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3rd Year Doctoral Cohort

2022 3rd Year Doctoral Cohort

Back Row: Kimberly Leishman, Jorge Lopez (Meridian), Amanda Arnold (Meridian). Front Row: Hannah Brinser and Zhaoxuan (Daisy) Zhou

Amanda Arnold

Hi there! My name is Amanda Arnold and I am a third-year doctoral candidate based at the Meridian campus. I grew up in the California Bay Area but called Arizona home for six years before moving to Idaho. I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling) from Arizona State University and am a die-hard Sun Devil. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Idaho and my clinical experiences include working with survivors of interpersonal trauma, EMDR therapy, and play therapy. My research interests include graduate student mental health, specifically in counselor training programs, the study of interpersonal trauma, and supervisory and counseling relationship dynamics. During my Master's program I was a member of the CareerWISE research program and studied the impact of race and gender within advanced STEM degree programs, the impact of graduate STEM education on mental health, and the role of interpersonal support in STEM degree completion. Through this work, I have become passionate about recognizing privilege and oppression in my own life and dismantling oppressive systems through research and advocacy efforts. In this upcoming year, I look forward to continuing my development as an educator, supervisor, researcher, and counselor.

Outside of academia, I enjoy cycling classes, DIY home projects, traveling, and spending time with friends and family (especially my dog and cat). I am also an avid consumer of fiction novels, true crime podcasts, and reality TV. If you have any questions or would like to chat more, I would love to connect with you!

Hannah Brinser

Hello! My name is Hannah, and I am a third-year doctoral candidate at Idaho State University. I grew up in a small agricultural town in south-central Washington (pop. 500). After high school, I completed a B.S. in Psychology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. During this time, I volunteered as a crisis counselor and worked as a community support specialist where I helped students with disabilities transition out of high school and gain career-related skills. After graduating, I earned my M.A. in School Counseling from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington (go Zags!!) While I have experience working with a wide variety of students in K-12 settings, I am especially passionate about working with middle and high school students.

I believe strongly in the unique role and opportunity school counselors have in creating meaningful change within schools and communities. My research and professional interests include leadership and advocacy in school counseling, school counselor professional identity, and cultivating trauma-informed schools. I am so excited to train and prepare the next generation of school counselors!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you have, I’d love to hear from you! 

Email: hannahbrinser@isu.edu

Kimberly Leishman

Hello! My name is Kimberly Leishman and I am delighted to be a third-year doctoral candidate. in the Counselor Education and Counseling Program at Idaho State University!

I was born and raised in Idaho and am a Bengal through and through! I have completed a Bachelor of Arts in both Sociology (2012) and Social Work (2017) and a Masters of Counseling in Clinical Mental Health (2020) at Idaho State University. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). My clinical focus is in trauma-based practice, and I have had the opportunity to work with trauma through various populations in the community. I am trained in both EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and TF-CBT (Trauma Focused - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). I primarily work with survivors of domestic violence, sexual based offences, and child abuse at a local non-profit agency, Family Services Alliance. I have been blessed to work with this agency for five years, first as a victims advocate and now as a counselor. In addition to interpersonal based trauma, other professional research interests include religious trauma, animal assisted interventions, counselor supervision, and wellness.

Outside of school and professional work I enjoy the outdoors, traveling, new adventures, and enjoying time with my people.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions! Email: kimberlyleishman@isu.edu

Jorge Lopez

(He, Him, His, El) Hi everyone, my name is Jorge Rosales Lopez. I am a third-year doctoral candidate on the Meridian campus. I come to Boise from Atlanta, GA where I completed my MS in clinical rehabilitation counseling at Georgia State University in 2020. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. I am originally from Los Angeles, CA and a bilingual Spanish and English speaker. Some personal hobbies of mine are playing all sports (primarily basketball and soccer), hanging with friends and family (pets included), and traveling with my partner.

Some professional interests of mine are multiculturalism, social justice advocacy, and disability advocacy. My clinical background includes working for the State of Georgia’s Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Idaho's Commission for the Blind, and conducting gerontology research linked to suicide and loneliness. I was selected by the NBCC Foundation as a 2022-2023 Minority Doctoral Fellow, and I am Excited to embark on this fellowship year journey. Moving forward I aspire to bring accessibility of culturally-sensitive counseling services to underserved and marginalized populations. I am excited to finish this journey and looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Zhaoxuan (Daisy) Zhou

Hi there! My name is Daisy, and I am a third-year doctoral student at Idaho State University! Preferred pronouns are she/her/hers.

I grew up in China and received my B.S. in psychology from Peking University. As an undergraduate research assistant helping kindergarten children with cognitive tests, I emphasized their ability to keep a positive attitude and stay calm in facing challenges more than their task performances. Reflecting on this experience, I realized that counseling should be my career choice. After graduating, I spent four years at Stetson University (Go Hatters!) and earned my M.S. in Marriage Family and Couple Counseling. I also got my certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Play and Creativity in Counseling. As an intern at the House Next Door in DeLand, Florida, I worked with underserved children and families and developed a passion for child-centered play therapy with young children. As an emerging counselor educator, my research interests include multiculturalism in counseling and counselor education, research training for counseling students, and using expressive-art techniques in counseling, supervision, and teaching. I am also passionate about animal-assisted play therapy!

Outside of school and professional work, I enjoy visiting the zoo, writing popular science articles as part of my professional advocacy work, watching movies, and reading fanfiction stories. I am a big fan of Harry Potter! My English name, Daisy, is from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- “Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, turn this stupid, fat rat yellow.”

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Email: zhaoxuanzhou@isu.edu

“Roar! Bengals Roar!”

2nd Year Doctoral Cohort

2022 Doctoral Corhort 2nd Year

Back Row: Anna Baird (Meridian), Kateryna Kuzyszyn, Lee Freed (Meridian). Front Row: Minna Yoo, Aileen Tierney (Meridian), Caroline Brown

Anna Baird

Anna (she/her) is an ISU graduate who originally hails from sunny California. She has a strong background in Feminist Counseling Theory, with a trauma lens emphasis. She was certified in EMDR during the completion of her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Anna is passionate about amplifying the voices and experiences of historically excluded persons and working with diverse populations. She enjoys spending time in the sun, at the beach, and in the water any chance she can get. She is honored to be a second year doctoral student at ISU. Go Bengals!

Caroline Brown

Hello everyone! My name is Caroline Brown (she/her/hers) I am beyond excited and grateful to begin my second year as a counseling and counseling education doctoral student at Idaho State University. I grew up in a small town in Maryland and have had the opportunity to call many states across the country home throughout the years. I attended Utah State University as I obtained my bachelor’s degree in psychology and minor in human development. I then attended Idaho State University as I received my master’s degree in counseling with a specialty of marriage, couple, and family counseling. I am passionate about working with persons experiencing behavioral and substance related addictions and bringing awareness about the systemic cycles that influence individuals, families, and communities. My research interests include addiction curriculum and bridging the treatment gap of addiction counseling and services.

I love to spend my free time in the mountains with my two pups where I find myself most days either hiking, dirt-biking, mountain-biking, or snowboarding depending on the season.

Lee Freed

My name is Lee Freed and I use they/them pronouns. I am now a second year doctoral student at ISU with the counseling department. I am a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Vermont and am a Nationally Certified Counselor (through NBCC). I specialize in grief and loss with youth and families. I also specialize in competent LGBTQAI+ support for adolescents and emerging adults. I have previously worked with folks struggling with addiction (intensive outpatient), teens in an alternative high school program, a children's outpatient setting, and had a private practice housed within a pediatric office. In my free time I like to play video games. Fun fact: I can rollerskate!

Lee Freed
pronouns: they/them/theirs
PhD. Student

Kateryna Kuzyszyn

Hi! My name is Kateryna Kuzyszyn, and I am excited to be a second-year doctoral student at ISU. I was born and raised in New Jersey with the accent to prove it and have enjoyed exploring the Pacific Northwest. I received my B.A. in Psychology and my M.A. in Counseling with a specialization in school counseling from Caldwell University. Throughout my graduate education I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of students in K-12 settings, and this work has opened my eyes to the need for competent school counselors and to focus on career identity and the lack of advocacy school counselors receive.

My professional interests are shaped by educational and personal experiences and include incorporating social emotional learning and social justice into school counseling curriculums, school counselors as leaders and advocates, crisis and trauma in schools, animal assisted interventions within counselor supervision, animal assisted interventions within trauma-informed counseling, and potentially incorporating animal assisted interventions within school systems.

In my free time I enjoy listening to true crime podcasts, binge watching reality TV or Greys Anatomy, and meeting as many farm animals that I can while I’m in Idaho. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, my email is katerynakuzyszyn@isu.edu!

Aileen Tierney

Hello! My name is Aileen Tierney (she/her/hers), and I am a second year doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at ISU. I am originally from the Midwest, where I earned my Master's in Counseling with a specialization in School Counseling from Eastern Illinois University. Now, I am both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed K-12 School Counselor. I work primarily with kids, teens, and young adults in my clinical work, utilizing many creative arts interventions and sandtray therapy. At ISU, I often co-teach the school counseling courses through distance learning on the Pocatello campus, as my professional goal is to be a school counseling faculty member at a university. My personal research interests include mentoring relationships in doctoral programs and school counselor identity. I am excited to continue in the doctoral program to grow in my teaching, supervision, and research skills! from living and working in Idaho, and I am excited to continue my doctoral career!

Minna Yoo

Hello. My name is Minna (she/her), and I am a second year doctoral student in ISU Pocatello campus.

I grew up in South Korea, and earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Education and English Education from Chung Ang University, and master’s degree in Educational Counseling from Seoul National University (SNU). Before coming to ISU, I worked with Korean and other international students at SNU Counseling Center for about three years. My research interest includes group counseling, supervision, counselor growth and multicultural counseling.

Outside school, I have been a keyboardist in music bands and enjoy various art activities. I warm up my soul with a hot cup of tea. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions! minnayoo@isu.edu

1st Year Doctoral Cohort

Doctoral Students 1st Year

Back Row: Conner Vrba, ShaRhonda Stevenson, Shantelle Tjaden, Pamela Vance (Meridian). Front Row: Annie Gillette and Angelica Castillo

Angelica Castillo

Hi! I’m Angelica Castillo (she/her/hers). I am a first year doctoral student at the Meridian campus. I graduated from Idaho State University’s Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in 2019. I also have a B.S. in Health Sciences and a B.A. in Spanish for the Health Professions from Idaho State University. As an Idaho native, I am beyond excited and grateful for the opportunity to continue my education at ISU.

As far as my professional experiences, I have 4+ years of experience working with individuals with disabilities in supported living homes. I have also worked with children and adolescent survivors of sexual abuse, individuals that have committed sex offenses, and individuals with addictions and dual-diagnoses. I have experience working with individuals - in English and Spanish -, facilitating groups, and outdoor adventure therapy activities. My clinical interests include multiculturalism, disability rights advocacy, suicide prevention, and trauma informed care. I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC); I am also the current membership chair for the Idaho Mental Health Counselors Association.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my son, family, and friends. I also enjoy fishing, true crime documentaries, and drinking way too much coffee. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions: angelicacastillo@isu.edu.

Annie Gillette

ShaRhonda Stevenson

Hey all! My name is ShaRhonda Stevenson (She/her). I am from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the home of the cheesesteak! I have some southern influences from North Carolina as well. I attended Drexel University for my undergraduate degree in Psychology. I then attended Immaculata University and earned my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I am very excited to begin this new journey at ISU. In my experience I have worked with children to teens on the spectrum with behavioral disorders. Most recently. I have worked with adults diagnosed with physical disabilities as well as adults diagnosed with substance use disorder. I am passionate about issues that impact marginalized populations. I enjoy spending time with my orange tabby Pumpkin and anything that involves me being social as I am a big extrovert.

Shantelle Tjaden

Hello! My name is Shantelle Tjaden (she/her) and I am a first- year doctoral student at Idaho State University Pocatello campus.

I grew up in Montana before moving to Spokane, Washington to complete my M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Gonzaga University (Go Zags!). I completed additional coursework throughout the program in marriage and family counseling. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Idaho, a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), and a recently Certified Animal-Assisted Intervention Specialist (C-AAIS). I have had the opportunity to work with combat veterans and their families providing individual, couples, family, and group counseling. Prior to becoming a counselor, I volunteered as an advocate providing support to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking as well as education to the campus population. Additionally, I have spent time volunteering and working in animal shelters providing enrichment and training to the residents and humane education to the community.

I strongly believe in the power of the human-animal bond and that is what my professional interests center around. These include: animal-assisted therapy, animal assisted supervision, animal assisted education, and issues around the incorporation of emotional support animals.

It may surprise you that I spend most of my free time with the animals I share my life with! We enjoy hiking, humane training, and watching way too much reality TV. I am excited to be a part of the first-year cohort! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Email: shantelletjaden@isu.edu

Pamela Vance

Hello! My name is Pam Vance (she/her/her’s), and I am a first-year doctoral student on the Meridian campus.  I grew up in the central mountains of Idaho which fostered a love for forests, mountains, and lakes. In my free time, I hike and camp with my family, play outdoor volleyball, and practice yoga.

I recently graduated from Idaho State University-Meridian campus with a counseling degree in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling. My research interests include multicultural factors in rehabilitation counseling as well as adjustment to chronic illness and acquired disability. I look forward to increasing awareness and knowledge of ability status and chronic illness in the counseling field. I am excited to be a Bengal and continue my studies in counselor education and supervision!

Conner Vrba

My name is Conner Vrba (he/him/his), and I am a first-year doctoral student on the Pocatello campus. I completed my undergraduate study at the University of Idaho in 2020, where I acquired a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology while playing football.

I transferred to Idaho State University in 2020, completing my Masters in Counseling degree with an emphasis in clinical mental health counseling in 2022. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Idaho and a National Certified Counselor. My professional interests include animal-assisted interventions, vicarious trauma and burnout prevention, athletes and their mental health, supervision, and mindfulness. I have found that I am particularly interested in trauma and how it impacts people in several ways. Clinically I have the privilege of working with people from diverse backgrounds and various presenting concerns.

When I am not in school, I enjoy working out, playing any sports activity, playing video games, spending time with family and friends, and cooking.

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