Counseling Center Team

Counselors Administrative Assistant Consultants Outreach Interns

Counseling Center Staff:

AnchorTammy B. Bringaze, Ph.D., NCC, LMHC

Tammy B. Bringaze, PhD, NCC, LMHC
Director and Counselor
Lammers Hall A106
413.572.5790
*tbringaze@westfield.ma.edu

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.

Professional Information:   

  • Received her Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University
  • Received Master’s and Bachelor’s degree from Truman State University in Missouri before WSC
  • Served as Director of University Counseling Services at Truman State University
  • Director at the Center for Marriage and Family Therapy at Saint Louis University
  • Worked with the Center for Survivors of War Torture and Trauma where she counseled torture survivors from Afghanistan and Bosnia
  • Published several articles and presented at numerous regional and national conferences in the area of diversity
  • Appointed to serve on a variety of national and regional committees, including: Prevention of Campus Violence Task Force through the MA Board of Higher, American Counseling Association Ethics Revision Task Force, and Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling

Suzanna Adams, MA, NCC, LMHC
Associate Director and Counselor
Lammers Hall A104
413.572.5790
*scadams@westfield.ma.edu

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, M.S.S.W., J.D., LICSW

Brian Cahillane, MSSW, JD, LICSW
Associate Director, Substance Abuse Specialist, and Counselor
Lammers Hall A105
413.572.5790
*bcahillane@westfield.ma.edu

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

Julia Nedry, MSW, LICSW
Outreach Counselor
Lammers Hall A102
413.572.5790
*jnedry@westfield.ma.edu

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.

Professional Information:

  • Bachelor’s in Social Psych from University of California, Irvine
  • Master’s of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in NYC
  • Joined the Counseling Center staff in November 2014 as WSU’s first Outreach Counselor
  • Supervises undergraduate-level interns from the social work, psychology, art, and communications departments
  • Advises student clubs: Active Minds, Westfield’s Revolution Against Campus Sexual Assault, and TMAYD (Tell Me About Your Day)

Brennden Ward, M.Ed

Brennden Ward, M.Ed
Counselor

Lammers Hall A103
413.572.5790
*bward@westfield.ma.edu

Interviewed by Lilly Whalen, Secondary Education, Class of 2018

Brennden always knew he wanted to help others and have long-term relationships with those he helped, and counseling is the best way to do this. His favorite part about working with students is that he loves listening to people's stories and hearing about all the unique backgrounds students have.  Brennden is constantly amazed about how resilient the college population is during this complex time of transitions and change, and feels very proud to be a part of the WSU community helping students achieve their life goals. He finds it very rewarding to see how the help he gives students positively impacts their lives.

Brennden’s favorite part about Westfield is how at-home and comfortable he feels working in the Counseling Center.  He likes how well everyone gets along despite all their different counseling styles, and says the overarching feeling of community makes it really easy to go to work. In his spare time, Brennden enjoys participating in Crossfit due to his interest in Olympic weight lifting. Brennden also enjoys cooking and experimenting with different recipes whenever possible. Due to being fairly new to the East Coast, Brennden and his lovely girlfriend Lauren have been exploring New England and enjoying what this side of the country has to offer. A new and exciting addition in Brennden’s life is his Pitbull, Barley, who he loves like no other. He enjoys being active with her as much as possible. As a former Division II college baseball player, self-care and finding new hobbies to enjoy (now that his athletic days are over) is very important to him. Brennden is a true believer that being able to separate yourself from everyday life and taking some “me time” will help with stress and overall emotional well-being.

Brennden wished that when he was an undergraduate, he had known that counseling can happen in many different settings, and that it is not always clinical and formal.  As a black and Hispanic male in the counseling field, he has come to see this diversity as an asset. He explains that you should use your background and differences to your advantage and to not be afraid to seek out diverse groups because they can help you see things from a different perspective.

Professional Information:

  • BA in Psych from University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota
  • M.Ed in Athletic Counseling from Springfield College
  • Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Springfield College
  • Bilingual in Spanish
  • Brennden played baseball on a scholarship during his undergrad, and previous counseling work includes supporting the student-athletes with individual counseling and team workshops

 


Joseph Holbrooks
Counselor

Lammers Hall A101
413.572.5790
*jholbrooks@westfield.ma.edu

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.

Professional Information:

  • BA in English from University of Tampa
  • MA in Psychology from University of West Georgia (UWG)
  • Ed.S in Professional Counseling and Supervision (UWG)
  • Served as a Team Leader for 2 years with the Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)
  • Lead teams on environmental and community service projects around the country
  • Directed a team-based AmeriCorps program serving the homeless throughout the state of Georgia
  • Counselor on the Southern Region campus of the Americorps NCCC in Mississippi
  • Specializes in life transitions, adjustment, depression and LGBTQ issues

Lynn Koenig
Graduate Intern Counselor and Relaxation Coach

Lammers Hall A107
*lkoenig@westfield.ma.edu
413.572.5790

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
  • Pursuing MSW at Westfield State University
  • Current Graduate intern at Westfield State University’s Counseling Center

Emily Temple
Graduate Intern Counselor
Lammers Hall A107
*etemple@westfield.ma.edu
413.572.5790

Interviewed by Blair Scanlan, Social Work, Class of 2019

Emily has always had a desire to help others find their own way. Immediately after high school, she knew she wanted to go to school to become a school counselor. She prides herself on being an active listener, and loves helping students, no matter how difficult the situation. She approaches her work with a “bring it on!” enthusiasm.

What Emily enjoys the most about working here at Westfield is the sense of trust between herself and the students. She really appreciates and feels honored that students are willing to share very personal stories and vulnerable moments with her, and admires the strength it takes for them to do so. What she likes about the Westfield community as a whole is the communication between departments to ensure students' wellbeing and success. 

Emily says that if she could give advice to herself back when she was in college, it would be to be more present in the moment. Throughout the years, learning the importance of mindfulness and self-awareness have helped her immensely in her career as a counselor.

To unwind, Emily enjoys spending time with her children, her husband, and her dog.

Professional Information:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Counseling and Rehabilitation from Springfield College
  • Master's Degree in Education with a concentration in Psychology and Counseling from Springfield College
  • Certificate of Graduate Studies in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Springfield College
  • 12 years as a school counselor for grades K-8 at Holyoke Public Schools
  • 2 years as a school counselor at the high school level at Hampden County Charter School of Science

Lisa Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Lammers Hall A100
413.572.5790
*lcampbell@westfield.ma.edu

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.

Professional Information:

  • Joined the WSU Counseling Center in October 2011
  • Worked for sixteen years in the legal field
  • Schedules the students with a counselor, psychiatrist, nutritionist, and/or peer relaxation coach

Kim Gage
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner 
413.572.5790

Interviewed by Kelsey-Brooke Scheumann, Psychology, Class of 2018

Kim first became interested in counseling while she was working as a psychological assistant. There she met a psychiatric nurse who inspired her to pursue nursing. Kim began working at a family practice as a nurse practitioner, but said that psychology was her favorite subject of study. This led Kim into advanced nursing with a specialty in psychology.

Kim loves WSU because she thinks it is a wonderful school that offers a good variety of programs and caters to the needs of students. She particularly enjoys working with the students of WSU because she says working with younger people keeps her mind young.

When asked what her most rewarding work experience was, she replied, “There’s too many!” Kim is passionate about her job, and loves to see her clients improve as they reach their personal goals. She said it feels great to watch her clients grow through their healing process.

Kim wishes that in college she had known more about the mind-body connection because our brains and our bodies are constantly communicating with one another, affecting how we feel emotionally and physically. When we bring awareness to this connection it can help relieve stress, which college students tend to feel a lot of. Kim also wishes she had known there is no such thing as being “normal.”

When she isn’t working, Kim really enjoys gardening and reading.

Professional Information:

  • Received her nursing degree from Holyoke Community College
  • Received her B.S. and M.S. in Nursing from UMass
  • Completed post-graduate work at Missouri University
  • Expert in PTSD and schizophrenia

Andrea Reyes - Nutritionist

Andrea Reyes
Nutritionist

413.572.5790
*areyes@westfield.ma.edu

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

Samaily Bonilla
Relaxation Coach and Outreach Intern

Interviewed by Alyssah Delgado, Communications, Class of 2019

Growing up, Samaily was always fascinated by the science behind human behavior. She would help take care of members of her family who had mental health problems, which enticed her to want to go to school to understand what exactly it was they were going through and to help them understand it too.

Her favorite thing about working with students on our campus is the ability to help people. She enjoys being relatable to clients and feeling like they trust her. In her sessions, Samaily observes that despite students’ stressors, they appear to be mentally and physically more relaxed after the session. Seeing clients being positively affected by her work makes her incredibly happy, and that it is most satisfying to feel that she is making a difference by giving them techniques to reduce their stress and anxiety.

Looking back on her college journey, she says she wishes that she knew that there is always a solution to your problems, and that you are in control of your own destiny. She wants students who are just becoming adults to know that everyone has their own timeline and that you can do whatever it is you want to do, without feeling pressure to do it in a certain amount of time. If you have a passion, it’s never a waste of effort and it’s always worth it to reach for your dreams.

Outside of her career and school, Samaily works at Sephora because of her love for makeup and beauty; some of her other hobbies include singing, dancing and painting.

Educational Pathway:

  • Samaily was home-schooled and graduated high school at age 15.
  • Received her Associate’s degree from Springfield Technical Community College.
  • After a short break from school, she attended Bay Path University and majored in Neuroscience.
  • Transferred to Westfield State University, is currently a senior majoring in psychology.
  • Aspires to continue her education by going to graduate school in Neuroscience, because of how it incorporates two of her passions, science and psychology.

Blair Scanlan
Relaxation Coach and Outreach Intern

Interviewd by Erin Folan, Communications, Class of 2019

Blair originally got into the mental health field because she believes in helping people find their strengths.

Blair is one of the inviting faces you’ll see when you sign up for relaxation coaching. She has been described as relaxing, professional, and open. One of Blair’s favorite parts of working with Westfield State students is that she can relate to them, which helps her be a better asset in the Counseling Center. Her most rewarding experiences are when clients come to her on a whim and are pleasantly surprised by how affective her relaxation coaching was. Blair wants students to know that there are so many ways you can receive help for your mental wellbeing. Whether the problem is big or small, the Counseling Center can help!

One of Blair’s favorite thing about Westfield is the gorgeous New England nature. She also loves hanging out with her friends. Her favorite ways to unwind and relax include watching Netflix and doing yoga, specifically our 8-week Girl Boss Yoga series! She is also an active theater member in both the Student Theater Association and the Musical Theater Guild.

 Educational Pathway:

  • Blair graduated from Moorestown High School in Moorestown, New Jersey in 2013
  • Freshman year of college at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City
  • Spring of 2015, she transferred to Westfield State University
  • Currently a senior, majoring in social work
  • Blair plans to go on to grad school to get her Masters in Social Work
  • Currently working at a geriatric living facility and plans on going into geriatric social work in the future

*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