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SSU loses compassionate alumna

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
March 23, 2018

President of Sonoma State University, Judy K. Sakaki offered her condolences to the Golick family last Tuesday, where family, friends and the Seawolf community are feeling the troubling loss of Dr. Jennifer Golick, an SSU alumna who was shot and killed in the deadly March 9 Yountville Veterans Home shooting.

42-year-old Golick was the clinical director for the Pathway Home for veterans where she also served as a staff psychologist for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. She was also an alumna of the Sonoma State University Master’s degree Counseling Department. 

On March 9 during a going-away party for two Pathway employees, 36-year-old Albert Wong, who served in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012, slipped onto the campus during the party and held Golick and two other Pathway employees as hostages in an hour-long standoff with police.

Wong then shot Golick, the Executive Director for Pathway, Christine Loeber and 32-year-old Jennifer Gonzales, a clinical psychologist. Wong then shot himself. The shooter was enrolled in Pathway’s veteran treatment program but was recently expelled from the center’s program.

Golick had graduated with her masters from SSU in 2000 and was praised for her use of counseling skills.

“She… used her counseling skills to help veterans and serve our community,” Sakaki said in a statement to the campus community.

Golick earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis and after her time at SSU she went on to earn her doctorate in applied psychology from Akamai University Hawaii.

According to a statement from the SSU Counseling Department that she once studied in, Golick was intuitive in her work and was not afraid of a challenge.

“She never hesitated to question traditional assumptions about working with clinical issues often labeled ‘challenged to treat…’ From the onset of her training, her clinical interests focused on working with people struggling with multiple and complex psychological issues or challenges,” the department said. “Jennifer gained experience in a variety of outpatient and residential treatment facilities treating severe mental illness, chronic pain.”

Prior to working at the Pathway Home, Golick worked at the Muir Woods teen treatment center, where she helped teens struggling with behavioral and substance abuse issues and mental health.

In a recent statement on Facebook, Scott Sowle, founder and executive director of Muir Woods Adolescent and Family Services said he will always remember Golick as an incredibly kind and caring woman and was instrumental in helping struggling teens.

“In the five years she worked alongside me, Jennifer helped countless families heal. I’ve heard from many of them today. The boys at Muir Woods would literally line up at her office door waiting for her to arrive in the morning… One of the brightest I’ve known, always with a big, warm smile and just the right words to say,” Sowle said.

The SSU Counseling Department said Golick was instrumental in the workings and establishment of the Muir Woods Adolescent and Family Services.

In addition to working at Muir Woods for several years helping troubled youth, Golick traveled the country and was often featured as a keynote speaker on treatment of adolescent addiction and also penned several published articles, according to the counseling department.

Over the years, Golick also, “…Generously shared her expertise as a frequent guest speaker in classes at Sonoma State University,” the counseling department said.

Sakaki mentioned in her statement how difficult it is to once again lose such caring people to gun violence, a virus that seems to plague our country with countless school, concert and other shootings.

“Please join me in extending our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Golick and all other victims of last week’s tragedy,” Sakaki wrote.

SSU Counseling faculty wrote fondly of Golick, “The Counseling Department faculty remember her qualities as a lifelong learner, compassionate listener and fierce advocate. She was able to find light in the darkest places and handle the most difficult situations with grace. She made a true and lasting impact on this broken world.”

This past Monday, a celebration of life service was held in Yountville to remember the lives of the three women who cared immensely about helping veterans. The service was public and was expected to reach full capacity at the Yountville Performing Arts Center.