Counseling & Testing Center - Meet Our Staff
We are a staff of licensed psychologists with generalist mental health training and expertise in working with students. The Counseling & Testing Center is a full-service counseling center that provides culturally-responsive individual counseling, group counseling, psychological assessment, crisis intervention, outreach, and consultation services to the UA community.
The center is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services and is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers, the Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies, the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors and the Association of Coordinators of College Counseling Center Clinical Services. The Center's doctoral internship program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1990 and was re-accredited in 2017 with the next accreditation visit occurring in 2027.
Juanita K. Martin, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is the Executive Director for the Counseling and Testing Center and Office of Accessibility. She is a licensed psychologist who earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Kent State University. In addition to administrative duties, she enjoys working with anxiety, depression, and social justice concerns. She is currently on the Accreditation Board for the International Accreditation for Counseling Services (IACS) and is the Secretary of the Greater Cleveland/Akron Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi). Other professional memberships include APA (Division 45), the Ohio Psychological Association and the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors where she co-chaired the Elements of Excellence committee. Her research and publications have focused on multicultural issues. She also enjoys exercise, reading and spending time with family and friends.
Matthew Altiere, Ph.D. (he/him/his) is the Senior Associate Director – Clinical at the CTC and is a licensed psychologist. He received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University. He completed his internship at Veterans’ Affairs Healthcare System-Western New York. He is currently a member of the American Psychological Association. He describes his theoretical orientation as person-centered and integrative with a focus on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. His clinical interests include stress management, trauma, behavioral medicine and chronic disease management, Veteran’s issues, multicultural issues, identity development, positive psychology and adjustment, depression, and anxiety. Outside the office, he enjoys running, hiking, reading, time with friends and family, and playing board games.
Donna McDonald, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is a licensed psychologist and serves as the Associate Director of Training. She received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University and has worked as a therapist for over 25 years in both community and university settings. Dr. McDonald works from a generalist perspective and sees students with a variety of mental health issues. She also has expertise in working with trauma survivors and with students with diverse identities including first generation college students and non-traditional adult learners. Dr. McDonald has received training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS). She uses a collaborative and relational approach in therapy with a focus on emotion. Her favorite self-care strategies involve being outdoors, music, and warm beverages.
Eric W. Hayden, Ph.D. (he/him/his) is a licensed psychologist and the Assistant Director-Training. He earned his doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Kent State University. His doctoral internship took place at UNC at Charlotte and his post-doctorate residency took place at Oberlin College. He describes his therapeutic orientation as humanistic, holistic (appreciating mind-body connection), and multi-culturally affirming integrated with Acceptance and Commitment and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies. His clinical interests include sport psychology, biofeedback, anxiety disorders, men’s, and LGBT+ issues. He is board certified in biofeedback by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance. He has peer reviewed publications in the areas of gender focused therapy and sports psychology. Outside the office he enjoys making art, cycling, cooking, and time in nature.
Sara Rieder Bennett, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is the Director of Testing for the University of Akron. She received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Akron in 2009 and has worked in both university and community agencies. Her internship took place at West Virginia University and postdoctoral hours were at Clemson University. Dr. Rieder Bennett has interest in feminist and multicultural counseling, health psychology, testing and assessment, supervision and training, and research. She coordinates the assessment training, and co-leads the research group with Dr. Natacha Keramidas for the interns. She has been at the University of Akron since 2012.
Dr. Rieder Bennett is a Past-President of the Great Lakes College Testing Association, Editor of the Journal of the National College Testing Association (NCTA), Treasurer of NCTA, Co-Chair of the NCTA Proctor Certification Committee, and serves as an advisor and reviewer for NCTA Test Center Certification. She is a member of the Accessibility Committee of Faculty Senate and Placement Testing Committee at the University of Akron. Outside of the office, Dr. Rieder Bennett enjoys hiking and yoga, reading, learning new skills, spending time with family and friends, and everything to do with cooking.
Premala Tara Jones, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is a licensed Psychologist. She received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Kent State University. She completed her internship at the Counseling and Testing Center at the University of Akron and carried out her post-doctorate residency in Health Psychology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, main campus. She has worked for several years as a psychologist in both community and private practice settings. Her professional interests include, holistic health psychology, integration of spirituality, functional nutrition, diversity, trauma, anxiety, depression, first generation and non-traditional college students. In addition, Dr. Jones has research and training interests in diversity, anxiety management, grief and loss, reproductive loss, and compassion fatigue. Highlights of her research interests in the aforementioned areas include the co-development of curriculum on reproductive loss for psychiatric residents, university counseling programs, and private clinicians. Additionally, she has presented at national and regional conferences on reproductive loss, parenting, self-care, and compassion fatigue. Premala enjoys time involved with her faith, family, friends, reading, outdoors activities and household projects.
Natacha L. Keramidas, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is a Staff Psychologist and the Outreach Coordinator. She completed her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Akron and her APA accredited doctoral internship in Health Service Psychology at the Counseling and Testing Center at the University of Akron. Her theoretical orientation is integrative, a combination of cognitive-behavioral, positive psychology and multicultural therapy. Her clinical interests include positive psychology, anxiety and college students’ wellbeing, career exploration issues, as well as international student issues and acculturation. Her research interests include mentoring, international students and women experiences. Natacha is the faculty advisor to the Women in Psychology student organization and is certified as a Mental Health First Aid trainer. Outside the office Natacha is an experienced traveler (and lived in 4 countries and 5 states), an avid reader, enjoys knitting, baking, and spending time with family and friends.
Counseling & Testing Center Part-Time Staff
Lisa Amoroso-Johnson, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), Psychologist
Zac Bruback, M.A. (he/him/his), Psychology Assistant
Counseling & Testing Center Administrative Staff
Coordinator of Counseling & Testing Center
Paulette Solomon (she/her/hers)
Meghan Redle, M.A.Ed. (she/her/hers)
Doctoral Interns (2021-2022)
Luke Evans, M.S. (he/him/his) is a psychology intern completing his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Saint Louis University. He has experience assessing and treating clients with a variety of concerns (e.g., depression, anxiety, insomnia, substance use, trauma, and ADHD) and is especially interested in work relating to identity development (e.g., exploring one's values and working with LGBTQIA+ populations). Clinically, Luke emphasizes open collaboration in the therapeutic relationship and utilizes evidence-based practices such as CBT, ACT, and motivational interviewing to address his clients' unique needs. In his free time, Luke enjoys sports, getting outdoors, and spending time with his fiancée and pets.
Catherine Hommer, M.S. (she/her/hers) is a psychology intern her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology at West Virginia University. She has worked in various settings, including community mental health, teen group homes, and college counseling centers. Catherine especially enjoys group therapy and outreach. She is particularly interested in working with members of the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities. Other areas of interest include interpersonal relationship concerns, multiculturalism and cultural humility, women's issues, and identity development and exploration. Catherine uses an interpersonal process approach within a multicultural framework, working collaboratively with all of her clients to make sure they feel safe and validated in therapy. Some of her favorite activities include taking her dog, Daisy, for walks, watching old-school horror movies, listening to the rain, and enjoying a warm beverage.
Huanzhen (Psyche) Xu, M.A. (she/her/hers) is a psychology intern completing her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Bowling Green State University. Trained in a variety of clinical settings, Psyche is interested in working with clients of varying demographics, including age, race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Identified with a culturally and racially marginalized group herself, Psyche, is particularly passionate about connecting with and providing support to the underserved population. Psyche consider a strong working alliance the foundation of transformative therapeutic work, and she strives to identify her clients’ assets and motivations for growth. Psyche loves being a therapist and she also loves singing, exploring nature and humanity, and simply being with her family.
Practicum Counselors (2021-2022)
Sophia Elliott, M.Ed. (she/her/hers) is an advanced practicum counselor completing her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Cleveland State University.
Darrien Hawkins, M.A. (he/him/his) is an advanced practicum counselor completing his doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Cleveland State University.
Courtney Michael, M.A. (she/her/hers) is an advanced practicum counselor completing her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Akron.
Ning Tang, M.Ed. (she/her/hers) is an advanced practicum counselor completing her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Akron.
Emily Thornton, M.A. (she/her/hers) is an advanced practicum counselor completing her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Akron.
Blessing Opara, M.A. (she/her/hers) is an advanced practicum counselor completing her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Akron.
Ginelle Wolfe, M.A. (she/her/hers) is an advanced practicum counselor completing her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Akron.