Dr. Monique Marsh-Bell has worked at Baylor for six and a half years. In November 2011, she started in the Counseling Center as a post-doctoral fellow. Since then, she has served as a staff psychologist, coordinator of multicultural services, senior psychologist and assistant director of community and diversity programming. After six years at the Counseling Center, Marsh-Bell is now the assistant athletic director for mental health services.
The best part of her job? Helping students learn about mental illness and how to be proactive in their mental health.
"I meet students where they are and start conversations about a topic that still has some stigma around it," Marsh-Bell said. "I help normalize some of the things they are feeling and experiencing."
Years of working with college students helps her identify concerns young adults commonly face. Compassionate and patient, she listens and speaks truth to students in crisis.
"It's amazing how having more knowledge about a topic and how prevalent it is removes some of the shame students feel," Marsh-Bell said. "Hearing me say out loud the thing they've been too scared to admit helps students to open up."
In addition to mental health, Marsh-Bell is passionate about diversity at Baylor and in the community. She is a member of the Student Life Cultural Humility Work Team, the Culture and Climate Action Team and the Intergroup Dialogue Series. She co-facilitates My Sister, My Self, a community for women of color. She started weekly diversity reflections during Counseling Center staff meetings to discuss different issues related to cultural humility.
"I have a passion for social justice work," she said. "If there is a diversity and inclusion initiative at Baylor that I'm not a part of, it's only because I don't know about it!"
Marsh-Bell coordinates a cultural experience trip through Student Life every semester. She, along with her colleagues, take a group of students to Historically Black Colleges and Hispanic Serving Institutions. A self-designated "unofficial employee of Multicultural Affairs," Marsh-Bell volunteers her time helping students and staff develop an appreciation for the diversity within the Baylor community and beyond.
She has long been determined to shine her light at Baylor. In 2002, Marsh-Bell applied to the psychology doctoral program.
"It was my first choice, but I did not get accepted," she said. "After finishing my doctorate at another institution, I applied for the post-doc position here at Baylor. I was determined to be a Bear one way or another! I think the Lord puts us where we are supposed to be when it's our time to be there."
Perhaps this determination gave rise to her favorite Baylor tradition. She looks forward to the month of August every year. Directing traffic on Move In Day, she welcomes students and their parents to Baylor for the first time. She attends Late Night at the SLC and the Mosaic Mixer to get to know new students and "learn about all the things that make each of them God's unique creations," she said.
As she counsels students, Marsh-Bell provides insight, illuminating pathways for those in need. Often students who are dealing with mental health concerns feel like they are in the dark, uncertain of the road ahead.
"Being a light means showing the way," she said. "Lights help us see things that aren't visible when it's dark. I don't create or develop anything that isn't already there. I just shine my light on the skills and strength they already have, helping them see the path and their own strength when life gets dark and they lose their way."