The generous gift of an alumna who has had a notable career as a psychotherapist is expanding Cazenovia College’s offering of graduate-student internships in mental health counseling and increasing the availability of on-campus counseling services for undergraduates.
A $100,000 gift from Stephanie Kravec ‘64 has come at a precipitous time. The College’s master’s degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) is growing, plus there’s an increasing demand for on-campus mental health counseling services.
The College’s New York State-approved clinical mental health counseling program was started in 2019 and is now recruiting its fourth cohort of master’s degree students. Given the mental health impact of COVID-19 and its effects, there has simultaneously been an increase in the demand for counseling services nationally, including among students on college campuses, notes Christina Bobesky, Ph.D., director of the graduate CMHC academic program.
The Kravec gift funds the required clinical supervision of graduate program students during their internships providing on-campus counseling services for undergraduates. Offering supervised internships on campus is not only a convenience to the program’s graduate students, but it also increases the availability of counseling hours as well as the number of counselors available to undergraduates. Having a selection of counselors is helpful to students in finding a good interpersonal fit, an important aspect of successful counseling, notes Mary Handley, Ph.D., clinical coordinator for the program.
In honor of the program’s donor and to recognize the significance of the gift, the program is being called the Stephanie J. Kravec ’64 Graduate Practicum Program.
More Hands-On Experience
It all makes for a win-win situation, according to Drs. Bobesky and Handley.
“When we heard about Stephanie Kravec’s wish to give funds here to support mental health, we knew exactly how to best put them to use—by creating opportunities for our graduate students to have more hands-on clinical counseling experience. In addition to her gift supporting more field internships for graduate students, this provides more availability of counseling services right on campus. It’s programming that serves both our graduate students and our undergraduates very well,” says Dr. Bobesky.
Licensed mental health counselor Lori Mulligan has added the duties of supervising two interns to her existing responsibilities at the College Counseling Center. Having more counselors and more services has also allowed starting a weekly stress management group on campus. It has permitted expansion of counseling hours to later afternoons and evenings, as well as for the College’s summer JumpStart program. The five-week residency for incoming students helps them get an early start on their transition from high school to college and helps improve their academic success skills.
“This gift has been really important. Stephanie Kravec, as a therapist herself, really understands the importance of counseling services and addressing issues people are having. I think that’s part of the reason why this is such a significant donation. What she wanted is exactly what we’re doing.” Dr. Bobesky said.
Dr. Handley said it’s gratifying to see the gift’s immediate impact. “Once the gift was made, we were able to implement the program right away. You can’t always see what happens with a donation and where the money goes. That’s what is so important about this gift. The donation came in and the effects of it are happening right now.”
Kravec grew up in Syracuse and graduated from Cazenovia in 1964 with an associate degree. She earned a bachelor’s degree from CW Post - Long Island University and her master’s at Syracuse University. She began her career as a mental health counselor in Syracuse, then moved to New York City. She worked as a probation officer in the Bronx for a few years then started her own psychotherapy practice on New York’s West Side. She specialized in drug and alcohol addiction treatment when it was a unique practice area and counseled many high-profile clients. When she was ready to approach retirement, she returned to Cazenovia and resided in the village for about six years until moving to a smaller home in Jamesville. She served on the College’s Alumni Board of Directors and financially supported the College’s Counseling Center during that time.
The College’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree program is the first graduate study program in the College’s history. The two-year program graduated its first class of students in 2021. Seven of the first group of nine students who graduated have gone on to earn limited permits and are practicing as counselors locally. Thirteen more students are in classes now and are scheduled to receive diplomas this August. A new cohort of up to 15 students will be enrolled this year and will begin the two-year program this August.
Applications are still being accepted for the newest starting class. More information about the program, the two-year completion timeline, and career opportunities is available by contacting the Graduate Admissions office at: email@example.com. Prospective students can also connect with program directors Dr. Christina Bobesky (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Mary Handley (email@example.com) or Charles Harcourt, associate director for graduate and international programs (firstname.lastname@example.org) and (315) 383-4208.