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
Interim 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.
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 Alyssa Bartula, Psychology, Class of 2020
Kirsten first became interested in the field of counseling when she was a neuroscience major at Bucknell University. She became extremely interested in the brain while conducting research after college at Harvard Med, and decided that she wanted to return to school and work hands-on with people. Kirsten is dedicated to her many jobs of which Westfield State University is one of them. Kirsten is thrilled to work with WSU students because they are motivated and future-focused. She enjoys helping the next generation of people and loves to meet new people who offer a new perspective. Kirsten loves to get to know the students and sharing her empathy with as many people as she can.
For Kirsten, the most rewarding part of her job is seeing when clients progress and gain more insight into their circumstances. She loves sitting with someone who is struggling and helping them with their struggle.
As an undergraduate, she wished that she was made more aware of the importance of taking time for herself. Kirsten wants students to know that self-care is important and that it is normal to go through hard times throughout life.
When Kirsten is not working, she enjoys running and being in nature. She finds beauty in the outside world and enjoys outdoor activities and being out on the water.
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.
Interviewed by Olivia Rapoza, Marketing, Class of 2021
Amy started off her career working in public health and became interested in mental health issues among teenagers and young adults. She chose the field of social work and counseling to fulfill her desire to aid young adults in managing their stress and anxiety.
Amy loves helping students incorporate relaxation into their day, so they can enjoy their time as young adults on a college campus. Amy enjoys her time at Westfield because of the personality of all the students she gets to interact with. She sees the good energy and willingness to learn something new in the students every day at Westfield.
During her free time Amy likes to spend quality time with her family while incorporating some physical activity like going for runs. She also enjoys bird photography because she can just relax and appreciate nature which keeps her mind off the stressors of everyday life.
Amy wishes she knew it was acceptable to get help when she was in college. Had she known she could get help from a counselor she would not have kept her anxieties all to herself! She has now since realized that asking for help is a strength, not weakness.
Amy’s areas of expertise include a master’s degree in public health from Tulane University, and she is currently here at Westfield working on her master’s in social work. Amy loves working with students because she believes in relaxation coaching and knows it can make a big difference in student life.
BA in Art History and Pre-Med from John Hopkins University
MPH in Public Health from Tulane University
Interviewed by Nate Guthrie, Business Management, Class of 2020
Alexander’s interest in social work is rooted in his passion for helping others. Growing up, Alexander found that many friends and family members would often come to him in search of advice or guidance. With a strong desire to help others, Alexander found himself working as a mentor, and eventually as an Outreach Intern and Relaxation Coach at Westfield State University.
Having worked with children with developmental challenges in the past, Alexander finds working with students on campus to be a new and exciting experience. Alexander hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the campus community and to expand his knowledge by working at the Counseling Center.
Alexander has lived in Westfield for over half a decade, and is fond of Westfield State’s friendly atmosphere and tight-knit community feel. To him, this creates many networking opportunities and long-lasting bonds.
When it comes to relaxing, Alexander says that being close to nature always helps alleviate stress. Alexander’s favorite hobby is disc golf - a sport that keep him active while also combating stress. In addition to disc golf, Alexander also finds going for a walk or hike to be a therapeutic way to manage stress while surrounded by nature.
Alexander’s overarching goal is to see others overcome their struggles, and he takes pride in being able to help. Alexander emphasizes the importance of stepping in and making a positive difference - his favorite aspect to counseling. “Having the opportunity to intervene and to help someone with their problem is what I find to be most rewarding.”
Thinking back to his own college experience, Alexander said he wishes he knew how available and willing the Counseling Center is to help students. “Everybody has struggles and faces difficulties in their lives. I wish I had known just how common and acceptable it is to seek counseling.” Now, working as an Outreach Intern and Relaxation Coach, Alexander encourages anybody who thinks counseling would help them to reach out and make that first step.
Bachelor’s degree in Business management from Westfield State University
Pursuing a Masters degree in Social work at Westfield State University
Interviewed by Amy Shatz, Outreach Intern, Masters in Social Work, Class of 2021
Alyssa became interested in counseling when she was in high school during her first psychology class. She loved the teacher and the material being taught, and she realized she wanted to study psychology and how the mind works.
Alyssa is a current senior at Westfield State University. She enjoys working with WSU students as a relaxation coach, and also in planning campus events where she can hang out and have fun with the students. Alyssa loves the town of Westfield and finds the teachers at WSU approachable and understanding. Alyssa enjoys campus life and feels the culture of the school promotes kindness.
During her free time, Alyssa enjoys watching her favorite television shows and movies, working out, and doing puzzles!
While she knew about the Counseling Center in her first years as a student, Alyssa wishes she had known even more about all of the services provided at the Center. Alyssa brings to the Center her outgoing personality, her genuine caring for others, and her interest in helping fellow students.
Westfield State University, psychology major, class of 2020
Interviewed by Alexander Silva, MSW, Class of 2021
Olivia chose the field of business and marketing because she wanted to do some exploring regarding a field where her skills will be a good fit. She states that her major will allow her to have more options and opportunities since marketing is a broad field. In addition, her ambition for learning and more opportunities has led her to add a minor in economics.
Olivia’s future goals after graduation are to get a job of her interest and eventually do some more exploring before applying to graduate school. She hopes to find a job in the marketing field that she really enjoys. Olivia’s favorite part about working as an Outreach intern in the Counseling Center is the feeling of reaching out to people through social media and different events where she can feel that she can make a difference and provide support, whether it is through face to face interaction or through motivational posts on social media.
Olivia describes Westfield State University as a small community that allows students to connect with each other in small class settings. She believes this experience encourages students to build better relationships with professors , staff , and other students.
During her free time at WSU, she likes to do physical activity in order to escape from the stressors of school. You can find Olivia exercising at the gym or relaxing in her room watching Netflix. In addition, she enjoys reading a variety of interesting books.
Olivia wishes that when she first started college, she knew that mental health is important for the well-being of any individual and , therefore, it is essential to take care of your mental health in order to be more productive and have a good physical and mental state. She strongly believes that sometimes people don’t see the connection between your mental health and the negative impact that it might have on your body if you don’t take care of it.
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing at Westfield State University
Marketing/Outreach intern in the Counseling Center
Interviewed by Alyssa Bartula, Psychology, Class of 2020
Nate is from Longmeadow, MA and is currently a student in his senior year here at Westfield State University. His major here at Westfield State University is in Business Management and finds marketing the most fascinating because he is able to be creative. Nate loves how he is able to show that side of him through making flyers, posters etc. Another way that Nate is creative is that in his free time he loves to write and record music. His favorite genres of music is Indie & Rock. His creativity shines through his work when is able to portray designs that catch the eyes of other students.
Upon coming to Westfield State, he thought that the people here were very friendly and welcoming. In the start of his college career, he wished that he knew about the many resources available to him and the other students regarding mental health. He hopes for everyone that they become aware of the many resources Westfield has to offer and take the time to learn because it is truly important to know how much support there is to offer. Nate enjoys beig part of the counseling center team because it is a good environment to help people and have a good warm, supportive community. He wanted to find a meaningful place where he could help make a difference and thought that the Counseling Center would be the perfect place to start.
After Nate finishes his college career, his main goal is to graduate and start finding a career in the marketing field.
*Caution: We request that you do not disclose personal or confidential information through email. Because email is not a secure medium, confidentiality of email cannot be guaranteed. If you are a WSU student and in need of personal assistance, please refer to the Counseling Services page for information on how to schedule an appointment with a counselor