Mrs. Brunson Interview

Erika Brunson is an amazing guidance counselor that has helped so many students in a number of ways. Keep reading to find out a little bit about her.

When and how did you find out you wanted to become a guidance counselor?
That’s a good one, I don’t know. I feel like oftentimes people get into jobs because they had experiences with something and then they either want to change it or really enjoyed it. I don’t know, I feel like I got into it by happenstance. I knew I was interested in psychology and so I did my undergraduate degree in that, and then I took a few years off and worked in social work. I ended up going to grad school but in an adult education program, and took one class there and realized that was not what I wanted to do. Through a friend of a friend, I got connected with the director of the counseling psychology program, met with the dean of that program, and just really just fell in love with it. So I think just by pure coincidence if that makes sense.

Who was the biggest influence on your decision?
That would be that dean, her name is Dr. Kim Tischer. She’s actually the director at Loras College right now. She was a school counselor for years at Darlington. She’s just wonderful, so that’s for sure who it is.

What college did you go to?
I did my bachelor’s at UW Platteville and my master’s degree at UW Platteville.

How many years did you go to college?
Six total. Four for my bachelor’s degree and two additional for my master’s degree. I have an undergraduate degree in psychology with minors in Spanish and criminal justice. My master’s degree is in counseling Psych. So I can do school counseling, or I could do community based counseling if I wanted to, however, I would have to complete like, I think I have like 2000 hours left that I would have to do of supervised stuff. But yeah!

What is your favorite grade or age group to work with?
High School, don’t tell the middle school. I always worked in elementary school, but then I had four children. After I had my fourth child and I went back to my elementary job, I was like, I don’t have it in me all day to be around little kids and then go home to my own little children. So the place that I was at, suddenly had a high school opening, so I switched to that and I was very nervous. But I quickly found out that I love working with high school students.

Mrs. Brunson helping students. (Christina Collier)

When you were in school, what was your least favorite subject?
Math. Not even a question, although, ironically enough in college, and also in my undergrad and my graduate work, I had to take statistics (quite a bit of statistics), and I really enjoy statistics. Not at the time then, but I enjoy it now, I feel like statistics is a different kind of math. So in high school, for sure my least favorite was math.

Like what didn’t you like about it? Like was it just hard?
I will be honest, I apologize to Mrs. Northem and Mr. McWilliams, I struggled to see the relevance and why I was ever going to use that again. Statistics I use all the time now, so that makes sense, but yeah, high school math, I was like, ‘I don’t I don’t get why I have to do this.’

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Do I have a favorite thing? I don’t know, that’s tough because like I said, my kids are young and so we are constantly going and doing their things. But I like being outside and in nature, like going for walks with my dog, going through our woods and the trails, and going on hikes. I also very much enjoy a good day on the couch in sweatpants, binging something. If you haven’t watched The Watcher on Netflix, it’s pretty good. So yeah, I like both.

If you had to choose any other job, what would it be?
I would work with animals probably, in some sort of sanctuary or rescue sort of place. No doubt in my mind.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity