Professor profiles: Tobin Streff and Tatiana Ballion

Mark Albers, Staff Writer

Professor Tobin Streff was hired during the summer to work at Wayne State College to fill one of many spots in the WSC Counseling Department.  

Before his employment at Wayne State, Streff was a community counselor working with mental health and substance abuse. Streff said counseling can be challenging for the unprepared and his first goal is to prepare his students to be able to handle the scenarios this field could throw at them. Streff said he wants more confident counselors out in the world. 

“I think everything in the counseling field can be challenging… especially some of your clients are going to be challenging,” Streff said. “Figuring out how to get them to want to change is one of the most difficult things a person can do.”  

In Streffs free time, he enjoys “slow fish” softball and remarked on how his four kids take up a lot of his time in the summer. Other activities he enjoys are camping and working on cars when he can. Besides giving great tips on where in South Dakota to pitch a tent, Streff really wanted to emphasize how he wants to provide the best for his students and for them to understand and learn everything involved.   

“Right out of college the biggest struggle I’ve seen is understanding how to build boundaries,” Streff said. “The burnout rate for counseling is astronomical, making sure the students know how to take care of themselves as well as the patient is my goal for my classes.” 

To finish Streff leaves his student with a piece of advice. 

Be yourself because everyone else is taken, nobody’s style is going to be same as the next guy so you might as well own it.”  

Tatiana Ballion is another one of Wayne State’s newest professors and was hired to teach psychology and cognitive science.  

Ballion is a scholar who often refers to herself as a cognitive scientist who enjoys researching and writing to fill her daysBallion said she finds herself a very logical person who takes pride in her work and one of her favorite things to do is share her findings with her students. 

Ballion found herself becoming interested in cognitive science at a young age. 

“As a child I was allowed to read anything… I stumbled across a couple books by Martin Gardner… I found myself really liking the idea of the limitation of our perception.” Ballion finds her love in doing research and conducting experiments and takes a lot of inspiration from Gardner.  

While working in the psychology industry, Ballion has traveled to many places in the United States. This has developed a love for traveling and has become something she enjoys immensely. “I love traveling and luckily I’m in a field of study that gives me a lot of opportunities to do that.” Ballion said.  

“I have a lot of respect for people who put themselves out there to try and help humanity and I find myself trying to aid in that endeavor,” Ballion said. “There are people out there who try to use things in this field to exploit people.” Ballion said that she does her best to bring the nuttiness back down to reality.