Counseling Center names new counselor for Black student support

The Marquette University Counseling Center has hired Shakari (Kari) Lewis as its first counselor and coordinator for African American and Black student support. Lewis will provide direct clinical services to students and serve as a liaison with campus partners and student groups. She begins in her new role on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Prior to joining Marquette, Lewis worked at the Behavioral Health Division on the Adult Mobile Crisis Team as a licensed professional counselor, where she traveled throughout Milwaukee County responding to psychiatric crises with clients, case managers, police officers, doctors and family members who need assistance with de-escalating a mental health crisis.

“Kari is the ideal hire for our team at the Counseling Center,” said Brenda Lenz, M.S., L.P.C., S.A.C., MUCC interim director. “She is dedicated and passionate about her work, she understands and has the experience to do the clinical work, as well as the outreach role with students on a college campus.  Above all that, she is genuine, kind, positive and motivated to help our students; we are so excited to have her join us, and I know she is looking forward to being here.”

“I look forward to joining Marquette’s campus and specifically the Counseling Center to connect with students to help them grow in many areas,” Lewis said. “I am passionate about helping African American and Black students matriculate through college, while overcoming the current national health pandemic and the racial pandemic, all while helping students focus on their mental health.”

Previously, Lewis served as a family therapist with at-risk youth at Milwaukee-based social services agency SaintA. She began her career as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, working with clients with mental, physical and cognitive disabilities.

Lewis, who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville, is trained to respond to callers to the national suicide hotline for Milwaukee County. In July 2019, Lewis was certified as an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training trainer, which helps caregivers learn the warning signs of suicide and safely apply suicide first-aid to ensure individuals’ safety.

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