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As the Director of Counseling Services at Lakeland College, Cary Knier '96 is involved in helping students with a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and alcohol and drug abuse. One of the recurring themes she has noticed in counseling people of all ages—but especially college students—is the problem of low self-esteem.
"I've seen so many children in the past who don't feel loved or feel bad and I wanted a unique way to tell them how truly special they are. I want my own daughter to know how special she is, since doctors told us we probably would not have children. She amazes us each day and we are very grateful," said Knier.
This desire to help children experience their own self-worth led Knier to write, illustrate, and self-publish her first children's book, God's Special Moth. It is the story of a plain little moth that doesn't quite see his own beauty or value, until a kind snail clues him in to his special gifts. The snail's wise words help the moth to see that he is indeed of value, and that in God's eyes, everyone is beautiful and special. God's Special Moth is available at Sonlight Books in Sheboygan, as well as on Amazon.com.
Cary Knier will participate on an educational panel called "Getting Your Story in Print," as part of the third annual day-long learning event, Alumni College, to be held on Saturday, April 18. In the session, which meets from 1:15 to 2:45, Knier will team up with writer and teacher David Hillstrom '87 and Martha Schott, Director, Student Publications & Instructor of Writing at Lakeland. The three will share their personal experiences regarding writing and publishing and will include information on the traditional query letter, online publishing, and self-publishing.
Knier's path to her current position began after her graduation from Lakeland in 1996 with a major in psychology and a minor in biology. She then attended the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology where she earned her doctoral degree. This prepared her for an internship in Madison at Mendota Mental Health Institute, and she then spent five years as a counselor at Bridgepoint Health. Knier returned to Lakeland in 2005 as the part-time campus counselor, a position that ultimately grew into her current fulltime role.
Knier lives in Kiel with husband Tony Johannes '96, two-year-old daughter Addison, and dog Benny. She is involved in her church and has attended the Lay Academy of the United Church of Christ. She enjoys reading, writing, singing, watching movies, walking, and doing yoga.