December 5, 2022
Spotlight: Frances Mantak, MPH, Olin College Director of Wellness and Confidential Resource Provider.
The Office of Student Affairs + Resources (StAR) is one of the many offices on campus devoted to the support and celebration of our students, their diversity, and their continuous development as they become engineering innovators.
Frances Mantak, MPH, is Olin’s Director of Wellness and a member of the StAR team. Here, she seeks to make the campus a compassionate and balanced place where students can thrive — academically, mentally, and physically.
“I want students to feel comfortable coming to me for any health issue,” says Mantak. “There can be lots of judgments about what it means to be healthy, but to me, health is about balance, moderation and self-compassion.”
Mantak also strives to help students connect to the resources they need for everything from their physical health to their mental wellness.
“I love that students are very open to talking about counseling and therapy,” says Mantak. “Olin has incredible mental health resources, and especially after the pandemic, it’s important that we all work together to destigmatize mental health care.”
As a confidential resource provider, Mantak is also committed to ensuring that Olin is a trauma-informed system that recognizes the realities and impacts of issues like sexual misconduct and sexual harassment for all members of the Olin community.
“Because of Title IX [a U.S. civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools], the college environment is one of few places in society trying to address these issues in a holistic and more trauma-informed way, and I’m proud to be a part of that,” says Mantak.
Prior to joining Olin in October of 2022, Mantak was a Victim Advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) after spending 15 years at Brown University as the Director of Health Promotion. While she didn’t originally envision getting back into higher education, as she learned more about Olin, she realized what a distinctive place it is.
“What I like most about Olin is that you really feel like you can make an impact,” says Mantak.
“The faculty, staff, and students work together instead of in silos, and there’s a feeling in this smaller community that you recommit yourself every day to the relationships you have with the people around you.”
Mantak lives with her husband, Joe (an engineer who went to the Illinois Institute of Technology), and their beloved dog, Max, a Corgi/Sheltie mix who often visits campus to give students some unconditional love.