What Does It Take to Be a Counselor? Ask Professor Mari Dias.

JWU Providence Professor Mari Nardolillo-Dias

A co-founder of the Counseling Psychology program at JWU’s Providence Campus, Professor Mari Nardolillo-Dias '03, EdD, makes activists out of students. The outspoken and dynamic Dias answers questions about what it takes to be a good counselor, as well as her own community involvement.

1. Am I a good fit for the counseling major?

It takes a certain type of person and certain characteristics to be a good counselor — someone who really knows how to listen is so important. You have to believe that anybody can change. You need to have a fire in your belly and understand the need for respecting human beings.

2. How has your work experience influenced your teaching?

My experiences have a huge impact on how and what I teach. Particularly with the core conditions of counseling — warmth, empathy, genuineness, respect for the human being and cultural diversity.

“Counseling Psychology is not a job or career — it’s a vocation.”

3. How does your counseling experience help in class?

I bring all of those experiences from all the people that I’ve worked with into the classroom:

Making Her Mark: Community Work

  • I’m vice president of the Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund, which deals with dating violence.
  • I’m the faculty advisor for the JWU chapter of Silent Witness, a national initiative that uses commuity-based exhibits to raise awareness about domestic violence.
  • I’ve had my own private practice, where I’ve dealt with victims of abuse.
  • I’m also a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer, where I represent children in family court.
  • I work with the Changing Lives Through Literature Program at the RI Deptartment of Corrections maximum security facility.
  • I volunteer at Fogarty on Broadway, a program for 5th grade students that integrates literacy and social studies using Broadway musical theater as the delivery method.
  • I developed and facilitated Duke University’s Talent Identification Program Leadership Institute.