If she could give advice to herself back when she was in college, it would be to know that it is okay to take advantage of the Counseling Center, and it doesn’t take away your sense of being an independent adult – instead, it makes you feel more like a grown-up when you take the initiative to solve a problem or make something better. Julia adds that that no one has to go through difficult times alone.
Lammers Hall A101
Interviewed by Alyssah Delgado, Communications, Class of 2019
Joseph comes from a big family and was always interested in how people communicate. As a college student trying to decide his career path, he knew he wanted to be involved in helping people, even as an English major. Being a writer and doing character studies, he observed people's motivations. This caused him to link helping people with figuring out why people do the things they do.
Joseph’s favorite thing about working with students on campus is helping them determine what kind of person they want to be. He most prizes the fact that his work can make a positive difference in others’ lives, especially during the emerging adulthood stage. As a counselor, he is drawn to helping students through the process of assessing where they’ve been and deciding who they want to be.
On his recent journey to Westfield, Joseph started applying for jobs in Boston, but found that he loved Western Massachusetts because of the hiking, the affordability, and its smaller web of people where it is much easier to make interpersonal relationships. Some of his favorite pastimes include being active, reading literature, watching movies, seeing live music, and creating art. He is a big fan of 80’s alternative music, and some of his favorite current artists are Sylvan Esso, the National, and Alabama Shakes.
Joseph wants current and future students to know that the college experience is a time to be free to try things out and figure out what and who brings out one’s best self.
Lammers Hall A103
Interviewed by Alexander Silva, Masters in Social Work, Class of 2021
Mowie’s interest in counseling arose around the age of 14-15 years old. At an early age, she experienced many family events in which she learned just how meaningful it was to have the right support system. Mowie realized that she was passionate about and wanted to do deep listening work, as well as accompany people in the areas in which they hoped to grow, shift, and heal.
Mowie’s favorite part about working with students on campus is that she can provide a unique space for students who are in the process of learning about who they are, who they want to be, and what’s important to them. She feels very fortunate to spend time with students during this period of growth and learning, which gives her a feeling of excitement and fulfillment. Mowie’s experiences with clients have brought so much learning and joy to her life. She describes the process of accompanying others through their growth and healing as meaningful, as she can see how her clients have come to feel more grounded and comfortable while at school.
Mowie really enjoys the WSU campus community, along with the diversity that comes from students’ different backgrounds. She describes Westfield State as a small and unique community that offers students an immense amount of opportunities to connect and network with others.
During her free time, Mowie likes to spend time outdoors, either hiking or walking. A few times a week, she also practices meditation and mindfulness. In addition, Mowie also enjoys the art of music. You can find her playing the guitar and ukulele as well as singing and writing.
If she could now give herself advice while she was in college, Mowie wishes she had been more aware that emotional wellbeing is something that we are all figuring out, and that it is normal to have different emotions and experiences while in school. She also believes it is important for everyone to get the right support system in spite of the culture of shame and stigma that all students navigate.
Professional information :
Graduate Intern Counselor and Relaxation Coach
Lammers Hall A107
Interviewed by Samaily Bonilla, Psychology, Class of 2019
Lynn grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts in a lower income neighborhood, where she was exposed to many different types of help. This early exposure to social services inspired her to help others in return, especially single mothers and parents in need. From there, she started to expand her career into different areas such as helping kids and the elderly.
Lynn’s favorite thing about working at Westfield is that she gets the opportunity to help a great variety of students who are going through different conflicts in life – conflicts that she remembers going through herself as a student trying to balance life and school. She also loves that there are so many resources on campus that work hand-in-hand with her position at the counseling center.
Lynn enjoys Westfield, Massachusetts because it is a small town with a suburban feel. To start her day, Lynn does a two-minute meditation to help with stress management, and uses techniques from the counseling center’s very own relaxation coaching sessions. For fun she also attends an adult tap class on a regular basis.
Lynn feels rewarded when her clients say they felt better after a session with her; she mentions, “even if I just get to help someone plant the seeds of change, I feel rewarded, because you don’t always get to see that.” College experience helped prepare her for her field, and she had the privilege to work with college students as a coach and academic specialist at Becker College. She even did mediation work with the student athletes on the team. She feels especially that her experience studying motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy prepared her for working with students as a counselor.
Graduate Intern Counselor
Lammers Hall Annex A101
Interviewed by Amy Shatz, MPH, Masters in Social Work, Class of 2021
Nathan’s interest in college counseling started while he was an undergraduate at West Virginia University (WVU.) At WVU Nathan studied sport and exercise psychology and became interested in the idea that athletes can perform better when in the right state of mind. Nathan decided to combine his interests in psychology and sports science to become a counselor for athletes.
Nathan finds WSU a unique environment offering students a small, intimate, public university in a beautiful rural area. Nathan’s favorite part of working with students is when they have that break-through moment of self-awareness and understanding that leads to positive personal change.
Nathan wishes he had known about university counseling services when he was an undergraduate. Now that he has had the chance to work with students in the center he realizes how accessible the incredible resources are – and how helpful it is to use them! In addition to his enthusiasm for counseling athletes Nathan brings to the counseling center his interest in the emotional wellbeing of college students and his belief in the power of counseling.
In his free time Nathan enjoys reading books, working out, and playing basketball.
Bachelors in Sport and Exercise Psychology from West Virginia University, Morgantown
Current MEd student, Springfield College, Springfield
Interviewed by Monique Desnoyers, English, Class of 2017
As the Administrative Assistant, Lisa is a helpful, friendly face welcoming all who come to the Counseling Center. Lisa’s favorite part about her job is being the first person people see when they come in, and so she gets to offer immediate help and comfort to them. Lisa loves the WSU community because the faculty and staff are extremely welcoming and willing to help students in any possible way.
To relax, Lisa tries her best to follow the Counseling Center’s motto of B.R.E.A.T.H.E. This involves things like trying to eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep, recording thoughts, exercising to relieve stress, assessing what is bothering you, thinking relaxing thoughts, and asking for help when needed. And she adds that it never hurts to eat some Hunka Chunka PB Fudge Friendly’s ice cream to reward yourself at the end of the week.
Lisa’s most rewarding experiences are when people feel comforted by her. She recalls a time when a student waited in her office rather than the waiting room because the student felt more comfortable waiting with her. The story comes as no surprise, since Lisa has a kind nature and is ready to help anyone who comes into the Counseling Center.
If she could now give herself advice while she was in college, Lisa would say that it is just as important to take care of your mental health as it is to take care of your physical health.
Interviewed by Katelyn Chandler, English, Class of 2017
Andrea explains how her father’s struggle with heart disease was one of her main motivators to enter the field of nutrition and become more health-aware. “You can’t change the cards you’re dealt, but you can change the way you play your hand.”
Although Andrea is only on campus a handful of hours each week, she describes her time at Westfield as very fulfilling, and says the students’ youth and energy keeps her on her toes. For Andrea, the best part of her job is being able to help students reach their goals. “It almost brings tears to my eyes when I see their happiness,” she said.
One of Andrea’s favorite things about Westfield is the small size of the student body, and the sense of community the smaller campus allows everyone to build. “It’s great to see the [faculty and] staff from all the different departments working together,” she said. “It’s truly like a family.”
Recalling her own time in college, Andrea said she wishes she had known more about health and nutrition. Andrea says that working with college students is an amazing opportunity, because we’re at an age when learning about nutrition can really impact our lives and futures.
Outreach Intern and Relaxation Coach
Outreach Intern and Relaxation Coach
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