Counseling Staff

Leslie Bautista, Psy.D., L.P.

Leslie

Staff Psychologist. Clinical Psychology, Wright State University School of Professional Psychology.
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Interests: Interpersonal violence, trauma, gender issues, diversity and multicultural awareness, training and supervision of psychology trainees. Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. Member: MPA, AWP, NLPA.

Sarra Beckham-Chasnoff, Ph.D., L.P., L.M.F.T.

Sarra

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Interim Assistant Director; Senior Supervising Psychologist.
Education: Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, Indiana State University.

About Me: I’ve worked in college counseling for the largest part of my career because this is a time in a person’s life where they are open to understanding themselves as adults, often for the first time. I weave a developmental approach into my work with students as they learn more about who they are and how to navigate the relationships that are important to them. I focus on emotional understanding, believing that our culture often encourages us to negate important feelings we have, leaving us to navigate our lives without fully knowing ourselves. I also look at the world with a feminist lens, believing that the gender roles and other stereotypes we are taught when we are young, and are expected to follow into adulthood, can create barriers to leading a fulfilling life. Lastly, I recognize that the people I work with are students who may be struggling with academic challenges and expectations that complicate their lives.

When I’m not at work you can likely find me running by the river, reading a library book, or cheering on my favorite football team..

Professional Interests: Prior to working at Student Counseling Services, I worked in a LGBT+ Counseling Center and I continue to find fulfillment working with students from my queer community. I also have
been privileged to facilitate a grief group for students who have lost parents or siblings, and I work with grieving students individually as well.

Alexa Fetzer, Ph.D., L.P.

Alexa

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Groups Coordinator, Staff Psychologist.

Education:  Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, University at Albany, SUNY..

About Me:  In my counseling work, I like to help students gain a better understanding of their current struggles, and help them identify new ways of being or relating to others that feel more genuine and meet their goals more effectively.  I believe that in coming to know ourselves and forming relationships with others, we often rely on what we’ve learned from previous experiences, or what has seemed to work in the past.  When we enter periods of transition that bring new roles, new relationships, and new experiences, our previous learned ways of being or forming relationships may not be as effective, which can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, or relationship and identity concerns.  I enjoy working with students to gain insight into the possible “whys” of what isn’t working, and “hows” for moving forward in a way that is more genuine to who they are and to what their values and goals may be.  This inherently includes a multicultural approach, as I believe we receive many messages and “shoulds” about how to be and how to form relationships from our diverse experiences—from our family systems, our cultural values and beliefs, and surrounding sociopolitical messages and experiences.

When I’m not at work, I like to nurture my northern MN roots by camping, canoeing, and working on my loon call in the wilderness.  I also enjoy yoga, eating delicious food (emphasis on the eating—not so much on the cooking), and keeping up with an ever-growing Netflix queue

Professional Interests: My professional interests include clinical supervision and training, group counseling, diversity awareness and social justice issues, identity development, interpersonal relationship concerns, emotion regulation, mindfulness, anxiety, and depression.

Mark Groberski, Ph.D., L.P.

Mark

Staff Psychologist; Coordinator, Advanced Practicum Program. Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, Loyola Loyola University of Chicago. 1996 - Certificate of Proficiency in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders, APA College of Professional Psychology.

Interests: Substance abuse assessment, intervention, and prevention; clinical supervision and training; psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and integrative approaches to therapy; harm reduction; stages of change; motivational interviewing; LGBT issues. Member: APA; APA Divisions 29 and 50 (Education and Training Committee Member).

Vesna Hampel-Kozar, Ph.D., L.P.

Vesna Hampel-Kozar

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Director.
Education: Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, Iowa State University.

About Me: I enjoy helping students grow and develop in ways that are consistent with and honor their values. Prior to joining the SCS staff at the University of Minnesota, I worked in a variety of higher education institutions; residential, non-residential, online, primarily adult-serving, in rural and urban settings. I’ve served as an academic advisor, career counselor, teaching faculty, and administrator in addition to providing direct counseling services. These roles have influenced me to take a holistic perspective on my work with students, including finding ways to make use of natural supports, strengths, and resources. I recognize the importance of the context and systems within which students’ lives are happening, both within the University and in communities outside of the institution.  I continue to be impacted by my own past experiences as a first generation college student, from an immigrant family, and the experiences of students with whom I’ve worked.  I am honored to accompany students on part of their journeys, and work to build a foundation of respect in the counseling relationship. In my spare time, I enjoy introvert things that ground me including: time with my partner, children, and dog; laughs with friends; cooking; books; music; and movies.

Professional Interests: My professional interests include relationships with self and others, navigating significant life change, graduate and professional school student issues, career development, managing stress and anxiety, self-compassion, self-care, and clinical supervision and training. I especially enjoy working with students who are the first in their families to navigate college, and students who began their academic journey elsewhere and are negotiating the transition to the University.

Nina Hernandez Beithon, M.S.W., L.G.S.W.

Nina Hernandez Beithon

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Diversity Liaison Counselor.
Education: M.S.W. Social Work, University of Minnesota..

About Me: My work is deeply rooted in relationships, as I believe that healing happens in relationship with others and ourselves. I approach therapy with a social justice and anti-oppressive lens which includes a profound understanding of the systems at play that impact students from oppressed communities. My personal and professional work also includes macro-level work to change systems at a larger institutional level in addition to individual and group counseling. As a mixed (Mexican/White) person I am committed to serving students from a variety of backgrounds and enjoy co-creating and exploring together in therapy what healing looks like for you. I take a holistic approach to healing as I believe that our mental wellbeing is strongly connected and in balance with other life components including academics, spirituality, politics, relationships, finances and physical health. I provide therapy in English and Spanish. In my free time, I enjoy practicing and performing with our Indigenous Mexica Danza group, reading, and spending time in nature.

Professional Interests: My professional interests include:  race-based traumatic stress, student activism, police violence, political-based oppression, Latinx populations and issues, oppression fatigue, indigenous and students of color populations and issues, traditional indigenous healing practices, interpersonal trauma, inter-generational and/or historical trauma, gender based violence (domestic and sexual violence), self-esteem, body positivity, identity exploration, LGBTQ populations and issues,  harm reduction, and cultural adjustment for 1st generation college students.

Donna Kulakowski, Ph.D., L.P.

Donna Kulakowski

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Staff Psychologist. Embedded counselor at Carlson School of Management.
Education:  Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, University of Minnesota.

Professional Interests:  Mindfulness, emotional wellness, managing anxiety and depression,  1st-gen students, LGBT concerns, identity and transitional issues, managing emotions.

Jodi Leirness, Psy.D., L.P.

Jodi Pendroy

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Staff Psychologist, Coordinator for the University Response Team.

Education: Psy.D. Counseling Psychology, University of St. Thomas

About Me: I believe therapy is most effective when conducted in an open, safe, and nurturing environment with respect given to the strengths, wisdom, and humanity of each client. I work from an integrative and holistic perspective, meeting each client where they are, and working collaboratively with clients to reach their own personal goals. I truly love working with students and I feel honored to join alongside clients as they create lasting, meaningful change and healing in their lives. When I am not at work I enjoy baking homemade blueberry muffins, taking walks to the farmers market with my partner, dancing in the kitchen with our two young children, and playing games with our silly kitten.

Professional Interests: My professional interests include working with college students struggling with suicidality, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, identity and multicultural exploration, and existential issues, with a specific focus on well-being, balance, self-care, compassion, and self-acceptance.

Jake Loeffler, Psy.D

Jake Loeffler

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Outreach Coordinator, Staff Counselor.
Education: Psy.D. Clinical Psychology, Rosemead School of Psychology
.

About Me:  Sometimes life happens faster than we can adapt to it and often it can be helpful to have someone navigate life during these times. I view caring for one's’ mental health as an ongoing process which requires more work during difficult chapters in life. As a counselor, I help students build resiliency through supporting their strengths and equipping them with skills to make changes to their lives. Each of us are weathering a unique season in our lives and I aim to provide assistance for today’s battles as well as confidence in one’s abilities to effectively build a life for the future. Some of my own personal values include watching and playing sports. I am a MN sports fan. I enjoy woodworking and collaborating with different makers. I cherish sunny days on the lake paddle boarding and nights under the stars. I completed my graduate school at Rosemead School of Psychology in La Mirada, CA and moved back to Minneapolis for the friendly people, nature, and seasons. I am a foodie and enjoy frequenting the great eateries and gathering spaces around the Twin Cities. I value my faith and enjoy sharing life with other members of my faith community.

Professional Interests: Trained as a generalist, I work with a wide range of concerns including depression, anxiety/stress, mood disorders, trauma, academic skills development, grief, identity development, family and relationship issues, and spirituality. I work from an integrated holistic framework that incorporates person-centered, interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral and insight-oriented theories that values individual differences and diversity with the goal of identifying and developing personal strengths that will foster empowerment.

Greg Sawyer, M.A.

Greg Sawyer

Pronouns: He/His/Him
Counselor/Care Coordinator.
Education: M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy, St. Mary's University.

About Me: I am an African American male, social justice advocate, educator, advisor, and counselor.  I am committed to providing advocacy and support to our student population using a student-centered approach as my guidance modality.  I am a graduate of the U of M and was born and raised in the Twin Cities. I’m also a father to 3 exceptional daughters.

Professional Interests:  I am a strong believer in the systems approach to understanding and learning ways to best navigate our world.  I am a proponent of well managed mental health and work to guide and support students in their journey.

Lauren Scholder, Psy.D., L.P.

Lauren Scholder

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Coordinator - St. Paul Office, Staff Psychologist.
Education:
Psy.D.
Clinical Psychology,  Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

About Me: I strive to create genuine relationships with clients where they feel heard, understood and accepted. In therapy, we will work together to build insight, self-awareness, coping, problem-solving and promotion of overall well-being. I approach each therapeutic relationship with compassion, empathy, respect, and warmth. My objective is to create safety with clients so that they may be their authentic selves and work towards change.

I have had the privilege of working in four college counseling centers with both traditional and non-traditional college students.  In my free time, I enjoy taking my dog Billmurray for walks, watching too much TV, and spending time with friends and family.

Professional Interests: My professional interests include identity development and exploration, relationships with self and others, navigating significant life change, working with historically marginalized individuals and communities, trauma, managing depression and anxiety, graduate and professional school student issues and clinical supervision and training.

I provide services on the St. Paul campus of the University, and have liaison relationships with faculty and staff who work with students whose majors are housed in St. Paul, or who live on or near the St. Paul campus.

Chia-Chen Tu, Ph.D., L.P.

Chia-Chen Tu

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Interim Training Director.
Education: Ph.D. Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology, University of Minnesota
.
Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin Chinese.

About Me: I believe human beings have the potential to grow and my role is to enhance people’s awareness and foster change through human connections. I strive to work collaboratively with clients to create a trusting and respectful relationship in which they can gain perspectives or develop new skills and confidence to meet life's challenges. I have extensive experience doing psychotherapy at university counseling centers and providing supervision and training to psychology trainees. I have a special interest in understanding the complexities of human connections as well as exploring the personal and social factors that can lead to disconnection. I work closely with International Student and Scholar Services staff to support international students, and I also develop workshops to assist graduate and professional school students in coping with academic stress and enhancing professional skills. I am fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese and experienced in providing bi-lingual counseling and clinical supervision. When I am not working, I enjoy visiting local farmers markets or art fairs, attending performance art events or film festivals, and travel.  

Professional Interests: Resilience to shame, relationship distress, anxiety, childhood trauma, cultural adjustment and identity development for international students, common concerns for first generation students or students of color, training and supervision of psychology trainees, mind-body integration.

Predoctoral Staff

Kayla Bolland-Hillesheim, B.A., Ph.D. Candidate

Kayla

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
P
sychology Intern - Counseling Psychology, New Mexico State University.

About Me: I believe that we grow through growth-fostering relationships with others and that disconnection, both from others and from our own experiences, greatly exacerbates suffering. Central then to the therapeutic process, from my perspective, is building relational and present moment awareness, as well as skills to form and strengthen connections to affirming community, chosen family, and authentic relationships. I also believe that healing is essentially holistic and touches every area of life, from physical health to academics, and from political climate to financial resources. It is important to me to work collaboratively with clients to identify values-based goals supported by client strengths. In my free time, I love to read and write, snuggle with my puppy, play volleyball, do yoga, and hike in the woods.

Professional Interests: My professional interests include working with the trans and gender non-conforming community, sexual assault, grief and loss, mindfulness, the asexual/ace community, perfectionism, anxiety, family of origin and relationship concerns, spirituality, identity development, and isolation.

Pa Her, M.S., Ph.D. Candidate

Pa Her

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Psychology Intern -
Counseling Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison.

About Me: I came to Student Counseling Services with a number of different experiences that highlight my commitment and dedication to working with students in higher education, particularly underrepresented students. I have worked in various roles such as an academic advisor, a peer mentor coordinator, an instructor, and a psychotherapist. These roles have given me the chance to take part in and witness students' struggle, growth, and change throughout their college tenure. I enjoy working alongside students to make sure that they feel a sense of belonging, valued, and respected. I prescribe to a dynamic and interpersonal approach, which means I work with clients to gain an understanding of how early experiences underlie their behaviors, feelings, and emotions. I also work with them to identify how these early experiences may have impacted their current relationships and interpersonal patterns.

Outside of school and work, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, traveling, and playing sports.

Professional Interests: My primary interest areas include managing anxiety and depression, relationship and family issues, trauma work, identity development, career development, adjustment and transition, and common concerns for first-generation college students and students of color.

Gabe Kaminsky-Bayer, M.Phil.Ed., Ph.D. Candidate

Gabe

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Psychology Intern -
Counseling Psychology, University of Denver.

About Me: Within my counseling work, I aim to collaboratively help students understand their current concerns and develop new ways of connecting with others and themselves. I believe this is done through understanding their past experiences and relationships in a new light that allow them to feel more genuine in their current relationships and interactions. I believe multicultural thoughtfulness and humility are essential in any counseling relationship and it’s through a safe and open space that clients are able to explore their salient, intersecting identities and relationship to the world. I truly love working with students as they learn to uncover new aspects of themselves and begin to feel more confident and self-compassion.

 When I’m not at work, I like to explore Minneapolis, go on walks with my dog, Yeti, cook, and read..

Professional Interests: My professional interests include working with college students struggling with relational concerns, self-esteem, spirituality, multicultural exploration, and positive sexual relationships with self and others.

 


Rita Sandidge, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate

Rita

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, They/Them
Psychology
Intern -
Counseling & Student Personnel Psychology, University of Minnesota.

About Me: I come from a small town in rural South Dakota, but I have lived in the Twin Cities for almost 15 years.  I love cats, sci-fi/fantasy novels, and being in nature.  I believe in equity, justice, and honoring individuals, communities, and nature.  The world is a big place, and our personal paths are often shaped by family, friends, community, institutions and experiences; sometimes it is these exact experiences that bring someone to counseling.  Being mindful of and addressing oppressive, discriminatory, and colonized ways of being are key personal and professional responsibilities I hold.   I consider it an honor to do the work of counseling, and my style is very collaborative-- you have valuable wisdom and experience to share.  A core element of my style is that our work should always feel safe while recognizing it might not always feel comfortable as we grow.

Professional Interests: I value all of the work I do, and all types of people are welcome in my space.  I have an emphasis in practice working with people from marginalized/oppressed communities (e.g. BIPOC, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities to name a few), sex positivity, poly/open relationship orientations, grief/loss/transition, neurodiversity, and earth-based spiritual traditions.  I especially enjoy working with individuals who are new to and/or unsure if counseling is the best option for their well-being.

Advanced Practicum Trainees

Joel Bartlett

Pronouns: He/Himr/His
Counseling Psychology,
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
.

Practicum Trainees

Jieyi Cai

Jieyi Cai

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs
Counseling Psychology, University of Minnesota.

Kayla Huber, B.A.

Kayla Huber

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Counseling Psychology, University of Minnesota.

Dylan Mazza

Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology, University of Minnesota.

Kelson Warner

Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology, University of Minnesota.

Administrative Staff