More Alumni in Mental Health!

Updated on July 20, 2012

The previous issue of Crossroads, published in the spring of 2012, covered dozens of alumni working in the mental health field. Since then, the following alumni have sent in updates. (We will continually update the online version of this list, as new information is received.)

Carol Brunk ’89 // Resident services manager // Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community // After majoring in social work, Brunk earned a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from VCU. She writes that she has worked in various roles: “First, as an advocate for victims of domestic violence (2 years), then as a child protective services social worker (2 years), then as a rehabilitation counselor for persons with brain injury (10 years).” She has been in her current role for 8 years.

Gayl Friesen Brunk ’92 // Executive director // Valley Associates for Independent Living, Inc. // A social work major, Brunk heads a non-profit that serves a five-county and five-city area, with goals of promoting independence among people with disabilities and removing barriers to community life.

Sandra Drescher-Lehman ’79 // Pastor of Congregational Care and Worship at the Souderton (Pa.) Mennonite Church // See next entry.

John Drescher-Lehman, class of ’79 // Spiritual director, counselor // FernRock Retreat Center // John’s wife Sandra writes: “John is doing his dream job of being a spiritual director and a counselor in private practice in his office above our garage and as he walks our property or paddles up our creek with clients.Together, we’re realizing our dream of providing a place for overworked, busy professionals like ourselves to have a place of restoration, on the land where we live, which we’ve developed into FernRock Retreat Center in Green Lane, Pa. ”

Douglas Friesen ’91 // Psychologist, pastor // Full-time at Psychological Health Affilates and part-time pastor at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa. // In addition to being a full-time psychologist in a group practice, Friesen is a part-time associate pastor of children and youth ministries at his church.

Karla Gingerich ’86 // Psychologist, special assistant professor // Gingerich has done clinical work with people of various ages. Most recently she has been teaching full time in the psychology department at Colorado State University.

Lois Snavely Gray ’63 // Therapist (LSCW) // Samaritan Counseling Center, Lancaster, Pa. // Gray writes: “Although I’m old enough to retire, I continue to see clients two days a week because I really enjoy my work and can’t imagine stopping at this point. I see a lot of Medicare clients and am impressed by the possibilities of growth and change at any age. My ‘boss’ is another EMU graduate, Gerald Ressler (’79). He has created a wonderful atmosphere of equality and collaboration among staff. My current job is the healthiest place I’ve worked since I graduated with my MSSW in 1971.”

Alta Lehman Landis ’72 // Counselor // Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pa. // Previously Landis worked many years for Samaritan Counseling Center in Lancaster, Pa., including serving as its clinical director.

John E. Lehman ’57 // Counselor // Private practice // Based in Florence, Kan., Lehman is a licensed clinical social worker and an advocate of Immanuel Healing Process, which he said originated with Ed Smith in 1995 and proved beneficial to healing needed by Lehman’s son.

Natalie Wood Leonard ’85// Enrolled in Doctor of Nursing Practice program as a Family Nurse Practitioner (3rd year)  // Radford University // Psychiatric nurse case manager at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare in Roanoke, Va., for the last 22 years. // Previously she was an inpatient psychiatric nurse at Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg, Va., and at Charter Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital in Charlottesville, Va. “I hope to use my FNP-DNP to continue serving individuals with mental illness.”

Mahlet “Mahi” Mekonnen ’09 // Case worker // Braley & Thompson, Inc., Therapeutic Foster Care // A social work major, Mahi writes from Alexandria, Va., “Couldn’t have gone to a better university!!!!”

Christian W. Mosemann ’66 // Psychotherapist (LCSW, MSW) // Mosemann writes: “I’m 70 now but I’m still working because I can’t think of a more satisfying way to spend my time. One of my regrets is that the field has not found a significant way to train people for marriage and parenting. My challenge to the university and to the next generation is to consider researching how we can prepare people to choose wisely and to be a wise partner and parent.”

Nancy Pinzon, MA ’05 (conflict transformation) // Mental health counselor // Children Services of Virginia – Crossroads Counseling in Harrisonburg // Pinzon is a bilingual counselor offering intensive in-home services. She has taught conflict transformation at Bridgewater (Va.) College.

Annette Zook Reed ’85 // Clinical specialist // Arbor House under Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board // After recovering from anorexia nervosa developed as an undergrad, Reed became a psychiatric nurse. She worked 2007-2011 at Western State Hospital in Staunton, Va., and now works at Arbor House, a crisis-stabilization unit. She is also a resource person for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders in the Shenandoah Valley.

Teresa Christner Rice ’04, MA ’07 (counseling) // Counselor // Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board // Married to an alumnus (Sheldon ’02) and the mother of twin 2-year-olds, Rice is well-rooted in the Valley, earning both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at EMU and employed locally.

Jacqueline Marie Shock, MA ’08 (conflict transformation) // Psychiatric social worker // Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Dickson Sommers ’93, MA ’95 (counseling) // Supervisor of crisis stabilization // Arbor House under Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board // Arbor House is a seven-bed facility with 24-hour clinical and nursing supervision, serving individuals who don’t require psychiatric hospitalization, but need more support/supervision than they have staying in their home.

Susanna Stoltzfus, class of ’64 // Mental health counselor (retired, 2005) // Beginning in the EMU nursing program, Stoltzfus earned an MA in counseling from Case Western Reserve University and then worked as a manager in community mental health for most of her career. She now is a volunteer with the Georgia State office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She lives in a large ecologically oriented co-housing community in Decatur, Ga., that has a five-acre organic garden and makes decisions by consensus.

Katrina Martin Swartz ’05 // Mental health case manager // Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board // Swartz majored in social work, minored in psychology.

Robert “Bob” E. Weaver ’08 // Psychiatric nurse // Western State Hospital // Weaver, whose father served in the Harrisburg (Pa.) Mental Hospital during WWII, loved the mental health issue of Crossroads, but wished EMU’s large contingent of psychiatric nurses had received more attention.

D. Lowell Yoder ’84 // Assistant director of social services & clinic director of chemical dependency program // University of Iowa // Yoder holds a masters in social work from Marywood College, has a social work license, and is a certified addiction counselor.

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