Counseling Department

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education and Counseling

Doctoral Students

Can you imagine yourself here?

Get to know these students!

Doctoral Student Profiles:

3rd Year Doctoral Cohort

Alyse Anekstein, Holly Bolton, Matt Niece (Meridian), Alexandria Kerwin (Meridian), Pam Wells


Alyse Anekstein

Hello everyone and welcome to the Idaho State University Department of Counseling!  My name is Alyse Michelle Anekstein and I am a first year (now third year) doctoral student originally from Long Island, New York.  I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada about three years ago and am now a resident of Pocatello, Idaho.  As a native New Yorker, with a brief stop in Las Vegas, the move to Idaho has been an interesting change.  I have enjoyed meeting many friendly people and really value the cohort model of this program.  This has definitely helped to create a smooth transition to life in Pocatello and I am excited to embark on the next part of this wonderful journey!  I received my undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Albany.  I majored in Psychology with a dual minor in theatre and education.  I received my Masters degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a dual concentration in professional school counseling and clinical mental health counseling.  I am a Nationally Certified Counselor and I am currently seeking state licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Idaho.  

My scholarly interests include the use of creative interventions, Sandtray therapy, transpersonal psychology, and counseling from a holistic perspective.  I have conducted research examining the use of traditional eastern philosophies in western-based counseling, the use of creative counseling interventions with adolescents, and the use of Sandtray therapy in clinical supervision.  I have an interest in leadership and mentorship and have been a board member of the Nevada Counseling Association and a graduate student committee member for the Association for Creativity in Counseling.  I was also the school counseling liaison and ritual committee co-chair of the Omega Alpha chapter of Chi Sigma Iota and I am starting to get involved with the Phi Omicron Chi chapter at Idaho State University.

My hobbies include: theatre, dance, yoga, counted-cross stitch, knitting, swimming, playing tennis, watching romantic comedies, creating home videos of vacations, and spending time with family and friends.  I love to travel and I am always ready to visit new places.  My favorite place to be is at the beach! 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding this amazing department or my experiences.

Holly Bolton

Hi Everyone! I’m Holly. Welcome to our page! I am entering the Counselor Education Doctoral program here at Idaho State University with much excitement and anticipation. Originally from Southeastern Louisiana, I have lived, been educated, and worked in Bozeman, Montana for the better part of the past decade. In 2006, I graduated from Montana State University with an M.Ed. in School Counseling, and worked in the field as a Professional School Counselor for the subsequent three years. In 2009, I returned to MSU Bozeman as an Adjunct Instructor in the Counseling Master’s program, and eventually fulfilled the role of School Counseling Program Leader. Throughout my time in the field, I realized that I enjoyed working with students at a variety of developmental levels. Whether I was teaching at the Kindergarten or Master’s level, I discovered my true passion for education and the process of learning along this broad continuum of development and life stages. My areas of interest and future research include prevention, parent education, child and adolescent development, and counselor development. I am specifically interested in the transfer and application of pre-practicum skills to the practicum environment, especially within the school setting. I am looking forward to making Pocatello my home for the next three years, and enjoying the company of the wonderful people in the program here at ISU. After much thought and contemplation, I am thrilled to finally be pursuing my doctorate and continuing in the counseling field. I know that I have made the best decision possible for my personal and professional development. The excellence of the Counseling Department at ISU is apparent, along with the fact that it is indeed a very special place to be. Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have about the program!

Matt Niece

Hello and welcome to the Department of Counseling website! My name is Matt Niece and I am a first year (now a third year) doctoral student in the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Counseling program at Idaho State University in Meridian. I am excited to reunite with the wonderful ISU family while remaining here in the Boise area. I have a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Boise State University and a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Idaho State University.  I am presently working as a counselor at Boise State University, developing a mental health branch at Unity Health Center in Meridian, maintaining a private practice, and bar tending part time at a local pub.  

I have worked in the University environment for over three years now both as an instructor and counselor.  It has been the wonderful experiences here that have lead me to pursue this doctoral degree.  My professional interests include working with those who struggle with anxiety and depressive issues especially in regards to relationships and major life transitions, counseling student-athletes, and group therapy.  When not at school or work one might find me taking advantage of the endless outdoor activities that the Boise Valley has to offer, or traveling with my fiance', friends, and family.

The Counseling Department faculty provides a challenging yet supportive environment which allows students to develop both personally as well as professionally. I am excited to begin the adventure of becoming a Counselor Educator! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my experiences at the ISU-Meridian campus or any other questions about the program. 9/2011

Alex Kerwin

Hey ya’ll! I have moved up here from Mississippi to join the Counselor Education program. I decided to come here to further my education after working as a children’s counselor in community mental health for 3 years. I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. So far in my career, I have interests in motivational interviewing, adventure counseling, trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy, the use of music in counseling, and supervision in general to name a few. I’m currently seeking state licensure as an LPC and hope to be working in the field soon.
Since moving to Idaho, I’ve come to love the weather and the views. I am looking forward to learning how to snowboard in the winter and have already been able to float down the Boise River and hike up to Table Rock in the 3 weeks that I have been here. I also enjoy traveling, adventures, movies, live entertainment, and being silly with my friends and family. Although I struggled with leaving my friends and family in the South, I look forward to what this new adventure has in store for me.
"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."
Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
If you have any questions regarding counseling, the program, or Idaho in general, shoot me an email. Good luck with your adventures in life.

Pam Wells

My name is Pam Wells and I am a member of the first year (now third year) cohort. I came to Pocatello after graduating with a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Plymouth State University and a Masters degree in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Ball State University. I knew Idaho State was the right “fit” for me when I saw how I could blend my two passions-college student affairs and mental health counseling. I worked in college student affairs for fourteen years, primarily in residential life, Greek life, leadership development and I also worked as a Residence Director on a Semester at Sea voyage. I have also taught an undergraduate course in career exploration.  I recently completed my mental health counseling internship at a college counseling center in New Hampshire.
I am from New Hampshire and while moving to Pocatello, Idaho has been a big change, it has been well worth it. The support I have received from my cohort members and other doctoral students has been incredible. I feel blessed to be a part of such an encouraging and supportive community.
My research interests include college student development, gatekeeping and technology in counselor education.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about the program or what it is like to live in Pocatello.

2nd Year Doctoral Cohort

Back row: Anna Elliott, Kirsten LaMantia, Brittany Dennis, Lynn Bohecker (Meridian) Front row: Tiffany Nielson, Beronica Salazar (Meridian)


Anna Elliott

Hello. My name is Anna Elliott and I am a second year doctoral student in the counselor education program at ISU. I am originally from Massachusetts and have spent my adult life living in the Northeast and Rocky Mountain regions of the country. After graduating college with a degree in psychology, I went on to be a field guide for three years in a Utah wilderness therapy program, which laid the foundation for who I am as a counselor and ignited my passion in working with at-risk adolescents. I continued my work with teens in residential, in-patient, and outpatient settings, before pursuing my masters degree. Through my work with adolescents and my internships in both college counseling and group practice placements, I developed a strong interest in working with trauma from a mindfulness based perspective. Additionally I have had the opportunity to work with eating disorders, domestic violence, and family systems. My scholarly interests mirror my clinical ones, in addition to identity development and group work. This program is rigorous, but intentionally designed to match your developmental level as a student. What I particularly appreciate about the department is the mentorship and availability of the professors, the collaborative and supportive relationships between our cohorts, and the opportunity to work closely with the masters students. I welcome any questions you might have about entering into our program, and am happy to speak to what a rich and worthwhile experience this has been for me.

Kirsten LaMantia

Hello and welcome. My name is Kirsten and I am a second year doctoral student. I like tattoos, pets, ukulele, and the great city of Chicago. As a counselor and educator, my interests include multicultural competency, LGBTQQIA advocacy, and domestic violence group and individual work. If you have any questions about ISU, Pocatello, or anything else, feel free to send me an email.

Lynn Bohecker

Hello and welcome to ISU Department of Counseling! My name is Lynn Bohecker and I am grateful to be returning back to school to pursue a Ph.D. in counselor education after years of teaching as an adjunct professor in several different counseling programs and working in a private practice. My husband, daughter and I live in Meridian and I was thrilled to find out that the program of study I have been interested in for several years has been only a few block away! My professional interests include the incorporation of spirituality in counseling, supervision, group work, and adult survivors of childhood trauma. I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and daughter; and my own spirituality for nourishment and balance in my life. We love to travel and visit with our friends and family. My experience here with Idaho State University so far has been remarkable. The degree to which the faculty is invested in student development is impressive. The departmental framework provides a backdrop of support while at the same time there is a culture of independent thinking and self-efficacy. There are opportunities to network with other students and faculty on a local, state, national and even international level. I have been significantly impacted by the process of this program thus far and have come to realize that there are exponential benefits to the amount of effort I put into each class, paper or presentation. Please feel free to send me an email if you have any questions about the program and I will do what I can to help you out. 4/2013.

Beronica Salazar

Hi! I want to welcome you to the ISU Counseling Department website. I remember my own journey reading studentsí bio and wondering if I would be a good fit. I know this is a difficult decision and welcome you to contact me if you have any questions about my experience at the Meridian Campus.

I am a native from Texas, but have lived most of my adult life in Idaho. My husband, children and I have come to appreciate the different seasons. My family keeps me grounded and they have taught me the most meaningful things in life: ? (Of course, you didnít think I would give you the answer just like that :).

I earned my masterís degree in Marriage & Family Counseling from Northwest Nazarene University and my bachelorís degree from Boise State University. My clinical background includes working with trauma victims, couple/family, high risk youth/adults (due to suicide and/or substance use), and an array of other mental health issues. My bilingual skills have been a strong asset in serving monolingual Spanish speaking clients. I am enjoying my transition from a clinical counselor to counselor educator. I have been supported and provided with many opportunities within the program to expand my skills as an educator, supervisor, scholar and service. As my research interests evolve, I find myself connecting with gatekeeping, counselor development, supervision and advocacy with the counseling profession. Through my time at ISU, I have really enjoyed the atmosphere of learning and collaboration. I will be honest, there are days I wonder how I ended up hear and reality sets in. Aside from the hard work, I am overjoyed to fulfill a lifelong dream. I hope you can achieve yours, too.

1st Year Doctoral Cohort

Hailey Martinez, Blaine Reilly (Meridian), Jade Letourneau, Kristen Lister, Daniel Applegate, Jennifer Gess (Meridian)


Hailey Martinez

Hello. Welcome to the Department of Counseling here at Idaho State University. My name is Hailey Martinez and I am currently in my first year of pursuing a degree in counselor education and supervision. I am a native to this area and thankful for the opportunity to stay in this beautiful state to further my education. I completed my undergraduate studies here at ISU and received a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in physical education. I entered the masterís of counseling program in our department in the clinical mental health track. Throughout my practicum, internship and post-degree experiences, I have worked with intellectually disabled sex offenders, as well as domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Iíve facilitated adventure-based counseling activities with juvenile youth and adult populations. I currently work for a non-for-profit agency here in Pocatello where I run a sexual assault group, and instruct a hatha yoga class to staff and clients with emphasis on trauma work. My scholarly interests include group work, multicultural issues, advocacy, study-abroad, supervision, mindfulness, and helping relationships. As I continue to develop my counselor educator identity, I will simultaneously continue clinical work, as well as seek out opportunities to build upon my knowledge and training in yoga and mindfulness work. Wellness is a vital component to my overall wellbeing. A major component of my wellness is continuing to climb on rock faces, run river corridors, hike and ski in the mountains, ride my horses, and savor every moment of time I spend with my family and friends. I am humbled and honored to be a part of the departmentís family system here at ISU. Please, feel free to contact me at anytime with any thoughts or questions you have. I wish you many blessings of peace, love, and optimal health.

Blaine Reilly

Well if you took the time to scroll all the way down, then I will take the effort to write about myself and more importantly, about my excitement as a 1st year doctoral student here at the Meridian campus. So what to say? Well I am not entirely sure what exactly my foci will be. I can tell you that I am interested in group work, supervision (and its myriad forms), pedagogy, and qualitative research. A year from now, I can promise you that a clear focus and counselor educator identity will have emerged. In all likelihood I will be actively engaged in advocacy for the counseling profession; I will actively be involved in exciting research projects, and I will be up to my elbows (having fun of course) in supervision. I may not be able to shut up about Instructional Theory and incorporating various learning styles into curriculum and the classroom. I donít know. That is a year from now. What I can tell you is this. I am excited for the almost limitless (I cannot fly and will not fly on my own) possibilities for research, supervision, and teachingópossibilities made plausible due to the flexibility and support of ISU faculty and fellow doctoral students.

Jade Letourneau

Greeting from ISUís Department of Counseling. My name is Jade Letourneau and I am a member of the 2016 cohort. I completed my masters in clinical mental health at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine. My clinical experience has primarily been with incarcerated men and women, providing both individual and group counseling, as well as risk assessments and crisis management. Through this work, I have developed clinical interests in trauma work, attachment theory, and suicidality. My scholarly interests (at the moment) include assessment, research, self-care/wellness, and identity development. I had no connection to ISU when I applied to the counselor education doctoral program. I just knew I wanted to teach, mentor, and supervise counselors-in-training, as well as have the opportunity to conduct research. As I compared programs across the country, I found that ISU fit my wish list in every way. What specifically drew me to ISU was the strong counselor educator focus, the intentionally structured curriculum, the cohort model, the amount of co-teaching and supervising experience that was offered, and the response I received from faculty, in both my investigation and interview phases. I have not been disappointed. The faculty and other cohorts have been more welcoming and supportive than I ever imagined possible. The challenges are big, and so are the rewards. Moving from Portland to Pocatello has been a culture shift, but Idahoís amazing outdoors certainly help to ease the transition. Beauty and adventure (and mountains!) are around every corner, just waiting to be explored. Please send me an email if I can answer any questions for you.

Kristen Lister

Hello! I want to extend a warm welcome to you from the ISU Department of Counseling. I am originally from Indiana, and made my way out west to Idaho over a decade ago. I was fortunate enough to attend the masterís-level counseling program here at ISU which was the best educational experience of my life. While in the program, I developed a keen interest in continuing on to get my Ph.D. in counselor education. I loved the support and guidance I received from the faculty and doctoral students at ISU and knew that my true passion was in teaching, training, and mentoring future counselors-in-training. After I graduated from the masterís program with an emphasis in Mental Health Counseling, and before I started the doctoral program, I spent two years working at ISUís student counseling centers in both Pocatello and Idaho Falls. I really enjoyed my clinical work with the students as well as getting the opportunity to teach a career planning class. The experiences I had there also helped to solidify my decision to enter the doctoral program so I was thrilled when I got accepted and excited to embark on this new educational journey. As I begin this program, my evolving areas of interest are group work, multicultural issues, scholarship, mentorship, creativity in counseling, and professional service. I appreciate both the flexibility and structure of this program and how it is carefully planned with student development in mind. While it is a challenging program, I am already reaping the rewards of those challenges in terms of my intellectual and emotional growth. I have also found an incredible support system coming into the doctoral program which includes fellow doctoral students and faculty, all of whom are invested in my success as a counselor educator. If you are interested in applying to the doctoral program at ISU, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you!

Jennifer Gess

Hello and welcome to ISU Department on Counseling! My name is Jennifer Gess and Iím a doctoral student at the Meridian campus, just outside of Boise. My partner and I moved to Boise from our hometown Seattle for school, sunshine, and to enjoy the many outdoor activities the beautiful state of Idaho has to offer, such as hiking, trail running, kayaking, and skiing. I received my Masterís degree in Community Counseling from Seattle University and have worked with the LGBTQ population for several years now as a counselor, advocate and consultant. I look forward to expanding my passion of working with the LGBTQ community here in Idaho as a future counselor educator! Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the program.

Last Modified: 01/09/14