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Alumna Heidi Musick Making a Difference in Lives of Young People as Counselor


West Windsor, N.J. – Heidi (Summers) Musick ’09 (A.A., Liberal Arts) works just a stone’s throw from Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) West Windsor campus, her first alma mater, but has returned to the county’s educational complex as a professional, fully dedicated to counseling junior and senior high school students in times of need.

Musick is a Student Assistance Counselor (SAC) for the Mercer County Special Services School District, Jr. Sr. High School (MHS). Now nearing the end of her second school year, she is passionate about her work.

“I love working at MHS, surrounded by an amazing staff,” Musick said.  “I see students for individual and group counseling.  I also assist in student problem solving, substance abuse counseling, and prevention.  I have the opportunity to make a difference in young people’s lives at critical times.”

When Musick chose to attend to attend MCCC after graduating from Nottingham High School in 2007, she had some very good reasons.  She was an NJ STARS scholar, which provided a significant scholarship, and as a soccer player during her years at Nottingham, she was eager to play for Mercer’s women's soccer team.

Alumna Heidi (Summers) Musick at work at the Mercer County Special Services School District, Jr. Sr. High School.

Attending Mercer from 2007 to 2009, Musick graduated with an associate degree in Liberal Arts. As early as her freshman year, she already had a career path forming, due in part to one of her role models, Lynn Orlowski.

“Lynn is my aunt and is a student advisor at Mercer who had previously been a guidance counselor,” Musick explained. “She had a large impact on my desire to become a counselor in education. I always have been inspired by her passion for learning and her genuine care for others.”

Musick also points to the influence of MCCC Professor of Psychology Dori Seider (now professor emerita). “Professor Seider helped me solidify my love for the field of psychology.  My psychology classes were fascinating. I was drawn to this helping profession and the many theories of counseling,” she said, adding that she also enjoyed her online psychology classes. “I loved the flexibility and the online chat forums with students at different stages of their counseling careers.”

Musick was just as engaged outside the classroom. “I was involved and busy.  I believe it helped to keep me organized and excited for each day. Having the opportunity to be the secretary of Student Government Association and the goalkeeper on the soccer team were true highlights. They provided leadership experiences that have stayed with me.”

And while juggling her schoolwork and extracurriculars, Musick was also working part-time. “I was able to schedule my classes early or late depending on soccer and my various jobs.  Online classes were part of the reason that it was possible.”

Musick transferred to East Stroudsburg University to continue her education, earning her bachelor's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Counseling.  Then she attended Rider University, where she earned her master’s in School Counseling and her certificate as a Student Assistance Counselor (SAC).

According to Musick, the foundation she received at Mercer was solid. “While initially thinking I wanted to go to away to college directly from high school, I’m so glad I spent two years at Mercer.  It was a true stepping stone that helped me gain focus and solidify my goals for counseling psychology.  And, I was able to complete most of my general education classes with far less debt.”

These days, Musick is a strong advocate for community colleges, a recommendation she can make without hesitation based on her personal experience.  “I am always happy to endorse the benefits of attending community college with my graduating students.”

Musick envisions continuing to grow in her current job. “I love learning, so I can see myself taking more classes for social work and career counseling,” she said.  She is also getting involved in professional organizations, including the Mercer County’s SAC chapter.

And she encourages her students, as well as those at Mercer, to keep moving forward.  “Stay focused and don't give up. Explore different electives to see what fields interest you.  Learn about yourself and the world around you and you will figure out where you want to put your talents and your passion.”

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