Two Case Managers Added to CARES Center Staff

The Crisis, Advocacy, Resources, Education, and Support (CARES) Center recently hired two new staff members to support its mission.

The CARES Center works collaboratively with students to secure resources that meet their basic needs. The center connects Kent State students with both on and off-campus resources supporting their financial, food, housing, and mental well-being basic needs. 

Brenda Schmucker is one of the two new Case Managers hired during the summer. Ohio-born, she graduated with a Master of Social Work from Edinboro University in 2018 and picked up

Brenda Schmucker headshot
 valuable experience interning and then working as a family therapist with children and adolescents at a community, non-profit organization. She also interned as a Case Manager at a shelter for adults experiencing homelessness.

In her role, she will be charged with connecting students and learning how to support them best regarding housing, food, and financial insecurity, or their mental well-being.

“I am excited to be able to learn more about students and what brought them here to Kent,” she said. “My hope is to be able to work together with students to ensure they have what they need to continue furthering their education.”

Throughout all of her previous work experiences, her passion for higher education led her to the opportunity to make a difference at Kent State.

“The creation of the CARES Center is a great example of Kent State’s emphasis on growth and its determination to find new ways to meet the needs of its students,” she said. “I am so, so excited to be a part of the CARES Center, and I can’t wait to jump in and start working with students.”

Allison Gillis headshot
Allison Gillis was welcomed in as the second Case Manager in the center. A Licensed Social Worker, Allison graduated in 2018 with a Master of Social Work from California University of Pennsylvania. Before her current role at Kent State, she worked as a CARE Case Manager at the University of Akron, providing triage and follow-up support to students experiencing crises or overall well-being concerns.

“Food, housing, and financial insecurities, [as well as] mental well-being are pressing concerns on college campuses,” she said. “I am most looking forward to working collaboratively with students to address these concerns and help to reduce barriers to self-sufficiency.”

Gillis said since entering the field of higher education in Ohio, she has always heard about how strong the Division of Student Affairs is at Kent State, which made it an easy decision to apply for the position.

“I have always felt strongly that students come first, so Kent State’s student first mission and dedication to creating a community of inclusion, support, encouragement, and advocacy is evident, and I wanted to be a part of those efforts,” she said. “Seeing the CARES Center start to come to life has been a fulfilling journey, and I am excited to see it continue to grow and help students.”

Assistant Dean of Students and Director for Student Advocacy and Support Ericka Shoaff, is excited to have a fully staffed team on board and ready to go. According to Shoaff, since taking the reins in April, planning has been intentional and steadfast, and she is excited to see how those efforts come together in support of the student this semester.

“We are all looking forward to the opportunity to connect with students and help them meet their basic needs,” she said. “We have had the chance to work with a few students this summer which was a great learning experience for us.”

For more information about the CARES Center, follow them on social media @KentStateCARES and be sure to visit their website.

Contribute to CARES Basic Needs Student Fund supporting students’ access to emergency basic needs.

POSTED: Thursday, September 2, 2021 01:17 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 6, 2023 02:02 PM
Matt Lupica