Meet your UAS Wellness Team

Take a look at the staff who are a well-th of knowledge when it comes to student health and happiness.

BY JENNIFER MALECHA
For the UAS Whalesong
College life has its ups and downs. Juggling classes, homework, social obligations, work, and family can get tricky. Throw in a few added stressors like the flu, homesickness, an “F” on an exam, relationship difficulties, and lack of sleep and you might find yourself not feeling well.
Wellness is a general term for overall physical health and emotional well-being. It’s no surprise that there’s a connection between academic success and wellness. It’s hard to move forward and stay on track when you are not feeling well.
All UAS students enrolled in 1 or more credits have free access to the UAS Health Clinic, Counseling Services, and Disability Services. All services are confidential. All students including those online can access these services by phone, 907-796-6000, or email.
We could fill the Whalesong with pages of wellness tips and advice like eating healthy, exercising, getting proper sleep, and avoiding drugs, tobacco, and alcohol, but we will save that for another day.
Today we want you to meet your wellness team and introduce a few services that can help you stay well.


Margie Thomson & Becky Iverson

Maintaining your emotional health is key to your success in school and your overall well-being. Meet Margie Thomson, LCSW and Becky Iverson, LCSW. Margie and Becky are licensed clinical social workers and provide free, quality counseling to students. UAS students are eligible for 12 free counseling sessions each academic year. Counseling is great way to work through any difficulties you are experiencing. Students seek counseling for a variety of reasons. A few include depression, anxiety, homesickness, PTSD, body image, veteran transition, substance abuse, relationship difficulties, suicidal thoughts, adjustment to college life, sexual abuse, family issues, partner abuse, LGBTQ issues, and academic stressors. Counseling is a great way to reduce stress, set goals, and define problems in your life. Whether you are brand new to counseling or have an ongoing mental health issue, Becky and Margie are here to support you.
Contact Margie Thomson by phone at 796-6465, or email at mwthomson@alaska.edu.
Contact Becky Iverson by phone at 796-6514, or email at baiverson@alaska.edu.


Amanda Arra

It’s safe to assume that many of us will succumb to some form of bug, virus, or affliction this winter. It’s difficult to get to class and concentrate on homework when you are suffering from an ailment. Meet Amanda Arra, PA-C, MMSc. Amanda is a Physician Assistant and runs the UAS Health Clinic. UAS students use the clinic for various medical problems and concerns. These include minor illnesses, TB testing, injuries, rashes, gynecological issues, mental health, and chronic problems such as asthma, high blood pressure, and allergies. Some basic medications are available in the clinic, including birth control pills, antibiotics, asthma inhalers, and emergency contraception. Students must pay for medications. Prescriptions can also be written for students to have filled at a local pharmacy. Don’t neglect your health. Go see Amanda next time you are under the weather.
Contact Amanda Arra, PA-C, MMSc by phone at 796-6260, or email at ajarra@alaska.edu.


Jenny Malecha

For students with a disability, maintaining health and well-being can be a challenge. Meet Jenny Malecha, BSW, a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker. Jenny, along with UAS counselor Margie Thomson, LCSW help to ensure equal access for students with disabilities by coordinating academic accommodations and support. At UAS, we believe education should be accessible to everyone. Students using Disability Services experience a wide range of temporary or permanent disabilities. They include, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, TBI, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, visual impairments, chronic medical conditions, depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, motor impairment, and speech and language impairments. Disability Services works with over a hundred students each semester. If you experience a disability, you are not alone.
Contact Jenny Malecha, BSW by phone at 796-6000, or email at jamalecha@alaska.edu.


Maressa Jensen

Maressa Jensen is an MSW Intern working with the Wellness Team this academic year. Maressa earned her undergraduate degree at UAS; a B.A. in Social Science, and is now in the final year of a Master’s in Social Work, through Boston University’s online program. As a UAS alumna, Maressa is familiar with our campus resources, the Blackboard system, and many of our faculty and staff. Maressa will be on campus 15-20 hours per week, assisting Counseling and Disability staff in many ways, including supporting the peer mentoring program, and providing individual counseling, and disability support.
Contact Maressa Jensen by email at mgjensen@alaska.edu.

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