Counseling Center Staff
Bill DeFranc, PhD
Psychologist and Interim Co-Director
Bill is a doctoral-level psychologist whose professional interests managing mood disorders; anger management; gender role socialization, and male psychological development; and training and supervision of graduate students in psychology.
At the Counseling Center, Bill uses a goal-oriented and strengths based approach to counseling so student clients can measure their progress in therapy. He utilizes various therapeutic techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy for a range of issues such as depression and anxiety.
Bill enjoys spending time with his family and friends, traveling, and going to the beach in the summer.
Teri L Grayson, MSW, LICSW (she/her/hers)
Clinical Social Worker, Interim Co-Director and Coordinator of Black & African American Student Mental Health
Teri is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who received a B.A. in Sociology from UMass Amherst and a Master of Social Work with certification in Urban Leadership from Simmons University. She uses strength-based modalities to support students dealing with life stressors, anxiety, depression, and other issues that may be impacting their wellbeing.
As an African American woman who grew up in the Greater Boston area, Teri personally understands the importance of acknowledging and supporting issues of diversity and culture. Knowing the importance of seeing oneself reflected, she has been intentional in serving the communities where she grew up, spending a majority of her career providing community-based mental health services. She has been working in college mental health for the past six years and has a small private practice.
When not working, Teri enjoys traveling, participating in a book club (although she rarely reads the books), and spending time with her husband, son, and dog Ruby.
Kara Lustig, PhD (she/her/hers)
Staff Psychologist and Coordinator of Training
While the process of attaining a higher education is a time of hope and possibility, it is also a challenging and vulnerable time. As a former graduate student at UMass Boston, Kara Lustig knows the difficulties of balancing multiple roles and staying connected. She enjoys working with students navigating this time period because there is so much potential for positive change, both in protecting them from their vulnerabilities and fostering their strengths.
Kara specializes in anxiety and self-compassion, mindfulness, and acceptance-based interventions. She runs the anxiety support group. In working with students, she incorporates patients’ positive resources (e.g., religion, community or family) and understandings of their sociocultural contexts (e.g., cultural beliefs, experiences of racism) into interventions.
Kara identifies as white and cisgender female and is excited to work with students from all backgrounds and identities.
Rachel Blumberg, LICSW, MSW, (she/her/hers)
Clinical Social Worker
Rachel is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with a M.S.W from University of California, Berkeley School of Social Work, and a BA from Connecticut College. Rachel has a background working in various settings with children, young adults, and families in the child welfare system in CA and in various hospital social work settings here in Boston. In her current position, Rachel provides individual and group therapy, consultation, crisis services as well as training and outreach. Rachel employs a strengths-based approach and works to help students recognize and build upon their own existing supports, coping skills, and resilience in order to manage during challenging times.
Rachel identifies as a white, cisgender female and strives to provide a safe and welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds and identities. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys hiking, cooking, and chasing after her dog.
Zeljka Mileusnic, Psy.D. (she/her/hers)
Zeljka is a doctoral-level psychologist whose professional interests include anxiety disorders, grief work, relationship dynamics, dreams, and spirituality. Her approach to therapy is collaborative, strength-based and rooted in relational, social justice, and developmental principles. Zeljka strives to tailor therapy to the unique needs of the individual and to provide a safe space where one could feel seen, heard and appreciated.
In additional to individual therapy Zeljka has been involved in running various anxiety reduction groups and providing support groups for international students.
Zeljka appreciates nature and long walks in all sorts of weather, reading books from diverse disciplines and travels to her home country Croatia where most of her family lives.
Anna Yerang Lee, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Anna is a staff psychologist who received her degree in Counseling Psychology from Boston University. She has a special interest in working with emerging and young adults with marginalized identities including race, ethnicity, abilities/disabilities, gender, sexuality, religion, and socioeconomic status. Anna’s therapeutic approach includes cognitive behavioral, humanistic, and feminist theories as well as social justice approach. She identifies as a Korean cisgender woman with disabilities. She would be happy to speak Korean in sessions with students who prefers to speak the language.
Prior to coming to University of Massachusetts in Boston, she worked in other college counseling settings, such as Counseling, Health, & Wellness at Suffolk University and University Counseling Services at Boston College. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, eating Korean food, and watching Bluey with her little ones.
Allyson Gormley, LICSW
Clinical Social Worker
Allyson is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with a MSW from Boston University and BA from University or Rhode Island. Allyson brings her prior experience working within a medical setting where she supported individuals coping with complex medical conditions, trauma history, substance use and mental health. She has a special interest in women’s health, anxiety, and grief work. Allyson utilizes a cognitive behavioral approach in her individual work with clients. She is a strengths-based clinician who is excited to work with the students of UMB.
On her days off, Allyson enjoys anything outside (even in the cold) and being with her boys and dog.
Judith Taveras, LICSW
Clinical Social Worker and Coordinator or Avanced Mulitcultural Training Program
Judith received her MSW from BU’s School of Social Work, after working in hire ed and non-profit for several years. As a social worker, she has previously supported survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), folx who have struggled with substance misuse, and individuals managing severe mental illness.
In her current work, Judith takes a humanistic, strengths based, and relational attachment approach to supporting her clients. With the goal to create a space in which folx feel empowered to process their experiences while stabilizing and increasing their self-compassion.
Judith self identifies as queer, first-generation, Afro-Latina who is cisgender and uses she/her/hers pronouns. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, wrapped up in a good book, or messing up a bread recipe.
Leah Livingstone (she/her/hers)
Leah is our front desk staff and is most likely to be the first person you will meet coming into the Counseling Center. Leah is in charge of scheduling, administrative duties and keeping the Counseling Center running. Leah’s goal is to make sure that every person who walks through our doors feels welcome, safe, and cared for.
Outside of work Leah enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to Walt Disney World, reading fiction novels and watching Elmo’s World with her granddaughter. She is also an advocate for her transgender and disabled son. Leah identifies as a cisgender white woman.
The UHS Counseling Center serves as a training site for second-year students in the UMass Boston Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program. When office space and schedules permit, the Counseling Center also serves as a training site for second-year social work interns and advanced psychology trainees and clinical fellows.
Clinical Psychology Doctoral Students
The UHS Counseling Center serves as a training site for second-year students in the UMass Boston Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program. When office space and schedules permit, the Counseling Center also serves as a training site for second-year social work interns and advanced psychology trainees and clinical fellows. The training program places special emphasis on educating students to serve underserved populations by ensuring that they are knowledgeable about and skilled in developmentally and culturally responsive clinical practice. Trainees are closely supervised by licensed psychologists and social workers and are bound by the same confidentiality and privacy laws as staff members. The training program places special emphasis on educating students to serve underserved populations by ensuring that they are knowledgeable about and skilled in developmentally and culturally responsive clinical practice. Trainees are closely supervised by licensed psychologists and social workers and are bound by the same confidentiality and privacy laws as staff members.
Mariela Jimenez (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Developmental disabilities; autism; ADHD; anxiety; adjustment issues; interpersonal relationships; family systems; Black Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) clients. Bilingual in English and Spanish.
Jenna Macri (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Mindfulness and acceptance-based approaches; anxiety; depression; parenting and pregnancy; interpersonal relationships; adjustment issues; family systems; women’s issues.
Nicole Nadwony (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Experiences of neurodivergence; autism, ADHD; self-advocacy & empowerment; interpersonal relationships; emotions; women’s issues; family systems; anxiety. Bilingual in English and Spanish
Sarah (Min) Yang (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Developmental disabilities; autism; Asian and Asian American mental health; cross-cultural experiences; family systems and interpersonal relationships; social anxiety; motivation, goals and meaning; school stress and achievement; body image and eating concerns. Conversational in mandarin Chinese.
Sara Boodai (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Coping with trauma (recent or past traumatic experiences); PTSD; depression; anxiety; cultural adjustments for international students; academic stress; career and major exploration. Bilingual in English and Arabic.
Emily Hersch (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Anxiety; depression; life transitions and adjustment issues; stress management; academic and school-related issues; interpersonal relationships; familial conflict; motivation; goals and meaning; identity development.
Saniya Soni (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Trauma (complex PTSD, adverse childhood experiences); South Asian mental health; immigrant and children of immigrant experiences; depression; anxiety/social anxiety; identity development and exploration; interpersonal relationships; family systems; multicultural therapy. Conversational in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
Aashika Anantharaman (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Neurodivergence; trauma processing; working with diagnoses such as BPD and Bipolar from a trauma informed perspective; interpersonal relationships; navigating stressors related to racism, sexism, immigration, gender, sexuality and cultural identities.
Rachel Shinnick (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Anxiety; depression; perfectionism; coping with trauma; life transitions and adjustment issues; academic or athletic identity; coping with chronic pain and/or sports injury; interpersonal dynamics/conflict; intersections of mental health and sport; LGBTQ+ identities.
Sophia Pellegrom (she/her/hers)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Self-compassion and acceptance-based approaches; identity development; life transitions; trauma history coping with anxiety and stress; athletic and performance concerns; neurodiversity; LGBTQ+.
Ashish Thakur (he/him/his)
Special Psychotherapy Interests: Human centered (Rogerian approach); trauma informed and PTSD sensitive; LGBTQ+; depression; identity development; life and role transitions; grief, loss and bereavement; South Asian and Indian mental health; self-compassion & acceptance-based approaches; transition analysis; cross-cultural experiences; men’s issues. Fluent in English and Hindi.