Doctoral Students in Counseling Psychology


Elyssa C Berney (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology program. She completed her BA in Psychology from Texas Tech University in 2017 and her MS in Counseling Psychology from UK in 2019. She is advised by Dr. Joe Hammer and holds a graduate assistant position working in the Office of Assessment and College Effectiveness in the Gatton College of Business. Her research uses a critical whiteness/feminist framework to study masculinities and help seeking behavior among veterans and military personnel, as well as quantitative justice in research and program evaluation. Clinically, she is interested in substance abuse concerns, moral injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Email: elyssa.c.berney@nulluky.edu


Isabelle (Izzy) Blaber (she/her/hers) is a third-year doctoral student in Counseling Psychology. She graduated from Rhodes College in 2019 with her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in English. Izzy is a member of Dr. Rostosky’s PRISM team: her main research interest is sexual and gender minority well-being, with specific focus on eating disorders / disordered eating in the LGBTQ+ community. She serves as the Teaching Assistant for Presentation U for her assistantship. In her free time, Izzy enjoys reading, hiking, and painting. Email: isabelle.blaber@nulluky.edu

photo of Brittany Cannon
Brittany Cannon is a first-year counseling psychology doctoral student. She is from Bennettsville, SC, and a two-time graduate of Francis Marion University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree (2018) in psychology with a minor in gender studies, and her Master’s in Clinical/Counseling Psychology (2021). Brittany’s research interest broadly includes spirituality practices, self-esteem, emotion regulation and attachment styles among Black people. She is advised by Dr. Candice Hargons. During the 2022-23 academic year, Brittany will complete a practicum at The University of Kentucky’s Counseling Center. She is a recipient of the Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship. During her spare time, Brittany enjoys free writing, singing, serving as a consultant/Ella Baker Trainer with the Children’s Defense Fund, community outreach, and spending time with family and friends. Email: Brittany.Cannon@nulluky.edu

photo of Zakary Clements
Zakary Clements is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology. He earned his B.S. in Psychology with a minor in LGBT Studies from Towson University. At Towson, he was involved in research with the Social Biases lab and Sexual and Gender Identity lab. He is currently a teaching assistant for the College of Education and holds a practicum placement at Skaggs Consulting. Zak is a member of the Psychosocial Research Initiative on Sexual Minorities (PRISM) lab, advised by Dr. Rostosky. His research interests broadly focus on the LGBTQ* community. Specifically, he is interested in how authenticity and well-being can be enhanced in trans, nonbinary, and gender diverse individuals. He is also interested community-based research to promote the positive aspects of LGBTQ* identities. Email: Zakary.Alexander@nulluky.edu


Rena M. G. Curvey is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program. Rena graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2014 with a B.S. in Exercise Science, and the University of Kentucky in 2017 with a M.S. in Kinesiology and Health Promotion with an emphasis in Sport Psychology and 2019 with a M.S. in Counseling Psychology. She has a wide variety of research interests including the intersection of sport psychology and psychotherapy, training and professional practice, and social justice. As a therapist she is particularly interested in depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, identity development, life transitions, interpersonal issues, career counseling, and sport performance. Rena is currently completing her pre-doctoral internship (sport psychology track) at Auburn University. Email: Rena.goodwin@nulluky.edu

photo of Jardin Dogan
Jardin Dogan is a Counseling Psychology Ph.D. candidate. She is from Rock Hill, South Carolina and a two-time graduate of Clemson University. Her bachelor’s degree (2015) is in Psychology, with a minor in Spanish, and her Master’s and Education Specialist degrees (2017) are in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Jardin’s research interests broadly connect to racial identity development, race-related trauma, and drug and sexual health-related disparities for Black individuals. She works under the joint mentorship of Dr. Candice Hargons and Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins. To see her work, please visit jardindogan.com. Email: jndo224@nullg.uky.edu.


Zach Dschaak is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology and predoctoral intern at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. Zach received a B.S. from Minot State University with majors in Psychology and Addiction Studies and a M.A. in Counseling from the University of North Dakota. Zach is a member of Dr. Joseph Hammer’s Help-Seeking and Multicultural Measurement Evaluation Research (HAMMER) Lab. Zach’s research interests include substance use help seeking and rural mental health. Zach is a former Lyman T. Johnson Fellow and recipient of the Association of Emeriti Faculty Fellowship and Opioid Workforce Expansion Program Grant. Zach is also a member of the Finance Committee for the Society of Counseling Psychology (APA Division 17) and the Membership Committee for the Society of Addiction Psychology (APA Division 50). Email: zachdschaak@nulluky.edu


Jasmine Jester is a second year Counseling Psychology PhD candidate from Columbus, Ohio. She is a two time graduate of Tennessee State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in Africana Studies, and master’s degree in counseling psychology. Jasmine’s research interests include: the intersecting identities of gender and race, health disparities found in the Black community, and social justice issues. She is advised by Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins, and will be completing a practicum at The Schwartz Center. Email: jkje225@nulluky.edu


Monyae Kerney M.A. (she/they), is a first-year doctoral student in counseling psychology. She graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University in 2020, earning bachelor’s degrees in Psychology, Sociology, and African American Diaspora Studies. Monyae then continued their education at Columbia University in 2021, earning their Masters in Spirituality Mind Body Psychology and an Advanced Certificate in Sexuality Women and Gender with a special concentration in LGBTQ populations. Monyae’s research centers mind, body, and spiritual practice via somatic movement as a way of healing Self and connecting with Other. They center non-religious spiritual traditions rooted in African traditional knowledge (e.g., ancestral veneration, divination, nature/naturopathic medicine) as intuitive methods of resilience and resistance in the experiences of black women. In her free time, Monyae serves as a full spectrum communal based doula, meditation, and yoga teacher. You will find her dancing, painting, laughing, writing poetry, and growing her herbal garden. They are a UNITE Predoctoral Research Fellow and a recipient of the Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship and UNITE Predoctoral Research. Email: Monyae.kerney@nulluky.edu

photo of Natalie Malone
Natalie Malone, MS, 200RYT, is a fifth-year counseling psychology doctoral student advised by Dr. Candice Hargons. She received her BA and MS in psychology disciplines from the University of Kentucky. She is a member of the RISE^2 Research Team, Research Lab for Interdisciplinary Minority Health, and Thorpe Lab. Broadly, her research interests include social justice topics and love, sex, and spirituality among Black folk. As a scientist-practitioner and activist, she aims to address systemic-level barriers to mental health affecting communities of color, promote sex-positivity, and celebrate all expressions of Black love throughout the diaspora. Natalie is also a local yoga teacher at Sterling Hot Yoga Lexington. Email: njma232@nullg.uky.edu

Sarah McCurry
Sara McCurry is a third-year doctoral student in Counseling Psychology. Sara received a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in English Literature at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2018. Sara’s prior research experiences were in the Development of Adolescents and Young Adults lab, the Social Cognition and Research lab, and the Self and Identity labs at UTK. Sara is currently completing a practicum at UKCC, and has prior clinical experience at NewVista in both Jessamine and Anderson counties. Sara is a member of the Psychosocial Research Initiative on Sexual Minorities (PRISM) lab. Sara’s research interests focus on sexual and gender diverse individuals’ experiences of minority stress and systemic oppression in higher education. Email: Sara.McCurry@nulluky.edu


Melanie Miller, M.S. (she/her/hers) is a fourth year doctoral student in Counseling Psychology. She graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2015 with a double B.A. in Psychology and Child and Family Studies with a minor in Philosophy. She then received her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the UK in 2020. Melanie is a member of the Help-Seeking And Multicultural Measurement Evaluation Research (HAMMER) Lab and currently holds a graduate assistantship working for Transformative Learning as an APP instructor and Integrated Success Coach. Melanie has worked professionally in research, program evaluation, and patient-education for various non-profits and health organizations for the last 8 years. Clinically, Melanie has worked with a range of clients in career counseling, university centers, and health psychology settings. She is currently a Doctoral Intern at Bluegrass Health Psychology working with health psychology assessments and treatments. Broadly, Melanie’s work as a scientist-practitioner and advocate focuses on marginalized people’s access to healthcare and opportunity. Within this framework, she studies the impacts of identity on help-seeking, how identity impacts healthcare disparities and inequities, the impact of providers’ cultural competency in healthcare, the barriers to mental healthcare, and marginalized peoples’ educational/career development. Email: melmiller931@nulluky.edu

photo of Destin Mizelle
Destin Mizelle is a Third-year Counseling Psychology doctoral student from College Park, GA. He earned his B.S in Psychology and Minored in African American Studies at the University of Georgia and his M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kentucky. Destin’s research interest broadly includes racial socialization, social justice, mental health disparities in the Black communities, and Black American cultural appreciation. Specifically, Destin is interested in celebrating African American naming patterns and examining the psychological effects of bearing Black Sounding Names. Destin’s primary goal is to improve Black Americans’ spiritual, physical, and mental well-being while appreciating their traditions, culture, and history through the lens of Liberation Psychology, and interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, Destin enjoys exercising, painting, traveling, creative writing, and hanging with friends. Email: Dmizelle@nulluky.edu

Chesmore Montique
Chesmore Montique is a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky’s Counseling Psychology program. Originally from New Jersey, Chesmore comes to UK after previously earning his B.A. of Psychology from Morehouse College in 2015 and his M.A. of Psychology from American University in 2017. His research interests range from Black love, relationships, healing racial trauma, and ethnic and racial identity experiences of Black folks. As a therapist, he is particularly interested in working with people of color, couples, families, trauma, athletes and performance, identity development, and interpersonal concerns. He is currently completing his pre-doctoral internship at the Georgia State University Counseling Center. Email: CSMontique@nulluky.edu

photo of Emily Murphy
Emily Murphy (she/her) is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology. She received a B.S. in Psychology at Indiana University and a M.S. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Kentucky. During the 2022-2023 academic year, Emily will complete her practicum rotation at the Robley Rex VA Medical Center within the Substance Use Disorders Treatment Program to supplement the generalist training she received at the Lexington VA Health Care System Outpatient Clinic. She has also worked within Transylvania University Athletics and continues to work for Dr. Alison Arnold — a leading sport psychology consultant for USA Gymnastics.

Emily is a member of the Help-Seeking and Multicultural Measurement Evaluation Research (HAMMER) Lab and the University of Kentucky Sport and Counseling Psychology Research Lab. Her research primarily focuses on the integration of sport psychology and psychotherapy and athlete activism. Additionally, Emily serves as a Student Representative within the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and is happy to answer any questions via email. Email: e.murphy@nulluky.edu


photo of Paige Orphe
Paige Orphé (she/her) is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2022 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Science. Her research interests include racial and sexual identity development, Black mental health, and modes of social support within marginalized populations. Advised by Dr. Stevens-Watkins, Paige currently holds an assistantship with the UNited In True racial Equity (UNITE) Research Priority Area. In her free time, Paige enjoys attending concerts, dancing, writing, and attempting new recipes. Email: por226@nulluky.edu

photo of Rayven Peterson
Rayven Peterson is a second-year Ph.D. Counseling Psychology student from Dayton, Ohio. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Spelman College in spring 2021 with a B.A. in Psychology. She is advised by Dr. Candice Hargons. Rayven’s research interest broadly includes social justice issues, mental health disparities, and the barriers that serve as facilitators to mental health help-seeking within the Black community. She currently fulfills the role as Assistant Program Director of the Neighborhood Healers Project. She is also a recent recipient of the Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship. During her spare time, Rayven enjoys performing poetry, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends. Email: Rayven.Peterson@nulluky.edu

Kelsey Redmayne
Kelsey Redmayne is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology program and an Intern in UK’s Internship Consortium program. She graduated from Harding University in 2014 with her BS in Psychology and BA in Music. She received her MS in Clinical Psychology at Abilene Christian University (ACU) in 2017. Kelsey is advised by Dr. Hammer, and her research interests and current projects are in help-seeking behaviors, substance use, medications for opioid use disorder, and psychotherapy outcomes. Email: Kelsey.Redmayne@nulluky.edu


Matt Richardson is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program. He received his BA in Psychology from Westfield State University in 2016 with a minor in Political Science and his MS in Counseling Psychology from Salem State University in 2018. Matt’s clinical and assessment experience includes placements in a community mental health center, a college counseling center, a private practice, and a state psychiatric hospital. He is currently completing an advanced practicum at Clarity Counseling, another local private practice. Matt’s research focuses on body image concerns, eating disorders, and partner preference among sexual minority men. He has taught several courses in EDP as a Senior TA and is currently an APAGS Member-at-large. Matt is currently working on his dissertation and preparing to apply for internship. Email: mrichardson@nulluky.edu


Ashna Sangar (she/her/hers) is a second-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program. She received her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation Counseling from Fergusson College, India, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison respectively. She is a licensed professional counselor (WI) and has four years of therapy experience working with people with anxiety and related disorders, mood disorders, and disabilities. Her research interest broadly includes social and cultural factors influencing help seeking in South Asians. In her spare time, she enjoys karate, Latin dancing, and being outdoors.  Email: ashna.sangar@nulluky.edu

photo of Amelia Stanley
Amelia Stanley is a third-year Doctorate student in Counseling Psychology.  She graduated with honors from Transylvania University in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology, and from the University of Kentucky in 2020 with an M.S. in Counseling Psychology. Her research interests include help-seeking attitudes and behavior, particularly amongst survivors of sexual assault and power-based personal violence. She currently holds a practicum placement at Skaggs Psychological Services and is a member of the Help-Seeking And Multicultural Measurement Evaluation Research (HAMMER) Lab. She also holds a graduate assistantship with Transformative Learning as UK 125 Instructor of Record. In her spare time, Amelia enjoys reading, cooking, and visiting with friends and family. Email: amelia.stanley@nulluky.edu

photo of Kasey Vigil
Kasey Vigil(she/her) is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology. She completed her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies at Converse College in 2019 and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology at Western Carolina University in 2021. She has clinical experience providing therapy and psychological assessments to youth in rural areas. She is a member of the the RISE^2 research lab and is advised by Dr. Candice Hargons. Kasey’s broad research interests include the role of queer identity-specific variables on the experience of sexual pleasure and the impact of sexual shame. She is a research assistant in the College of Nursing. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, journaling, and listening to podcasts. Email: Kasey.Morey@nulluky.edu

photo of Wenqi Weng
Wenqi Weng (he/him/his) is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program. He graduated from Zhejiang University with a B.A. in Psychology and received his master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology from University of Toronto and Zhejiang University. He worked as a CBT therapist at Chinese universities for one year after graduation. Wenqi is a member of the Help-Seeking And Multicultural Measurement Evaluation Research (HAMMER) Lab and currently holds a teaching assistantship for the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology. His research interests focus on help-seeking intentions and behaviors. In his spare time, Wenqi enjoys exercising, playing music, hiking and playing dota2. Email: Wenqi.weng@nulluky.edu


Paris Wheeler is a doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology. Paris is currently a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) T32 Fellow and is advised by Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins. Her research interests include substance use and structural determinants of health disparities among marginalized populations. She is completing practicum at the Center for Women and Children, a residential substance use treatment facility. Paris’s current research projects include (1) examining the impact of cocaine and cannabis co-use on sleep and (2) investigating culturally relevant protective factors of polysubstance use and prescription drug misuse among Black incarcerated men. In her free time, Paris enjoys outdoor activities such as gardening and hiking. Email: paris.wheeler@nulluky.edu


Courtney Wright is a third year Counseling Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky. Originally from New Jersey, Courtney comes to UK after completing both her BA in Applied Psychology and Human Development and MA in Mental Health Counseling at Boston College. She is advised by Dr. Candice Hargons and a member of the RISE^2 research team. Her broad research interests include Black women’s health and wellness, mental health interventions in communities of color, and social justice topics. Courtney also enjoys working with clients in therapy to address relationship issues, mood and stress-related concerns, identity development & healing from identity-based harm. In her spare time, Courtney enjoys journaling, meditating, traveling, exercising, and trying new restaurants. Email: cjwr225@nulluky.edu


Ming “Mindy” Zhang is a second-year doctoral student in Counseling Psychology. She graduated from Bucknell University in 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology and minors in statistics and music. She earned her M.S.Ed in Counseling and Mental Health Services and M.Phil.Ed in Professional Counseling from University of Pennsylvania in 2020 and 2021 respectively, during which she did her practicums and internship as an eating disorders CBT therapist, a possibility mentor for middle school students, and a high school college counselor. Ming is a member of the Help-Seeking And Multicultural Measurement Evaluation Research (HAMMER) Lab and currently holds a graduate assistantship with Transformative Learning as an Integrated Success Coach. Her research interests broadly focus on mental health service utilization and help-seeking behaviors among international students. In her spare time, Ming enjoys cooking, singing, music arranging, and doing jigsaw puzzles. Email: mzh240@nulluky.edu

Master’s Students in Counseling Psychology

photo of Jaxin Annett
Jaxin Annett is a second-year Master’s student in the Counseling Psychology program. She graduated from Brigham Young University – Provo in 2020 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in English. During her undergrad, Jaxin was employed as a research assistant and teaching assistant for both graduate and undergraduate students on project MORE: Minority-Oriented Research Evaluation where her research focused on social sciences literature and ethnic minorities. As a graduate student at UK, she is a graduate research assistant for JCOIN (Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network) and a member of the Rise^2 research lab. Her research interests focus on trauma, white racial attitudes and moral behaviors, decision-making, and mindfulness-based practices. In her spare time, she loves being in nature, playing classical guitar or piano, traveling, making delicious food, and spending time with friends/family. Additionally, she is completing her practicum at Georgetown College. Email: jaxinannett@nulluky.edu

photo of Chloe Benningfield
Chloe Benningfield is a first-year Master’s student in the Counseling Psychology program. She graduated from Western Kentucky University with a B.S. in Psychological Science with an additional major in English Literature. As an undergraduate, Chloe researched trauma, PTSD, social support, and mental health outcomes for college students. More recently, her research interests include sexuality, gender expectations, and the effects of social support in sexual and gender minorities. In her free time, Chloe enjoys reading, baking, going to the movies, and spending time with her loved ones. Email: cjbe240@nulluky.edu

photo of Cynthia Doyle
Cynthia L Doyle (she/her) is a first year Masters Student in the Counseling Psychology Program. She graduated from the University of Louisville in 2016 with a B.A., double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. In undergrad, she studied social deviance, historical and contemporary impacts on race relations and the effects of stigma consciousness on the self-identification process of biracial individuals. Her current research interest have expanded to include social support, trauma, adverse childhood experiences, generational and racial trauma, and mindfulness and meditation as tools for healing through stress reduction and self-actualization. She runs a small business in Louisville, KY that works to de-stigmatize mental disorders while simultaneously educating and building safe spaces for those impacted by the diagnosis of a mental disorder. Her favorite leisurely pastimes are reading, writing, meditation, and recreational activities like running and hiking. Email: cldo227@nulluky.edu.

photo of Joshua Hancock
Josh Hancock (he/him/his) is a first-year Master’s student in the Counseling Psychology program and a recipient of the UK McNair Fellowship. His academic career includes graduating Magna Cum Laude from Joliet Junior College in 2020, then earning his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2022. At the University of Illinois, Josh developed foundational research and clinical skills through his involvement in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program and his course experience as a student mindfulness facilitator. His research interests include belongingness for queer BIPOC and community healing through the framework of liberation psychology. In his free time, Josh enjoys spending time with loved ones, traveling, and being outdoors. Email: joshua.hancock@nulluky.edu    Professional Webpage Link: bio.site/eljoshhancock

photo of Mekaila Keeling
Mekaila Keeling is a first year Master’s student in the Counseling Psychology program. In 2017, she graduated from the University of Toledo with a B.A. in Psychology. After undergrad, she volunteered as a Research Assistant for the Personality, Emotion Research and Treatment (P.E.R.T.) Laboratory focusing research on personality pathology, risky behaviors, and treatment outcome. Mekaila’s research interests broadly include mental health disparities, healthy relationships, help seeking behaviors within the Black community and psychotherapy outcomes. In her spare time, Mekaila enjoys spending time with her loved ones, mentoring, and traveling to experience new foods and activities. Email:mekaila.keeling@nulluky.edu

photo of Kaylee Palomino
Kaylee A. Palomino is a first-year Counseling Psychology Master’s student and a second-year Sport and Exercise Psychology Master’s student. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Georgia. At UK, she was awarded the Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship, and she works part-time as an Integrated Success Coach in UK’s Transformative Learning department. She plans to work in student-athlete support services, where she aims to teach mindfulness and meditation techniques and promote mental well-being among student-athletes. She also serves as the President of UK’s Black Graduate and Professional Student Association, where she hosts events that support the academic, professional, and social development of Black graduate and professional students and their allies. Email: Kapa231@nulluky.edu

Photo coming soon!
Zoe Sigola is a first-year Master’s student in the Counseling Psychology program. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Psychology and a double minor in Sociology and Criminology. During her undergrad, she worked as a research assistant at the Center of Drug and Alcohol Research where she was able to help administer and conduct research to follow up on the health of those who suffer from substance abuse. She was also a volunteer for the Divorce Recovery Workshop program, a program for children who are having difficulty adjusting to their parent’s divorce. Recently, her research interests include trauma, implementing mental health, and the social causes of stress that affects psychological well-being. Email: zasi224@nulluky.edu