Since losing her father when she was a young girl, Kimberlee Ratliff vowed to help others find hope in challenging times.

Now, as a clinical assistant professor in Puget Sound’s Master of Education in counseling program and a marathon runner, she coaches future counselors by building personal connections and encouraging self-reflection.

Q: As a counselor, you’ve worked with hurricane victims and military families. What is rewarding about helping people through tragic situations?
A: My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old and, although I could not process the significance at such a young age, it sparked my interest in mental health. Although situations can be heartbreaking, and the stories of clients often involve suffering, witnessing resilience during the most difficult times is incredibly rewarding. Being invited into their world during that time is something I don’t take for granted.