Counseling Center Staff
The Counseling Center is staffed by licensed psychologists and mental health counselors specially trained to work with young adults.
The Center is also staffed by master’s- and doctoral-level Clinical Psychology and Mental Health Counseling externs, who provide counseling to students under the supervision of licensed staff.
Dr. Brielle Stark-Adler received her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Fordham University. Since receiving her doctorate, she has specialized in collegiate and young adult mental health. Dr. Stark-Adler has clinical experience in a variety of treatment settings, including inpatient psychiatry, outpatient community mental health care, inpatient and outpatient substance abuse, and several college counseling centers. Her professional interests include identity development and individuation, religion and spirituality, romantic relationships and sexuality, and clinical training and supervision.
Dr. Michael Buls graduated from Adelphi University with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at LIJ/The Zucker Hillside Hospital and completed his post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral cardiology at North Shore University Hospital. Dr. Buls has worked in a variety of treatment settings, including multiple in-patient psychiatry units, a college counseling center, a variety of outpatient mental health programs, and a long-term care facility. Most recently, Dr. Buls worked on an inpatient psychiatric unit where the primary population served were college students. Dr. Buls' clinical expertise is in psychodynamic psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, health psychology, aging and assimilative psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Dr. Melissa E. Platt earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at La Salle University and completed her doctoral internship at Indiana University’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Dr. Platt has worked in a range of settings including community mental health and college counseling. She is delighted to serve as the Staff Psychologist at the Counseling Center and uses her expertise on sexual violence and intimate partner violence to provide trauma-informed counseling, prevention, and education to the Iona College community. Her professional interests include complex trauma, neurodivergence, interpersonal relationships, emotion dysregulation, and mindfulness.
Kathryn Bruning graduated from Northeastern University with her masters in counseling psychology and received a graduate certificate in gender, culture, and political psychology. She completed her clinical internship at one of the last town-funded community mental health centers in Massachusetts. Kathryn specialized in forensic evaluation and risk assessment prior to shifting into college mental health. She has clinical experience in a variety of treatment settings, including outpatient community mental health, residential and secure treatment centers, as well as several college counseling centers, where she worked collaboratively across campus to bring evidence-based, innovative prevention programs to the community. Kathryn utilizes an integrative, collaborative approach to the counseling process, drawing on a wide range of client-centered, trauma-informed and evidence-based treatment models.
Ali Swoish graduated from Columbia University with her M.A. and Ed.M. in Mental Health Counseling. She received her undergraduate degree from New York University, studying Applied Psychology with a focus on adolescent mental health. She has experience working with children, adolescents, and emerging adults in a variety of settings, including music therapy, education, college counseling, community mental health, dance, and yoga. She most recently completed her clinical externship at Iona College Counseling Center, where she provided individual and group counseling, as well as advocacy and outreach, for emerging adults on campus. She is delighted to serve as the Dolce Postgraduate Fellow at Iona, specializing in working with Neurodivergent emerging adults in both a counseling and classroom setting. She is the instructor for Gael Chat: Social Communication course, which is an experiential learning environment in which students set and achieve goals to expand their skills sets related to social connectedness. Ali utilizes an integrative approach, incorporating both the mind and body into her counseling and outreach, in order to create a holistic space for individuals to create meaningful connections within themselves and with one another.
Schafer graduated in 2001 with a master's degree from Columbia University as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Since then she has specialized in school-based health including elementary, middle, high school and college health. After three years at Barnard College Health Services where she collaborated with an interdisciplinary team on eating disorders, she received her Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree and license from Stony Brook University. She has interned at Columbia Presbyterian CPEP ER, Four Winds Hospital inpatient young and older adolescent units, as well as managing medications for a private practice adolescent and young adult population in Bedford, N.Y. While at Stony Brook, she co-wrote a grant for mental health services in underserved populations and wrote her final presentation on ADHD medications in young adults. She specializes in the medical management of school and college-age mental health disorders.
Margaret Bohan joined the staff of the Iona College Counseling Center in 1989, following a seven-year tenure in the Counseling Center at the College of New Rochelle. In addition to providing administrative and technical support to Center staff, she supervises all student workers and participates in special events and projects such as the Honors Convocation and the Middle States Accreditation Process. She has also served as a member of the Iona College Sexual Harassment Task Force, which promulgated the College's policies and procedures on sexual harassment. Additionally, she has served as a member of the Human Resource & Compensation Committee and the Information Technology Committee of the Staff and Administrative Council (SAC). In March 2007, she was the recipient of the Woman of Achievement Award at Iona College.
Alison Kelly is pursuing her Master of Science in Education for Mental Health Counseling at Fordham University. She is currently a co-leader of the Student Association of Mental Health Counselors (SAM). Some of her responsibilities include planning events, mentoring first year students, and acting as a liaison between students and faculty. Alison graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Political Science and Educational Studies. Prior to attending Fordham, she was a classroom teacher, education consultant and reading specialist. Alison has experience working with students of varying ages, backgrounds and abilities. Her clinical interests include relationships, adjustment to life transitions and mindfulness-based stress reduction. She is looking forward to working with the college student population and honing her skills as a clinician.