Counseling Center Staff

EaglesDoRight_1170x300_03 EaglesDoRight_1170x300_02 EaglesDoRight_1170x300_01 EaglesDoRight_1170x300_04


Clinical Staff

Image of Jodi Caldwell PhD
JODI K. CALDWELL, PhD.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Licensed Psychologist
Past Chair, Sexual Assault Response Team
Chair-Elect, Regents Advisory Council – Counseling Director’s Association

More about Jodi Caldwell…

Dr. Caldwell (she/her/hers) received her doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology in 2000 from Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, TX, where she also completed her pre-doctoral internship. She joined the Counseling Center staff in August of 2000 as a staff psychologist. She has since served as the Assistant Director for Training, and the Interim Clinical Services Director. Dr. Caldwell has been the Director of the Center since January of 2012; in January 2018, she became the Executive Director of the Counseling Center for all Georgia Southern campuses. Dr. Caldwell is the Past Chair of the university’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the Teal House: Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center (SRSAC). On the state level, Dr. Caldwell is the Regents Advisory Council as the Chair-Elect of the Counseling Directors Association, and the Past Chair of the Crisis Response Network. On a national level, Dr. Caldwell is currently serving her second elected term to the Directorate Board of the Commission for Counseling and Psychological Services of the American College Personnel Association and was certified as a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Responder.

Dr. Caldwell’s clinical interests are varied and include women’s issues, multiculturalism, and professional development concerns. Dr. Caldwell was the recipient of a 2005 Award of Merit for “Excellence in Service to the Georgia Southern University Community”, the 2006 “Commitment to Advocacy Award” for dedication to the issue of Sexual Assault Education, the 2010 “40 Under 40” award from the Statesboro Herald for professional achievement, and the 2014 “Outstanding Contributions to Counseling Center Work” award from Division 17 of the American Psychological Association. In 2019, she was awarded both the “College Counseling Advocacy Award” from the American College Counseling Association and the “College Counseling Director of the Year Award” from the Georgia College Counseling Association.

Education
PhD, Counseling Psychology, Texas Tech University
Doctoral Internship, Texas Tech University Counseling Center

What is your favorite quote? I have too many to pick just one, but my favorite poem is The Road Less Traveled, by Robert Frost.

What is your favorite dessert? Cannoli

Image of Jeanne McGowan, MSW
JEANNE MCGOWAN, MSW, LCSW

Armstrong Campus
DIRECTOR OF COUNSELING – ARMSTRONG
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Certified QPR Instructor
Member, Sexual Assault Response Team
TRIO Liaison – Armstrong

More about Jeanne McGowan…

Jeanne (she/her/hers) received a Masters of Social Work and School Social Work Certification in 1999 from Widener University in Chester, PA, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Georgia Southern University. Prior to joining the Armstrong Counseling Center in August 2015, she served for 6 years as Director of Counseling at Gwynedd Mercy University in Gwynedd, PA. As a clinical social worker with a certification in school systems, most of her professional career has been dedicated to working within the educational system as a mental health professional. Outside of the school setting, Jeanne has worked in community-based agencies and private practice. In 2017, Jeanne became an Applied Suicide Skills Intervention Training (ASIST) trainer. She works closely with Safety Net of Chatham County’s Prevent Suicide Today office to bring suicide intervention training to the Savannah and surrounding communities. Jeanne’s professional interests include but are not limited to adjustment to college, relational issues, stress management, mood problems. trauma including sexual assault, suicide prevention and intervention, and thought disorders. As a social worker, she appreciates and celebrates the unique characteristics of each individual be it with age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or gender and sexual identity.

Education
MSW, Social Work, Widener University

What song do you sing at the top of your lungs while driving alone in your car? Being a music fan of all types, there are so many songs that come to mind including Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing but my favorite to sing is by Mumford and Sons-The Wolf.

What is something that you wish you could do, but you just don’t have the nerve? As I got older, I developed a mild fear of heights. I don’t like having this fear so try to push myself to face it. The thing I think I would really like to do but don’t have the nerve to do is sky dive!

Image of Katie Jones, PhD
KATIE JONES, PhD

Statesboro Campus
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR/TRAINING DIRECTOR
Licensed Psychologist
Office of Multicultural Affairs Liaison – Statesboro

More about Katie Jones…

Dr. Jones (she/her/hers) received her doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Southern Mississippi and completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Southern Louisiana Internship Consortium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has worked in a wide variety of clinical settings including university counseling centers, an employee assistance program through a large hospital system, adult inpatient assessment, pain management in private practice, and a forensic setting. She joined the Georgia Southern Counseling Center staff in September 2015 and has been the Assistant Director/Training Director since October 2017. Her clinical interests include supervision, training, depression, anxiety, emotion dysregulation, interpersonal skill-building, and the development of life-long adaptive coping skills. Dr. Jones enjoys running many of our skills-based groups and our open seminar series entitled “Emotional Wisdom.” Her therapeutic style is influenced by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Animal-Assisted Therapy, existential issues, and interpersonal processing.

Education
PhD, Counseling Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi
Doctoral Internship, Southern Louisiana Internship Consortium
BA, Psychology, Clemson University

If you could afford a one-week all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would it be? I love to travel! I have spent time in Central and South America, Europe, and Africa. My favorites have been Egypt and Greece! I think the next place on my bucket list is either a safari in Africa or a trip to Vietnam/Thailand! I am a beautiful view seeker.

What song do you sing at the top of your lungs while driving alone in your car? Dreams by Fleetwood Mac & Something to Talk About by Bonnie Raitt… get me every time.

Image of Lauren Patterson, PsyD
LAUREN O. PATTERSON, PsyD, CCTP

Statesboro Campus
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR OUTREACH AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Licensed Psychologist
Certified Clinical Trauma Professional
Chair, Sexual Assault Response Team
Marketing Coordinator

More about Lauren Patterson…

Dr. Patterson (she/her/hers) received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from Georgia Southern, making her a proud “Triple Eagle.” She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Purdue University Counseling and Psychological Services in West Lafayette, Indiana. Following internship, Dr. Patterson quickly returned to Statesboro to continue serving the Georgia Southern student body. She is Chair of the Georgia Southern Sexual Assault Response Team and heads the planning and implementation of many programming initiatives, including Sexual Assault Awareness Week and Walk A Mile in Her Shoes ©. She is a certified R.A.D. Systems Basic Physical Defense instructor. Dr. Patterson also serves on the Board of Directors for the Teal House: Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center. Dr. Patterson’s clinical interests include depression, anxiety, sexual violence and trauma, relationship concerns, multiculturalism, rural mental health, women and gender issues, and gender and sexual minority concerns. Her therapeutic style is integrative of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Feminist Therapy, and trauma-informed approaches. Dr. Patterson was the 2020 recipient of the Kathryn Grube Unsung Hero Award at the Georgia Southern Eagle Excellence Awards ceremony.

Education
PsyD, Clinical Psychology, Georgia Southern University
Doctoral Internship, Purdue University
MS, Clinical Psychology, Georgia Southern University
BS, Psychology, Georgia Southern University

What is your favorite dessert? Cake, cookies, candy, pie. All desserts are my favorite desserts. I could never choose just one!

Favorite quote: “It is the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” Paulo Coelho. And basically everything Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote and/or said.

Image of Becca Smith, MA
BECCA SMITH, MA, LPC, CPCS

Armstrong Campus
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Licensed Professional Counselor
Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor
Group Counseling Coordinator – Armstrong
Fraternity-Sorority Life Liaison – Armstrong

More about Becca Smith…

Becca (she/her/hers) received a Masters of Arts in Community/Agency Counseling in 1999 from Bradley University in Peoria, IL. Prior to joining the Armstrong Counseling Center in May 2018 as Assistant Director, she served as Associate Director of Counseling at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA. Becca started in college counseling in 2010 at Aurora University in Aurora, IL. She decided to move to the South because she enjoys warm winter weather. She accepted a position at Valdosta State University’s Counseling Center as a Counselor in 2012. She was promoted to Assistant Director in 2014 and has served in a leadership capacity since this time. Becca’s passion is working with college students and supervising others who are in training to become counselors. Becca also served as Chair of the Social Media Committee of the American College Counseling Association from 2016-2018. She currently serves as Secretary of the ACCA for 2018-2020. Becca’s professional interests include but are not limited to anxiety, including obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety, traumatic stress, depression, including suicidal ideation, and relationship issues. She also has a special interest in working with the LGBTQ+ population, especially those who experience gender identity issues.

Education
MA, Community/Agency Counseling, Bradley University

If you could afford a one week all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would it be?? I love to travel. A place I’ve never been but want to visit is the Gold Coast of Australia and maybe Bora Bora while I’m down that way!

Favorite quote: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde

Image of Artemis Ray Allen, MS
ARTEMIS RAY ALLEN, MS, LAPC, NCC

Statesboro Campus
Licensed Associate Professional Counselor
National Certified Counselor
Certified QPR Instructor
Housing Liaison – Statesboro

More about Arty Allen…

Artemis Ray “Arty” Allen (he/him/his) earned his master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Columbus State University (Columbus, GA) in December 2018. He received his Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies with concentrations in Preaching and Counseling from Point University (West Point, GA) in 2014. Arty has worked in Residence Life at both Point University and Columbus State prior to shifting to clinical work at the University of West Georgia Counseling Center as an intern and then as a staff counselor. Arty’s counseling style is influenced by humanistic models as well as Gestalt therapy and creative expressive therapy. His clinical interests include LGBTQIA+ population concerns, Transgender and Non-binary gender development and concerns, anxiety, depression, grief, and Autism Spectrum Disorder/Asperger’s. Arty approaches therapy as a collaboration and works from a strengths-based multiculturally informed framework.

Education
MS, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Columbus State University
BA, Biblical Studies with concentrations in Preaching and Counseling, Point University
What do you do in your spare time? I love tabletop board games and card games and I am a massive nerd. I also really enjoy cooking/baking, creative writing, and play a few different musical instruments.

Favorite quote: “You are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy. I have never met a heavy heart that wasn’t a phone booth with a red cape inside.” – Andrea Gibson

Image of Zaigham Bokhari, PhD
ZAIGHAM BOKHARI, PhD, LPC

Statesboro Campus
Licensed Professional Counselor
International Student Liaison – Statesboro

More about Zaigham Bokhari…

Dr. Bokhari (he/him/his) received his doctorate in Educational Psychology from Walden University, Minnesota (2017) and a master’s in Counseling from the University of Detroit Mercy, Michigan (2006). Dr. Bokhari views therapy as a collaborative process. He incorporates cognitive-behavioral theory, dialectical behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, interpersonal theory, and mindfulness into his work with students. He also maintains a heavy emphasis on multiculturalism and works to understand how issues of social inequality impact students’ distress. He is also a huge advocate for group therapy and views that treatment option as a truly unique experience that can help foster a lot of personal growth for the group members. Since 2006 he has worked in university counseling centers and private practices. Dr. Bokhari clinical interests are mindfulness, depression, and treatment of anxiety-based disorders, including eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. Other areas of interest include positive psychology, biological markers of behavior and implicit prejudice, and social value orientation. Outside of work, Dr. Bokhari enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, traveling, outdoors, and watching movies.
Dr. Bokhari speaks Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindi

Education
MS, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Columbus State University
BA, Biblical Studies with concentrations in Preaching and Counseling, Point University

Favorite dessert: Crème Brule

Favorite quote: “The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” -Thomas Paine

Image of Adam Gregory, MSEd, MA
ADAM GREGORY, MSEd, MA, LAPC, NCC

Statesboro Campus
Licensed Associate Professional Counselor
National Certified Counselor

More about Adam Gregory…

Adam (he/him/his) is a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision PhD program at Northern Illinois University. He earned his B.A. in Communication Studies with a minor in Professional Writing and Editing from Youngstown State University in Ohio. He then attended Kent State University in Ohio where he earned an M.A. in Communication Studies with a focus on Political Communication and Public Campaigns. With his first master’s degree, Adam worked in higher education as an adjunct instructor at two universities and also worked several rounds of political campaigns before deciding to return to academia full-time. Adam then earned his second master’s degree, an M.S. Ed., in College Counseling and Student Affairs from Youngstown State University. Adam is currently licensed as a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC) in Georgia, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Ohio, and is also a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board of Certified Counselors. His current research and clinical interests include social justice, multiculturalism, college student development, and human sexuality issues. Adam identifies Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as his theoretical orientations.

Education
MSEd, College Counseling and Student Affairs, Youngstown State University
MA, Communication Studies, Kent State University
BA, Communication Studies, Youngstown State University

What do you do in your spare time? I am a huge movie buff! I was a member of the Cleveland International Film festival for about 10 years and plan to join a local film festival soon. Whenever I am not working, writing my dissertation, or sleeping, I am probably watching a movie or binge watching one of my favorite TV shows.

Favorite quote: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” –Dalai Lama.

Image of C. Adam Hogue, MEd
C. ADAM HOGUE, MEd, LPC, CPCS, NCC

Statesboro Campus
Licensed Professional Counselor
Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor
National Certified Counselor
Safe Space Coordinator – Statesboro
Center for Addiction Recovery Liaison

More about Adam Hogue…

Mr. Hogue (he/him/his) is a two-time graduate of Georgia Southern University and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy through ULM. He joined the staff at the Counseling Center on the Armstrong campus in October of 2016. Mr. Hogue has experience providing services in a variety of clinical settings including inpatient, outpatient, public service, and private practice settings. His clinical interests include relational issues, identity development, sexual minority concerns, and systemic issues.

Education
MEd, Counselor Education, Georgia Southern University
BS, Georgia Southern University

What is your favorite quote? I have too many to list but Mark Twain is always a good choice. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain.

What song do you sing at the top of your lungs while driving alone in your car? There are songs by Queen that it is just impossible not to sing along to but I feel that way about a lot more music than I can list.

Image of Taylor Hopkins, MSW
TAYLOR HOPKINS, MSW

Armstrong Campus
Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical (Maryland)
Outreach Coordinator – Armstrong
Housing Liaison – Armstrong

More about Taylor Hopkins…

Taylor (she/her/hers) is a Baltimore native, and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from Salisbury University and the University of Maryland, School of Social Work (Baltimore, MD). Following her program completion, Taylor has worked in various clinical settings including outpatient mental health servicing children, adolescents, and adults, and residential treatment in collaboration with the juvenile justice department. Taylor’s counseling style is influenced mostly by her experience using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) by incorporating mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, dialectics, and interpersonal effectiveness. Her clinical interests include: depression, anxiety, emotional dysregulation, adjustment and transitional concerns, coping skills, and self-regulation techniques.

Education
MSW, Social Work, University of Maryland
BSW, Social Work, Salisbury University

What is your favorite quote? “When they go low, we go high.” – Michelle Obama

Favorite dessert: Talenti’s Caramel Cookie Crunch gelato with a wam chocolate chip cookie.

Image of Amanda Kort, MA
AMANDA KORT, MA, LPC, CPCS

Armstrong Campus
Licensed Professional Counselor
Certified Processional Counselor Supervisor
Certified QPR Instructor
Suicide Prevention Coordinator – Armstrong
Student Accessibility Resource Center Liaison – Armstrong

More about Amanda Kort…

Amanda (she/her/hers) is an alum of Armstrong Atlantic State University where she was also a student-athlete. Amanda completed the master’s degree program at South University in Professional Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Following this program completion, Amanda worked in various clinical settings while also serving a variety of populations from adults, college students, young teenagers to at-risk youth. Amanda was eager to return to Armstrong Campus and happily joined the staff at the Counseling Center in February of 2016. Her clinical interests include; trauma, mood and anxiety disorders, adjustments issues and transitional concerns, relational/interpersonal relationship issues and special population groups (International students, LGBTQ, FYS).

Education
MA, Professional Counseling, South University
BA, Armstrong Atlantic State University

If you could afford a one week all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would it be? I want to go backpacking across New Zealand

Favorite dessert: Key lime pie

Image of Angela Landers, MS
ANGELA LANDERS, MS, LPC, CPSC, RYT-200

Statesboro Campus
Licensed Professional Counselor
Certified Processional Counselor Supervisor
Register Yoga Techer (200hr)
Practicum Coordinator
Wellness Coordinator

More about Angela Landers…

Ms. Landers (she/her/hers) received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Psychology at Georgia Southern University. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher certification at Savannah Yoga Center. In addition to providing individual and couples counseling, Ms. Landers enjoys offering programs that focus on wellness such as Mindful Yoga, a yoga class infused with meditation practice, and Restorative Retreats. Ms. Landers’ clinical interests include relational issues, anxiety, coping skills, women’s issues, multiculturalism, and identity formation. Her counseling orientation is integrative with an emphasis on interpersonal-process, humanistic, and cognitive perspectives.

Education
MS, Psychology, Georgia Southern University
BS, Psychology, Georgia Southern University

What is the best television comedy of all time? No doubt about it – The Office. I rarely go more than a few days without quoting something from that show!

What song do you sing at the top of your lungs when alone in your car? Any of my favorite “80s Ladies” – Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Pat Benatar.

Image of Katrina Luke, EdD
KATRINA LUKE, EdD, LPC, CPCS, NCC

Statesboro Campus
Licensed Professional Counselor
Certified Processional Counselor Supervisor
National Certified Counselor
Group Counseling Coordinator – Statesboro
Military Liaison

More about Katrina Luke…

Dr. Luke (she/her/hers) earned her doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University and is a two time graduate of Georgia Southern University receiving a bachelor’s in Psychology and a master’s in Counselor Education. Dr. Luke has experience working with a variety of populations including child/adolescents, adults, the geriatric population, and military service members. Throughout her experience, Dr. Luke has provided her services in community mental health facilities, inter-agencies, group homes, the public educational system, and military duty stations. Her clinical interests include anxiety, depression, interpersonal relationships, multiculturalism, effective communication, self-regulation techniques, identity development, and women’s issues. Her therapeutic style is influenced by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Mindfulness, and Motivational Interviewing.

Education
EdD, Counseling Psychology, Argosy University
MEd, Counselor Education, Georgia Southern University
BS, Psychology, Georgia Southern University

What is your favorite quote? I actually have two:
1. Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

One of my favorite professors stated this quote to the entire class during undergrad and it has stuck with me for years:
2. Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I enjoy spending time with my family! When we all get together there is plenty of laughter, jokes, joy, and love!!

Image of Nikita Robinson, MEd
NIKITA D. ROBINSON, MEd, LPC

Statesboro Campus
Licensed Professional Counselor
Case Manager
Certified QPR Instructor
Suicide Prevention Coordinator – Statesboro
Field Experience Coordinator
SOAR Liaison – Statesboro
TRIO Liaison – Statesboro

More about Nikita Robinson…

Ms. Robinson (she/her/hers) received both her B.S in Psychology and M.Ed in Community Counseling from Georgia Southern University. She has experience working with several different populations to include substance dependent, adolescents, and adult males. Ms. Robinson has worked in a variety of settings including community mental health, prison/risk reduction, and crisis management. Her clinical interests include: educating sex offenders, life and coping skills, and behavioral intervention. Her therapeutic background is influenced by humanistic therapies and CBT.

Education
MEd, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Georgia Southern University
BS, Psychology, Georgia Southern University

What is the best television comedy of all time? I have a lot of favorite shows, most of them older but The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Martin take the cake! I can and do watch the episodes over and over again, with the same novelty of years ago.

What song do you sing at the top of your lungs when alone in your car? Lay Me Down by Sam Smith. Or anything Sam Smith! I’m in love with his voice.

Image of Dr. Robert Russell
ROBERT RUSSELL, DO, MPH

Armstrong & Statesboro Campuses
Staff Psychiatrist
Board Certified General Psychiatrist
Board Certified in Public Health

More about Dr. Russell…

Dr. Russell (he/him/his) received his medical degree and master’s in health care administration degree from Des Moines University. He completed his general psychiatry and child and adolescent fellowship training at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI. Previous to this, Dr. Russell was a board-certified public health physician at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and received a master’s in public health degree from Johns Hopkins University. He has served as the principle epidemiologist for several outbreak investigations. Recently retired from the US Army, he spent 22+ years in numerous leadership positions to including the Installation Director of Psychological Health for both Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Air Field. Within this capacity, he supervised 13 clinics and oversaw a staff of 100+ credentialed providers. He has held several high profile positions in support of the war on terrorism in both Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

Education
DO, Medicine, Des Moines University
MA, Health Care Administration, Des Moines University
Child and Adolescent Fellowship, Tripler Army Medical Center
MPH, Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

What do you do in your spare time? I am gifted with overconfidence. I love DYI projects, landscaping, gardening, and constructing. My favorite saying is “I can do that…”

Favorite quote: Herb Brooks – Coach of the 1980 Olympic hockey team: “Great moments… are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world.”

Image of Tatiana Smith, MA
TATIANA SMITH, MA, LAPC

Armstrong Campus
Case Manager
Licensed Associate Professional Counselor
Certified QPR Instructor
Office Of Multicultural Affairs Liaison – Armstrong
SOAR Liaison – Armstrong
Social Media Coordinator

More about Tatiana Smith…

Tatiana Smith (she/her/hers) is a bilingual (English/Spanish), license eligible counselor with an MA in Counseling from Webster University. Tatiana has years of experience providing services with community based organizations as well as in a college setting. She enjoys working with Individuals and Couples using techniques in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, with a solution-focused approach. Tatiana’s clinical interests include anxiety, developing healthy coping skills, interpersonal skills, and avoidance issues.
Tatiana speaks English and Spanish

Education
MA, Counseling, Webster University

Favorite dessert: I am a true sugar lover, so anything sweet! I enjoy the coconut cake from Sandfly Barbeque.
What do you do in your spare time? I enjoy making jewelry. It has become my coping mechanism for anxiety. I love seeing live music and volunteering with organizations working toward social justice. I also enjoy going to the movies.

Image of Mark Taracuk, PhD
MARK D. TARACUK, PhD, NCC

Statesboro Campus
Staff Psychologist
National Certified Counselor
Certified QPR Instructor
Member, Sexual Assault Response Team
Fraternity-Sorority Life Liaison – Statesboro
Research Coordinator
Website Coordinator

More about Mark Taracuk…

Dr. Taracuk (he/him/his) is staff psychologist at the Georgia Southern University Counseling Center. He completed his doctoral degree in counseling psychology at Oklahoma State University and his doctoral internship at the Georgia Southern University Counseling Center. He received his master’s degree in counseling from Indiana University, his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ohio State, and is a National Certified Counselor. His clinical focus includes college populations, existential concerns, autism spectrum disorders, sexual health and well-being, intimate partner violence, and gender and sexual diversity. His quantitative research focus is on interventions that improve attitudes and beliefs related to increasing social justice. Dr. Taracuk serves as a member of the Georgia Southern University Sexual Assault Response Team and on the Prevention of Men’s Violence against Women Champions Committee. He also serves on the Communications & Technology Board for Division 17 – Society for Counseling Psychology. His therapeutic orientation is an integrative approach utilizing psychodynamic, Rogerian, and narrative theories. Dr. Taracuk is an avid Indiana Hoosiers basketball fan, enjoys reading books in the hammock, and loves Labrador Retrievers.

Education
PhD, Counseling Psychology, Oklahoma State University
Doctoral Internship, Georgia Southern University
MSEd, Counseling and Counselor Education, Indiana University
BA, Psychology, Ohio State University

Favorite food: mint chocolate chip ice cream
Favorite quote: “Ask questions. Stay curious. Stay interested. It’s much more importanted to be interested than interesting.” – Jane Fonda

Image of Linus the Therapy Dog
LINUS THE THERAPY DOG

Statesboro Campus
Assistant (to the) Training Director
Certified Therapy Dog

More about Linus the Therapy Dog…

Linus was rescued from the Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 2011. He has lived in Mississippi, Louisiana, and now resides in Georgia. He became a certified Therapy Dog from Therapy Dog International in 2016, as well as a Canine Good Citizen. Linus was the 2017 winner of “Best Behaved” at Downtown Statesboro Development Authority’s Paw-Walk. His clinical interests include attentive listening and the use of silence. Linus enjoys kayaking, most outdoor adventures, bone stealing, and is a beach enthusiast. He most recently served as a member of the Avengers and also may have a French accent.

Education
Certified Therapy Dog, Therapy Dog International
Canine Good Citizen, American Kennel Club

Favorite food: Filet Mignon

Doctoral Interns
(2020 – 2021)

PAIGE ZIEGLER, PsyM

Statesboro Campus
DOCTORAL INTERN

More about Paige Ziegler…

Paige is a current doctoral intern at the Georgia Southern University Counseling Center. She is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and is currently pursuing her Psy.D. at the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology. She has had training in a variety of clinical settings including college counseling, community mental health, and private practice. Her main clinical interests include social justice and systemic issues, body image, body liberation, identity development, adjustment and transitional concerns, and women’s issues. Paige’s approach to therapy utilizes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Feminist Therapy, Positive Psychology, and Cultural Humility. Paige believes in daily gratitude practice, identifying and pursuing one’s true values, and that everyone can benefit from therapy.

Education
PsyM, Wright State University School of Professional Psychology
BA, Miami University

Favorite quote: “I am a human being; nothing human can be alien to me.” – Terence
Favorite movie: Forrest Gump

Practicum Counselors
(2020 – 2021)

Image of Synthia Best, BA
SYNTHIA BEST, BA

Armstrong Campus
PRACTICUM COUNSELOR

More about Synthia Best…

Synthia (she/her/hers) is currently a graduate student at Georgia Southern in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. After graduating with her B.A. in 1995, the following two decades were spent raising her children as well as working for a non-profit Hospice. Her career there as the Director of Volunteer Services and Patient & Family Support Services further increased her desire to help others, particularly in areas related to grief and loss. Her clinical interests include grief and loss issues, adjustments and concerns through major life transitions (marriage, divorce, birth of children/adoption, job loss, career change, moving, etc.), depression & anxiety issues, as well as relational/interpersonal relationship issues. Other interests include spending time with her 3 adult children and their partners, enjoying downtown Savannah, sunrises at the beach, and any outdoor activities (camping/jogging/biking/hiking).

Image of Raven De La Cruz, BS
RAVEN DE LA CRUZ, BS

Statesboro Campus
PRACTICUM COUNSELOR

More about Raven De La Cruz…

Raven De La Cruz (she/her/hers) received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Georgia Southern. Currently, she is a graduate student at Georgia Southern University in the Master of Education in Counselor Education Program with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Raven enjoys working with all individuals and presenting concerns, though her particular clinical interests include multiculturalism, anxiety, depression, communication skills, development of healthy coping skills, working with members in the LGBTQIA+ community, gender and sexuality concerns, and sexual orientation. Additionally, Raven is also passionate about social justice issues and advocacy. Her therapeutic orientation is an integrative approach utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, and strengths-based therapy.

Administrative Staff

SARAH FILAS

Statesboro Campus
COORDINATOR OF OFFICE SERVICES

More about Sarah Filas…

Sarah Filas (she/her/hers) is the Coordinator of Office Services at the Statesboro office. She joined our staff in early 2020.

Image of R. Wes Konkle
R. WES KONKLE

Armstrong Campus
COORDINATOR OF OFFICE SERVICES

More about Wes Konkle…

Wes Konkle (he/him/his) is the Coordinator of Office Services at the Georgia Southern-Armstrong Counseling Center, having joined the staff in August 2016. He facilitates all office functions in the Armstrong office including scheduling appointments and data analysis.

Favorite quote: “I do things like get in a taxi and say, “The library, and step on it.” ― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

Favorite dessert: Chocolate chip cookies, right from the oven

Image of Deborah Johnson
DEBORAH JOHNSON

Statesboro Campus
BUDGET ANALYST

More about Deborah Johnson…

Mrs. Johnson (she/her/hers) is the Counseling Center Budget Analyst, and she joined our staff in December of 2000.

What is one interesting fact about you? I used to be very shy.

If you could take a one-week, all-expense paid trip anywhere in the world, where would it be? Ireland

What do you think is the best television comedy of all time? The Andy Griffith Show

Last updated: 8/6/2020