K Foss headshot

Director of Counseling
Disability Services Coordinator
Kelsey Foss, LPC
Ward Science Suite 105 

Kelsey Foss is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  She earned her Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas. Foss’ clinical experience includes working with children, adolescents, and adults in university, hospital and private practice settings. Prior to coming to Ottawa University, Foss worked as a Behavioral Health Therapist at the University of Kansas Hospital – Marillac Campus where she provided assessments, individual and family therapy, group therapy, case management services, and discharge planning.

Foss utilizes a variety of evidenced-based treatment approaches to help students cope with anxiety, depression, mood and stress management, interpersonal conflict, self-esteem, loss and grief, trauma, and other ongoing challenges that arise for students during college life. Foss is also available for consultations with faculty and staff as it relates to OU students in the area of mental health and stress management. When necessary, she will provide recommendations to outside agencies for further assistance. Additionally, Foss serves as the disability services coordinator for the Ottawa, KS residential campus.  

In her free time, Foss enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring local coffee shops, listening to podcasts, traveling, and cheering on all of the KC sports teams including Brave Nation. 

If you have additional questions or want to schedule a consultation, please reach out to Foss via email: kelsey.foss@ottawa.edu.

Campus Counselor
Scott Smith, LPC
Ward Science Suite 105 

Scott joined the Ottawa Counseling center team in November of 2019.  He has been working with young adults and teenagers for 19 years.  Scott came to Ottawa after having been a full-time youth minister for 6 years and most recently from being a counselor at KidsTLC for 6 ½ years where he worked with traumatized young adults and their families. 

Scott does individual counseling, overseas the mental health programming, as well as works with Kelsey and Martha in providing new and innovative ways to serve the student body.  Scott has been married to his wife for 13 years and has an 8 year old son.  When not working at the University, Scott enjoys woodworking, BBQ and spending as much time outside with his family as possible.  


Campus Nurse
Martha Dodd, RN
Ward Science Suite 105 

Martha Dodd, RN, started working for Ottawa University Student Health Services in the Fall of 2009, under the direction of Dr. Jo McCalla.  In her spare time she enjoys many activities.  Spending time with her husband, grown children, grandchildren, music, friends, cooking and baking and helping OU students make the transition from their adolescent home life to young adulthood on OU campus and off campus living.  She feels it is her honor and blessing to help young students, faculty,  and staff be informed,  regarding their medical  health and wellness.  Aiding when possible with help and instruction about their responsibility for their healthy lifestyle choices for collegiate living and growth.


Christian Abenes

Student Health Graduate Assistant

Christian Abenes is in his second year as a Graduate Assistant after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Ottawa University. Christian's role as support staff for the Student Health Center align well with his plans to apply for medical school next.

What is a disability?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.

ADA protects individuals with disabilities in a variety of ways, including reasonable accommodations in learning environments. At OU, accommodations are utilized by students who may need to learn material differently than other students. If you utilized accommodations in high school, they may have been written in an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or 504 plan. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Kelsey Foss, the campus Disability Services Coordinator


How/where do I request accommodations?
You can access the disability services policy, accommodation request form, grievance form, and medical provider form at the links listed below:

Disability Services Policy

Disabilities Accommodation Request Form

Disabilities Grievance Form

Medical Providers Form

You can also schedule an appointment with the counselor, Kelsey Foss and/or contact her with any questions or concerns.

Immunization Policy

Here are the guidelines for required vaccinations:

• All newly enrolled (or readmitted) students born on or after 1957 must show proof of two vaccinations for Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR).

• All newly enrolled students using must show proof of the meningitis vaccine (16 years of age and older) or a meningitis vaccine (prior to age 16) and a vaccine booster.

• International students and/or any student identified as high risk must have a tuberculosis (TB) skin test within three months prior to the start of courses or proof with a negative chest X-ray. Results from outside the United States cannot be accepted. Please be aware the student may be asked to complete subsequent screening and/or treatment and failure to do so will be considered a violation of this policy.

Submit all immunization records and exemption forms to the Office of Student Life, located in the Administration Building- Room 203. Questions and/or concerns about the immunization process can be directed to the Office of Student Life.

1. Is there a cost?
Counseling and Health services are free of charge to OU students.


2. What if I need a referral for medication?
Psychotropic medications are not prescribed by the counselor; however the counselor can assist in providing a referral for medication management services.


3. What is counseling?
The American Counseling Association defines counseling as a collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health.

At Ottawa, counseling services are available to provide short-term assistance in areas of decision-making, crisis intervention, problem-solution, adjustment, or matters of personal concern that could interfere with a student's success on campus.


4. How long is a session? How frequently do I attend?
Visits usually last 45 minutes. Students are encouraged to participate actively in determining the care that may be most helpful to accomplish their goals.  The first session is an opportunity to gather information about student’s history, create goals related to treatment and review/clarify any questions about the treatment process.  In most cases the student will continue with the Ottawa University counselor, however, there are occasions when a student will be referred for services at an outside agency, as it would better serve their mental health needs.

Frequency of appointments will be determined by the counselor and student following the consultation. Frequency may change over the course of counseling based on the student’s progress.


5.How do I know if I need help?
All students are welcome to reach out to Kelsey Foss, LPC to schedule a consultation and address any questions or concerns. Below are some common symptoms of those who might engage in counseling services.

Reach out for additional support if you notice the following changes:

  • Changes in eating, sleeping
  • Social withdrawal or avoidance
  • Decrease in energy, concentration, interest and motivation
  • Irritable, angry, emotional outbursts
  • Low or sad mood
  • Extreme changes in academic performance
  • Excessive anxiety, worry, stress reactions
  • Increase use of unhealthy coping (i.e. substance use, binge eating) skills to help manage day to day stressors

You may want to reach out for additional support in the following situations:

  • Break up or change in relationship status
  • Loss/illness of family member or close friend
  • Conflict with roommate, friend, family
  • Change in job
  • Victim of assault or abuse
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harm to others – if there is imminent danger call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room


6. Does anyone else need to know if I am attending counseling? Will my roommate or coach find out?
All counseling records are maintained separately from all academic, administrative, disciplinary and medical records, unless otherwise noted. No information about a student's contact with Ottawa University Counseling Center is released without the knowledge and written consent of the student; however, there are occasions when we are allowed to break confidentiality.  Kansas law and professional ethics allow the treating provider(s) to breach the limits of confidentiality in the following circumstances: when there is a threat of self-harm or harm toward another/others, suspected elder, dependent or child abuse and/or court orders by a judge.


7. What are the most commonly treated mental health issues on a college campus?
We work with students experiencing a wide range of issues. The most commonly treated mental health issues on college campus include, but are not limited to: anxiety, depression, mood and stress management, eating disorders, adjustment/situational problems, and interpersonal issues.


8. How can I benefit from engaging in counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative experience where the student is able to address concerns with the counselor and set goals in hopes of positive change. Counseling provides students opportunities for self-exploration and acquisition of new skills (i.e. coping, decision-making, problem solving). Sometimes, counseling involves psychoeducation on a particular diagnosis or intervention, so students can better understand treatment options. Some examples of what students can gain from counseling include: improved communication and interpersonal skills, greater self-acceptance and ego-strength, ability to change self-defeating thoughts/behaviors, better controlled expression and management of emotions, relief from presenting symptoms, ability to manage stress effectively, and improved problem-solving skills.