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Karyn Gust-Brey'94 has been an instructor in the master of arts in counseling program since 2005. She is a licensed psychologist, currently working at the Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services mental health outpatient clinic and at Family Options Counseling in Milwaukee. She previously worked for 13 years as a staff psychologist at Ethan Allen School, within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. She received her undergraduate degree from Lakeland in psychology, history and secondary education, and a master's and doctorate in school psychology from Ball State University. She has published articles on suicide, gifted and talented students and the recidivism of sexual offenders.
Advice that I always give to my students: Be passionate about your work with your clients. Approach your client's needs and experiences with sensitivity. Recognize and appreciate your client's power in the therapeutic process. Ultimately change happens because of them, not you.
If I could teach another discipline, it would be: History. I was always a history geek. I even worked as a tour guide at a historical site during the summer of my undergraduate years.
Right now, I'm reading: Posts by my students Blackboard. I haven't had too much time to read for enjoyment, but the break in between semesters is coming!
The best book I have ever read: "The Virgin Suicides" by Jeffrey Eugenides. Not an uplifting topic, but it is a very interesting novel looking back on why a group of sisters committed suicide. The plot relates to my interest in research I did a while back in the psychological autopsies of individuals who committed suicide.
Web browser bookmarks: Blackboard, JS Online and the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access System (I worked for the Department of Corrections 13 years).
What's in my iPod: I go through spurts of listening to one artist obsessively. Right now, I am obsessed with Lupe Fiasco.
The worst job I ever had was: Managing cow waste on the family farm.
I can't live without: Diet Cherry Pepsi. I'm not a coffee drinker, so I have to get caffeine some way.
My one unbreakable rule is: Remember that trust is everything.
The hardest thing about being a teacher is: Managing all the responsibilities in addition to my full-time job, private practice and family life. One has to be able to multi-task.
The most beneficial class I took was: Social and cultural issues. Diversity is what makes our world interesting. It is through learning about how we view those who differ from us that we really learn about ourselves.
The words that I live by are: My parents always told me to be nice. But I also believe that sometimes you are nicest when you challenge people.
I'm frugal in that: I am a packrat and keep books, articles and teaching materials just in case someday I might need them. My office at home has too many piles of materials that I keep just in case I might someday use them.
I'm up and at 'em by: During the week I wake up at 4 or 5 a.m. The early mornings are quiet and peaceful around my house and I can think and work without interruption. My children don't try to kick me off the computer at that time of day.
My favorite meal: Anything bananas; I have an obsession with banana food products.
If I were queen for a day: I would do something about poverty, discrimination and inequality. Many of the problems my clients have stem from lack of opportunities.
I'd love to trade places for a day with: My 10-year-old son. He is on summer vacation right now and I remember how great that feeling was being on summer vacation when I was 10!
My students don't know how much: I manage at one time. Being an instructor in the Kellett School, it is the norm to work outside of Lakeland. You constantly have to multi-task, so it is great when it all comes together in your teaching and you can share your other career with your students.
The thing I love most about my job is: All the different people that I meet. I learn so much from my students and my clients. Every day I talk to so many different people from so many different walks of life. Also, the best thing about teaching an online course is that you get to learn about students' experiences throughout the State of Wisconsin.
Besides teaching, I'm good at: Playing Super Mario Bros with my sons (wish I could do this more - it is so addicting), singing cute little songs to my daughter (my No. 1 fan who makes me feel like a rock star), scrapbooking memories of my kids and appreciating family time and the blessings I have in the world.
Lakeland is a good fit for me because: It has online classes and a graduate program in counseling where I can share my experiences with clients. Teaching really helps my daily work as a psychologist, and my daily work as psychologist really helps my teaching. Both roles compliment one other.
Lakeland colleagues who really inspire me: Mehraban Khodavandi. I would have never have become a psychologist if he didn't push and influence me to attend graduate school after graduating from Lakeland.