Q&A with new Counseling Services Coordinator

Amy Ortiz Moretta. (Photo by: Richard Castillo)
Amy Ortiz Moretta. (Photo by: Richard Castillo)

Counseling Services has hired Amy Ortiz Moretta to fill the position of Counseling Services coordinator. Ortiz Moretta agreed to do an interview with the Accent.

Editor’s Note: The following interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? 

I grew up as a fourth generation Adventist and was born in New York City. I grew up in New York but then moved to Pennsylvania where I attended Blue Mountain Academy. I then went to Columbia Union College [now Washington Adventist University] and graduated from there with a bachelors in counseling psychology. 

I worked various jobs, but I’ve always worked with students. Students are my absolute passion! I just love being around young people. I was at Kettering College for quite a few years. I worked as a dean for both the guys and the girls. I also have worked as the director of alumni, director of career services, Title IX coordinator, assistant professor and then, prior to that, I was at Washington Adventist University. I went back to my alma mater. I was vice president for student life there. 

Last year, I was an adjunct professor for Kettering College. I moved to Puerto Rico in 2020 to be with my family to help my parents with some family responsibilities. I have two fabulous college age children, Sonny and Ariana.

So you recently accepted a new position at Southern as Counseling Services coordinator. Can you tell me a little bit about the job and what it entails?

My understanding of this position is that it’s a hybrid position. It’s a little bit of two things. Part of my responsibilities is [that] I will be counseling students one-on-one. The other part of my responsibilities is to basically share the importance of the services that we have available. 

What are some short-term and long-term goals that you have working with Counseling Services?

Short term goals for me are pretty simple: I really want to get to know the counseling team, understand those strengths and to kind of capitalize on those strengths. For the long term, I am so excited to get to know the students at Southern. I want to make sure that Counseling Services [is] there to help support the students. Because we all go through challenges and just because we have a challenge doesn’t mean that we need mental health services for the rest of our lives. 

It’s just to help us process whatever challenges are in front of us — to make sure we, as the counseling department, are offering the services that the students need for them to excel. We want to make sure that you feel welcome, safe and prepared for the transition into the real world.

Why did you choose to go into counseling? Is there any story or event that made you pick that direction?

I don’t have one specific story. I can just say that, from an early age, people were very comfortable coming to talk to me about situations in their lives. For example, I was an RA when I was a student at Blue Mountain Academy. Girls that didn’t live on my floor used to come and talk to me because they knew that they could trust me. It just came naturally. It brings me great joy and satisfaction knowing that I’m just there for someone. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, only God knows, but I am always honored to be part of somebody’s journey. If I can be present for someone, that brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction.

What would you like students to know about you or your job?

It’s unrealistic to think that I will get to know every single student, but I hope to get to know as many students as possible. I want them to know that I will be a safe person to talk to no matter what their life journey has been. … Again, for me it’s an honor when someone opens up and shares part of their journey with me. I hope that they find me a safe person and someone that they can trust. 

Anything else you would like to add?

I really am thrilled to be joining the Southern team! It’s an answer to prayer! My first day is Monday February 7. I am very excited to join the team and get to know the faculty, staff and students at Southern. 

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