The counselors at SUNY Polytechnic Institute are experienced, licensed mental health clinicians with an extensive background in both mental health and college counseling. They are dedicated to the personal development and growth of SUNY Poly’s students. It is important that you have confidence in your counselor’s ability to help you. Please take a look at our bios below and feel free to ask questions about our training and the way we work.
Sandra A. Mizerak NCC, LMHC
Mental Health Counselor
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. I am also a member of the American Counseling Association. I graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a Master’s Degree in counseling specializing in Community Mental Health. I am trained to use Energy Tapping in my counseling sessions. Tapping is a set of techniques which utilizes the body's energy meridian points. You can stimulate these meridian points by tapping on them with your finger tips, thus releasing your negative emotions.
I joined SUNY Poly as a full time mental health counselor in 2011. I began working as a college counselor in 2003 at Herkimer County Community College. In addition to counseling students I have facilitated various psycho-educational groups, been involved with the college’s Alcohol & Other Drug Board and Sexual Assault Committee, participated in RA trainings, and used to be advisor of Herkimer County Community College’s Gay Straight Alliance Club.
My story began years ago in the field of human services, working with individuals with developmental disabilities and chronic mental illness. Although I loved my work I knew eventually I wanted to pursue my real passion which was to become a therapist. The second part of my journey led me to work in a variety of clinical settings; as a therapist in a mental health clinic, a crisis counselor in a hospital, a family therapist, and a sexual assault/domestic violence counselor. These experiences all have helped me in my current role as a college counselor, which I have been doing since 2003.
My clinical orientation is a bit eclectic, ranging from a variety of techniques including, but not limited to Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy. My professional interests are in childhood trauma, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, partner abuse, sexual violence, self-esteem, LGBTQ issues, women's empowerment and grief issues. For the past five years I have incorporated Positive Psychology into my work. My strengths lie in my ability to be empathetic, compassionate, helping a person find their “inner voice” and teaching them how to use it. My motto has always been “ know your own worth.”
I really enjoy working with college students and feel fortunate to be a part of the SUNY Poly Wellness Center.
Briana Talarico-Lewis, LMFT
Mental Health Counselor
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). My training as an LMFT is grounded in Systems Theory, attachment, relationships, and the whole-person approach. One of the reasons why I love working in college mental health is that all students are a part of many systems. They have families, friends, organizations, classes, and so much more that make up their complex lives.
I received my Master’s Degree from Syracuse University in 2013. I have worked in a variety of settings since then, such as community mental health, college counseling, and private practice. I am passionate about supporting and working with the LGBTQ community. I am proud to be trained in providing direct support and assistance in the gender transition process. I am also passionate about working with individuals who have struggled with trauma, depression, and anxiety.
My therapeutic style is integrative, as I often pull from several theories and modalities. Some of the techniques that I use in therapy include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Internal Family Systems, and Trauma Informed Care. My clients’ emotional safety is of the utmost importance to me in the therapy room. They are in control and lead the way.
I started at SUNY Poly in the Fall of 2018. My time working with students, staff, and faculty has been a pleasure and I am looking forward to continuing my work on campus.