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Brielle Stark-Adler, Ph.D., Director

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. Most recently, Dr. Stark-Adler served as a staff psychologist and outreach coordinator at the Yeshiva University Counseling Center. Her professional interests include identity development and individuation, religion and spirituality, romantic relationships and sexuality, and clinical training and supervision.

Michael Buls, Ph.D., Associate Director

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 inpatient 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.

Meredith Beardmore, LMHC, Counselor/Coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Education Services

Meredith Beardmore graduated from The Ohio State University with her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She completed her clinical internship at Counseling and Consultation Services at The Ohio State University and has experience working with chemically dependent or dual diagnosis patients. Most recently, she more worked as a psychotherapist in an outpatient mental health practice devoted to supporting diverse individuals, families and couples. Through her experience in private practice, community clinics and university counseling centers, she became adept in identifying areas of need and utilizing interventions that are tailored to the individual. She will bring her experience working with adults and adolescence from diverse cultural backgrounds with a wide range of clinical concerns, from developmental issues to complex pathology. Her areas of expertise include person-centered therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and mindfulness techniques.

Alison Rivers, Ph.D., Psychologist

Dr. Alison Rivers completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She has worked clinically in a variety of settings including an outpatient community care center, a residential treatment facility and school, an outpatient behavioral pediatrics clinic, an outpatient neurology clinic, and across inpatient and outpatient medical units at a children’s hospital. Dr. Rivers completed her Predoctoral Psychology Internship at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center where she delivered trauma informed treatment in primary care and mental health settings to adolescents and young adults. Dr. Rivers specializes in the ways in which trauma, mental health, and physical health interact in adolescents and young adults including for individuals with chronic illnesses, those who have experienced or are experiencing trauma, and those who are transgender, gender fluid, and gender-questioning. Dr. Rivers uses evidence-based treatments including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy to best meet her clients’ needs. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Rivers is serving as the Counseling Center’s Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Specialist and delivers a variety of innovative campus education and prevention initiatives relevant to this topic.

Tonya Swartzendruber, LMHC, Counselor

Tonya Swartzendruber graduated from LaSalle University with her master’s degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology. She completed her clinical internship at an outpatient clinic specializing in anxiety, obsessive compulsive and related disorders. Most recently, she worked as a psychotherapist in an outpatient clinic, focusing on the mental health needs of young adults. Tonya specializes in using evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.

Robin Schafer, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMH-NP)

Robin 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 adults 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, Office Manager

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.

Dolce Postdoctoral Fellow

Melissa Platt, Psy.D.

Dr. Melissa Platt is delighted to serve as the Dolce Postdoctoral Psychology Fellow at the Counseling Center for the 2018-2019 academic year, and looks forward to focusing her clinical expertise on the needs of neurodiverse students at Iona. Melissa earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at La Salle University, and completed her pre-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. Her professional interests include neuroatypical conditions, complex trauma, interpersonal relationships, emotion dysregulation and mindfulness.


Christopher Defossez

Chris Defossez is a doctoral student at Antioch University, New England. His research and clinical interests include mood and anxiety disorders in both adult and young-adult populations. Before accepting his externship at Iona College, he completed a neuropsychology externship at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J. There, he provided assessments and treatment plans for patients recovering from stroke, traumatic brain injury, or neurological disease. Originally a student of music in his undergraduate work, Chris has a continued love for the arts and their potential for therapeutic change. In his free time he enjoys spending time in nature, reading and playing music.

Eileen Fusco

Eileen Fusco is a certified school psychologist in Hofstra University’s School-Community Psychology Doctoral Program. Eileen graduated from Hunter College with a master’s degree in Psychology. Eileen’s clinical training includes serving as a therapist at the Hofstra University Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic, where she provided individual and group therapy to children on the Autism Spectrum, as well as individual and group counseling with students from elementary school through high school in educational settings. She has been trained in CBT, DBT, and Rational Emotive Therapy and utilizes it in her counseling sessions. Her research focuses on psychological issues in emerging adulthood including suicidal thinking, self-compassion, stress, and self-criticism. Eileen also has extensive knowledge and experience with mindfulness and enjoys practicing it as well as teaching it.

Amber Petrozziello

Amber Petrozziello is an advanced student in the master’s program in Mental Health Counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University, and is also earning an Advanced Certificate in Sexuality, Women and Gender. Amber is a research assistant at Teachers College, conducting interviews with adolescents who experience suicidal ideations and behaviors. Amber graduated from the State University of New York College at Old Westbury with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Social Work. Amber went on to work as a care coordinator for two years at the Mental Health Association of Nassau County (MHANC) where she facilitated and coordinated medical health, mental health, and social services for a diverse range of clients. She has volunteered with the Long Island Homeless Coalition as an enumerator for their homeless census, with MHANC as a compeer in their friendship program, and, most recently, as a counselor at Kurtz Psychology for their Mighty Mouth Kid program providing behavioral interventions for children suffering from selective mutism. Amber’s clinical interests include multicultural/identity issues, LGBTQIA+ community, eating disorders, suicidal ideations/non-suicidal behaviors, adolescence and emerging adulthood, and personality development.

Nofar Yaacoby

Nofar Yaacoby is a doctoral student in the Adult Clinical Psy.D. program at Ferkauf Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Nofar graduated from Tel Aviv University with a dual-degree in Psychology and American Studies. Nofar’s prior clinical experience includes group therapy in a hospital outpatient setting. Nofar is currently serves as the clinical coordinator at Focus Children’s Therapy Center where she conducts outreach, parental support, social skills training and much more. Nofar’s research interests include Psychodynamic Process, eating disorders, and family and couples therapy.