Maria LaRusso, Ed.D.

Maria LaRusso, Ed.D.

Dr. Maria Grace La Russo is an Assistant for Specialized Counseling who provides counseling and out-reach services at Hunter and Lehman colleges, CUNY and Holy Cross High School, Bayside Queens.  Dr. La Russo was a pioneering member of the Institute, joining the organization in 1980 during its early creation. She earned a B.A. in Education from Kean University and as an elementary school teacher became interested in issues of academic underachievement.  Dr. La Russo earned her M.Ed. in Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her life-long interest regarding the influence of Italian American identity and family systems emerged during her work as a guidance counselor at Lehman High School, Bronx. To further understand the complexity of psychosocial influences and personality development, she attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, one of the few institutions in the 70’s to offer course work in Italian American psychohistory. Her dissertation is entitled A Portrait of Third Generation Italian American Life. Post-doctoral training includes: marriage and family therapy and school psychology. Dr. La Russo has had clinical experience conducting psychological assessments with children, adolescents in addition to working therapeutically with parents in private practice. She is a licensed mental health counselor and school psychologist in New York; teaches graduate level courses in parent education; and provides counseling to parents of special needs children.