Student Counseling Center Staff
The Student Counseling Center’s permanent staff consists of a Director, an Associate Director, an Assistant Director, staff psychologists, licensed social workers and counselors, an LMFT, psychiatric nurse practitioners. In addition to permanent staff, we have trainees including doctoral interns in our APA-approved internship program, graduate assistants, doctoral practicum students, and social work interns. Our administrative professional staff provides support for administrative operations of the center. View our organizational chart.
E. Nicole Saylor, Psy.D. — Director
- Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL
- Licensed Psychologist and Health Services Provider
Center activities: Currently I am enjoying learning all the complexities of clinical services, outreach, groups, clinical training and campus service that the staff at the student counseling center engages in. I am exploring and observing all the various roles of the staff while continuing to direct and build the vision and mission of the great work that has been started here.
Theoretical Style: I approach therapy and leadership similarly, from a relational perspective. I practice from a relational psychotherapy framework that includes several therapeutic theories and practices, including, self-psychology, relational psychoanalysis, and feminist theories of psychotherapy. The largest factor in change is the relational connection between therapist and client. Therapy can help us to better understand how we operate in relation to others and how our relating patters can have an impact on mental and emotional well-being
Professional Interests: Like all the therapists at the SCC, I am a generalist and work with a wide range of presenting problems. However, I have specific expertise in areas related to relationship problems, religious trauma, family-of-origin patterns, grief, racial identity development, adoption and adhd (particularly in women).
Supervision Model: Supervision is much like therapy but through a third person. By creating a relational space where supervisees can be emotionally safe and professionally supported, a therapist in training is able to share their successes and their areas for growth. Effective supervision balances both the development of self-awareness for the trainee and meeting professional competency needs for the client.
Personal interests: In my time away from the center, I absolutely love all forms of travel, particularly with my partner and our children. I am always planning our next big adventure. I also love a good night out exploring Knoxville, this scruffy little city has so much to offer in arts, culture, and the unexpected. Watercolor painting and exploring our local waterways also are passions of mine.
Judi Gibbons, Ph.D. – Director of Clinical Services/Associate Director
- Ph.D., Arizona State University
- MSW, Tulane University
- Licensed Counseling Psychologist and Health Services Provider
Center Activities: As Clinical Services Director, one of my main jobs is to help students have a good experience at our center. This includes creating and supporting systems that help you get seen and connected with the most appropriate service as quickly as possible. I also provide psychotherapy, supervision, and serve on university committees.
Theoretical Style: The theoretical underpinning to the work I do is based in humanistic psychology, which values the inherent worth of each individual and sees them as capable of making changes that move them toward greater fulfillment in life (among many other things). With that foundation, I use techniques from cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), solution-focused therapy, and other theories that help clients move forward with their goals.
Personal Interests: I enjoy the beautiful scenery of East Tennessee, especially hiking and waterfalls. I moved here from Florida, so I have enjoyed having a change of seasons here in TN. You can find me cheering on Red Sox baseball, Saints football, and the VOLS!
Jess Westcott, Ph.D. — Assistant Director/Director of Training
- Ph.D., Oklahoma State University
- Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Center activities: I stepped into this role on June 1st, so much of my time has been spent observing, learning, and taking in all the facets of clinical training at the Student Counseling Center. I am enjoying integrating myself into the campus community and finding all that UT has to offer!
Theoretical Style: My approach to therapy utilizes a relational-cultural framework that centers authenticity and mutuality. I believe that change and growth happen in and through relationships, and that the relationship between a client and counselor is often the starting point for developing relational resilience with self and others.
Professional Interests: My professional interests include supervision and training, group therapy, and working with students who have historically marginalized identities. I enjoy working with all clients, regardless of presenting concerns, and love the enthusiasm and motivation students bring to counseling. My areas of clinical expertise include ADHD and LGBTQ+ identity exploration.
Supervision Model: My approach to supervision is similar to counseling in that I utilize a relational-cultural framework that centers the relationship between the supervisee and supervisor. I aim to provide support and encourage growth by promoting development of not only clinical skills and practices, but also relational development. I rely heavily on supervisee strengths, and love integrating humor, media, and creativity into supervision.
Personal interests: I am most at peace when I am spending time with my amazing wife and our cats Bucky, Pepper, Evan, and Lily. I love playing board and tabletop games, watching anime, and following college sports. For the foreseeable future, outside of work I am most likely to be found searching for Koroks and paragliding to explore new places.
James Arnett III, PhD
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- Licensed Psychologist and Health Services Provider
Theoretical Orientation: My approach to therapy relies on client-centered approaches, with an emphasis on building a trusting relationship between myself and the client. Every client brings a unique take on their problem, along with their backgrounds, upbringings, and important parts of their identity. I endeavor to understand my clients along these personal lines and help create solutions and insights into the issue that brought them to desire therapy. Regarding therapy traditions, I am inspired by humanistic, interpersonal, and feminist/multicultural approaches to providing therapy.
Supervision Model: I supervise based on a developmental approach, helping novice therapists gain their footing in the therapy room, and more advanced trainees find their own voice and therapy style. Trust is a key component, which I strive to foster with all trainees.
Professional Interests: I enjoy working with students on a variety of concerns, taking a generalist approach to providing therapy. I particularly enjoy working with students navigate family or career issues, first gen college students (as one myself), and LGBTQ+ students. I also have a background working abroad, and have some understanding of the issues that come with international moves and adjustments.
Personal Interests: I indulge in my alone time by playing board or video games, eating a good meal with my family, or planning my next trip abroad.
Elizabeth Baker, Psy.D. — Staff Psychologist/Practicum Coordinator
- Adler University
- Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Health Service Provider
Center Activities: I provide individual and group psychotherapy to undergraduate and graduate students; outreach programming to various campus organizations and communities; and supervision to psychology trainees. I am also the Practicum Coordinator at UTK SCC.
Theoretical Style: I take an integrative approach to therapy, utilizing object relations and interpersonal theories to conceptualize clients and understand how each individual has developed within the context of their relationships and cultural context. I utilize strengths-based, collaborative interventions in my work from cognitive-behavior, humanistic, family systems, and interpersonal theories. Overall, I seek to co-create a space where clients feel safe, heard, and fully accepted by being genuine and authentic.
Professional Interests: Family of origin concerns, identity development, survivors of trauma, spirituality, group therapy
Supervision Model: In general, I seek to develop a strong supervisory alliance that challenges trainees, while offering warmth and support. I take a developmental approach with an emphasis on trainees’ strengths and finding their own unique clinical voice. Supervision is at its’ best when the trainee feels safe to explore their growth edges, as well as instills confidence in their strengths. To that end, I work collaboratively with trainees to identify goals and hone their own therapeutic style.
Personal Interests: I enjoy everything from watching my favorite show on Netflix to traveling (I’ve been to 46 of the United States and most of Central America so far!). Since moving to Knoxville, I have enjoyed spending time in the Smokies and admiring the beautiful landscape of East Tennessee. I am also an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and have yet to find a sport I don’t enjoy either playing or watching.
Macy Copple, PsyD – Staff Psychologist
- University of Indianapolis
- Licensed Psychologist and Health Service Provider
Center Activities: Individual and Group Therapy, Supervision and Training, Community Intervention, Social Media Coordination, Active Minds Advising
Theoretical Style: I primarily identify with client-centered therapy, secondarily incorporating concepts and interventions from interpersonal theories and third wave cognitive behavioral theories as appropriate. I am also particularly interested in using expressive arts as a path for exploring, understanding, and expressing yourself, your emotions, and your story.
Professional Interests: Working with college students is a passion of mine. I love supporting students as they explore their emerging identities, learn about their families of origin, understand their cultural influences, and grow into themselves. More specifically, I have always been drawn toward topics that disproportionately impact women, such as body image, patterns of disordered eating, and sexual trauma. The LGBTQ+ community also has a particular place in my heart. Finally, clinical training not only fuels my passion for mentoring others’ learning and growing, but also facilitates my own continuing education and growth.
Personal Interests: Despite being a pretty quiet person, I love performing—singing, playing bass, acting, etc. I don’t claim to be the best at any of those things, but I feel most alive when I’m performing. I feel most at peace when I’m with my loved ones and when I am in nature. Also, I have been a middle-aged woman since I was born, so I am really into Boomer music, vintage shopping, knitting, and baking.
William K. Hahn, Ph.D. — Staff Psychologist
- Purdue University
- Adjunct Professor, Department of Public Health
- Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Health Service Provider
- APA Internship: Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry
Center Activities: I provide psychological services to graduate and undergraduate students, work closely with Student Health Center medical staff, and supervise trainees.
Theoretical Style: I believe the various theoretical orientations in psychology attempt to understand human nature and illuminate a pathway to relieve suffering. Consequently, I try to use an approach that most closely matches the clients’ subjective distress and belief system.
Professional Interests: I am most interested in individual psychotherapy. I have published several articles about individual and group psychotherapy, as well as brain development in infants and children, intern evaluation, and psychological and physiological risk factors for future hypertension among teenagers and young adults. I also enjoy teaching First-Year Studies and Public Health 430.
Supervision Model: I believe the quality of the therapeutic relationship is the most important variable for successful outcomes. As such, I help trainees be present and make an authentic connection with their clients.
Personal Interests: I enjoy training and walking my Border Collies. I enjoy traveling and have been to Alaska, Canada, the Panama Canal, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, England, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland, Monaco, China, India, Iceland, and The Netherlands.
Alyssa Hedrick, LCSW — Brief Intervention Specialist
- University of Texas at Austin
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Center Activities: Individual therapy; crisis and brief intervention; outreach and consultation to community and campus partners.
Theoretical Style: As a therapist I always come from a client-centered and strength-based perspective. My goal is to help my clients tap into and build on their own individual strengths, and work with my clients to find a solution and will work for them using a collaborative approach. I draw from aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Feminist Theory to inform my work with clients.
Professional Interests: Trauma, suicidality and self-harm, anxiety and panic, and women’s issues.
Personal Interest: Like any good introvert, when I’m not at work I can be found at home recharging. I love cooking and experimenting with new recipes, spend time with my dog, crocheting and dabbling in needlepoint, and playing cozy video games like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing.
Lindley Hunt, LMSW — Clinical Care Coordinator
- Master of Social Work, Aurora University
- Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist
Center Activities: Case management, off campus referral assistance, individual counseling, and outreach.
Theoretical Style: Therapy is a collaborative process; depending on the needs of the client, I am most experienced in utilizing techniques from modalities like ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) or DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy), as well as trauma-responsive talk therapy, art therapy, psychoeducation, self-compassion training, and motivational interviewing. Safety, transparency, and connection are cornerstones of my practice as a social worker. Therapy, to me, is a place for mutual aid and finding healing in understanding.
Professional Interests: I am forever fascinated by the inner workings of our brains as humans and how experiencing trauma adversely impacts the function of our brains. My background as a trauma therapist has primarily been working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence, as well as those who use drugs and struggle with substance dependence. I am most interested in working with survivors of violence, LGBTQ+ folks, and neurodivergent clients, but all clients are more than welcome in the space we create together!
Personal Interests: If not in the office, you can usually find me watching TV and movies with my family, snuggling with my pets, watercolor painting, playing the best cozy video game ever made: Stardew Valley, tending to my plants, reading a book, searching for the best pizza, or admiring the beautiful outdoor environments we have here in Eastern Tennessee
Kara Moore, LCSW – Staff Clinician
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Center Activities: Individual Therapy
Theoretical Style: My current theoretical style is grounded in the person- centered perspective with a use of various interventions from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Dialectal Behavioral Therapy, and Schema Therapy. To translate, I love working with client’s on identification of core beliefs that may be contributing to one’s inability to make better choices. I firmly believe that people could do differently or make positive changes if they had the tools and knowledge. Therefore, my sessions tend to be a combination of self-exploration as well as education and guidance on how to meet treatment goals.
Professional Interests: Substance Use, Trauma Treatment, Mindfulness
Personal Interests: Most of my time outside the office is spent loving on and caring for my two small children. When I do have free time I enjoy doing anything active and having meaningful conversations with friends and loved ones. I am also making an effort to do what I tell clients to do which is to increase my own self-care, put down my phone, and work on breath work and mindfulness. I will admit that following my own advice is very challenging. 😊
Bhoomika Nikam, MS — Staff Clinician
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling (pre-licensed)
Center Activities: Individual therapy
Theoretical Style: My therapeutic approach is based in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but I work to change my approach with the needs of each individual person. I am passionate about helping my students achieve their goals while supporting, validating, and challenging them in a compassionate and collaborative manner.
Professional Interests: Identity development, anxiety, depression, life transitions, women’s issues, racial identity
Personal Interest: When I’m not at work, you can find me binging tv shows with my two cats, cooking, baking, or doing some sort of craft! If I’m not in the kitchen trying a new recipe, I am exploring the Knoxville culinary scene with my partner (feel free to ask me about my favorites!).
Jacob Parsons-Wells, LMFT — Clinical Case Coordinator
- MA, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Center Activities: Case management, off campus referral assistance, group counseling and brief individual counseling.
Theoretical Style: I come from a strengths-based approach which means I believe that we all have unique resources and abilities to solve our life’s problems. I also utilize information and interventions from EMDR (which is short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing to inform my work.
Professional Interests: I love learning and sharing all that I can about how our brains work. Sometimes our brains get stuck in old or unhelpful patterns, but the good news is that we can re-wire them. I’ve found that I often work best with people who have experienced trauma, have concerns with anxiety, identify as part of the LBGTQ+ community, and/or are exploring their religious and spiritual identity. Of course, I enjoy working with many other types of concerns and people too, and I’m grateful I get to spend my days doing this type of work.
Personal Interests: Most weekends I can be found spending time in my kitchen, either trying a new recipe or enjoying the predictability of an old favorite. I especially enjoy making bread and desserts. I can be easily convinced by my family to play a video game, take a hike or walk, build a LEGO masterpiece, and/or make a snuggle pile with our family pets.
Michelle Proctor, LPC-MHSP – Staff Therapist
- University of Tennessee
- Licensed Professional Counselor and Mental Health Service Provider
Center activities: Individual and couples therapy.
Theoretical Style: My theoretical style is an integration of cognitive-behavioral and person-centered therapies within a feminist perspective.
Professional interests: LGBTQIA issues, especially transgender-related issues, as well as trauma survivors, adverse childhood experiences, ongoing family issues, and religious transition/trauma.
Personal Interests: I love all things nature. When I’m not hiking, doing yard work, or climbing trees I can be found in a cuddle puddle with my animals. I like tent camping with my family in the Smokies and sometimes they like it, too. I enjoy photography, crafts, and frequent changes of hair color.
Phil Randall, PhD – Staff Psychologist
- East Tennessee State University
- Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Health Services Provider
- Certified Group Psychotherapist
Center Activities: I provide individual, couples, and group therapy to students; supervision for our Center’s wonderful trainees; and consultation with campus partners.
Theoretical Style: I utilize an integrative approach in therapy. My core framework is cognitive behavior therapy through a client-centered lens, however, I also utilize interpersonal, psychodynamic, solution-focused, or acceptance and commitment interventions as appropriate.
Professional Interests: Group therapy is my passion. I also enjoy working with family concerns, interpersonal relationships, and men’s issues.
Supervision Model: I take a developmental approach to supervision, meaning I try to work with trainees where they are in their development.
Personal Interests: I cherish spending my free time with family, friends, and pets. When I have time for hobbies I’m typically snapping pictures, cooking, enjoying a leisurely hike, knee-deep in a home or car project, and delving into the occasional video game.
Mental Health Clinic Staff
Donna Voica, DNP, APRN – Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
- Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
- Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
- University of Missouri, DNP
- University of Tennessee, MSN, and PMC
- Purdue University, BSN and AASN
Center Activities: My primary focus is on psychiatric medication management to help improve and/or resolve symptoms. Additionally, I serve as a liaison between you and other potential resources needed to facilitate optimum care and health outcomes.
Theoretical Style: The foundation of client-centered care is patient-provider communication. I find the use of reflective listening with an emphasis on the principles of caring and holism beneficial to understanding problems and achieving common goals.
Professional Interests: My educational training and practices have also included primary care. This allows for a greater opportunity to work with you on health education and promotion, and disease prevention given the interconnectedness of mental illness, substance abuse, and general medical conditions.
Regan Christenson, MSN, APRN – Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
- Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
- University of Tennessee, MSN
- East Tennessee State University, BSN
Center Activities: I provide psychiatric evaluations and medication management services.
Theoretical Style: I work with students to set personalized treatment goals that will optimize health and general well-being. Medication is often used to help improve symptoms but we may also discuss non-pharmaceutical treatments such as psychotherapy, healthy sleep habits, and academic supports.
Professional Interests: Prior to joining the Student Counseling Center team, I worked in several different treatment settings including crisis services, community mental health clinics, and in-patient treatment facilities. I have worked with a diverse patient population and my clinical experience includes helping those with depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders.
Personal Interests: I enjoy reading (Stephen King is my favorite author – I have read all of his books!), live music, board games/video games, traveling, and spending time with my family.
Doctoral Intern Clinicians
- Nathan Barker
- Joshua Deitte
- Jeffrey Dunkerley
- Chelsey Gates
- Ethan Paschall
Graduate Assistants/Advanced Practicum
Saumya Arora, MA
- UT Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program
Center Activities: Individual therapy, group therapy, couples therapy, and outreach.
Theoretical Style: When working with clients, I utilize an integrative approach that draws primarily from feminist, multicultural, and emotion-focused (EFT) perspectives, meaning that my work is grounded in the view that our identities and the systems of oppression we interact with shape our life experiences, beliefs, and emotions. I also draw from psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral perspectives to understand my client’s background and appropriately challenge them when needed. In addition, I incorporate liberation-based healing practices. My personal style is warm and friendly, and my goal is to provide a safe therapy space where my clients can authentically be themselves, feel empowered as an individual, and work through any concern on their path to healing.
Professional Interests: I have a particular interest in supporting individuals holding marginalized identities, especially BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals. Furthermore, I have an interest in helping clients work through identity-related trauma. My current research is focused broadly on three concerns: 1) the mental health and well-being of QTBIPOC individuals, 2) South Asian mental health, and 3) advocacy through research. I also have a passion for designing workshops and trainings that assist mental health practitioners in working with marginalized populations.
Personal Interests: In my spare time, I’m usually playing my Nintendo Switch, putting on bright eyeshadow, binge-watching some terrible reality TV show, doing tarot readings, or spending time with my loved ones. I also love getting the opportunity to experience life in different states; I grew up in sunny California and went to college in snowy Minnesota. Hopefully, there’s a lot more travel in my future!
Adam Maughan, MA
Tracy Viator, MMus
Center activities: individual therapy, group therapy, and outreach
Theoretical style: Drawing from interpersonal and psychodynamic perspectives, I value the therapeutic relationship as the most critical factor for healing and change. With every client, my primary aim is to create an environment in which they feel seen and accepted. Upon a foundation of safety and trust, clients may then feel empowered to explore vulnerable issues and establish new patterns relating, both to themselves and to others. Across most presenting issues, I work with clients to enhance awareness and acceptance of emotions, which I view as particularly meaningful sources of information that help us to gain insight, identify our needs, and take action. Finally, I regard therapy as a collaborative process and work with clients to identify personal values that may inform the course of treatment.
Professional interests: In my clinical work, I am most interested in relational concerns, identity development, grief, and trauma recovery. Additionally, I earned my B.M. and M.M. in violin performance prior to becoming a psychology graduate student and, thus, I have a niche area of expertise in the health and wellness issues of performing artists. Currently, my research explores psychological flexibility and the use of ACT-based interventions for music performance anxiety. During my time at UT, I hope to use findings from this research to create psychological resources for university music students and provide outreach services to local performing arts communities.
Personal interests: In my spare time, I find joy hiking in the mountains, cooking vegetarian cuisine, and maintaining my ever-growing collection of houseplants. I aspire to one day live in the Pacific Northwest so that I may be surrounded by evergreen trees, rainy weather, and great coffee.
- Vardaan Dua
- Deja Fitzgerald
- Caterina Obenauf
- Hannah Shinew
- Cherish Thomas
Social Work Interns
- Claudia Eastland
- Andrew Patterson
Administrative Support Staff
- Cristen Williams – Office Manager
- Lauren Bryant – Administrative Assistant; Reception
- Carly Craddock – Administrative Assistant; Reception
- Anna Belle Roberthson – Administrative Assistant, Reception