Meet Our Students

Graduating Class of 2016

amanda davisHello! My name is Amanda Davis and I am from Waycross, Ga. I graduated from VSU’s Langdale College of Business with a Bachelors’ degree in Marketing.  I chose VSU’s Marriage and Family Therapy program because I am adamant and passionate about the subject of the program. I have a strong desire to instill hope in people and to help them improve their relationships with others. With VSU’s MFT program I can intrinsically feel that my career will be making a positive impact on others. One thing I like most about the program is that from the very start you get to claim the professional identity of a therapist by working in the student clinic, participating in community outreach, and observing cases. 

angela paggettHi! My name is Angela S. Paggett and I am originally from Atlanta, Ga. I graduated with my bachelors degree in Psychology from Columbus State University in Spring of 2013. Before I came to the MFT Program at VSU, I took a year off from school to make sure that I chose the right school for me to pursue my graduate degree. I chose Valdosta's Marriage and Family Therapy, because it is an environment where I feel welcome to learn and express my opinion to become a great therapist in a clinic run by the students. Also, the faculty and students are very supportive.

anna williamsHi, my name is Anna Williams!

Annisa BowersGreetings! I'm Anissa Bowers, born and raised in the "Peach State of Georgia." I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve in the United States military and I look forward to serving as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Brianna BrownHello, my name is Brianna R. Brown and I am from Montezuma, Georgia. I am a graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. I chose VSU's Marriage and Therapy Program because it helps students to find their own therapeutic voices. I knew I would obtain the appropriate hands-on training and experience here to be a successful professional in the MFT field. Dr. Warner's warm and sincere welcome into the program helped me to see the genuine interest of how much the program was sought on not just impacting others’ lives but also students' lives. What I like most about the program is learning about relationships through systemic approaches that coincide with the program's intriguing curriculum.

Brittany McleodHi! My name is Brittany Mcleod. 

Cassia CapersHello, my name is Cassia Capers and I am from Nashville, GA. I completed by undergraduate degree here at Valdosta State University in which I majored in Psychology. Helping others and seeing change in people has always been a passion of mine. I chose Valdosta State University's MFT program because I loved the school as an undergraduate and I wanted to continue to pursue what I love doing. After exploring their website and talking with previous MFT graduates, I was convinced that this program was for me.

Christina VrandopuloHi! My name is Christina Englehart Vrandopulo and I am a Valdosta native. In 2008 I graduated from Valdosta State University with a BS in Psychology. I chose the MFT program because of the outstanding reputation of the program and it's faculty members. What I like most about the program is the sense of being surrounded by a highly educated but very personable faculty. Upon completion of the program I feel confident that I will have acquired the necessary skills to move forward in the MFT community.

Elizabeth IrazarryHi! My name is Elizabeth Irizarry and I am from Live Oak, Florida. I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. I chose to study Marriage and Family Therapy because I want to help empower individuals, couples, and families. I want to help people find their voice and make positive changes in their life. I chose to study at VSU because of the program’s philosophy, emphasis on diversity, and passionate professors.

Erica ArambuloMy name is Erica Arambulo and I am from Douglas, Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University in Atlanta with a bachelor’s in Psychology. My first choice was Valdosta State University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the program’s mission to actively train and prepare students to succeed in the profession upon graduation and for the respect the program has within the community. What I like the most about the program is the opportunity to put into practice what we learn in class on to a clinical setting.

Jenna LeeHi, my name is Jenna Lee. I am from Conyers, Georgia. I graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. I chose VSU's Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the hands on clinical experience you gain while working at FamilyWorks. What I like most about the program is the collaborative learning that takes place in the classroom along with the ability to openly communicate with the faculty.

JerriAnn WebbHello, I'm JerriAnn Webb from Madison, Florida. I graduated from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. I love the in-depth class discussions and the faculty expertise of the MFT program.

Kaylan HandHello! My name is Kaylan Hand. I am originally from Leesburg, GA but moved to Valdosta four years ago to attend my undergraduate studies as a Psychology Major. I chose the MFT program because of it's philosophy and all the diversity that I will be encountering. I chose VSU because I already knew it well, I was still close to family, and the MFT program here is one of the best around. I am someone who enjoys being at home reading a book or outdoors enjoying nature. I am very versatile and will try anything once to have the experience. I believe life is about adventure and finding out who you are through each experience.

Larry TurnerMy name is Larry Turner and I am from Valdosta. I earned two B.S. degrees from VSU; one in Marketing and the other in Management. I chose MFT because of how closely it resembles my own philosophy and core values. I chose this specific program because of its focus on therapy and the clinic.

Lauris EnglishHi, my name is Lauris English!

Logan BenitezHi, my name is Logan Benitez. I was born in Georgia, but have also lived in Nevada, California, and Arizona for some of my childhood. I finally returned to Augusta, Georgia where I finished my middle and high school years. From there I attended Valdosta State University where I obtained my B.A. in Psychology. I chose the MFT program for several reasons. They were very practical in a hands-on context, where the clinic is actually run by students, even starting during your first year so you get the idea of what it is to work in this particular field. The theories and concepts that this department holds are astounding and simply put, make sense. They give meaning to relations that sometimes you often ponder within “the real world”. These concepts can also challenge you though, which I feel leads to a better therapeutic experience in the end.

Madeline DaleHi, my name is Madeline Dale!

Michael TannerGreetings, my name is Michael Tanner. I am from Atlanta Georgia. I graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelor's in Psychology in the spring of 2014. I chose Valdosta State University Marriage and Family Therapy program because I wanted to learn more about a field of study that discusses elements of Behavioral Psychology as well as Cognitive Psychology. With further research I stumbled upon the MFT program at VSU and made a few visits to see the campus, professors, and staff. Ever since then, I can tell that the faculty genuinely care about each and every student. The individualized attention received assist in the cultivation of only the best therapist MFT has to offer.

Ndye SeckaHello! My name is Ndye Secka. I am from Marietta, GA by way of Gambia, West Africa. I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology. I chose Marriage and Family Therapy because I have a strong desire to help others and help cultivate change in individuals and families. I chose VSU's Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the hands on clinical experience you receive through the student-run clinic, FamilyWorks. What I love most about this program is the family atmosphere shared between students and faculty.

Ruth BrownHello! My name is Ruth Brown and I am originally from Brunswick, Georgia. I currently live in Thomasville, Georgia. I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I chose VSU's Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the relational and systemic approaches to doing therapy. What I like most about the program is the collaborative learning environment and the in-depth clinical training.

Sacha OlanHello! My name is Sacha Olan.

Sara ReedHello! My name is Sara Reed and I am a native of Hopkinsville, KY. I graduated from the University of Louisville with a BA degree in Philosophy with concentrations in Bioethics and Pre-medicine. I chose VSU's Marriage and Family Therapy Program because of the incredible philosophy and outstanding credibility. The professors really create an avenue for therapists to develop to their full potential. What I like most about this program is the professors and faculty. It is such a warm and welcoming environment for learning and growing.

Shannon CruzHello! My name is Shannon Cruz.


 Welcome to the Graduating Class of 2017

Abriel BlakeMy name is Abriel Blake and I am from Savannah Ga. I’ve attended Valdosta State University to pursue my undergraduate degree in Psychology. Despite my efforts to escape Valdosta Ga, I was intrigued by the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program because it specifically fits my personal needs in regards to professional development and career preparation. Hands-on experience, diversity, and a positive working relationship between faculty and students are the important qualities that this program maintains. I am delighted that this program offers the FamilyWorks Clinic that both serves the community and allows for graduate students to serve as student-therapist. My goal is to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist where I will focus on the adolescents and young adult population. In my spare time I sing at different events/venues and I also write and record my own music. Like MFT, music is therapeutic!

Alyson StewartAlyson Stewart is a first year Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Student from Woodbridge, Virginia. Previously she studied Public Relations and Communications Studies at the University of Alabama. After graduation she worked as a government contractor and then worked for a nonprofit association. Her hobbies include writing, blogging, reading, listening to old school R&B and gospel, hanging out with friends, and watching chick flicks! She is a huge people person that enjoys being surrounded by her peers. The company of others is comforting, she is quite the conversationalist. As a former military brat, she had to quickly learn how to be an extrovert and jump out of her shell. She's often described as energetic, bubbly and friendly. Her smiles huge, you can't miss it.

 Angela Gibbs

Angellica WentworthGreetings, My name is Angellica Wentworth. I am from Decatur, GA. I graduated with my B.S. in Psychology from The University of Georgia. I chose Valdosta State University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the program's emphasis on a systemic/contextual approach to doing therapy. What I like most about the program is the collaborative learning that takes place in the classroom along with the ability to openly communicate with the faculty. Upon completion of the program I would love to work as a clinician in a College/University setting.

Ashley LanierHello, my name is Ashley Lanier. I was born and raised in Powder Springs, Georgia. I graduated from Valdosta State University in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.  I was initially attracted to Valdosta State’s Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the student run Family Works Clinic, and the systemic lens through which therapy is seen. I am excited to be a part of such a great program and I am looking forward to working with such a diverse and talented faculty and cohort.

Aylesha GurleyHello! My name is Aylesha Gurley and I am from the heart of Georgia, also known as Middle Georgia or the city of Warner Robins. My home town of Warner Robins is right next to Robins Air Force Base, which has greatly influenced my decision to seek a position in therapy that works with Military Families, Spouses and Children. Being from a Military family myself, I have experienced how the Military influences families and I am eager as to what a Military Family and their potential struggles looks like through the eyes of a Therapist. Although I intend to obtain my License in order to fulfil my desire to work in a Military setting, I will always have an open mind to work where my passion for diversity and inclusivity is not only welcomed but also desired. I am truly thankful for my acceptance into this program and after having graduated from VSU in the Spring of 2015 with my B.S in Psychology, I gladly attribute a fair portion of my decision turn around and return back to Valdosta State to join VSU’s Marriage and Family Therapy program to a fellow cohort member, Erica Velazquez. Through conversations with her and research of my own, I have come to the realization that the helping profession is where I feel most at home. VSU’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program is a great foundational introduction into the world of therapy. Within the career field of Marriage and Family Therapy, I have come to adopt the values of diversity and inclusivity as my own values. I believe that my decision to choose this career field is just my first step of many into a life of adventure and advantageous interactions with many people and I am eager and excited to continue my journey into this wonder-filled, helping profession known as Marriage and Family Therapy.

Beverly JosephSalutations! My name is Beverley Joseph, hailing from “The City Beautiful” Orlando, FL. I am PROUD of my Haitian Heritage and being first generation born in America. I graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL with a BS in Secondary English Education, and have spent the last three years teaching 7th grade Language Arts. Throughout my teaching tenure, I noticed that the increasing number of black and brown students receiving disciplinary actions (i.e. referrals, suspensions etc.) could be lessened if more teachers were equipped with skills necessary to diffuse stressful situations. Seeing the repetitiveness of these situations inspired me towards a more therapeutic pathway towards meaningful change. My rationale for going into the field of Marriage Family Therapy boiled down to, if I could help the child with their home life issues, while working with the family unit, then maybe, the trickle-down effect would be fostering the development of a healthy child, who could now focus more on school, instead of their problems at home. After an extensive Google search, I found the AAMFT website, which led to VSU’s Marriage Family Therapy Program. From the initial welcome on the website, I knew this would be the program for me. Ultimately, I chose to attend VSU’s Marriage Family Therapy because of their reputation of academic excellence, their hands on clinical experiences and the close knit feel between the faculty and students. After graduation, I aspire to attend Nova Southeastern University in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Family Therapy. I will focus on the Afro-Caribbean population in South Florida, to dispel the stigmas of therapy, while advocating for Therapeutic services in the public school system. In my very LIMITED spare time, I am an avid reader, traveler, food connoisseur and cook. I also love spending time with my family, and my dog Sherlock.

Cheryl ColemanHello! My name is Cheryl Coleman. Originally from Hopkins, South Carolina, I completed my undergraduate studies at Claflin University. While there, I focused a majority of my attention on researching the decline in activism among HBCU students. The MFT program here at Valdosta State University was a godsend, and I am eternally grateful to Dr. Lambert-Shute for seeing potential in me. I intend to receive my licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy and use it to work with either the foster home system and abused children, or soldiers dealing with PTSD and their families. I also have aspirations to pursue a doctoral degree in the future. 

Dyson DaviesI am thrilled to be part of the Marriage & Family Therapy program at VSU. I am finding that the MFT program at Valdosta State fully supports and strengthens my commitment to critical theory and feminist praxis, cross-cultural community building, and lifelong learning. My academic and vocational background is in women’s and gender studies, international higher education, multicultural community services, and curriculum development. As an aspiring clinician, I intend to approach therapy not merely as treatment of clients’ unwanted symptoms but as a support of clients’ capacity for reflective and intentional living, relationality across differences, and vibrant health. My current research interests include relationship reciprocity, the profeminist men’s movement, and the therapeutic application of theories of embodiment. D. Davies

Elizabeth NewtonMy name is Elizabeth Newton and I intend to pursue licensure as a Marriage and Family therapist. After graduation from Valdosta State’s MFT program, I hope to continue my involvement in the field of wilderness therapy, which I have been doing for the past year a half. While I was at the University of Georgia, the influence of several of my undergraduate professors piqued my interest in Marriage and Family therapy. I then became convinced that I wanted to pursue a Master’s degree in MFT rather than receive an education that derives from a more traditional, diagnostic orientation or that focused primarily on research with less focus on clinical experience. MFT offers a unique approach to therapeutic practice by emphasizing the relational and systemic nature of our world. I am ecstatic to be a student in VSU’s program because of the quality and engagement of professors, the rigor of courses, and the incomparable experience offered to practice in our graduate student-run clinic. I believe this is the best niche in the country to fall into if interested in a career as a Marriage and Family therapist.

Ellory BishopHello! My name is Ellory Bishop. I am originally from Rome, GA, and I'm the oldest of five kids! During my undergraduate studies, I bounced around between anthropology, psychology, women's studies, and comparative literature before finally planting my feet in sociology. I received my B.S. in sociology from the University of West Georgia in 2014. Consequently, I came across Marriage and Family Therapy while searching for a therapeutic orientation that aligned with my relational, sociological understanding of the world. I chose VSU's Marriage and Family Therapy program because of their philosophy on diversity, the culture of support within the program, and the unparalleled hands-on clinical training that the program offers. The students and faculty have been incredibly supportive, and I couldn't have asked for a better environment in which to practice and learn. After graduation, I plan on seeking licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I would like to specialize in sex therapy, gender based issues, and sexual abuse. Thanks for taking the time to read about me! I am thrilled to be at Valdosta State University, and I'm so looking forward to my time in the MFT program. 

Erica VelazquezMy name is Erica Velazquez. I was born in San Bernardino, CA and raised in Warner Robins/Perry, GA. I completed my undergraduate studies in Psychology, with a minor in Spanish, here at VSU in May of 2015 - Valdosta has definitely become a second home to me. Once I decided to pursue a BS in Psychology before I started my undergraduate years, I knew that I wanted to be some sort of therapist. I find a lot of value in therapy, and any field that has communication at its core, so I started researching all of the careers that I could pursue with my degree. Once I came across MFT and realized how invaluable and necessary therapy is as a whole, yet thoroughly devalued in today’s society, I knew that I had found my passion and a career choice that I could make the most impact on others’ lives. The practice of Marriage and Family Therapy hits home for me in a lot of ways, due to the familial environment I grew up in, and I am ecstatic and honored to be receiving my degree from one of the best MFT programs available! Understanding that the family is the first and most important, enduring environment throughout one’s life and how function/dysfunction can be perpetuated really intrigues me. Afterall, we are all relational beings, so what better field to go into than MFT? After graduation from this program, I would love to work mostly with premarital couples, to help “iron out” as many wrinkles as possible before the pursuit of marriage, but also families/individuals that deal with sexual assault and domestic violence issues. I have given some thought to pursuing a doctoral degree some time after I become an LMFT, but I am still unsure at this point. In my increasingly dwindling spare time, I enjoy cooking and finding new recipes, singing and listening to many different genres of music, shopping, spending time with family and friends, finding new decorations for my apartment, traveling, and taking long naps.

Eveny GriffinHello everyone! My name is Eveny Griffin. I am a recent graduate of Valdosta State University with a B.A. in Sociology. I have always had the desire to become a therapist. Therefore, enrolling in a MFT program has been my goal. I chose Valdosta State University Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the skill developing curriculum as well as the first hand clinic experience I will receive through the student run clinic. The faculty members also offer a warm welcome and express a passion for their role in developing well educated therapist. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow into a licensed marriage and family therapist through this program.

Hannah HopsonMy name is Hannah Hopson. I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Human Environmental Sciences. Throughout my undergraduate work, I became interested in the diverse availability of career paths for students with an educational background such as mine. Upon discovering the Marriage and Family Therapy field, I became instantly intrigued by this relational approach to therapy. Furthermore, the close interaction with professors and hand-on experience available through FamilyWorks became my ultimate reason for choosing Valdosta State University. Upon graduating, I would love to provide therapy focused on the parent-child relationship. In my free time, I enjoy Nicholas Sparks novels and college football. 

Issy BurnhamHello, my name is Isadora (Issy) Burnham. I graduated from VSU with a B.S. in Psychology. I toured the MFT Department and FamilyWorks Clinic in 2013 and found it all very appealing. I was also able to sit in on a class taught by Dr. Laughlin, and it was exciting to hear about practicum and the case loads of the second-year students in the program. The faculty members are great! They are so passionate about therapy and making sure we succeed in becoming great therapists. The family-like atmosphere is immediately evident, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to pursue my Master’s with such a great group of people. After I graduate, I hope to obtain licensure in Georgia and begin building a client load in my hometown. I am hopeful that I will one day own or co-own a successful private practice. I am excited to see where this journey takes me. If you are interested, be prepared to open your mind to a world you never knew existed (in a good way).

Jason Jowers

My name is Jason M. Jowers and I am from the small town of Nicholls, GA. I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During one of my undergraduate classes, a MFT student came in and gave a presentation about the program that first piqued my interest in Marriage and Family Therapy. After further research and soul searching, I felt that this program is the perfect place for me. Between the excellent faculty and the opportunities to work with clients at FamilyWorks, I know I will acquire all the knowledge and tools required to further my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Jennifer Yingling

Hello, I am Jennifer Yingling. I am from the Greater Louisville, KY/Southern Indiana area. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Indiana University Southeast. I am very excited to study Marriage and Family Therapy at Valdosta State University. This program allows me to pursue my life goal in assisting individuals and their families in realizing positive change and personal growth.

Jessie Vandevelde

Greetings! I am Jessie VanDeVelde, and I am pursuing a master of science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. After graduation from Valdosta State’s MFT program, I hope to get licensed as a Marriage and Family therapist and work with rural populations, especially adolescents. While I was doing my undergraduate work at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the influence of several of my professors piqued my interest in Marriage and Family Therapy. While there, I was able to conduct research that had me interact with MFT’s and this convinced me that I wanted to pursue a Master’s degree in MFT rather than receive an education that followed a more traditional, research driven approach. In particular, I want face-to-face clinical experience that MFT training offers. MFT also offers a unique approach to therapeutic practice by emphasizing the relational and systemic nature of our world. I am thrilled to be a student in VSU’s MFT program because of the quality of professors, small class sizes, and the incomparable experience of practicing with real people with real problems in FamilyWorks, our graduate student-run clinic. This was my first and last choice for a Graduate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy, and it is the perfect fit for me.

Johnae' StoutamireMy name is Johnae’ Stoutamire a native of Charlotte, NC. I received a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. After graduation I started working for a company called Turning Point Family Care, a mental health facility for children and adolescence with mental disorders as well as emotional and physical abuse. During this time period I was exposed to different family dynamics that impacted the children and adolescence life that I worked with. Realizing in order to help them, I needed to start with their foundation, the family. Being exposed to different family dynamics, I was eager to learn how to better assist them which led me to research and apply for a master’s program in MFT. When I applied to Valdosta State University for their Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and received my acceptance letter, I was super excited and knew this was the beginning to all my curiosities about families and their dynamics. As a VSU graduate student in the MFT program, I am learning to view life through a systemic lens and understand family dynamics and how this impacts not only couples, but individual and family lives. With the assistance of the MFT professors, rigorous courses and first hand exposure working in a clinical setting, I know upon graduation I will be ready for my licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. What I like most about the MFT program, is the support of my professors and how this program prides itself on diversity and accepting people as they are.

Johnny WhiteMy name is Johnny White, and I plan to attain licensure in marriage and family therapy.Upon graduating from Valdosta State University, I aim to attain my doctorate in and work towards opening a private clinic in Atlanta, Georgia. During my undergraduate years, Dr. Kate Warner visited the Psychology department at Morehouse College promoting the Marriage and Family Therapy program at VSU. Being interested in helping children from the aspect of helping the parents, I was always interested in being a marriage and family therapist. When I met Kate, I almost fell in love with the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Valdosta State University. Now that I am here, I am excited at the opportunities that will be offered to me over the next two years, especially since I am a member of a student-ran clinic! I am happy that I am a member of this Marriage and Family Therapy family here at Valdosta State University, and I would encourage anyone who wanted to be a marriage and family therapist to come here!

Julian WoodMy name is Julian Wood. I was born in Washington DC, but was raised most of my life in Columbia, MD. I attended  Florida A&M University with a focus in psychology and a minor in political science to familiarize myself with law and ethics. Upon my last semester at FAMU, I was introduced to the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Valdosta State University by a graduate of the program, Tawanna Woods, who spoke very highly of it. After I did some research on the institution and visiting. Ultimately, I chose this program because of its diversity and wanting to sharpen my knowledge in the realm of marriage and family therapy as a clinician, and to provide service to the communities.

Justin MooreMy name is Justin Moore and I have joined the Marriage and Family Therapy program with a hope of becoming a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, and eventually opening up my own private practice. I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology in December of 2014, and applied to this program after being introduced to MFT ideas upon taking a tour of the clinic. I have since become fascinated with MFT ideas around clients, therapy, and change; as well as the emphasis of "hands on" learning. The journey ahead is sure to be challenging, but with the support of my cohort and caring faculty, I take solace in the belief that we're all in this together! We're all family!

Kaitlyn BarringerMy name is Kaitlyn Barringer, and I've lived in Valdosta for the majority of my life. I earned my B.A. in Psychology at VSU. Post-graduation was a whirlwind of "What do I do now?" and trying to decide if I wanted to stay in Valdosta or venture into a new city for a graduate program. After researching VSU's MFT program, I knew staying in Valdosta was the right choice. Being able to work with and help community while getting my education was invaluable to me. In the future, I hope to work within a private practice, focusing mainly on families who may be struggling with LGBT issues. In my personal, time I enjoy watching movies (horror is my favorite), running off to Orlando whenever possible, and doing anything with my cats, Totoro T. Cat and Wolfgang Amadeus Catzart.

Katelyn CoburnHi! My name is Katelyn Coburn, and I am super stoked to be a student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at VSU. As I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Truett McConnell College (a small Christian college in the North Georgia mountains), I was drawn to the field of Marriage and Family Therapy because of the relational approach to therapy. I am fascinated by people's stories and I love to know the context of everything, so I soon learned that the MFT program at VSU was a great fit for me. The student run clinic was a big draw as well as the family atmosphere of the program. I am interested in areas including identity development, the foster care system, and women's issues, and in the future I hope to work with populations in these areas as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I am an avid reader, a lover of anything sweet (especially chocolate-chip cookies), and a huge fan of Kerry Washington and the show "Scandal." I am thankful to be in this program and excited to learn as much as I can from the wonderful faculty.

 Khalliah Bryant

Kiara McnairHey! My name is Kiara McNair and I hail from the lovely state of North Carolina. I recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. When I was looking for a Masters degree program, I knew I wanted to help couples and families. I searched for programs and stumbled upon Valdosta State and FamilyWorks clinic. The website and promptness with the faculty and staff with getting back to me really peaked my interest in the program. When I came to visit I knew immediately that I had to be in this program, between the professionalism of the faculty to the close-knit nature of the students, I felt right at home. My plans after I graduate are to find employment in Jacksonville, Florida in a private practice, obtain my licensure and eventually open up my own private practice. I also would like to open up my own motivational studio helping young minority girls with everyday societal pressures, self-esteem issues and an overall positive environment to talk about any problems that might be bothering them. So far, I am loving the challenging classes and wonderful opportunity of being apart of the Marriage and Family Therapy program here at Valdosta State…it’s an experience you won’t get anywhere else! 

 Kiarra Morton

Kimberlee FieldsHello! My name is Kimberlee Fields and I am very proud to be in the MFT program at Valdosta State University. I am originally from Kansas, which is home to my alma mater, Pittsburg State University, where I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. I chose this particular program because of the warm and hands-on environment. Once I have earned my degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, I plan to go forward with getting my licensure and starting on my dream of having my own private practice in MFT with an emphasis in Couples and Sex Therapy. Eventually, I would like to take my career to the next level and get my PhD in MFT, but for now, I am enjoying my journey here at VSU. Not only am I being pushed to be the absolute best therapist I can be, I am also fortunate to get the experience of working in one of the best graduate student-run clinics in the nation. Choosing this program has been one of the best decisions that I have made, and I am eager to learn more and continue to grow.

Lawanda MaxwellMy name is La’Wanda Maxwell and I’m from St Thomas the U.S. Virgin Islands. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Dallas with a bachelors of science in psychology.  I found VSU by researching various universities that were ranked and had clinics in their program. Thereafter, I scheduled a visit to the campus and I was sold! A second year student in the program gave my father and I, a tour around the clinic, various apartments I could live in and I had a chance to meet the professors in the program.  The overall experience was amazing and I knew that VSU was the place I wanted to be.  This is the farthest I’ve ever been away from home (Dallas Texas) however, the students and faculty you enter the program with become your family and team striving to make it through together. Therefore, if you were like me and was worried about the distance, be sure to schedule a visit and I’m sure it will ease all your uncertainties.  After completing my Masters at VSU I plan to take the licensing exam and work towards owning my own practice.

Lorri LeongMy name is Lorri Leong and I plan to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Throughout my undergraduate studies at Cornell College, I discovered my passion for community involvement and helping others. I chose to study at VSU's MFT program to expand my way of thinking and learn first-hand at the student-run clinic. I hope to work with at-risk populations to ensure they have the resources to succeed and thrive in the future. I would love to open a private practice one day with my sister who is also studying to become a counselor. In my free time, I enjoy traveling to new countries, crafting (using Pinterest as my inspiration), and experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

Marie Boles

Hello!  My name is Marie Boles.  I am originally from Alpena, Michigan. I graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.S. in Secondary Education in 2010.  I have spent the past few years teaching high school English in North Carolina.  My experience as an educator has put me on a pathway towards family therapy due to the stressful and challenging lives of many of my former students.   I chose VSU's Marriage and Family Therapy Program because of the outstanding faculty and the clinical experience I will obtain within Family Works.  In the future, my goal is to open my own private practice.  In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching cooking shows with hope that I can be inspired to learn to cook, traveling, and going to the theater.


Mason Pacek

Mason Pacek is a graduate of Clemson University with a BA in Psychology with a minor in military history. Coming from a highly academic and experimental oriented school, he was attracted to the MFT program for its unique ability to give students the chance to practice therapy. This made the FamilyWorks Clinic stand out by giving its students a rare opportunity during their journey towards their masters. His future plans involve working with veterans and their families, with a special concern regarding veteran suicide rates.


Nate Powers

My name is Nathaniel Powers. I acquired my undergrad in English from UGA, but my intention was always to return to VSU for the small campus and the closeness of the academic community. An intended road of Clinical Psychology diverted after a few meetings with students and faculty in the MFT program and I was sold. The advanced observational atmosphere and the breadth of scope in the MFT program is astounding, and I am truly blessed to be a part of this developing field.


Peggy HarlessHi, my name Peggy Harless.  I am originally from Marshall County, Kentucky.  I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Valdosta State University.  I love the Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the fantastic opportunity to work in a student run clinic!  I’m looking forward to possibly continuing my education after I graduate and working with rural populations who normally would not have access to therapists.


Rebecca GreensladeI am an Albany, GA native and a graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus where I received my Bachelor's degree in Psychology.  The MFT program at VSU appealed to me because of its emphasis on embracing diversity and its humanistic feel.  The clinic here, which to our knowledge is the only one of its kind in the nation also drew me to VSU.

Redonno CarmonHello, my name is Redonno Carmon and I am from Raleigh, NC. I graduated from Campbell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. I have chosen VSU’s Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the training I will receive to become a successful clinician as a professional therapist. The program’s focus on the relational aspect of therapy complements my ideal model of effectively helping future clients. The professors begin developing you as a therapist from the very beginning by giving you the responsibility of Shift Manager to learn the ins and outs of running a private practice, as well as, connecting with the community in outreach events. The professors are passionate about broadening the way you think to become a successful Marriage and Family therapist.  

Reg McCutcheonHi, I'm Reg McCutcheon and I'm honored to be a part of the VSU MFT program.  I recently retired from the US Air Force.  As a combat veteran, I have an understanding of the unique experiences our veterans and their families encounter in life, and I have chosen to build on this perspective for the next season of my life.  How can we help post-deployment Warriors “live for something,” when they have just spent years willing to “die to protect everything?”  I'm returning to school to develop skill sets that will allow me to help service members, veterans, and their families live and thrive under the demands of a military way of life.  I chose VSU MFT program for its progressive and engaging curricula and its emphasis on the clinical experience. 

Tiffany NewmanHi my name is Tiffany Newman. I graduated from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee with a bachelors degree in psychology. After graduation I moved to Valdosta Georgia with my husband. After I got  acquainted with Valdosta, I did some research and found the Marriage and Family Program at Valdosta State University.  I spent a  great amount of time thinking about the program. After a long debate with my self, I decided to apply for the MFT program.  I can honestly say it was one of  the best decisions I have ever made. I am enjoying my time in the program and look forward to learning each day from the wonderful staff and my peers.

Violina LilovaMy name is Violina Lilova and I am on a journey to becoming a licensed Marriage and Family therapist. Ever since I can remember I have dreamed of becoming a therapist. Graduating from Middle Georgia State University in clinical and counseling psychology, paved the way to VSU’s Marriage and Family masters program. This program challenges you to think in ways never before. It opens your eyes to new possibilities. After graduating from VSU, I plan on getting my PhD so I can pursue my dream of one day opening up a couple’s retreat, where couples can attend therapy as well as relax on a warm sunny beach. I am looking forward to the next two years as I get closer and closer to my dream.