Counseling Center Staff

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.

Professional Information:

  • Master’s in Counseling at Wheaton College (’83), Wheaton, Illinois
  • Co-created and coordinated an intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program for women in a community mental health agency
  • Specializes in trauma processing, utilizing EMDR, in which she has been trained and has practiced for close to 15 years
  •  Serves as a Disaster Mental Health Supervisor in the American Red Cross

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.

Professional Information:

  • Employed by Westfield State University since 1993
  • Joined the newly created Counseling Center in Fall of 1995
  • WSU’s first Substance Abuse Specialist
  • Was elected and served as President of the International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors 1995-1996
  • Served on the Governing Council of the American Counseling Association 1997-2000
  • Serves on the Human Rights Committees of two area human service agencies
  • Serves on the Board of Directors of Community Enterprises based in Northampton, MA

Lynn Koenig, MSW, LCSW
Post-Graduate Fellow 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.

Professional Information:   

  • Received a BA in Social work from Anna Maria College
  • Received Masters in Social Work from Westfield State University
  • Current Post-Graduate Fellow at Westfield State University’s Counseling Center

Benjamin O'Neill-Abel

Gradutate Intern Counselor
Lammers Hall A107

Interviewed by Maddie Hawkins, Business, Class of 2021

Ben became interested in counseling as an undergraduate English Major at UMass Amherst. After college, this interest was solidified when Ben attended a training as a part of his work with adults with disabilities that emphasized the power and importance of relationship. This training helped Ben realize that he wanted to do work that was relationally focused—and counseling felt like one way to do this.

As Ben deepens his counseling experience, he wants to continue to help others and to create a positive change.

At the WSU Counseling Center, Ben enjoys working with the Center’s team, since they have strong relationships with one another and a sense of the Westfield Community. A sense of the community that he’s working in feels important to Ben as he continues his counseling experience. In his downtime, you can find Ben taking a walk, doing yoga, and playing video games, such as Witcher and Animal Crossing. 

As an undergraduate, Ben wished that he had known more about what counseling entails, since it’s so different than what he expected. He expressed, “Everyone at the counseling center is so understanding and wants to help and be there to support you. Just to know that there are people that exist and are willing to help makes it all worth it.”

Professional Information:

  • Currently a second-year graduate student studying Clinical Mental Health at Springfield College

Leslie Scheip

Administrative Assistant
Lammers Hall A100

Interviewed by Lynn Paulella Beard, MSW Student, Class of 2022

Leslie is the Administrative Assistant for the Counseling Center here at Westfield State University.  She has been with our Owl family for over 12 years, having previously worked with Student Affairs and Public Safety before adopting her current role at the Counseling Center. Leslie enjoys working with WSU students and finds the Counseling Center to be a rewarding place to be. 

Throughout her life’s journey, Leslie has been a caregiver to many. One particularly important relationship for her was with her brother, a connection that she attributes to changing her perception of mental health and well-being. Leslie feels blessed and grateful in so many ways for her path and is thrilled to now be a part of the caring WSU Counseling Center family.

Leslie finds inspiration in encouraging others as they find their strengths and reach for their goals.  During her downtime, she enjoys music, reading, and the calming of light of a candle.  She is out-going, enjoys people, and approaches life with the “glass half-full” perspective. On top of everything else, Leslie is a great listener too!

Professional Information:

  • Joined the WSU Counseling Center in August 2020
  • Schedules students for appointments with a counselor, psychiatrist, nutritionist, and relaxation coach

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

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.

Professional Information:

  • Recently Joined the Counseling Center team as of Fall 2019
  • Bachelors Degree in Neuroscience from Bucknell University
  • Conducted research at Harvard Medical
  • Became a Psychiatric Nurse practitioner from Yale University
  • Also works at Child Guidance Clinic and Community Based Acute Treatment

Andrea Reyes


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.

Professional Information:

  • Specializes in weight management, eating disorders, and GI (gastrointestinal, so stomach) disorders.
  • Earned her B.S. in Nutrition Management from Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Completed her dietetic internship at Syracuse University

Lynn Paulella Beard
Outreach Intern

Lynn became interested in counseling after many years of teaching voice to students in higher education. She believes that through developing our own self-awareness—which counseling can help with--personal growth and self-confidence can be achieved. Lynn enjoys encouraging others to find their strengths and identify their personal goals.

Lynn really enjoys how the Westfield State community is like a family. In addition to working as an adjunct voice instructor in the music department, she is currently getting her masters in social work in the WSU graduate social work program and is working as a Relaxation Coach at the Counseling Center.

During her free time, Lynn enjoys spending time with her family, reading, listening to podcasts, and biking.

Lynn learned a lot about mental health and well-being through studying theater and music in college. When you study the arts and music, you have to be very aware of the health of your body and mind. Lynn believes in the importance, for everyone, in taking care of their mental health and physical health so that they are able to go after their dreams.

Professional Information:
Master of Arts from NYU in voice and theater
Pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work at Westfield state university

 Sean McMahon
Outreach Intern

Sean’s favorite part about working with college students is getting to see their ambition and motivation as they venture into adulthood. Sean sees young adulthood as a powerful period of transition--a time in which folks are exploring how to be heard and figuring out important parts of their sense of self, all while developing positive habits and systems which will be with them for the rest of their lives.Sean began his journey to counseling when he was an undergraduate student studying sociology. In addition to his studies, Sean worked as a homeless case manager at Dial/Self Youth and Community Services for two years. Sean grew up through adversity and felt his past brought him to counseling. Learning more about the ways in which different social systems work and impact individuals and communities deepened his interest in social work and affirmed his desire to affect change.

When reflecting on formative social work moments, Sean shared an experience in which he felt he helped a person he was working with feel empowered. Sean notes how important it is for us to feel both closure with and gratefulness for past relationships.

Sean wishes that when he was in college he had known that everybody needs access to some form of mental well-being at times. Checking in with your wellness can be with a counselor or in other ways on campus.

Sean finds the Westfield State University campus to be inviting and accessible. He enjoys the closeness to the town center with a rural feel. In his free time, Sean enjoys running, hiking and biking to keep himself active. He also loves to play cards and games with friends.

Professional Information:

  • BA from UMASS Amherst in Sociology
  • Pursuing a Masters degree in Social Work at WSU

Maddie Seamon
Outreach Intern

Interviewed by Sean McMahon, Outreach Intern, Masters in Social Work, Class of 2022

Maddie’s interest in counseling started when she was a teenager. Her experience in her own therapy, as well as an amazing psychology class in high school, helped her realize that she belonged in a helping profession. This realization was solidified in her experience of helping a close friend through chemotherapy. She felt energized by supporting her friend and their family during such a difficult period.

Maddie loves working with the students here because she feels being a peer helps her connect with them on a deep and meaningful level. She loves that she has a shared experience as a fellow student, as well as the opportunity to help and guide. She loves the City of Westfield because it’s small and accessible but still has a bustling town center. Maddie appreciates that the WSU campus is so beautiful, particularly Courtney Hall which reminds her of a castle that can be seen from anywhere on campus.

 One thing Maddie wishes she knew when she started college was how important sleep and a healthy sleep schedule are to her health and wellbeing. She said if she could go back she would pay a little bit more attention to her sleep habits and time management.

 To wind down Maddie likes to spend time with her dogs, by playing or just cuddling and napping. She also enjoys walking and relaxing on the beaches in her hometown.

Professional information:
Pursuing a Bachelor of Psychology at WSU Class of 2021


Maddie Hawkins 
Outreach Intern

Maddie chose the field of business and marketing after taking a business class in high school that felt both interesting and inspiring. 

Maddie’s favorite thing about working with students on campus is the bonds she forms with them. Although she is independent, and enjoys doing her own thing, when it comes to working with others she finds socializing with her peers and forming social connections both important and rewarding.  

One counseling moment that was rewarding for Maddie was in her sophomore at Westfield year when a friend was having issues with a roommate. Wanting to offer support, Maddie brought her friend to the counseling center and remembers this as part of the push this friend needed to make a change in the right direction. Maddie sees Westfield as having a range of amazing resources available for students, and identifies the Counseling Center as just one of these important supports.  

 When she wants to relax, Maddie’s go-to activities are to read a book, exercise (such as running around the track), and play Xbox. Gaming has become a huge stress reliever for her, as it offers her time to wind down and shake off any accumulated stress from the day. 

Professional information:
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing at Westfield State University
Marketing/Outreach intern in the Counseling Center

*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