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Grimm helps students be well at ECC


Wellness Professional Mary Grimm welcomes students in her office daily, ready to resolve any issues with an open ear and warm surroundings. On her first day at Elgin Community College in 2016, she thought it would take some time to make her office warm and comfortable.

Grimm's colleagues, however, gave her a head start by decorating her door with balloons and a welcome sign. She was overwhelmed by the gesture.

“Not everyone has the opportunity of working in a place where they feel welcomed, comfortable and love what they do,” she said. “I am so grateful for my job here and for the amazing people I have the privilege of working with every day!”

We caught up with Grimm and asked her questions about herself and her work at ECC. Here are her answers.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

I have the privilege of working with our students to support them through personal challenges-which may come in the form of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, trauma, sexual orientation, gender identity, self-image, anger, relationship struggles, and just general levels of stress on top of adjusting to college life.

We provide individual and group sessions, in addition to offering seminars and workshops on topics such as basic coping strategies, bystander intervention, sex positive/healthy relationships, and many more. I am also a part of the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) and provide Safe Zone LGBTQ Training to all faculty staff and administration through professional development.

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?

My colleague, Wellness Professional Vinny Cascio, and I ran an anxiety support group in the spring of 2017. We developed new curriculum for the group and I am proud to say that our students showed improvement (according to pre/post testing). We were able to decrease symptoms of anxiety for these students, which of course was our main goal.

I am proud to have been a part of such an experience and to have helped make a difference in the lives of our students for the better.

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

I would hold a day of Laser Tag! Students, staff, faculty and administrators would participate in the largest game of laser tag ever!

Everyone would go about their day as usual, but with the added objective of getting the most points by the end of the day. The winner gets my parking spot for the month and hey, maybe we would even make the Guinness Book of World Records!

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

Emma Watson.

What's on your “bucket list?”

To visit Rome, participate in an advanced open water scuba dive, and publish a novel.

What's one fact we should know about you?

I have always been a huge fan of Author J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter book series, starting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I connected with many of the characters throughout her books and followed them growing up as I was close to the same age as Harry when I started reading them.

I have been to Universal Studios in Florida to visit the Harry Potter attractions, and also visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago when props from the Harry Potter films were exhibited there! I even got to sit in Hagrid's chair! My dog Archie is actually named after one of the wizards in the fourth book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

I love Rowling's sense of humor and her attention to detail in all of the books, especially the way she connects everything. I always tell my students that there is no magic wand, but that's just because they are muggles (non-magical humans).

What's something about your job that others should know?

Wellness Services is excited to announce that this fall we will be offering light therapy (a way to treat seasonal affective disorder and other conditions by exposure to artificial light) for our students.

There will be signs up around campus soon. Feel free to come talk to us about this exciting opportunity to learn more and check out the new lights in our offices!

What would be your “theme song?”

“I'll Be There for You” (“Friends” theme song) by The Rembrandts.

What quote best describes your philosophy?

“Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” - Elizabeth Gilbert

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because …

I am part of a wonderful team of people who are making a difference in the lives of future leaders. 



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