Student Affairs Staff Spotlight: Emma Cheriel (March 2021)
March 1, 2021
Each month, Student Affairs recognizes one of its outstanding staff members for their hard work, dedication, and passion for serving the UW Tacoma community.
Unit: Counseling and Psychological Services
Hobby: I love a good documentary or a true crime podcast. I also enjoy baking, gardening and crochet, but most of all just hanging out at home with my husband and taking long walks around our neighborhood.
Favorite Place on UW Tacoma campus and Why: I love getting out and taking a quick walk around our beautiful campus on my lunch break. There is also a great view (on a clear day) of the mountain from the third floor of MAT – right across from the CAPS office!
Nominated by: Dr. Cassandra Nichols, Director of Counseling & Psychological Services
Emma consistently goes above and beyond her work for CAPS. We could not run CAPS without her. She balances multiple schedules for 4 staff psychologists, two doctoral interns, and two doctoral practicum students. Here is only one example: Two years ago, we chose to have our main CAPS email address used for all regular business (rather than individual provider emails) and this is a big job. It is not unusual to have students use it for urgent matters (despite that we note on all of our email accounts that this is not a preferred method for urgent communication). Emma stays on top of this consistently – consulting with the CAPS psychologists, responding in a timely manner to students, helping them get the services and assistance that they need. The students love Emma; we always hear how helpful, kind, and caring she is from our students. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that often at university counseling centers, support staff are the “face” of the department. These are the individuals that students first see when they are in need and these are the people that set the tone for all of us. Excellent support staff members are often the favorite person among the students of all of the UCC staff. While we have not assessed for this, I have no doubt that Emma is the CAPS favorite for our students.
Emma exemplifies the Student Affairs value for Service: "We engage others in an open, friendly and responsive way that conveys we are willing to listen and understand each individual’s situation. We respond appropriately and in a timely and professional manner."
For many of our students, I think that therapy begins as soon as they walk through our doors and are greeted by calm, friendly, and engaging Emma. Emma is consistently kind, courteous, and helpful for all students who walk through our doors (or contact us during our work from home order). With students who are struggling and/or feeling distraught, Emma “leans in” by engaging with kindness, a calm demeanor, non-defensive stance, and helpfulness. I think that one of the losses for the university of staff and faculty working from home is that students do not have the opportunity to informally stop by CAPS between therapy appointments when they are in the MAT building, just to say hello and visit a bit with Emma.
Student Affairs champions holistic learning and success for UW Tacoma students. We remove barriers for students, engage them as partners to create an inclusive campus community and equip them for lives and careers that have meaning and impact.