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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 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, 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. 


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

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


Danielle Merolla, Psy.D
Assistant Director for Outreach and Community Based Interventions


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!


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, 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.


2016-2017 Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellows

 amanda donlon

Amanda Donlon, Psy.D

Amanda is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at CAPS. She completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at 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 and wellness. Amanda loves working with the students and staff at Stony Brook University. Areas of clinical interest include identity development, trauma, relational discord, and culture. When not working, Amanda enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking delicious recipes, listening to a good podcast, and karaoke.


Ariel Hochster, Psy.D

Ariel recently returned from internship in sunny Florida with his PsyD from Kean University. As a Postdoctoral Fellow, he proudly joins the amazing CAPS team to provide individual therapy, mindfulness and trauma related groups, as well as outreach at the CAPS Let’s Talk program. Ariel specializes in trauma recovery, anger management and values-based exploration. He utilizes a historical perspective and mindfulness techniques to help students alter behavioral patterns that interfere with values and goals. Ariel is fascinated with life, and is dedicated to his family, his work and overall a good laugh. 


 Mark Macor, M.S.

Mark is a Psy.D. candidate in clinical psychology from Antioch University New England and is currently working on completing his dissertation research.  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.


Becky Reed, Ph.D

Becky is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at CAPS. She received her doctoral training in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.  She loves working with university students and has a particular interest in working with issues related to identity development, culture, and social or academic stressors.  Becky also enjoys integrating mindfulness practices within her work. In her free time, Becky enjoys movies, Netflix, yoga, cooking, and traveling.

2016-2017 Psychology Interns


Berry Bishop, M.A.

Berry, a graduate student at Azusa Pacific University, recently moved to Long Island from California. In addition to her doctoral training in clinical psychology, she also holds a Master's degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from Biola University. Berry is particularly interested in working with students on issues of trauma recovery, relationships, religious/spiritual issues, and working with student veterans. Personally, she loves running, going for walks with her dog Winnie, and reading fiction. 


Elizabeth Chaney, M.S.

Liz is a fifth year clinical psychology doctoral candidate at the University of San Francisco. She received her Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies from Loyola Marymount University and her Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of San Francisco. Liz is excited to be working with students at Stony Brook and is passionate about young adult mental health. Her professional interests include: adolescent/young adult development, African American mental health and identity development, underrepresented populations (e.g., students of color, first generation college students, LGBTQ students), strengths-based approaches, and the integration of mindfulness and spirituality into therapy. Personally, Liz loves traveling, staying active, watching her favorite television shows, and eating delicious food. 


Benjamin Locklair, M.A., J.D.


Broderick Sawyer, M.A.

Broderick is a fifth year clinical psychology doctoral candidate from the University of Louisville. Broderick has worked mainly in college mental health, and has a strong passion for helping young adults suffering from oppressive stress (e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) to cope by using mindfulness and compassion-based interventions. In light of the country’s current climate, Broderick is excited to work with students from stigmatized minority groups at Stony Brook and participate in outreach events around campus. In his spare time, Broderick enjoys reading about race-relations, working out, spending time with family, meditating, and beating everyone at his favorite video games (FIFA, NBA 2K). 

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