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Meet the Staff

Julian Pessier

Julian Pessier, Ph.D

Julian is a native Texan who migrated to New York to earn his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the New School for Social Research. He has worked at CAPS as counselor and mentor to Seawolves since 1999, becoming Director in 2013. At home, he enjoys gardening, playing tennis, napping and eating all kinds of fish. 

Judy Esposito

Judy Esposito, LCSW
Associate Director

Judy has been a Seawolf for over a decade.  Judy specializes in Crisis Management and Emergency/Disaster Mental Health and has worked in the mental health field for over 20 years.  Fun facts:  Judy’s first language was Italian; she was on the winning team of SBU’s Dancing with the Stars 2010; loves her fuzzy Shih Tzu; was interviewed by Barbara Walters twice; and REALLY enjoys when she sees students in costume (particularly dressed as fruit or animals with musical instruments)!

  Lisa Akel

Lisa Akel, Psy.D
Coordinator of Student Assessment and Group Therapy

Lisa is a Long Island native who received her doctorate from Yeshiva University- Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. She is the Group Coordinator here at CAPS, and is coordinating several campus outreach programs this year. Lisa is particularly interested in issues related to relationship discord, adjustment, and trauma recovery. Lisa believes in the importance of a work/life balance and makes sure to attend to her own self-care when away from the office by frequenting the gym, reading for pleasure, eating her favorite foods, and playing with her rescue dog, Austin.

Glenda Baker

Glenda Baker, MA

Glenda recently moved to New York from the San Francisco Bay Area. She joined CAPS in February 2015. She has a Masters in Counseling Psychology and over 25 years of experience working in the mental health field. Glenda enjoys traveling, reading historical fiction and eating all types of food. 

  alissa bell

Alissa Bell, Ph.D

Alissa completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at Stony Brook University after earning a master’s degree in developmental psychology from Teachers College. She truly enjoys being at work and working with students. She also likes science, art, spending time outdoors, and watching junky tv. 

Sue byrne

Susan Byrne, LMHC, LCSW
Senior Counselor

Susan is a native Long Islander and alumni of Stony Brook University, School of Social Welfare.  She has worked with many populations before coming to Stony Brook University Hospital and then to main campus working with CAPS as a Senior Counselor.  In her free time Susan enjoys kayaking, playing with her dogs and traveling. 

marissa clements

Marissa Clements, Psy.D
Coordinator for Triage and Practicum Training

Marissa graduated with her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology in Atlanta, GA. She completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Rochester's University Counseling Center, and her postdoctoral fellowship at Oglethorpe University's University Counseling Center. She loves working with the university students, including traditional and non-traditional students. She is particularly interested in women’s issues, couples concerns, and working with student veterans. Personally, she loves reading fiction and spending time outside. She has a healthy competitive streak and loves games, especially any kind of trivia and charades!


Smita Majumdar Das, Psy.D
Expert Consult- Sexual Violence and Trauma Based Counseling

Dr. Majumdar Das has been at Stony Brook University since 2006. She is a NYS licensed Clinical Psychologist and has drawn on the expertise to develop ‘victim-centered’ services for students who experience sexual violence on campus. She also provides direction and leadership to the University’s sexual violence response, education and prevention efforts across campus. She has co-authored and managed two Department of Justice grants with the Office on Violence Against Women, totaling $600,000 to develop and implement a campus-based comprehensive prevention and response strategy to combat sexual violence. She also works closely with Counseling and Psychological services providing direct clinical services to students and clinical supervision to interns and postdoctoral fellows.

Lisa defeis

Lisa DeFeis, LCSW
Senior Counselor

Lisa is a native Long Islander who earned both her B.A in Sociology and her Master's degree in Social Work at Stony Brook University.  She has practiced as a licensed clinical social worker for the past 20 years.  Lisa has worked at CAPS as a senior counselor since January of 2011, and specializes in treating students struggling with alcohol and other drug abuse.  At home, she enjoys reading mystery novels, designing jewelry and cooking delicious meals for friends and family.


Amanda Donlon, Psy.D

Amanda graduated with her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hartford in Hartford, CT. She completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Stony Brook University CAPS. Amanda has worked in a variety of clinical settings throughout her career but has a strong passion for college mental health and wellness. Areas of clinical interest include identity development, trauma, relational distress, culture, and mindfulness self-compassion. Additionally, she is particularly interested in providing supervision along with group and couples therapy. When not working, Amanda enjoys spending time with family and friends, attending exercise classes, listening to a good podcast/audiobook, and karaoke.


Sandra Edwards, DNP, NPP
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner


Lara Hunter, LCSW
Assistant Director for Clinical Services

Ms. Hunter is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years experience providing mental health and addictions counseling and prevention and outreach services. At Stony Brook, Lara is the coordinator of the Alcohol and Drug clinic and outreach services for the campus community.  She is the National Director of the nationally recognized Red Watch Band program.  Her work has been featured on a number of news channels and national professional conferences. 


Dorothy Lilly, LCSW-R
Clinical Case Manager

Dorothy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for over 20 years. Dorothy graduated with her Masters degree in Social Work from Adelphi University.  Over the past 20 years she has worked in a local community hospital providing psychiatric clinical assessment, treatment and case management services.  As a Clinical Case Manager at CAPS Dorothy will assist students connection to services to promote a healthy lifestyle.  Dorothy loves her work and looks forward to being part of the team to help students succeed and reach their goals. In her free time Dorothy enjoys yoga, the beach and spending time with family and friends. 


Mark Macor, Psy.D

Mark earned his Psy.D. in clinical psychology from Antioch University New England. He has experience working in a variety of mental health settings, but is particularly drawn towards the University environment.  Mark is interested in working with undergraduate and graduate students as they navigate the various personal, relational, and developmental happenings present in their lives during such educational pursuits.  When not at work, Mark enjoys playing and listening to music, running, and hiking.


Meghan Malhotra, MD


Susanne Meyers, NPP
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

  jennifer penn

Jennifer Penn, LCSW
Mental Health Specialist

Jenn is one of our triage counselors here at CAPS. She graduated from Adelphi University’s School of Social Work, and has been at Stony Brook for over 7 years. She is particularly interested in animal assisted therapy and connecting students with appropriate care. Outside of work, Jenn enjoys playing with her cats and baking beautiful and delicious cakes!

Gwen phillips

Gwen Phillips, MPH
Case Manager and Evaluation Specialist

Gwen is the Case Manager and Evaluation Specialist here at CAPS, and works heavily with the Behavioral Assessment Committee. She is a graduate of Stony Brook’s Master of Public Health program, and feels lucky to continue working with Seawolves. Outside of work, Gwen enjoys cooking, craft projects and traveling to places near and far.

  Bethany riddle

Bethany Riddle, Ph.D
Assistant Director for Training

Bethany is from Boston, MA originally, and she has been at Stony Brook since 2005.  She earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.  She is the Training Director for the doctoral internship at CAPS, and she very much enjoys this role in addition to working directly with students.  She has a particular interest in working with students who identify as part of the LGBTQ* community.  At home, she enjoys playing the piano, cooking, and swimming. 


Kacie Rocco, MHC

Kacie is one of our counselors here at CAPS. A Long Island native, she graduated from Long Island University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.  She began her journey in college mental health as an intern at CAPS and has enjoyed working at Stony Brook University as part of the CAPS team.  She has an interest in working with students who experience anxiety, depression, adjustment issues and relational distress.  Additionally, she is particularly interested in providing a safe space for students to work towards their personal goals. In her free time she enjoys photography, spending time with her family and being outdoors.


Alexandra Rulli, LCSW

Alexandra is a native Long Islander and an Undergraduate Alumni of Stony Brook University, School of Social Welfare. She is a Licensed Social Worker and has worked with a variety of populations before coming to CAPS as a counselor. Her professional interests include adjustment issues, attention difficulties, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, exercising, and being outdoors.

Donna thorbjornsen

Donna Thorbjornsen
Triage Assistant

Donna has worked at CAPS for 2 years as our Triage Assistant. Donna was born and raised on Long Island and will be the welcoming face you see when you enter CAPS! Donna enjoys spending time with her family and friends and loves being part of the SBU community .



Jason Vargas
Operations Assistant

2019-2020 Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellows



Adami Gordon, Psy.D

Adami received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University in Los Angeles, CA. During that time, he worked in a variety of settings, including private practice, hospice, an OCD clinic, school systems, and the prison system. His internship was at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, during which time he developed a strong passion for university mental health. Adami’s areas of clinical interest include intersectionality within identity development, anxiety, OCD, existential concerns, culture, and insight based work. During his free time, Adami is an avid fan of movies and regularly writes songs.


Shannon Henry, Ph.D

Shannon  graduated with her doctorate in clinical psychology from the  Pennsylvania State University. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings but is particularly passionate about working with college students. Her areas of interest include but are not limited to anxiety, alcohol and substance use issues, identity development, and interpersonal relationships.   She enjoys working with individuals of all cultural backgrounds.   When not at work, Shannon enjoys playing video games, baking cakes and other treats, and playing with her beagle mix, Dipper.



Kyle Park, Psy.D

Kyle graduated with his master and doctorate in clinical psychology from the Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL.  He has worked in a variety of clinical settings but particularly passionate about working with college students. His areas of interest include but not limited to international students, negative body image, interpersonal relationships, anxiety, and identity development. He enjoys working with all genders, sexualities, and individuals with different cultural background.  In his down time, away from work, Kyle enjoys working out, cooking different recipes, watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with family.




2019-2020 Psychology Interns


Lara Dicarlo

Lara DiCarlo, MS

Lara is a Psy.D. candidate in clinical psychology from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from which she has also earned her master’s degree.  Lara has experience working in a variety of settings including community mental health, inpatient and outpatient substance use programs, residential and school settings, and college counseling.  She holds special interests in social justice, identity, relationships, and mindfulness.  Outside of her office, Lara enjoys spending time practicing yoga, exploring nature, and cuddling her cats.

Chris G

Chris Gioielli, MA

Chris is a Psy.D.  candidate  in Clinical Psychology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, from which he also earned his Master’s degree. Chris also holds a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from the Institute for Spiritual Formation. His clinical and research interests focus on  relationships,  issues in spirituality, trauma,  and  culture . He has worked in a variety of clinical settings including community mental health, private practice and university counseling centers. Outside of clinical practice, Chris enjoys being outdoors, enjoying time with family and friends, and a good cup of coffee.


Micah White, MS 

Micah is a Ph.D. candidate in Counseling Psychology from Colorado State University, from which he has also earned a Master’s degree. Micah has worked in a variety of clinical settings throughout his career, including university counseling and outpatient community mental health settings. He particularly enjoys working with university students to help them navigate challenges such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, attention difficulties, and relational problems, among other concerns. During his free time, Micah enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching sports, and playing with his adorable dog.

Nicole White

Nicole White, MS 

Nicole is a Ph.D. candidate in counseling psychology from Colorado State University. She earned her M.S. in counseling psychology from her residing institution, and a B.S. in psychology and B.A. in sociology, with a specialization in criminology and criminal justice, from Colorado State University. Nicole has worked with clients ranging in development (childhood to older adults), with varied presenting concerns ranging from transitional life events to acute stressors, and in several clinical settings, including university counseling, community mental health, and child and adolescent treatment centers. Her clinical interests include adjustment, relationships, identity development, trauma recovery, and crisis management. Outside of clinical practice, Nicole enjoys spending time with her dog, listening to music, reading, and spending time with family and friends.