Every month the Administrative/Professional (A/P) Council highlights an A/P staff member through a series of questions as another way for the Illinois State community to connect. This month readers can get to know Dr. Dakesa Piña, staff counselor for Student Counseling Services.

As a staff counselor, what are your responsibilities?

I provide individual, couples, and group therapy to ISU students. I also provide consultation, training, and prevention for students, faculty, and staff. I serve as our diversity coordinator. In this role, I serve on the Student Affair’s Inclusion Change Team department representative for Student Counseling Services (SCS).   I am also on the Multicultural Outreach Team which focuses on outreach to underrepresented students and our diversity committee which provides professional growth and development to the SCS staff.

How long have you been an employee at Illinois State?

Nine and a half years.

What do you love most about working at Illinois State?

Well, I’m a practical gal so I’d have to say I love the benefits of being a Redbird. Free tuition, 50 percent off state college for my dependents, access to campus programs and events, and much more.

When you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

As a parent, I believe that one of my jobs is to create learning opportunities for my children, so I’m usually spending time doing things I think will set my kiddos up for a successful future. Whether that’s creating saving, sharing, and spending jars to learn about money management, discussing social justice and fairness, or reading a book about entrepreneurship. By the way, my daughter will be selling “Slime By Eden” very soon.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus is my office. It’s my home away from home and a place where I’ve made wonderful memories. I guess one of the perks of being a mental health therapist is having a private space where amazing things happen.

What is one thing people would not know about you?

I have three jobs. Staff counselor at ISU, instructional assistant professor at ISU, and I recently opened a private practice providing trainings, consultation, and of course, therapy services for individuals, couples, and families.

What quote most inspires you? Why?

“If I love you I must make you conscious of the things you do not see.” James Baldwin

I like this quote because it exemplifies what I do in my personal and professional life. True love is not what we see in fairy tales. True love is about loving someone enough to help them be the best version of themselves.