CAPS counselor Muhammad Saahir’s commitment to his craft has earned him the recognition of three different organizations on campus–the Division of Student Affairs, the Groups Scholars Program, and the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA)–for his work with Let’s Talk and his collaboration with Groups Scholars.
After completing Master’s degrees in Higher Education and Student Affairs (at IUB) and Counseling and Counselor Education (at IUPUI), Saahir joined IU Health Center’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) team in 2013.
As CAPS multicultural outreach coordinator, Saahir organizes and oversees the Let’s Talk Now program, winner of the Division’s Campus Program Award. Launched last fall, Let’s Talk provides opportunities for multicultural students to chat with supervised consultants in a casual setting at various campus cultural centers.
“Muhammad is a wonderful asset for CAPS. His excellent counseling skills make him a sought after counselor, much valued by students,” said Nancy Stockton, CAPS Director. “He is creative and is helping CAPS’ Let’s Talk program grow and thrive.”
In addition to facilitating Let’s Talk across campus, Saahir organizes the collaboration between CAPS and the Groups Scholars Program.
Groups Scholars welcomes 300-400 new members into their community each year–many of whom are first-generation college students. The program seeks to provide academic, financial, and social support to selected underrepresented Indiana resident college students, from enrollment to graduation and beyond.
“Muhammad has created a wonderful partnership with Groups through our Graduate Assistant, Jessica David. As a Groups Alum, Muhammad truly understands our Scholars’ needs and works to fill them,” said Mary Stephenson, Director of the Groups Scholars Program. “Through brainstorming sessions, Muhammad, Jessica and the Diversity CAPS staff have developed opportunities for our students to receive mental health support that they otherwise might not have received.”
Easing the transition from high school to college, incoming Groups students have the opportunity to earn college credit during a six to seven-week summer bridge program.
During this time period, Saahir and the CAPS diversity outreach team offers “Real Talk” workshops and tours of the IU Health Center to Groups students to raise awareness of the services available for mental, emotional, and physical health.
“‘Real Talk’ was created to address topics that these young adults face. Whenever any Groups Scholar is in need, Muhammad is there. I truly appreciate his kind and generous heart supporting a worthy cause,” said Stephenson.
The Groups Scholars Program awarded Saahir and his outreach team the Community Partner of the Year Award for their Real Talk workshops and IUHC tours.
Whether he is working with Groups students, conducting Let’s Talk Now sessions, or offering advice to a student he sees regularly, Saahir finds his work extremely rewarding.
“You see someone first visit in a state of instability or uncertainty, and they go through a process of counseling where they see growth from where they were to where they are now,” said Saahir. “I want to help students learn to self-navigate their issues in a more positive way.”
Finally, in recognition of all the great work he does for students, graduate students of BGSA nominated Saahir for the Male Staff of the Year Award.
“As a highly successful Black man, he is a wonderful role model for other students. His easy going manner and great sense of humor create an instant rapport with students. They like and trust him,” said Stockton. “At CAPS we sometimes talk about the importance of gratitude–as the CAPS Director I want to say that we are immensely grateful to be able to work with Muhammad.”
Congrats to Muhammad on his Triple Crown of campus awards. We are lucky to have him as a part of our staff!