Counseling Center Staff

The Furman Counseling Center staff is made up of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and interns in these fields.   As a group, we represent a wide variety of professional interests and specializations, including multicultural issues, wellness, sexual identity, women's issues, eating disorders, and social justice. All of us are committed to providing services in ways that recognize, respect, and value the diversity of Barnard students.

Click on a name or scroll down for a short biography.

Mary Commerford, Ph.D., Director

Hilary Colenso, Ph.D, LCSW, Associate Director

Vanessa Dabel, Ph.D.

Drew Bianchi, M.D.

Elizabeth Hantman, M.D.

DeShaunta Johnson, Ph.D.

Anna Lin, Ph.D.

Marisa Mabli, LCSW, Coordinator, ASAP

Kathleen Niegocki, Ph.D.



Post Doctoral Fellow:

Christy Dabreo-Otero, M.A.

Doctoral Intern:

Esen Karan, M.S. (Fall)

Andrew Hartz, M.A. (Spring)

Doctoral Externs:

Laila Abdel-Salam, M.Ed., MA

Elizabeth Glaeser, Doctoral Candidate

Nina Lei, M.S.

Social Work Interns:

Kathryn Felicetta,  MSW Candidate

Emily Stuart, MSW Candidate

Ashwin Chugh, MSW Candidate

Administrative Staff:

Norinda Del Fierro, B.A., Office Coordinator/Admin. Asst.

Cachaundra Tarvin, Receptionist


Mary Commerford, Ph.D., Director, Furman Counseling Center

Education History:

  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, Fordham University
  • M.Div. Ministry, Yale University Divinity School
  • A.B. Theology, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

Professional Interest and Specialties:

  • Eating Disorders
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Spirituality/Religion
  • Women and Young Adult concerns

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Hilary Colenso, Ph.D., L.S.W., Associate Director

Education History:

  • Ph.D. New York University
  • M.Sc. University of Oxford, England
  • B.A. University of Leicester, England

Professional Interest and Specialties:

  • Interested in a broad range of women’s psychological and relationship issues including the loss and transitions, affective disorders, substance use, trauma and abuse.

Research Interests:

  • Women’s Substance Abuse and Treatment

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Elizabeth Hantman, M.D. Staff Psychiatrist

Education History:

  • Residency in Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University
  • Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia and Cornell Universities
  • M.D.Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • B.A. Psychology, Rutgers College, Rutgers University

Professional Interest and Specialties:

  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Evaluation and treatment of psychiatric illness
  • Psychological development throughout childhood and adulthood

Research Interests:

  • Pain symptoms, stress, and psychiatric illness

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Drew Bianchi, M.D., Staff Psychiatrist

Education History:

  • Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York University
  • Residency in Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • M.D. University at Buffalo School of Medicine
  • B.A. Psychology, University at Albany
Professional Specialties:
  • Evaluation and treatment of psychiatric illness in adolescents and young adults
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Spirituality

Research Interests:

 Clinical applications of mindfulness and spirituality in psychiatry


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DeShaunta Johnson, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist

Education History:

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Columbia University Counseling and Psychological Service
  • Predoctoral Fellowship: Yale University School of Medicine
  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • BA, Dance and Postcolonial studies,  Sarah Lawrence College

Professional and Research Interests:

  • Complex trauma
  • Restorative Justice and Liberation Psychology
  • Psychology of oppression
  • Transgenerational transmission of trauma
  • Depression in Sub Saharan Africa

Kathleen Niegocki, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist, Eating Disorder Specialist

Education History:

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Counseling and Psychological Services, Princeton University 
  • Predoctoral Fellowship, Counseling and Psychological Services, University of Pennsylvania
  • Ph.D.,  Counseling Psychology, Ball State University
  • M.A., Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Social Psychology, Ball State University
  • B.A., Psychology, Earlham College

Professional and Research Interests:

  • Eating and body image concerns
  • Trauma recovery
  • Concerns related to relationships, adjustment, and life transitions
  • Cultural and identity concerns
  • Positive psychology, mindfulness, and self-care
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Vanessa Dabel, Ph.D., Staff  Psychologist / Outreach Coordinator

Education History:

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Counseling and Psychological Services, University of Pennyslvania
  • Doctoral Internship, Counseling and Psychological Services, University of Pennsylvania
  • Ph.D. Counseling Psychology and School Psychology, College of Education, Florida State University
  • M.A, Developmental Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • B.A., Psychology and Minor in Italian Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Professional Interest and Specialties:

  • Outreach
  • Trauma-informed care
  • ADHD and learning differences
  • Oppression and Identity Concerns
  • First-generation college students
  • Career decision-making concerns

Anna Lin, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist / Trauma Specialist

Education History:

  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, Adelphi University
  • Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • B.S. State University of New York at Stony Brook

Professional Interest and Specialties:

  • Trauma
  • Sexual violence response
  • Multiculturalism and diversity
  • Self-regulation skills including mindfulness
  • Young adult challenges in identity and career development

Christy Dabreo-Otero, M.A., Post Doctoral Fellow

Education History:

  • Predoctoral Internship, Kings County Hospital Center

  • Ph.D. Candidate Clinical Psychology, St. John’s University

  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, St. John’s University

  • B.A., General Psychology, Baruch College- City University of New York (CUNY)

Professional Interest and Specialties:

    • Women’s concerns and issues

    • Identity development

    • Emotion regulation and coping with anxiety

    • Establishing connections and managing relationships

    • Emerging adulthood

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