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, LCSW
Associate Director

Judy has been at SBU for 8 years.  She has been the Interim Associate Director since 2013 and is the Chair of the Behavioral Assessment Committee.  Judy specializes in Crisis Management and Emergency/Disaster Mental Health.  She obtained her Master of Social Work at Adelphi University and has worked in the Mental Health field for almost 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; and REALLY enjoys when students arrive at CAPS in costume (particularly dressed as fruit or animals with musical instruments)!!! 


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, 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. 


Mary Behling, MD
Assistant Director for Psychiatry

Mary, though born in south Florida, has been at CAPS following residency in Psychiatry at Albert Einstein in NYC since 1989. She attended medical school at the University of Miami. She is proud to head up a quality staff as Assistant Director CAPS, Psychiatry. Outside of work, Mary has many varied interests, including photography and kayaking.


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. 


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, 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!


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 Dell'Orletta, LMSW

Amanda is a counselor here at CAPS, working with students though a variety of services. A Licensed Social Worker, Amanda graduated from Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Service. Outside of work she enjoys baking, traveling to visit friends, and watching sports.


Sandra Edwards, DNP, NPP
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Lara Lara Hunter, LCSW
Coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drugs Clinical Services

Lara works as the Coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drugs Clinical Services here at CAPS. She earned her degree in clinical social work from New York University. Lara works with voluntary and mandated clients on substance abuse and addictions, and provides significant community education and outreach around substance use. She has three dogs…that should tell you a lot!  Aside from hanging out with her dogs, she loves baking and acting.  She is part of a local repertoire company and has been in local theatre productions-- but not musicals; while she loves to sing, she can’t carry a tune!

julia Julia Kiely, Ph.D

Julia earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from The New School for Social Research in New York, NY.  She has worked at CAPS as a counselor since 2012, becoming a staff psychologist at the center in 2015.  When not at work, Julia enjoys being active, spending time on or near the water, cooking, and entertaining/hosting friends and family.  

Fran Frances Larmon

Frances is one of the friendly faces you will meet at our front desk. Frances is a long time Stony Brook University employee, starting in 1992, and working with departments all over campus. She has been with CAPS since 2001. At home, Frances enjoys playing with her grandchildren, crocheting, and baking.


Meghan Malhotra, MD


Alexandra Pagano, LMSW

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.


Jennifer Penn, LCSW
Triage Counselor

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!


Iwona Perkowski, BA
Staff Assistant

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Iwona has spent much of her life working and living in New York City.  She has worked at CAPS, her second career, for almost 12 years. Prior to that, she worked in the international financial services industry. In her spare time, Iwona enjoys hiking, and especially discovering obscure trails throughout Long Island.


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 2012 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.


Ariana Rebesco, Ph.D
Coordinator of Outreach

Ariana is the Coordinator of Outreach at CAPS.  She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Toledo and has been training and working at SBU since 2014.  In addition to providing counseling services to Seawolves, Ariana collaborates with staff and students across the university to develop programs and interventions that promote the health, well-being, and connectedness of the campus community.  If you see her at an event, don't be shy about saying hello!  Ariana's primary research and treatment interests are focused on aggression and acting out behaviors; relationship issues, interpersonal conflict, and relational dissatisfaction; and personality disorders/characterological dysfunction.  She is also particularly committed to working with individuals of ethnic and racial minority identification, international students, and LGBTQIA identified individuals. 


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. 


JoAnn Rosen, Ed.D., LMHC
Assistant Director for Clinical Services

JoAnn is the Assistant Director for Clinical Services at CAPS, having been at Stony Brook for over 30 years. She has her doctoral degree in Counseling and Counselor Education from Indiana University. JoAnn particularly enjoys working with individuals on issues of self-development and identity, relationships, and better managing depression and anxiety. She also incorporates mindfulness meditation approaches in her individual and group psychotherapy. When not at work, JoAnn enjoys engaging in her own “sitting” meditation practice, practicing Pilates, spinning, and walking on the beach and collecting beach glass- the “exquisite gift from the sea.”  

  Gerald Shephard, Ph.D
Senior Counselor

Gerald is a native New Yorker from Brooklyn. He received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hunter College and his Master’s degree in social work from Columbia University.  After graduating from Columbia, he worked at Harlem Interfaith Counseling Services in Harlem, New York City.  He began working at CAPS in the Center’s formative years, while earning a Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology from Stony Brook University.  When not working, Gerry cycles on the local bicycle trails and takes several spin classes a week.         


Angela Sorice, NPP
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Angela Sorice is a native Long Islander. She has been working as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at CAPS for the past 5 years.  She has worked in various areas of health care for the past 45 years.  Angela enjoys spinning and weight lifting in her spare time. She also enjoying spending time with her Golden Retriever "Ruffy."  


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.


Kathleen Valerio, MS, MCHES
Health Educator

Kate (Kathleen) is a native New Yorker and proud SBU alum. Following a career in the aviation industry, Kate completed her Master of Science in Health Technology and Management with a focus on Community Health, and her MCHES (Master Certified Health Education Specialist). In 2001, she joined our team as a health educator, where she currently instructs the CHOICE and Chill Peer Education Programs. Kate also coordinates the Peer Education Internships with CAPS, is the advisor to the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) and Active Minds, and is the co-host of WUSB's radio program, "Taking Care of Yourself." Off campus, Kate enjoys cooking for friends and family, fishing and skiing.  


2016-2017 Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellows


Russell Esmail, Ph.D

Russell earned his doctorate in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University. He is particularly interested in working with young adults, concerning issues with depression, social anxiety and relationship issues. When not at work, Russell enjoys cooking, stand-up comedy and Brazilian ju-jujitsu.


Mark Macor, M.S.


2016-2017 Psychology Interns

jihee  Jihee Cho, Ed.M

Jihee Cho is a Ph.D. Candidate in Counseling Psychology at Fordham University. Jihee is interested in working with various issues regarding adjustment and acculturation, anxiety, depression and relationship issues. When not at work, she enjoys playing with babies and puppies, binge watching TV, and traveling.    

amanda donlon

Amanda Donlon, M.S., M.A.

Amanda is a fifth-year clinical psychology doctoral candidate from the University of Hartford. Amanda has worked in a variety of clinical settings throughout her career but has a strong passion for college mental health. Amanda is excited to be working with the students and staff at Stony Brook University this year. When not working, Amanda enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking delicious recipes, listening to a good audiobook, attending exercise classes, and karaoke. 


Becky Reed, Ed.M

Becky is currently a 5th year doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Previously, Becky earned an Educational Masters in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University.  She loves working with university students and is excited to meet Stony Brook students. In her free time, Becky enjoys running, yoga, cooking, and traveling.

Andrew Smith, M.A.

Andrew is pre doctoral intern at CAPS and is currently completing a doctorate in clinical psychology at William James College in Boston, Massachusetts. This year Andrew will be working as an individual and group therapist in the counseling center, and will also take part in outreach events across the Stony Brook campus. Andrew is particularly interested in mental health support and advocacy, and has experience working in a variety of treatment centers and community mental health clinics. In his free time Andrew enjoys walking his dog, playing and listening to music, and trail running.