Meet the Counselors

Meet the Counselors

Brent Brigson

College Locations Served: La Crosse and Mauston

My name is Brent Brigson and I've worked as a Counselor at Western since 2000. Before coming to Western, I worked in both the Admissions area as well as the Student Development/Housing area at Viterbo University. I later directed part of the Academic Advising Program at St. Mary's University in Winona. It was during my time at St. Mary's that I had the opportunity to teach my first college-level course as an adjunct instructor here at Western. That experience made me realize just how connected I felt to the diverse population at a Technical College. I was fortunate enough to land a Counseling position through our Regional Learning Centers and later moved to the La Crosse campus.

My academic background includes a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in History from Loras College in Dubuque, IA and a Master's of Science Degree in Guidance and Counseling from UW-Whitewater. While pursuing my graduate degree at Whitewater, I decided to "specialize" in Higher Education because I felt I would be most satisfied working within a college community. This belief has been affirmed many times over especially during my years at Western.

My wife, Dana and I have three daughters, Grace, Emma and Leah. We enjoy fishing, reading, playing a variety of sports as well as watching anything that has to do with Wisconsin athletics. I make sure I get enough family time as well as enough time to myself because without enough of each, without ample time to "recharge" my own batteries, there's less of a chance that I'll be able to assist all of the students I see on a daily basis. If you walk into my office, please know that I've done everything in my power to be at my best for you. I am here to help you work through whatever it is that's interfering with your success at the College. Please feel free to make an appointment or simply "walk-in".

Richard Kotovich, Jr, MA LPC

College Locations Served: La Crosse and Tomah

I like to think that every student at Western has a story. Just as there is a wide variety of different students at Western, everyone here has a story that is unique and personal. Whether it is the student just out of high school or the returning adult, students that come to Western are working on a current chapter in their life. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be a resource for students as they make choices and problem solve issues at such a influential time. I respect and enjoy the chance to be a positive influence towards goal setting and helping students understand their options. While my own my own story involves earning a master's degree in Counseling Psychology and gaining knowledge in counseling, human behavior and decision making, I know that you are ultimately the expert on you. I can only hope to help you discover and develop that. Counseling may involve exploring aspects of your current situation (including talents and challenges), determining goals toward something better, and outlining the steps necessary to accomplish these goals. This should not be seen as an immediate process. It may take you quite some time for you to ultimately get to where you truly want to be. I honor the opportunity to know more about you and your goals in hopes of providing any help that I can as you continue to write a little more of your story each day.
Come see me for:

  • Personal Counseling/Support
  • Help with Selecting a Program/Career Goal
  • Goal Setting/Problem Solving
  • College Transfer Planning
  • General Academic Help
  • Understanding Campus Resources

Lori Mohring

College Locations Served: La Crosse

Welcome to Western Technical College! My name is Lori Mohring and I have been a counselor at Western since 2001. Western is home to me as I was once a first generation college student taking classes here before transferring to the University Of Wisconsin La Crosse. My experience with an inspiring nursing assistant instructor influenced me to pursue a degree in the field of counseling as she noted my areas of strength. That guidance helped me get to where I am today after completing my Master's degree in Counseling from Winona State University. I am happy to be here at Western and to be able to give back and help other students who need support along the way.

I hold licensure in the State of Wisconsin as a Professional Counselor and Substance Abuse Counselor while providing personal, career, and academic counseling to students. Previous experience has shaped my counseling career which includes being a coordinator of an AODA prevention program in a public school system; a social worker, program director and facilities manager of two community-based residential facilities, crisis counselor for a women's shelter, and a psychotherapist for two agencies that provide counseling services in the community. I have served as a Steering member on the "Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior" Coalition and continue to be a member with the community coalition as well as serving on other community advisory boards with the YWCA and Suicide Prevention Initiative. At Western I am involved with Tri-Campus AODA initiatives and Western's Student Wellness committee. In my current role I have also taught a college-aged AODA education class and served on campus committees that developed alcohol policies.

My professional and volunteer experiences have allowed me to develop specialties in areas such as mental health, AODA, and Women's issues. However, my overall theoretical foundation is Wellness. I believe in leading a balanced life and adhere to that philosophy myself. I believe we cannot help others if we do not take care of ourselves! I believe counselors serve as teachers and role models! I balance my life by continuing to grow and learn as a person. I am a lifelong learner and am currently taking classes towards a doctorate at Saint Mary's University. I also surround myself with my family and friends while being present and enjoying the simple things in life. I am willing to assist you with your concerns and look forward to meeting you.

Maria Strong

College Locations Served: La Crosse and Viroqua

Greetings! My name is Maria Strong and I am one of the counselors at Western. I believe that mental health counseling is my "calling" an innate gift that I bring to this world. I also believe each of us has our own unique calling. Working at Western affords me the opportunity to work with a diverse population of people, anywhere within life's spectrum. That includes perhaps a recent high school graduate, or a middle-aged, recently laid-off worker, and a recently divorced single parent. There are many different journeys each unique to the individual. All of these life events and many more raise the need for crucial introspection, asking the difficult questions and looking at ourselves with honest, truth-seeking eyes. This is where using career counseling to find your calling might be helpful.

Many of the things that cause mental health issues are because we are not living our lives to our authentic blueprint. We are trying to fit ourselves into the mold of another. Inevitability that maladjustment can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, and anger in which I can help you find some understanding and comfort.

I also have a special interest in working with people who are grieving. It is my opinion that many of the prevailing mental health issues and addiction issues are at the very core, simply unresolved grief. Let me help you learn how to properly grieve your issues and be able to have emotional freedom.

If you are struggling with relationship issues, young or old there is relief. This can cause problems with academic achievement and ultimately your life goals. Domestic violence and sexual assault are other areas that I help many students at Western. If I can't help you with your issues I can refer you to resources in our community to get the help you need. Please ask for the help you are looking for. Remember the strong and healthy people ask for help.

My personal life's journey, full of twists and turns, has given me the depth and insight to understand and relate to most situations. My training includes but not limited to, an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture, Retail Floriculture, and Bachelors degree in Business Management, which led me through a successful business career. Then through a series of life's changes I finally found my "calling". Completing my subsequent Masters in Community Counseling enables me to see issues from a broad spectrum.

I've been fortunate to work at Western for 15 years, the last 5 in the counseling department. Before that I have held several different positions at Western all in some way training for my present position.

I am here to help you with any issue, big or small. Please don't hesitate to call the Call Center and make an appointment with me soon. The number is 608.785.9553.

Bonnie Jeranek

College Locations Served: Independence and Black River Falls

My background has been very diverse in nature. Beginning my professional career as a middle/high school teacher, continuing as a florist, then into the technical college system for 2 years, followed by a year of working as an assistant to a home day care certifier, then entering Western as the Student Employment Services manager employed half time by Job Service and half time by Western. About the time La Crosse began losing many jobs I found I was meeting with former graduates and current students who had been just devastated by the loss of financial support for their families and felt unprepared to deal with their emotional needs and decided I could really use a counseling background. So around 50 years of age, I returned to college to obtain a Masters Degree from Winona State University. Upon completion of my degree a counseling position opened and I was hired. Six years ago, I retired but a year later, returned part-time to counseling at Independence and Black River Falls which is where I currently help students with career exploration, academic advising, and personal support.

Having raised 5 children I have seen the value of the technical college education. Three of my children graduated from Western programs. One of those is continuing his education (after quite a few years away) pursuing a bachelor’s degree, another has his own construction business, and the third teaches at a technical college. I am a real cheerleader for the system and encourage you to take a look at what we have to offer and seek out assistance from a counselor before personal issues side-rail you from achieving your goals!

Max Vang

College Locations Served: La Crosse

Nyob Zoo and greetings to you. My name is Fue Max Vang, and I’m delighted to share insight of my professional role. As a counselor, my biggest role is to listen to you and hear what you want to share. I want to be able to understand your journey and offer support, recommendation, and counsel. I want to honor your uniqueness and the richness you bring to Western Technical College. We all have challenges in our lives and stress that seems to last forever, but I want to let you know that you are not alone. I am here to help you.    

My academic background includes a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychology from Viterbo and a Master's of Science Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Winona State University. I was hired to work at the Black River Falls Campus in 2002 and currently work in Learner Support and Transition at the main La Crosse Campus. I’m also involved with international education and work with international students.       

When I’m not working, I like to engage in the outdoor activities. For instance, I love fishing, biking, and hiking. I also enjoy cooking and listening to a variety of music from classical to MMT Hmong music. I’m a car enthusiast and a big fan of import cars, but my passion is to travel and eventually teach overseas.   

I’ve been told that I am a caring and kind person. My parents have instilled these qualities in me since growing up in the highland of Laos (Hmoob Toj Siab). Living in the highland of Laos, I was taught at a very young age to be responsible and respectful. 

I think of myself as an empathic and an extroverted person, although I’ve also been known to have high expectation and accountability. The things I love most in life are my family, friends, and relationship with my colleagues.  

I enjoy working with people who are considerate, understanding, and value differences in all cultures. That’s important to me because I’m different as well.

If I can be of any assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to call me or email me. I can be reached by calling 608.789.4724 or emailing

Amy Delagrave, M.S. 

College Locations Served: La Crosse, Learner Support & Transition Division

I have now worked @ Western for almost 15 years. I love helping students to believe that they can be successful. I’ve been fortunate enough to wear many hats in my counseling role such as working with young, alternative high school students, to adults needing to get their GED or HSED, to assisting first generation college students by helping them strategize ways to start school, be successful and complete. I’m also am the Non Traditional Occupations Coordinator (NTO) on campus for those students who choose career programs which employ less than 25% of their gender in that particular field. 

Helping students reduce the barriers in their lives by providing encouragement & staying connected to the other college staff and community agencies is what I will continue to do.

Call me for an appointment: 608.785.9535