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Meet the Counseling Center Staff


Melissa Hutchinson 
Melissa Hutchinson, MA, LPC, NCC
Executive Director of Counseling Services  

College is a time of considerable growth for students. It can be both fulfilling and challenging. Counseling can be an opportunity for students to engage in self-exploration and problem-solving, especially when things feel difficult and overwhelming. Each student is unique, arriving at CMU with their own life experiences. I will honor your individuality throughout the counseling experience and tailor my interventions to meet your needs. Openness and trust are the heart of the counseling relationship and I will work hard to build that trust with each student. I have been in practice since 1997 and working as a CMU counselor since 2004. I have experience with a variety of concerns experienced by students and provide both individual and group counseling. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Michigan State University and my Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Central Michigan University. In 2017 I transitioned into the role of Counseling Center director. It is my honor to oversee the center and the support provided to CMU students in order to promote their emotional well-being and academic success.


Michelle Bigard 
Michelle Bigard, MSW, LMSW
Associate Director

I am honored to meet with you to help you succeed at CMU. I will strive to create an atmosphere where you feel comfortable sharing what is important to you. In the spirit of trust, respect and accountability, we will work together to understand your concerns, foster your well-being, and meet your goals. I believe in your capacity for growth and will draw upon your strengths, values and beliefs to identify helpful strategies to face your challenges. 

I have a Master of Social Work degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo Ontario, Canada. I specialized in working with trauma issues within the Canadian mental health field prior to coming to the CMU Counseling Center in 2001.


Brooke Bechtel
Brooke E. Bechtel, MA, LPC, NCC
Student Athlete Dedicated Counselor

As the student-athlete dedicated counselor, my role is to support your mental wellness not only within your sport, but within your life. I will work to create a comfortable and trusting environment where you will feel safe to share your experiences and thoughts with me. I will work to understand your current life position and implement approaches that are meaningful to you. I believe everyone has the power within themselves to make positive changes in their life; my role is to help you draw on your strengths, support your healing and development, and give you tools to handle life's stressors along the way.

I have experiences working with: anxiety, trauma, depression, identity concerns, relationships, substance use, and self-harm. I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree and Master of Arts in Professional Counseling Degree from Central Michigan University. 


Julie Fortino Shurtliff
Julie Fortino Shurtliff, MA, LPC

As a counselor, I believe that change happens when people are given the support they need to draw on their own strengths and realize their potential to live fulfilling, happy lives. I understand that our past has influenced our present but it need not dictate our future. Our life experiences, positive or negative, are building blocks for who we are today and can be effective tools in creating who we aspire to be tomorrow. My main focus as a counselor is to create a safe space for you to explore your feelings and create coping skills to face life's challenges. I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Evergreen State College with a major in Latin American History and Spanish Language. I earned a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Central Michigan University. 


Anna Grajek
Anna Grajek, MA, LPC

Choosing to pursue counseling can be a big decision. I believe engaging in the counseling process is brave and an opportunity to pursue growth and change. As a counselor, I aim to create a comfortable environment to partner with students in building a therapeutic relationship, trust and engaging in the collaborative counseling process. In sessions you can expect to utilize different approaches to address an individual’s concerns, building on their strengths to promote growth and healing. I hope students will gain a better understanding of themselves, their strengths and values as well as resources, strategies and tools that are helpful moving forward. I have had the privilege of working with students in a variety of roles and am passionate about meeting students where they are and approaching the counseling process from a holistic perspective. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Michigan. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services (Psychology, Social Work, & Substance Abuse Counseling) from Lake Superior State University, Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Central Michigan University, and a Post-Master’s certificate in Sports Counseling from California University of Pennsylvania.


Atefeh Jenrow
Atefeh E. Jenrow, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC

In the course of my career, I have worked with people including children, adults, and families facing various acute, emerging and/or ongoing mental health challenges. I particularly enjoy working with college students both as newly independent adults and members of the university family facing their own unique trials. I believe in creating a safe and collaborative environment with students on the changes they feel ready to make, focusing on their goals. I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology form Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in Counseling, specializing in Mental Health Counseling from Oakland University. I have worked with a variety of mental health concerns and have a particular interest in anxiety disorders and trauma. I have also worked as a member of a clinical research team studying schizophrenia. 

I help students using a holistic approach considering physical, psychological, and emotional approaches, while working to create a non-judgmental environment. Students can explore their emotional needs by focusing on wellness and strengths, while identifying ongoing challenges that they can continue to address.  I feel privileged to be a member of the student's support team by being allowed to assist as they navigate potential career options, mental health concerns and life stages. 


Kate Caszatt, Counseling Center Counselor - wearing pink and black floral shirt for profile image
Kate Caszatt, MA, LLC

I have worked several years in higher education in various roles, and have always appreciated and enjoyed working with students during this unique time in their lives. I believe my role as a counselor is to facilitate a safe, empathetic, and welcoming environment for students to explore their emotions and goals. I view counseling as a collaborative process in which the client is empowered to grow and increase their overall wellness. When working with a client, I work to take a holistic approach to facilitate and guide the process. I view my work with students as a privilege and strive to do my best to support them for success as one member of a student's support team. I have my limited license in counseling, working to earn full licensure within the next few years. I have earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with an Interpersonal Communication concentration and American Sign Language Minor and a Master of Arts in Counseling - Clinical Mental Health from Central Michigan University. In my free time I enjoy reading, travel, and spending time with my family and friends. 


Kristie Miner 
Kristie Miner, MA, LPC

I believe that making the decision to seek counseling is one of many first steps in facilitating positive change in a person's life. I tend to take a client-centered and cognitive-behavioral approach in counseling, while making sure that each session addresses the needs of the client.     It's important that sessions are collaborative as well as interactive so that clients can focus on identifying and making progress toward their goals.  During our sessions, you will find that identifying best coping strategies, strengthening problem-solving skills, and exploring different perspectives are common themes.  In addition to my role at the CMU Counseling Center, I am a child sexual abuse treatment therapist at Listening Ear Crisis Center in Mt. Pleasant.  This work has allowed me to gain a strong understanding about trauma as well as best practices for treatment. I earned both my Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Central Michigan University.  


Matthew Rupert
Matt Rupert, MA, LLC

I believe that the first step in helping others is to build and maintain relationships. I strive to offer a judgment-free and safe space where thoughts, emotions, relationships, and situations may be explored openly, honestly, and collaboratively to encourage healing and wellness in all domains of one's life. I am interested in a wide variety of psychological theories; however, my current theoretical orientation is primarily person-centered along with mindfulness-based and cognitive-behavioral-based interventions. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a minor in philosophy in 2016 from Ferris State University and recently graduated from the clinical mental health counseling program with a Master of Arts degree here at Central Michigan University in May of 2022. I currently hold a limited license in counseling in the state of Michigan as of June of 2022 and I plan to become fully licensed within the next few years. Outside of working as a counselor I enjoy coffee, candy, video games, movies, reading, and traveling. 

Counseling interns

Cassandra Folsom Headshot
Cassie Folsom
Counselor Intern

As a counselor, I believe that everyone deserves respect and support along their journey. I know that college can be a time of great transition which presents both opportunities and challenges. I strive to create a safe and welcoming environment so that you have space to explore your goals. Counseling is a collaborative process and I will work to understand and tailor tools specific to you. I hold a B.A. in Psychology from Albion College and am finishing my Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Central Michigan University. I utilize a diverse set of techniques suited to your individual needs but draw heavily from existential and student-centered approaches. 

Office professionals

Peggy Clerc  ​​
Peggy Clerc
Executive Secretary

​I began my career with Central Michigan University in 2007 as an Office Professional in the Physician Assistant Program.  I then joined the Counseling Center in 2010 as the Administrative Secretary.   I provide assistance and direction to the Counseling Center faculty and staff in the day-to-day operations. I also bring over fifteen years of professional experience in the management of educational and medical office settings.


Melissa Schalk
Melissa Schalk, BS
Administrative Secretary

I graduated in 2003 from CMU with a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in social work. That same year I started working for Listening Ear. For 16 years I provided care for developmentally disabled individuals while also managing a residential program. I strived in maintaining a safe and loving environment for the individuals that were in our care. In 2019 I started a new career path and joined the Counseling Center as an office professional. In this role I hope to provide a welcoming atmosphere for everyone that enters the center.