If you’d like to stop by and say hello to Laura Castro, the new student counselor at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, you can say it in either English, Spanish or French. Castro, a licensed clinical social worker associate, speaks all three.
She also keeps a ready supply of tennis balls on hand at home for someone special — but there’s more to say about that later.
What made you want to go into this field?
I’ve always been curious about human nature, and I have empathy for what people are experiencing. I’ve been through some of my own struggles, and I learned not to be afraid of taking advantage of self-care through therapy.
What will you be doing in your new role?
I’ll be providing counseling services to veterinary students, graduate students and house officers to promote wellness. That includes crisis intervention and providing educational programs to the college community on psychological and wellness issues.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
I’m drawn to working with veterinarians and veterinary students, and I’m excited to know how I can be helpful. This is a helping profession, and everyone is bright and compassionate. When you’re the helper, there can be a stigma about seeking help for yourself. That’s when compassion fatigue can happen. I want to help continue shifting this culture to remove that stigma.
I’ll be doing assessments, consultation, crisis intervention and referrals. I want to help students reach their potential. I’m just excited to get to know everyone here. I’m pumped for orientation.
What is your background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Elon University and a master’s in social work from UNC-Chapel Hill. While I was there, I was an intern at UNC Counseling and Psychological Services and was a UNC Family Medicine clinical social work intern. I was also a post-master’s fellow at the NC State University Counseling Center before coming here.
What’s something someone would be surprised to learn about you?
That I’ve lived in three different countries. I was born in Colombia, where I lived for 12 years before we moved to Chapel Hill. I also lived in Paris during a study abroad period.
When you’re not on campus, where could we find you?
Probably exploring restaurants with my partner, at the dog park or spending time with family and friends.
Tell us about your pets.
We have an 8-month-old chocolate Lab named JuJu. He has good juju. He’s very high energy, and he likes things structured. We have a routine. He has a healthy lifestyle, with a special love for tennis balls. He’s very playful, and he really has his priorities straight.