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

Can you imagine yourself here?

Get to know these students!

Doctoral Student Profiles:

3rd Year Doctoral Cohort

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

Jennifer Gess

Hello, and welcome to ISU Department on Counseling! My name is Jennifer Gess and Iím a doctoral candidate. I received my Masterís degree in Community Counseling from Seattle University and have worked for several years as a counselor, advocate and consultant. My wife and I moved to Boise from our hometown Seattle to allow me to pursue a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. We are enjoying the many outdoor activities the beautiful state of Idaho has to offer, such as hiking, trail running, paddle boarding, and skiing. Currently, I specialize with trans children and youth in private practice in downtown Boise as well as provide equine assisted psychotherapy as a certified PATH EAP. As a student working on my Ph.D., my experience with Idaho State University has been supportive and very rewarding. My professional interests include expanding LGBTQ+ competence among counselors and counselor educators, social justice advocacy, study abroad experiences, animal assisted therapy, supervision, and pedagogy. I am grateful to be an emerging counselor educator from ISU. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

Jade Letourneau

Greetings from ISU's 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 crisis counseling, choice theory, and suicidality. My scholarly interests (at the moment) include career counseling, spirituality in counseling and counselor education, and professional counselor 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. The challenges are big, and so are the rewards. Moving from Portland, Maine to Pocatello has been a culture shift, but Idaho's amazing outdoors certainly help to ease the transition. Beauty and adventure (and mountains!) are around every corner. Please send me an email if I can answer any questions for you.

Kristen Lister


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 started in the masterís-level counseling program here at ISU which was an outstanding educational experience for me. I was particularly impressed by the support and guidance I received from the faculty and doctoral students in the program. I knew that my true passion was in teaching, supervising, and mentoring future counselors so I have continued my educational journey in ISUís doctoral program in counselor education.

My experiences in the program have prepared me well to pursue a career in counselor education.  I have found this program to be both flexible and structured, and I like how it is carefully planned with student development in mind.  While it is a challenging program, I have grown so much over the past two years both intellectually and emotionally.  I have also found an incredible support system in this doctoral program consisting of fellow doctoral students and faculty who are all 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!

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 third 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 Master's 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. I've 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 well-being. A major component 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 department's family system here at ISU. Please, feel free to contact me at anytime with any thoughts or questions you have. I wish you many blessing 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 third 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. I am actively engaged in advocacy for the counseling profession; actively involved in exciting research projects, and I'm 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. 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.

2nd Year Doctoral Cohort

Dominique Avery (Meridian), Alexia
DeLeon, Heidi McKinley, Bryan Lamb, Tami Tribitt, and Kristen Langellier (Meridian)

Dominique Avery

Hello! Iím Dominique Avery. I received my Masters of Counseling at ISU Meridian and I am excited to be continuing my education as part of the ISU Ph.D. program in Counselor Education. I first became interested in this fabulous field of counseling over 10 years ago when I started worked with children and adolescents in outdoor therapeutic settings. I started a Forest Schools program with at-risk children in the woodlands of England, lead wilderness therapy groups in the deserts of Idaho, and cared for teens in an adolescent shelter home here in Boise.  

Most recently, my clinical passion has been with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and LGBTQ youth and young adults. I became EMDR trained in 2014 and love the clinical work I do. My areas of scholarly interest include trauma competency in counselors, trauma recovery, and integrating neurobiology into the field of counseling and counselor education. I am fortunate to be the current secretary of the newly formed IALGBTIC division, and work with a wonderful team on advocacy efforts here in Idaho.  

I have lived in Boise for the last eight years and love the outdoor opportunities and close sense of community that my husband and I have found here. When I am not taking classes, teaching, or studying, you can usually find me running, gardening, or hanging out with my husband, dog, and friends. My husband and I are "urban homesteaders" and keep bee hives, grow a large vegetable garden and put up jams, salsa, pickles, etc when I can each year in the fall.  I enjoy running in the foothills and my main motivation to get out on the trails is my VERY energetic Irish Terrier mix, Jamie.

The counseling program at ISU has become a second home for me and I am honored to be part of a dynamic, diverse, and supportive department as I embark on this a challenging journey of academic and personal exploration. 

Alexia DeLeon

°Hola! °Bienvenidos! My name is Alexia, and I am now a second year doctoral student in the Department of Counseling here at ISU. I am originally from Texas, and I keep making my way up further north, as I lived in Colorado, and now here in Idaho. I am excited to see what this year brings, in terms of instructional theory, mentoring, supervision, etc.  I am curious to learn more about myself as an emerging counselor educator.

I have greatly enjoyed my time here at ISU, particularly a study abroad that I participated in last year in Thailand. I had the opportunity to learn more about Thai culture and mindfulness, which is an area of interest for me. I am currently working at MK Place, which is an inpatient facility for adolescents struggling with substance abuse and I love it! I am bilingual, with Spanish being my second language, and I would love to work with Spanish speaking clients someday. My current research interests involve mindfulness-based sobriety, creativity in teaching addictions courses, mentorship for minority students, counseling and supervision with Latinos, anything multicultural related, etc. I very much enjoy the mentoring piece of counselor education (thanks to many great mentors that I have had), and have a passion to mentor first generation, minority students like myself. 

Some of my self-care strategies include LAUGHTER, golfing, anything outdoors near water, dancing, and traveling to new places. If you have any questions about the doctoral program at ISU, please feel free to email me!

Bryan Lamb

Greetings! My name is Bryan Lamb and I am a second year doctoral student in the ISU Department of Counseling. I was born and raised in the state of Texas where I lived until relocating to Idaho to pursue a Ph.D. I was excited about moving to the Rocky Mountain region and have enjoyed living in the beautiful state of Idaho.

While living here I have been able to pursue my love of nature while exploring my professional and academic interests. Some of my interests include narrative practices, supervision, multiculturalism, and the influence of societal norms in the counseling profession.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the program, ISU, moving to Idaho, or any of my other experiences so far. I look forward to hearing from you!

Kristen Langellier

Hello! Iím Kristen Langellier, second year doctoral student at the Meridian campus. Iím excited to begin the new school year, and to see what second year has in store for me! My time here at ISU has been wonderful, and full of exciting opportunities. I am originally from Illinois, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore the beautiful state of Idaho. My research interests are: feminism, wellness, self-care, multiculturalism, social justice, and advocacy. Feel free to email me with any questions about the program.  Good luck on your journey

Heidi McKinley

Hello! My name is Heidi McKinley and I am incredibly excited to begin my second year at ISU pursuing a degree in Counselor Education! I was born and raised in Jackson, Wyoming and spent my adult years in Bozeman, Montana. I completed my bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Science and my master's degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, both at Montana State University. My clinical experience includes working with adults, children, couples, families and groups at a sliding fee community clinic, as well as at local counseling practice. During my time in my masterís program, I was fortunate enough to work with first year counseling students in helping teach their first counseling skills class (pre-practicum). It was then that I truly began to understand my love for teaching and supervision, in conjunction with counseling. My scholarly interests include (but are not limited to and evolve often): couples work, family systems, group work, supervisory alliance, advocacy and wellness. When I am not in school I love hiking, skydiving, camping, running, gardening, traveling to new places and spending time with my family, my friends and my pets. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this great program and anticipate continuing to thoroughly enjoying working so closely with each of the cohort members, professors and graduate students! Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, or if you need support along the way!

Tami Tribitt

Hello, everyone! I'm Tami and I am very excited to be starting my second year as a doctoral student. My first year went by so quickly; I barely had time to miss Montana where I have spent the majority of my life.

After graduating from Montana State University with a M.Ed. in School Counseling in 2004, I stayed in the Bozeman area working as a school counselor for 10 years. I had the pleasure of working with students K-12. In the last few years of my time as a school counselor, I was an adjunct instructor at MSU in the graduate counseling department. I found that I love, love, love me some counselor educationóespecially when it is related to school counseling!

In my short time at ISU, I have found that I am very passionate about advocacy, school counseling (I could talk for days on that!), families, emotional intelligence, using research to empower individuals...the list goes on and on.

I am eager to work with you, so feel free to contact me if there is anything you need help with.

1st Year Doctoral Cohort

Amanda Bland, Kerrie Taylor
(Meridian), Renee Howells, Melisa
DeMeyer, Dustin Destler (Meridian), and Marisa Rapp

Amanda Bland

Welcome to incoming graduate students and greetings to other curious parties! My name is Amanda Bland and my graduate degree is in clinical mental health from Idaho State University. I am looking forward to continuing my education at this fine institution, surrounded by accomplished faculty and doctoral colleagues. I was drawn to the field of counseling because of my interest in and concern for people. I have found few things more rewarding than being able to use my academic knowledge and interpersonal strengths to witness and understand the individual experiences of others. The field of counseling is a privilege and I count my blessings knowing that I am associated with this fine profession.  My research interests are many, but most fall under the umbrella of mental health issues, particularly with a systems and wellness perspective.Ē

Melisa DeMeyer

Hello! My name is Melisa DeMeyer and I am thrilled to be pursuing my Ph.D. in Counselor Education! I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Montana and spent the last eight years living in Bozeman, Montana. While living in Bozeman I received my bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences and my master's degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from Montana State University. During graduate school I was offered the opportunity to participate in helping  teach the first year cohort foundational counseling skills while also providing counseling services at a community clinic, and the combination really solidified my love for the field of counseling and education! My clinical experience includes working with children, adolescents and their families in a residential therapeutic group home setting as well as on an out-patient basis. Outside of school, I love hiking, camping, reading and spending time with friends and family!

I am elated to be beginning this journey!

Dustin Destler

Hi, I'm Dusty. I grew up in Los Angeles, received an undergrad degree from UC San Diego, and completed the Master's in Mental Health Counseling Program at Southern Oregon University. The bulk of my experience has come from collaborating with at-risk youth and families, but I've also worked with kids and adolescents with developmental disabilities, collegiate student-athletes, over-privileged young adults, and taught psychology at the university level. After some traveling and time in the Pacific Northwest, I found Hawaii calling and moved to begin work as a child and family therapist. I lived that Hawaii Life which only exists in dreams, yet now I am excited to be back in familiar territory and begin doctoral work with peers and faculty that have thus far shown nothing but warmth, genuineness, and accessibility. And, for a university that recognizes and supports the importance of counselor education.


My academic and professional interests focus on assisting youth to have better lives. I want to work toward the integration of a national social and emotional learning curriculum in schools, which I see as a benefit to children and young adults, but also as a potential way to ameliorate many of our societal issues with room for improvement.


Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Renee Howells

Hello! Thank you for your interest in the university! My name is Renee Howells, and I am a first-year doctoral student at ISU. I am a native Idahoan, and I hail from the small town of Gooding. I enjoy outdoor recreation, art/woodworking, theatre/film, traveling and sampling food from all cultures. I love people and I love places.


My educational background begins at The College of Idaho, where I received a dual B.A in Psychology and Fine Arts. I pursued my Clinical Mental Health Masterís degree at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. I have worked in Family Trauma Settings, and I enjoy play and art therapy clinical practices. I have worked with children, adolescents, and adults Ė and I believe that variety is the spice of life!  I am excited to explore the plethora of opportunities that ISU and the incredible field of Counselor Education has to offer. I look forward to developing my identity as an Educator and discovering my research niche for doctoral study. I welcome you to contact me if you have any questions about the program. Go Bengals!

Marisa Rapp

Greetings! My name is Marisa Rapp and Iím thrilled to be embarking upon this journey as a first year doctoral student. Iím a proud Missourian born and raised in St. Louis (Go Cards!). I moved to Pocatello from a small town along the Mississippi River where I recently graduated with my Masterís in Mental Health Counseling. Throughout my undergrad, I worked part time at a residential treatment facility serving children and adolescents with a wide range of behavioral and emotional disorders. My rewarding experience in an inpatient setting solidified my desire to pursue the field of counseling. As I progressed through my masters into clinical experience, I discovered myself being pulled toward the role of educator and supervisor. I found myself wanting to contribute more to the profession of counseling than what I can accomplish at the practitioner level, and ISUís strong emphasis on counselor education was a definite fit for my professional goals.

As a first year doctoral student and new counselor, I continue to explore scholarly and clinical areas of interest, while simultaneously cultivating my identity as a counselor educator. As of now, areas of interest I lean towards are substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, process addictions (eating disorders, gambling, etc.), and family systems. When Iím not plagued with anxiety of narrowing my professional interests (only half joking!), I enjoy live comedy (stand up/improve/sketch), antiquing, and finding steals at local thrift shops.

Iím very grateful to begin my training as a counselor educator here at ISU and invite any questions regarding your journey, the program, or Southeast Idaho!

Kerrie Taylor

Hello! My name is Kerrie Taylor and I am very excited to join the ISU doc program.  I have moved here from Orlando, Florida where I worked with adults diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness who were involved with the criminal justice system.  I also gained the opportunity to work on community task forces in Seminole County, advocating for marginalized populations and forming community partnerships to benefits clients.  I graduated with a masterís degree from the University of Central Florida in 2013 and am eager to build upon the knowledge and experience I gained in the Southeast.  My research interests include: working with multicultural populations, group work, the supervisory relationship, social justice, and treating co-occurring disorders.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the program, the application process, or life as a doc student.

Last Modified: 9/2014 09/15/15