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Rehabilitation Counseling Student and Alumni Spotlights

Our Grads Find Pride & Purpose

How have you made an impact as a rehabilitation counselor?

"By and far, being a rehabilitation counselor has fostered in me much greater compassion for people in general, as well as being able to see the possibilities and potential of each individual I've worked with as they turn mere hopes and 'I can't' statements into tangible opportunities and 'I can really do this' attitudes."

Joshua L. Carpenter, CRC, LPC
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '08
Behavioral Health Care Advocate
Optum Behavioral Health Services/UnitedHealth Group, Baton Rouge, LA

"I believe that my greatest impact has been in educating fellow counselors about the importance of considering disabilities in treatment planning. I was the only rehabilitation counselor that worked in a substance use clinic, and I focused on bringing awareness to the rest of the staff about considering vocational counseling early in treatment, the impact that other disabilities have on the recovery process, and how to incorporate these considerations into treatment planning. I also feel that I have made an impact as a rehabilitation counselor in the way that I conceptualize and work with my clients individually, as well as the contributions I have made to the field through my writing and presentations at conferences."

Cindy Zabinski

Cindy Zabinski, LMHC, CRC, ACS
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '09
Clinician & Owner
Private Practice, Massapequa Park, NY

What makes you proud as a rehabilitation counselor?

"I work to ensure my consumers' personal success, dependent on their personal definition. I am proud to enable others to find their sense of purpose and give them an opportunity to succeed. I enjoy assisting others in overcoming challenges and barriers that may exclude them from community integration and guide them down a path that ensures inclusion and prosperity."

Sara Makowski

Sara V. Makowski, CRC
Rehabilitation Counseling '11
Employment Assessment and Training Manager
UCP Suffolk, Hauppauge, NY

"When I work with clients, I sometimes have to be more imaginative in how we address barriers that exist. This may be from the employer, system, or even themselves. I take pride in how collaborative the process is and our ability to assist individuals in advocating on their own behalf long after the counseling relationship ends."

Kristi Torlish Kinsella

Kristi Torlish Kinsella, CRC
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '16
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
Vocational Management Consultants, LLC, Honolulu, HI

What gives you purpose in your career as a rehabilitation counselor?

"The very fact I am paying back the men and women who faithfully served this nation for their commitment and sacrifice is my purpose. As a veteran, I know how vocational rehabilitation changed my life and made it better. I do my best to give that to my veterans. I tell every one of them, during my orientation and entitlement meeting, 'I want to help you so much that I never see you again.' It usually gets a chuckle, but the meaning is clear."

Chris Holder

Chris Holder, CRC, LMHC
Rehabilitation Counseling '08
VetSuccess on Campus Counselor
US Department of Veterans Affairs, Long Island, NY

"I am proud that I have the ability to see people as people and instill hope, to see disabilities as a challenge and not a limitation. It is meaningful to see and acknowledge small steps of improvement."

Michal Frank, CRC, LPCC
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '14
Outpatient Therapist
Minnesota Mental Health Clinics, Maplewood, MN


Grad Living Our Mission

  • Empowerment

 
Meghan Khan

"I am proud of the work I am able to do for people to help them be independent through employment, empowerment, and advocacy."

Meghan Khan, CRC
Rehabilitation Counseling '12
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist II
Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services, Towson, MD

  • Collaboration

 
Cindy Zabinski

"From my time in the Hofstra RC Program, I took away several values, including the value of teamwork, research, and lifelong learning. Teamwork is an important part of providing quality services; working collaboratively with the client, family members (if applicable), and other professionals allows for high quality treatment."

Cindy Zabinski, LMHC, CRC, ACS
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '09
Clinician & Owner
Private Practice, Massapequa Park, NY

  • Innovation

 
 

"I am proud of our field for being true leaders in using evidence to guide our practice. Everything about rehabilitation counseling as a profession is unique and comes out of a true passion to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities."

Allison Levine, PhD, CRC
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '12
Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

  • Holism

 
Chris Holder

"I understand the Vocational Rehabilitation program from all sides, as a counselor and a disabled veteran. I can provide my veterans with more than just tuition payments and subsistence payments.  I work and live in the same community. I know employers, school officials, real estate agents and community leaders.  Through these connections, I am able to take a holistic approach to my job.  I take the case management portion of my job to heart.  At Hofstra, my professors instilled in me the mentality of a true CRC professional in the field. Vocational health is only one aspect of a person's life.  Family, physical and mental health, career, and feelings of safety and belonging are all aspects of a healthy life.  When one is off, the others will soon follow.  I try to make an impact and assist with all areas I can."

Chris Holder, CRC, LMHC
Rehabilitation Counseling '08
VetSuccess on Campus Counselor
US Department of Veterans Affairs, Long Island, NY

  • Quality

 
Teri Hughes

"I am proud of the department that I oversee, as I find rehabilitation counselors to be open to change, willing to go the extra mile and constantly looking to assist clients meet their potential. Someone asked me if all rehab counselors have a lot of energy, I think it is the passion that they exude that others pick up on."

Teri Hughes, CRC, LMHC
Rehabilitation Counseling '95
Program Director of Vocational and School-Based Services
South Oaks Hospital, Amityville, NY


Why Choose Hofstra's RC program

"Love Hofstra RC!! Warm, compassionate, and empathic professors. The program is always there to assist with questions, research answers, and connect me to various people and organizations in the field."

Gay Alexander, CRC
Rehabilitation Counseling '84
Transitional Coordinator
The Birch School, Queens, NY

"When I heard about the RC program, I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Jamie Mitus who made time to discuss the program in more detail. What I had liked most about the program was that it was not just about identifying 'problems’ and diagnosing. Rehabilitation counseling is about helping clients work towards solutions and being as creative as possible to reach these goals."

Kristi Torlish Kinsella

Kristi Torlish Kinsella, CRC
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '16
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
Vocational Management Consultants, LLC, Honolulu, HI

"My time at Hofstra really taught me to value my role as an advocate for people with disabilities, and to be persistent in pursuit of that role. I also took away the value of being a lifelong learner; the social climate is constantly changing, as are techniques and methods for improving services for individuals with disabilities, so I should constantly be striving to learn and grow."

Allison Levine, PhD, CRC
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '12
Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

"Hofstra Rehabilitation Counseling instilled in me the values of empathy, the importance and therapeutic value of work, integrity, and advocacy."

Nick Spinelli

Nick Spinelli, CRC
Rehabilitation Counseling '91
Assistant District Office Manager
ACCES-VR, Garden City, NY

"I started the Hofstra RC program in 2006 and still maintain several active connections with both former students/colleagues, as well as former faculty, which are not just professional connections but actual dear friends, as well. Never a shortage of networking opportunities and ways to get involved with alumni and current students. These connections have enhanced both my personal and professional life tremendously, leading at times to job opportunities or other chances to expand my skill set."

Joshua L. Carpenter, CRC, LPC
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '08
Behavioral Health Care Advocate
Optum Behavioral Health Services/UnitedHealthgroup, Baton Rouge, LA

"By giving me a good foundation and support, Hofstra RC helped me to believe in myself. I always felt supported and encouraged, a feeling of a team/family in a way. They taught the value of helping, supporting, and caring for others."

Michal Frank, CRC, LPCC
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health '14
Outpatient Therapist
Minnesota Mental Health Clinics, Maplewood, MN

"I encourage prospective students to consider the immense value of the Hofstra Rehabilitation Counseling program.  The program is well-known and provides a comprehensive foundation to build a career upon.  The professors provide both educational and professional guidance, as well as the tools necessary to discover your purpose in the field.  Its curriculum, connections, and resources are invaluable."

Sara Makowski

Sara V. Makowski, CRC
Rehabilitation Counseling '11
Employment Assessment and Training Manager
UCP Suffolk, Hauppauge, NY