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Associate Director and Clinical Director

Shirley Cobb, M.A., L.P.C
Contact Info

I received my MA in counseling at Eastern Kentucky University in 1975 and began work at the Madison College Counseling Center (now the JMU Counseling Center) as counselor and educational skills development coordinator.

In 1985, my duties at the JMU Counseling Center included only clinical work, consultation and outreach and liaison with the lake area of residence hall staff. In the late 1980's I returned to graduate school at the University of Virginia and earned 27 hours in and between the various UVA counseling curriculums. Between 1989-91 I served as interim director of the Counseling Center during some major staff changes in this center and the Division of Student Affairs; I have been associate director/clinical director since 1991.

At times over the years, my interests in working with students have shifted to various issues such as stress management and holistic approaches to working with victims of sexual assault/incest and PTSD. As a counselor I consider myself to be psychodynamic/relationship oriented. Many of the precepts of solution-oriented counseling I find useful and compelling; however, I usually conceptualize client issues in terms of object relations theory. Currently, in addition to counseling populations, I am interested in developing more expeditious, integrated (with student development and other services in the university), non-traditional service delivery to students with presenting concerns in the JMU Counseling Center.

Administrative Assistant

Marian Cornelius
Contact Info

I grew up in Northern Virginia and attended Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. I worked for AT&T in Washington, D.C. for approximately 5 years and then was a stay at home mom for quite a few years.

I began working for JMU in the Counseling Center in August 1995. As an Administrative Assistant, I provide support to the Director and the Counseling Staff while providing essential customer service to the students, faculty and the JMU community. I also assist with the day to day operation of the Center.

On a personal note, I enjoy cooking, gardening, traveling, auctions and visiting family and friends.

Administrative Graduate Assistant

Brittany Cover
Contact Info

I was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley. After receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from George Mason University in 2013, I decided to return to the valley and began working in the Shenandoah County Public School system as a substitute teacher and working with special needs students. I am currently in my second and final year of the School Counseling Master’s Program at JMU. When I am not working in the Counseling Center, I am fulfilling my counseling internship hours in the local schools. After graduation, I hope to work as a school counselor in a middle school, however, I love working with all students, so any school level would make me happy. 

When I am not doing school work, or working in various offices, I enjoy spending time with my energetic puppy Milo, as well as, spending time with my cohort members, and doing various outdoor activities.

Case Manager, Staff Counselor, & Ed.S. Training Co-Coordinator

Nina Critz, M.S., L.P.C
Contact Info

I joined the Counseling Center staff in 2010 when the position of Case Manager was created. I received my Bachelor of Arts ('05) and Master of Science ('07) in Psychology from Radford University. Through various internship and professional experiences, I have worked with clients across the lifespan in a variety of settings. My passion, however, lies in working with the college student population. Developmentally, this is an exciting time of for discovering and creating one's self identity, however, it is also a period in life when many students struggle with mental health concerns, some for the first time. Through the therapeutic relationship it is my desire to plant seeds of hope and recovery for each student who is struggling with a mental health issue. As Case Manager, I provide students with the tools, strategies, support and advocacy that they may need to navigate various campus and community mental health resources.

Although I am a New Yorker (state, not city!) at heart, it is wonderful to call Harrisonburg home. I enjoy exploring the gorgeous outdoors, especially mountains and waterfalls. I enjoy spending time traveling, enjoying delicious foods and being active in the community through various volunteering opportunities. Above all, I treasure my time and relationships with loved ones.

Ed.S. Extern

Karen Engelhard
Contact Info

I grew up in Charlottesville and went to JMU for my undergraduate degree in psychology. After graduation, I worked with children and families as a Therapeutic Day Treatment specialist and in-home counselor for five years. While I loved working with children and families, I have found an increasing passion for working with college students and the emerging adult population. I am proud to be a "double DUKE" as I am working toward my master's  degree in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Ed.S. program, and will graduate in May 2016. In my spare time I love to be outdoors and active, traveling locally and globally, eating goat cheese, baking, and spending time with family and friends. 

Resident in Counseling

Beth Eriksen, MA, MT-BC
Contact Info

I was born and raised in South Dakota, but have called the Shenandoah Valley home for the past six years.  I received my undergraduate degree in Music Therapy from Indiana University-Purdue University of Fort Wayne in 2009, beginning my career at a non-profit hospice working with terminally ill patients.  Several years later, I felt a desire to deepen my clinical skills which led me to pursue my graduate degree in Counseling.  I graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 2014, and have now joined the JMU Counseling Center as a Resident in Counseling.

During my training as a counselor, I had the opportunity to work with students at Shenandoah University and Eastern Mennonite University.  These experiences fueled my love of working with students and exploring the developmental quest of individuation and self-exploration.  I enjoy incorporating experiential forms of therapy in my work as a counselor, pulling from my background in music therapy and the expressive arts.  I am currently undergoing training in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery & Music, a form of music psychotherapy that assists in deepening the therapeutic process.   

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two dogs, Brinkley and Hoosier.  I also enjoy making music or curling up with a good book.

Staff Counselor, Athletics Liaison, Veterans Coordinator, Ed. S. Training Co-Coordinator

Melinda Fox, M.A., Ed.S.
Contact Info

I am a life-long resident of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and a Duke through and through. The ninth in my family to attend JMU, I graduated in 2002 with a BBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management. After working for several years at a private military secondary school as the activities director, I felt called to redirect my career path, thanks in part to experiences with military families and veterans. I returned to JMU to pursue a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I completed my counseling practicum at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and my externship here at the Counseling Center. In May 2011, I graduated with my MA and EdS. After continuing in a part-time capacity during the 2011-2012 academic year, I was blessed with the opportunity to join the staff on a full-time, permanent basis!

I have an affinity for working with high school and college aged students and appreciate deeply both the joys and struggles of self-exploration, individuation and identity development that often accompany this life phase. As a counselor I strive to journey with clients; I view the therapeutic relationship as essential to this process. I work from a psychodynamic perspective and often integrate interpersonal process and cognitive behavioral techniques into my work. I have particular interest in adjustment concerns, family of origin issues, working with the LGTBQIQ community and trauma related to military service. When not at work I can often be found hiking through the woods with my husband and our dogs. In the fall and winter, Sundays are reserved for football and chili. I also love to read, bake, explore new foods/restaurants and I am a self-admitted TV junkie.

Animal Therapist


Francis, a Border Collie mix, specializes in petting therapy. He was rescued from Harrisonburg SPCA and underwent training to become an animal therapist. He works in group and individual therapy sessions and is frequently found under the psychiatrist's desk. He loves to meet new people, but definitely loves to be petted (especially on the belly). He is also affectionate and gives out many kisses. When not working, he can be found chasing squirrels or rabbits, napping in a sunny spot, or evading his owner.

Staff Counselor, Group Coordinator

Wendy Gerlach, M.A., L.P.C
Contact Info

 I graduated from Eastern Mennonite University with a Bachelor’s degree in social work and a Master of Arts in Community Counseling. I am a licensed professional counselor and have had a variety of professional experience in this community. I have worked with the Department of Social Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Sentara RMH Inpatient and Outpatient Behavioral Health.

I have experience working with individuals and families who are experiencing a mental health crisis, including inpatient hospitalization and partial hospitalization treatment programs. I strive to empower individuals to move towards stability and recovery through alignment in the therapeutic process. I integrate a cognitive behavioral approach with an emphasis on solution focused treatment, attachment and family systems. I have experience addressing a wide variety of issues which include, attachment, trauma, grief and loss, managing symptoms of depression and anxiety, self-exploration and identity development, Bipolar Disorder and women’s issues.  I particularly enjoy the process of change in a group setting and coordinate group therapy sessions at the counseling center.

While not at work I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors. 

Staff Psychologist, Sexual Trauma Empowerment Program (STEP) Coordinator

Leslie Gerrard, Ph.D.
Contact Info

I am originally from North Carolina and have lived most of my life in the southeastern region of the United States. I received my B.A. in Psychology and my M.A. in Experimental Psychology from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. I spent a year working with a community mental health provider in Asheville, NC, and a year as a field instructor for a wilderness therapy program in northern Georgia before returning to school to pursue a career in applied psychology. I received my Ph.D. from the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Kentucky in 2012. My clinical experiences include working in various community mental health settings in Lexington, KY and the surrounding areas. I completed my doctoral internship and my postdoctoral fellowship at the University of New Hampshire's Counseling Center.

With four years of training in university counseling centers, I have experience working with a myriad of presenting concerns and diverse students. I have specific training in the provision of outreach services, working with trauma survivors, crisis management, identity development, and social justice issues. My theoretical perspective is interpersonal process oriented, meaning that I am interested in patterns of interpersonal interactions that have developed over the lifespan and may influence a person’s current wellbeing. My training has been heavily influenced by multicultural and feminist perspectives and my time working in wilderness settings has led to a strengths-based, holistic approach with a focus on culture and community. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, as well as engaging with my community in a variety of outdoor activities including cycling, yoga, running, swimming, and hiking.

Office Manager

David Gillette
Contact Info

I was born in Suffolk, VA and moved to the Shenandoah Valley with my family when I was 12. I have a certificate in supervision from Blue Ridge Community College and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management and Organizational Development from Eastern Mennonite University. Since my interests include health and personal wellness, I have also obtained certifications in CPR and AED as well as a Personal Trainer Certification from the American Council on Exercise.

I joined the counseling and student development center in October of 2009 and very much enjoy my job. While at JMU I have had the opportunity to increase my understanding of self awareness and expand my knowledge of business management by attending a diverse range of professional development courses.

While not in the office my interests include riding my motorcycle through the beautiful mountains of the Shenandoah Valley, spending time with my family and going on vacations, especially to the beach or Vegas. I enjoy being consumed by a great book, working out at the gym, and anything to do with being outside in the summer. I also love college football and enjoy playing golf.

Ed.S. Extern

Olivia Gillies
Contact Info

I am an extern here at the JMU Counseling Center and a third year graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. I am originally from Charlottesville, VA, and I received my BS at Sweet Briar College in psychology and philosophy. After graduating, I worked at Virginia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as the surveillance coordinator for domestic violence homicide. My current areas of interest are anxiety, interpersonal violence, and women’s issues. However, I am looking forward to helping students with a variety of concerns. I come into sessions with a cognitive-behavioral and client centered approach, also utilizing goal oriented and strengths-based perspectives. In my time off I love running, being with my family and friends, re-reading the Hunger Games, and watching cat videos. 

Resident in Counseling

Cheri Greenfield, M.A., Ed.S.
Contact Info

I moved to the Shenandoah Valley almost 20 years ago, where I quickly fell in love with this area. After receiving my undergraduate degree from Eastern Mennonite University, I spent 13 years working with high school students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, in both public and private alternative settings. This work eventually led me to pursue counseling as a career, as I began to see my students benefit from acknowledging and exploring their challenges. In May 2015, I completed my graduate work at James Madison University with an M.A. and Ed.S. in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling. I worked as a Counseling Extern during the 2014-15 academic year, and I am excited to return to the Counseling Center this year as a Resident in Counseling. I live in the mountains west of Harrisonburg with my husband and two daughters, as well as our two goofy dogs, Ruby and Jax. My favorite moments are spent outdoors—running, gardening, and most often just sitting on my porch. 

Staff Psychologist, Coordinator of Multicultural Student Outreach

Sylvia Hanna, Psy.D.
Contact Info
I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Virginia Tech. After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Baltimore, MD to pursue a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at Loyola University Maryland. During my time at Loyola, I earned my Master's degree in Clinical Psychology in 2009 and completed my doctoral degree in 2012. I completed my Doctoral Internship here at the Counseling Center and was thrilled to stay on as a senior staff member, coordinating outreach efforts for domestic underrepresented groups of students.

Throughout my training, I have had the opportunity to work with many different populations in various settings (i.e., community mental health, college counseling center, group private practice). After exploring various types of clinical experiences, I  came to realize that my passion is working with young adults, particularly in a university counseling center setting. In my work with clients, I strive to provide a warm and supportive environment for exploring their thoughts and feelings. I view therapy as a collaborative process and enjoy helping individuals arrive at solutions that fit for them and their lives. I value the therapeutic relationship as an avenue to understanding the individual's outside relationships. Some of my clinical interests include working with trauma survivors, those struggling with disordered eating and body image concerns, and interpersonal relationship difficulties. In addition, being a first-generation Egyptian immigrant, I have an interest in working with diversity issues, particularly culture and spirituality.

Treatment Program Graduate Assistant

Michael Horst, M.A.
Contact Info

I graduated from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy. I continued my education with EMU and completed a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Currently, I am Ph.D. student in Counselor Education and Supervision here at James Madison University and I work in the Counseling Center as the Treatment Programs Graduate Assistant. I also co-teach two courses, Counseling Techniques and Integrated Counseling Process, with EMU and enjoy pursing research and presentation opportunities in the areas of clinical mental health counseling and counselor education. My research has focused on mindfulness practices and the therapeutic relationship, and college student engagement with counseling services.

Staff Counselor, Program Assistant Supervisor, Certificate Program Coordinator

Kara Karr, M.A., Ed.S.
Contact Info
I received my MA and EdS in Community Agency Counseling from JMU in 1993. I then went on to become licensed as a professional counselor in Virginia. While I was completing my graduate training at JMU I had the good fortune of interning here at the Counseling Center. I enjoyed my counseling work with college students so much that I continued part-time counseling here even as I took on the role of JMU Coordinator of Disability Services. Three years later as I prepared to give birth to my first child, Mia Christina, I resigned as the Coordinator of Disability Services and stayed on here at the Counseling Center. I immensely enjoy my work here and plan on continuing my part-time schedule indefinitely as I now have a second child, Tessa.

Prior to my employment at JMU, I served as an Adult Protective Services Social Worker for Shenandoah County, providing case management and investigating complaints of abuse against both individuals over age 65 and adults with disabilities. This experience propelled me away from pursuing my MSW and toward a counseling career where I would be able to work with clients on a deeper level instead of focusing on more basic needs.

One of my particular areas of interest is death and dying. I completed the RMH Hospice Training and served as an in-home hospice volunteer. In addition, I have given several presentations on grief issues throughout the years. Other clinical interests include spirituality/religion as it impacts the client and the process of psychotherapy, couples counseling, sexual assault recovery, and working with the LGBTQIQ community.

When I conceptualize client issues, I draw from both a psychodynamic and systems model. In keeping with the Counseling Center's brief therapy model, I have begun to employ more of a solution-focused orientation. I continue to utilize a variety of counseling techniques, depending on what I feel the individual client will respond to, always considering that the counselor/client relationship is a key ingredient in the therapy process.

Staff Psychologist, Coordinator of Men's Issues Programs & Treatment Program Coordinator

Jerrod Koon Ph.D.
Contact Info

I obtained my B.A. in psychology from Wheeling Jesuit University, M.S. in Community Counseling from Shippensburg University and my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from The University of Iowa. I moved to the valley after the completion of my doctoral internship at The University of Tennessee Knoxville. Out of all of my training and clinical experiences, the most rewarding and exciting ones have been at university counseling centers supporting student success. 

I perform a variety of clinical and outreach work related to anxiety disorders, men’s issues and masculinity, gender, identity and multicultural issues, first generation college students, survivors of trauma, sexual assault and intimate partner violence, and healthy relationships. Although I primarily work from a cognitive-behavioral framework, I integrate a variety of interpersonal and psychodynamic interventions in order to tailor the therapeutic process to each client. My goal in counseling is to create a collaborative and empowering environment that assists clients in making positive changes and improving the quality of their lives.

Staff Psychologist, Outreach Coordinator

Magali Laitem, Psy.D.
Contact Info

I received my M.S. in Clinical Psychology from North Dakota State University and my Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from University of Hartford. I completed my doctoral internship at the University of the Pacific and my post-doctoral experience at Humboldt State University.  I have clinical experiences working with a diverse population on a variety of issues. I realized during my training that working with college students to help them have a successful and positive experience during their college years was the most fulfilling and where I wanted to stay. My areas of interests include outreach, multicultural issues, intimate partner violence, suicide prevention and survivors of suicide loss, and grief and loss among many others! Though I am trained in cognitive-behavioral approaches, I tend to approach my work by meeting students where they are at and getting a sense of what they most need so that we can work together to create positive changes. 

When not in the office, I can usually be found reading, doing some form of art, spending time with my cat, or exploring the nearby area. 

Graduate Assistant

Savanna Lester
Contact Info

I am joining the Counseling Center this year as a Graduate Assistant, working primarily as a TA for the Peer Mentoring Program and the PSYC 402 class.  In addition, I also will be seen on campus advocating for the Counseling Center and Peer Mentor Program.  I grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia and first came to Harrisonburg for my Undergrad at Eastern Mennonite University.  I am a First-Year School Counseling student and in my spare time I enjoy golfing, reading (for fun), and making Pinterest recipes! 

Staff Counselor & Coordinator of Suicide Risk Reduction

Janice Lewis, M.A., Ed.S., NCC
Contact Info

I received my B.A. in Psychology from James Madison University, minoring in Art & Spanish. After working in both education and mental health, I returned to JMU to complete my M.A. & Ed.S. degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. My counseling practicum, externship, and first year of residency were all completed here at the Counseling Center, which allowed me to follow my clinical interest in providing mental health support to university students. This year I was delighted to move back to the Shenandoah Valley and return to the JMU Counseling Center as a senior staff member & suicide risk reduction outreach coordinator. 

As a counselor I value wellness and have a deep appreciation for the intention and effort that goes into active self-reflection and creating change. I utilize an integrative approach to counseling and incorporate a variety of interpersonal process, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic based approaches. I work to tailor my services to meet students where they are, and believe in the importance of the therapeutic relationship. I am interested in stress management, suicide risk reduction outreach, identity development, multicultural issues, mindfulness practice, trauma recovery, and resilience.

Training Director, Staff Psychologist

Ilene Magee, Ph.D.
Contact Info

I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, master's degree in Social Work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, and doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington.

My career in psychology has focused on human interaction, particularly how change occurs by means of the therapeutic relationship and the process of therapy. My work is most influenced by interpersonal process, family systems, and cognitive-behavioral approaches. I have experience providing counseling services to a diverse student population with a wide range of presenting issues, and I am dedicated to multicultural awareness both professionally and personally. I am particularly interested in supervision of professionals in training, women’s issues, trauma recovery, multicultural issues, and career development.

Resident in Counseling

Stewart Nafziger, M.A.
Contact Info

Stewart Nafziger graduated from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Minor in Philosophy.  He continued his studies at EMU and completed a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  Stewart has experience working in Shenandoah University, EMU and JMU’s Counseling Center.  He is excited to continue his work at JMU as a Resident in Counseling.  Stewart approaches counseling with a dynamic, collaborative focus, emphasizing students’ potential for growth.

Growing up in the flatlands of northwest Ohio, Stewart greatly enjoys all Harrisonburg and the surrounding countryside has to offer.  While not in the office, Stewart enjoys hiking, running and cruising around town on his bike.  Stewart also enjoys sharing long dinners with his wife at home.  If only Harrisonburg didn’t have so many good restaurants, he would get to enjoy these dinners at home more often!  When someone really wants to find Stewart, most of the time, they need look no further than his reading chair.

Graduate Assistant

Kelsey Newman
Contact Info

I grew up in Northern Virginia and then attended Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA and earned a B.A. in Psychology. My junior year in college I was pulled to the counseling field and then narrowed this down to wanting to work in schools with children. Therefore, during my senior year I was kept very busy with applying to various school counseling graduate programs. I interviewed and immediately was drawn to JMU’s program and was fortunate enough to be admitted! I then moved directly to Harrisonburg and have been living here for a little over a year now. I am in my second year in the school counseling program. I am very excited to be having the opportunity to assist with suicide risk reduction outreach on JMU’s campus, as it is a topic that I think is very important and am passionate about. In my free time, I am an avid runner and have become ‘addicted’ to running half marathons, I spend as much time as possible with friends and family, love enjoying time at my beach house in VA beach as often as possible, and spending time outdoors hiking in the Shenandoah Valley. 


David Onestak, Ph.D.
Contact Info

Previously the Director of the Counseling Center at Eastern Illinois University for seven years, I came to JMU in the spring of 2004. I received my undergraduate degree in psychology from Penn State in 1987, and I then immediately entered the clinical psychology program at the University of South Carolina. Beginning with my predoctoral internship at the University of Pittsburgh's Counseling Center, my professional practice and career have been based exclusively in university counseling centers. After internship, I became a staff psychologist at Georgia Southern University's Counseling Center, where I became licensed psychologist. When a staff psychologist position became available at the University of Pittsburgh, I returned to the site of my internship and stayed there for three years, eventually becoming an Assistant Director.

Pre-Doctoral Intern

Christine Parrish, M.A.
Contact Info

New to the Harrisonburg area, I am excited to be a pre-doctoral intern here at JMU.  I completed my B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Community Counseling, and I am currently a doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at West Virginia University.  I have been fortunate to have had a variety of clinical experiences in student health, inpatient and residential hospital settings, and more recently, college counseling centers.  The foundational underpinnings of my work are based on an appreciation for diversity and the development of a therapeutic relationship.  I consider my therapeutic orientation to be integrated, and I aim to meet the unique needs of each client.  I am especially interested in grief and crisis work, and also enjoy working with clients with multiple intersecting identities.  During my free time, I love to spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Ed.S. Extern

Jennifer Semaan
Contact Info

I am originally from Lebanon and moved to the United States two years ago to pursue my Masters and Ed.S degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I am currently in my third and final year of the program. I hope to further my education by pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology. I have always been extremely intrigued by this helping profession, and have enjoyed dabbling in a variety of jobs that revolve around people's mental health, including working in a prison, in a daycare, and at an orphanage. I want to continue listening to people's stories, empathize with them, and do my very best to help them understand and overcome the issues that they are struggling with because this is something I am extremely passionate about.

Staff Psychologist, Coordinator of International Student Outreach

Carolyn Shainheit, Ph.D.
Contact Info

I completed my B.A. in Psychology from Dickinson College and M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Bucknell University. I made my way out to the Midwest to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Miami University.  During my internship year at Iowa State University, I created programming to support international students and promote interaction among domestic and international students.  I enjoyed and valued that experience and am excited to continue working with international students at JMU!  

In my clinical work, I am passionate about working with college students in a university setting. I appreciate that early adulthood can be an exciting time, yet can also be a period during which individuals experience various difficulties.  I find it a privilege to work with college students and promote their well-being.  I value the therapeutic relationship and view it as a window into clients’ broader relational worlds.  I strive to create a warm and supportive environment and walk alongside clients to explore past experiences and their current environment.  I also work to promote use of more effective strategies to manage distress.  While I consider myself a generalist, some of my interests include family dynamics, emotional maltreatment, trauma, and issues related to diversity.  Outside of work, I enjoy being outside, spending time with friends and family, and playing fetch with my dog.

Staff Psychologist, Psy.D. Practicum Coordinatior, & LGBT*QIQA Liaison

Katrina Simpson-McCleary, Psy.D.
Contact Info

I received my undergraduate degree from Lycoming College in Pennsylvania double majoring in Psychology and Spanish. The blending of psychology and Spanish nurtured my appreciation for people's stories and diversity of experience. Quality relationships and growth are important to me, which is seen in my clinical work in the emphasis and exploration of the clients' relationships, including ours. While I enjoy working with a wide variety of presenting concerns, my areas of special interest include women and men's issues, trauma, working with the LGBTQIQA community, and multicultural identity development. Tied into my value of quality relationships and growth, supervision and training of future clinicians is a passion of mine. After college, I worked as a sexual assault counselor before enrolling in Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Clinical Doctoral program. While at IUP, I had the opportunity to complete both a practicum & GA at IUP's Counseling Center, and I realized that my place in psychology was in working with undergraduate and graduate students. After receiving my degree in 2008, I returned to IUP as a staff therapist before coming to JMU. I first had the opportunity to live in Virginia, while completing my internship at William & Mary's College Counseling Center, and my family and I were very excited by the opportunity to return to Virginia! The multiple parks and recreational opportunities help Harrisonburg feel like home!


Colleen Tennyson, M.D.
Contact Info

I am originally from Ohio and relocated to Virginia in 2003. I completed a B.S. in Biology at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. During college, my volunteer work at the state psychiatric hospital sparked my interest in mental health. I continued studies at The Ohio State University, College of Medicine, and received my M.D. in 2003. I completed my adult psychiatric training at University of Virginia and served as chief resident for the program during my final year.

My training provided exposure to various therapeutic and pharmacologic approaches. I am interested in the interplay of psychopharmacology and psychotherapy and believe that combined treatment is superior to medications alone. This philosophy provides the foundation for my work as I only provide services to students who are actively engaged in counseling at the Counseling Center. I also recognize the benefits students can receive when medical providers in different specialties collaborate. Thus, I work to maintain a comprehensive treatment approach for each student.

Ed.S. Extern

Rachel Tysinger
Contact Info

I moved to the Harrisonburg area in 2003. Watching JMU and the surrounding area develop and grow is what has kept me in this area. I am currently a third year graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program here at JMU and working at the JMU Counseling Center as an Ed.S. extern for the 2015-16 academic year. I will graduate in May 2016. My interest in counseling emerged from working with young children and families in a community-based agency for 8 years prior to returning to school to pursue my master’s degree. I previously held a GA position for two years with the Counseling Center doing Suicide Risk Reduction and Outreach throughout JMU’s campus as well as in the community.  I am excited to transition my focus to working alongside the knowledgeable staff here at the Counseling Center. My areas of interest are to work with groups, including our process and mindfulness groups this year, as well as continue to develop my skills as a clinician in individual therapy. Outside of the counseling center I am also passionate about gaining work experience in substance abuse counseling and education.

Pre-Doctoral Intern

Elijah Wise, M.A.
Contact Info

I am pleased to be surrounded by the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley and feel honored to be completing my internship in JMU’s Counseling Center. As a lifelong resident of Appalachia, I completed both my B.A. in Psychology and my M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Marshall University. I am currently working towards my doctorate (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Marshall.

Enhancing educational opportunities has always been important to me, as well as helping young adults navigate the various changes and decisions associated with the college experience. I have been fortunate enough to do this in a number of capacities, including working as a course instructor, peer mentor, researcher, and academic advisor. My strongest passion is with clinical work, and helping individuals as they work to explore, establish, and revise their unique life narratives. I believe that this is best accomplished within the context of secure working alliance based on genuineness and empathy. My clinical interests include working with individuals experiencing anxiety and mood disorders, first generation college students, students with ADHD and learning disorders, as well as concerns related to social justice, identity development, and the interplay of culture and language. My interests also extend to the effective use of humor and popular-culture within the context of therapy.  Outside of clinical work, I am also a comic-book fan, film buff, animal lover, runner, and occasional musician.