Wheelock Graduate Dedicated to Military Families


Julienne A. Ugalde (center) photographed with her son Neal (left) and Jeff, Julienne's husband (photo credit: Wheelock College)
Julienne A. Ugalde (center) photographed with her son Neal (left) and Jeff, Julienne’s husband (photo credit: Wheelock College)

Wheelock graduate Julienne A. Ugalde is pursuing her passion to improve the lives of veterans and their family members through the Wheelock College Military Counseling Certificate Program.

With a son who is a recently retired U.S. Army Sergeant, Ugalde has seen firsthand the importance of the unique supports needed for veterans to reintegrate into civilian life. Military families can struggle with many concerns such as loss and separation, social isolation, financial hardship, physical injuries, substance abuse and more. She is a proud member of the Blue Star Mothers of America—an organization for mothers who have children serving or who have served.

Wheelock’s Military Counseling Certificate Program prepares Post-Baccalaureate graduates to establish relationships with veterans and their family members in a culturally sensitive manner.

Over 2 million service members have been stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan over the past 13 years of the Global War on Terror. With the drawdown imminent, veterans are returning to our communities with unique experiences and needs. Ugalde found the program to be inspiring both personally to provide resources for her son and professionally as she desired to apply her knowledge to a second career as a licensed mental health clinician. “My son, Neal, inspires me each day to be the best I can be,” she said.

She immersed herself into military culture through guest speakers, readings, and discussions. The classes were designed to create a sense of belonging for all students, which is a similar feeling that military servicemen and women experience as they serve. Ugalde had high praise for the instructors: Dr. Shirley Malone-Fenner, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and director of the Wheelock College Center of Excellence for Military Children and Families and Linda T. Sanford, visiting professor of Trauma-Informed Social Work. Her son even joined the class as a guest speaker to share about his experiences in Afghanistan. “All of the guest speakers shared their expertise; more importantly communicated their enthusiasm for assisting military servicemen and women in need,” said Ugalde. “I was moved by their commitment to the field and their perpetual drive to help veterans and their families.”

Ugalde sees a great need for more military support services and education for parents, guardians, extended family members, medical personnel and employees of corporations. She encourages asking the simple question: “Are you or any member of your family in the military?” to begin the process of building awareness of the needs of our military servicemen and women.

She is greatly proud of her son, and knows that he will be able to help other veterans, and educate and empower others about the military culture. With her certificate in Military Counseling, Ugalde plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling with a focus in art therapy. “My hope is that in the future, as I pursue my second career, I can provide many opportunities for veterans to tell their stories with multiple modalities such as the visual arts, poetry, and music and movement.”

Ugalde obtained her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College and currently serves as Assistant Professor of Human Development and Human Services at Anna Maria College as well as an Instructor at the Worcester Art Museum.

Wheelock College’s Military Counseling Certificate Program is sponsored by the Wheelock College Center of Excellence for Military Children and Families and the Wheelock College Social Work Department. For more information, please visit http://www.wheelock.edu/military-certificate