Meeta Kumar

Director of Outreach and Prevention Services
Counseling and Psychological Services

Meeta Kumar

What got you interested in this type of work?
“Growing up in India, I wanted to go into a non-traditional field—something I could call my own. I think there were a bunch of different things that got me into psychology. … I came as an international student and got my Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Penn. I did some of my early training at CAPS, orCounseling and Psychological Services. I just loved the interaction with students. I loved that I could bring my own experiences as an international student, as a person of color, and just developmentally getting to address pretty dynamic life stages of young people.”

What do you do each day at work?
“The days all look pretty different. A big focus is really keeping an oversight and providing supervision and helping to develop and implement a contemporary vision for our outreach and prevention programs that encompasses a variety of different activities like education, training, and collaboration with partner offices.”

How long have you been working at Penn?
“I started in 1998, so, a good 17 years. I started as an entry-level senior staffer with lots of individual clients.”

What about your job makes you feel fulfilled every day?
“I really feel like in small ways and big ways, you end up making a difference in peoples’ lives in a positive way and that just feels extraordinarily rewarding. You find opportunities not just to think about the individual but to think on a larger scale of community health, about creating a positive culture, reducing distress, shaping health and wellness in a variety of ways. It’s stimulating.”

What makes your workspace unique?
“It’s a feeling of being comfortable, feeling at home. I also have a lot of thank-you cards hanging on my wall. These are connections with a lot of very intimate and deep relationships I’ve had with students over the years. People have taken the time to write very personal notes and that’s very meaningful. I would say those cards are really, really important.”

—L.H.