PhD '91, Counseling/School Psychology
1) What is your current position and place of employment?
Provost and vice president for academic affairs, State University of New York College of Technology at Canton (SUNY Canton)
2) What path led you to attaining your current position?
I entered the doctoral program at UB directly from my undergraduate institution at 21 years old. I completed a PhD in counseling psychology at UB in 1991 when I was 26 years old. I took and passed the licensure exam as a psychologist in New York State in 1993. My first position was as an assistant psychologist at Monsignor Carr Institute in Buffalo, NY. I then moved to the Research Institute on Addictions in Buffalo, NY and worked as a project director on a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded grant studying HIV risk behaviors among people receiving inpatient treatment for alcohol dependence. That position prepared me well to be hired as an assistant professor of health science at the State University of New York College at Brockport in 1995 where I earned tenure, served as the department chairperson and then dean of the School of Education and Human Services, and dean of the Professional Education Unit. In 2013–14, I served as the interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Brockport. In 2015, I was appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs at SUNY Canton.
3) How did your education in GSE prepare you for this position?
The scholar-practitioner model of psychological training prepared me well to earn licensure and practice clinically and also prepare entry-level counselors as a professor teaching substance abuse counseling. In addition, as a project director and a faculty member, the strong research preparation prepared me to lead all phases of research and to publish in peer-reviewed journals. Most importantly, I believe, the strong preparation in professional ethics has served me well in my own work, in supervising the work of others and the development of students as new professionals.
4) What did you learn in your degree program that was the most beneficial?
The knowledge and skills across clinical and research domains, founded on a strong basis of professional ethics, prepared me to work in various positions, including senior leadership in higher education.
5) What was your favorite part or your most memorable experience during your degree program?
The collegiality among faculty, faculty and students, and among the doctoral students provided a comfortable environment to meet the very rigorous challenges of the doctoral program in counseling psychology. As an academic degree program, requiring full-time coursework and an empirical dissertation, and a clinical degree program, requiring practica during coursework and a culminating 12-month, full-time internship, along with a graduate assistantship, the rigor was intense. The professional environment in the department was very important to success. Of course, for any doctoral student the lens through which the entire graduate school experience is focused is the doctoral advisor. For me, the guidance of Dr. Scott Meier was essential during graduate school and as I entered the profession.
6) How have you impacted your local community through your work?
Professionally, I have worked with a number of human service organizations during my 29 years in Buffalo. Beginning as a graduate student, I volunteered for what was then the Western New York AIDS program in 1987. At that time, I was in the first cohort of a speakers bureau teaching AIDS 101 to public school students, corrections inmates, medical practitioners and pretty much anyone who would allow us to speak. I continued working with what is now Evergreen Health Services. I served as a support group facilitator and later as a consultant doing program evaluation. I also served as a consultant doing program evaluation for Monsignor Carr Institute/Catholic Charities for about 10 years.
Beyond my professional role, but certainly among my proudest accomplishments, I founded the Queen City Softball League in 1993. This league is comprised of LGBTQ members and our allies. Growing from the original eight teams of 10–20 players, it gives me great pride to know that 100–200 players, joined by their friends as spectators, have gathered every Sunday during the summer in sportsmanship, pride and fun for well over 20 years.
Even more personally, my partner of 27 years and now husband of 5 years, Marty Wimmer, and I became foster parents and subsequently adopted our son, who is now 10 years old.
7) What accomplishments (e.g., awards, publications) have you achieved that demonstrate the work you do?
In 2014, I received a Red Ribbon Award from the AIDS Network of Western New York; I was named McNair Program Mentor of the Year for 2006 by the College at Brockport; I was honored with a Volunteer Service Award for 1987–88 from the Western New York AIDS Program; and in 1985, I was awarded a Margaret Sanger Certificate of Appreciation from the Planned Parenthood of Connecticut.
8) What advice would you give to current students looking to enter your field?
Holding yourself to the highest standards of professionalism and persistence will lead to success, eventually.