Jessica Ballou, a clinical psychologist with over 15 years experience in higher education, has joined Georgetown as the new director of student outreach & support (SOS), a “safety net” for students facing challenges that may negatively impact their social, personal, or academic stability. Part of the Division of Student Affairs, SOS serves students who are returning from a medical leave of absence, transitioning out of acute psychiatric care, or experiencing a crisis that may affect their wellbeing. Students may also be referred to SOS by peers, academic deans, or others on campus worried about their health, safety, or wellness.
“I think the name says it all,” Ballou said of SOS in a recent Q&A discussing her new role. “We are here to give students the support and structure and care they need in order to continue being a student and be successful. We are here to empower students and care for their individual needs and experiences in a warm, inclusive, and welcoming space.”
Ballou has had an extensive career in higher education. Before joining Georgetown, she served as the associate director for substance abuse prevention and mental health at Fordham University and oversaw a peer-led substance abuse prevention and outreach program at Virginia Tech. Ballou completed her predoctoral and postdoctoral training in clinical psychology while counseling at the University of San Francisco, after three years in Bulgaria working in community and youth development in the Peace Corps.
“I appreciate being part of a team that collaborates to better support our students,” Ballou says. “I think that’s really important, and not all universities dedicate a team to focus on this work the way Georgetown does.”
Read the interview with Jessica Ballou here.