Jamie Fait and Annelies Slack have never met, but the two Lakeland College graduate students have quite a bit in common.
Both women realized during long teaching careers that they tend to gravitate toward helping children deal with real-life issues, and that counseling young people is their calling. As a result, both are seeking their Master of Arts in Counseling degree at Lakeland – Jamie in school counseling and Annelies in community counseling.
In addition, Jamie and Annelies are so passionate about Lakeland College, they serve as representatives for two prestigious state associations.
Jamie has been chosen as the graduate student rep for Lakeland with the Wisconsin School Counseling Association, while Annelies is Lakeland’s graduate student liaison to the Wisconsin Counseling Association.
“I’m really excited,” Annelies says. “I’ve always liked being involved in groups such as the Wisconsin Music Association, and I’m hoping I represent Lakeland well.”
Jamie is looking forward to the annual WSCA conference and the graduate rep quarterly meetings where she will meet with other graduate school counseling reps. “I think it will be great,” Jamie says.
Jamie and Annelies are examples of the impact Lakeland’s counseling students are having on the broader field of professional counseling industry.
“Our graduate students are really involved,” says Deb Bilzing, director of Lakeland’s counseling program. “It’s nice to know that when we send out notices about representing us with these great associations, we draw such interest. Of course, it is also a great item for our students to put on their resumes, and the opportunity to network is a bonus.”
Jamie and Annelies are shining examples of Lakeland pride. Here is a closer look at these two remarkable Muskies:
After earning her degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 11 years ago, the Sheboygan Falls, Wis., native launched a successful career as a middle school math teacher.
“I just finished my 10th year,” she says. “I love it, but I have always found myself gravitating toward helping students with outside-of-the-classroom issues they’re dealing with. School Counseling just seems like a great fit for me.”
So a couple of years ago, she chose Lakeland College for graduate school because of its flexibility and the BlendEd course format. BlendEd allows students, on a week-to-week basis, to attend class either online or face-to-face depending on their schedule and other life commitments. After taking classes at the Green Bay Center (while she taught in Kewaunee), she now attends the Sheboygan Center a couple of nights a week and is closing in on her master’s. Given the fact she’s got three kids under the age of 6, Lakeland’s flexibility is incredibly important to her.
“The way Lakeland schedules its classes and the summer offerings are a huge draw for me,” says Jamie, who now commutes from West Bend or participates online. “I really like BlendEd because teaching full time and having three small children, it makes it so much easier for me to complete my coursework. And of course, growing up in Sheboygan Falls, I always knew about Lakeland’s great reputation.”
As Jamie looks back on her decision to leave the county for her undergraduate degree, she has no regrets. But she’s thrilled to be at Lakeland now, more than a decade later.
“Coming out of high school, I wanted to spread my wings and become my own person, away from my parents,” she says. “But as you grow up, you find yourself coming back, closer and closer to home.
“The sense of community I feel at Lakeland College is awesome. It’s been such a huge positive for me.”
During a 10-year music teaching career working with students from kindergarten through high school, Annelies Slack has realized that advising young people and supporting them emotionally is the most rewarding part of her job.
“But as a music teacher, I don’t really feel like it is my place,” she says.
So, she’s back in school, and is finishing up her master’s in community counseling at Lakeland’s Chippewa Valley Center near her home in Eau Claire.
Annelies, a self-described people person, says she enjoys her fellow students and Lakeland’s instructors, and appreciates the fact that the instructors have real-world counseling experience.
“I chose Lakeland because of the flexibility,” she says. “The night classes are a lot easier for my lifestyle. I prefer being in class, but I have used the BlendEd options as well.”
Lakeland is one of 12 graduate schools in Wisconsin to offer a Master’s of Counseling degree that is also approved for licensure by both the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Safety and Professional Services.
For more information about the M.A.C. program, visit lakeland.edu/MAC.