Staff Counselor Katie Huskey in her office on the Second Floor of the Buchanan-Kiewitt Wellness Center. Photo by Larissa Davis
This column is devoted to highlighting staff members that play a huge role in the everyday experiences of the Lawrence community. The goal is to focus on the “Hidden Figures” of Lawrence University and their interests both within, and outside of Lawrence.
During Reading Period, students tend to go home or stay on campus to work or study for midterms. In either case, it is a good time to practice self-care. Counseling services are provided on the second floor of the Buchanan Kiewitt Wellness Center. Students can make an appointment to meet with a counselor from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and there are walk-ins for urgent emergencies from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Counselors strive to provide a safe and confidential environment for students to come in and talk about psychological problems they may have.
Katie Huskey is a Staff Counselor who provides counseling services to students. Huskey’s favorite part of her job is watching students grow. Students come to her office with something they want to work on, and she helps them figure out how to help themselves develop skills to be successful. Huskey works with students on a variety of issues, from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, changes in life, social situations and dealing with traumas. Her typical work schedule starts between 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and wraps up around 5 p.m. Huskey works on and off with students throughout the day based on her appointment schedule.
“Counseling does not have to be a scary process,” commented Huskey. “We are humans too who want to help, and make sure students are as mentally healthy as possible”
Huskey has a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from UW Oshkosh. In addition, she has a certification for Advanced Practice Social Work. Huskey started working at Lawrence in July 2016. In her earlier career, Huskey worked in sexual assault advocacy and reach counseling services for UW Oshkosh. This involved going to courts, assisting with restraining orders, understanding judiciary processes on campus and providing care for those affected by trauma. She did this for three years, and prior to that, was part of a volunteer line.
When she is not working, Huskey enjoys spending time with her two children and husband. Together they watch movies, go outdoors, camp, spend time with friends and occasionally do arts and crafts.
One hurdle counselors face is being visible and making sure students know they are available. “We are here to help,” she said, “not to tell students what to do. We want to empower students to make the best of their time at Lawrence. Students don’t have to be in a crisis to come to counseling services. Counseling is about being well and doing well, and even checking in periodically is good for them even when their mental health is doing well.”
Lawrence tries to make Counseling Services more visible. “We have a responsibility to be more visible to students, yet we face challenges. The high demand [for counseling services] makes it hard to be outside because [the job] requires us to be in this space and work one-on-one with students,” added Huskey. “Working to be more active within the Lawrence community is what I am proud of to be a part of right now.”
Huskey’s inspirations are the students. “Being able to see students leave my office feeling more empowered and healthier is why I show up to work every day,” she said. “They keep me going even when my job gets hard or even when I am having a bad day. I can feel good knowing that I helped someone help themselves.”
The ‘Lawrence Difference’ to Huskey means embracing a holistic view of students. Living on a residential campus is about looking at individual students in mental, physical and emotional health situations. Faculty and staff want to help students become well-rounded, adaptable and capable to make a difference.
Huskey is a hidden figure because she shows up every day to provide support for students. On a campus where mental health and self-care are not always priorities for students, Huskey makes herself ready and available to take on some of the burden of their challenges. She wants to encourage students to have healthier lifestyles so they have the ability to make a difference in the world. Huskey understands that difference starts with ourselves. Students should take advantage of Huskey and Counseling Services as resources because they’re here to help students in any way they can.