WPI Expands Student Development & Counseling Center Staff
As part of the university’s ongoing efforts to support the mental health and well-being of the WPI campus community, the WPI Student Development & Counseling Center (SDCC) team has added three full-time counselors to its staff. Joel Gopurathingal, Kelia Bergin, and Nafi Gogbeh have all joined the SDCC over the last several months and will be integral to supporting WPI’s holistic approach to student mental health.
“We are excited to welcome three experienced, compassionate and knowledgeable counselors to the SDCC,” says Charles Morse (he/him/his), associate dean and director of the SDCC. “We know that graduate and undergraduate student mental health needs have increased significantly for a number of factors and have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The addition of these three counselors will assist us in continuing to meet the mental health needs of our students in a timely and caring manner.”
Joel Gopurathingal, (he/him/his), joined the SDCC WPI in August. Joel recently completed his MA in Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, while also completing an internship in Adult Outpatient Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center. Joel draws on his own recent experience as a graduate student and says, “It can be challenging to be a student having to navigate day-to-day life while maintaining a rigorous course load. My goal is to provide a safe space where WPI students can feel comfortable and feel seen and heard as they navigate the challenges they may be facing.”
Kelia Bergin, (she/her/hers), joined the team in November. For the past five years, she worked with grieving children and families with Jeff's Place and Experience Camps. She continues to be involved with various organizations locally that support those who are grieving. “As a counselor at WPI, I meet individually with students, facilitate support groups and trainings, and am delighted to be a part of such a dynamic and empathetic team,” Kelia says. “I count Jim Henson (creator of The Muppets and Fraggle Rock and a famously upbeat, silly person with a who never lost touch with his inner child) as one of my heroes and would be lying if I said he wasn't part of what's brought me here. I believe being able to laugh at yourself is an undervalued skill.”
Nafi Gogbeh, (she/ her/hers), arrived in January. She has worked primarily in substance use, mental health, and trauma-informed settings and served as a Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Advocate with New Hope Inc., a nonprofit organization serving Southcentral and Southeastern Massachusetts. “In my time as a clinician, I have learned how to foster therapeutic relationships that are lasting and built on empathy, trust, and honesty,” she says. “My primary focus on providing services has always been to serve in support of the individuals I am working with, and advocate for them as needed. I believe that in serving as a model and educating the individuals I work with, we can build life skills they will use across their lifespan.”
“The addition of these three counselors will assist us in continuing to meet the mental health needs of our students in a timely and caring manner." - Charles Morse