Meet Our Students


 Graduating Class of 2017

Abriel BlakeAbriel Blake

My name is Abriel Blake and I am from Savannah Ga. I’ve attended Valdosta State University to pursue my undergraduate degree in Psychology. Despite my efforts to escape Valdosta Ga, I was intrigued by the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program because it specifically fits my personal needs in regards to professional development and career preparation. Hands-on experience, diversity, and a positive working relationship between faculty and students are the important qualities that this program maintains. I am delighted that this program offers the FamilyWorks Clinic that both serves the community and allows for graduate students to serve as student-therapist. My goal is to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist where I will focus on the adolescents and young adult population. In my spare time I sing at different events/venues and I also write and record my own music. Like MFT, music is therapeutic!

Alyson StewartAlyson Stewart

Alyson Stewart is a first year Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Student from Woodbridge, Virginia. Previously she studied Public Relations and Communications Studies at the University of Alabama. After graduation she worked as a government contractor and then worked for a nonprofit association. Her hobbies include writing, blogging, reading, listening to old school R&B and gospel, hanging out with friends, and watching chick flicks! She is a huge people person that enjoys being surrounded by her peers. The company of others is comforting, she is quite the conversationalist. As a former military brat, she had to quickly learn how to be an extrovert and jump out of her shell. She's often described as energetic, bubbly and friendly. Her smiles huge, you can't miss it.

Angellica WentworthAngellica Wentworth

Greetings, My name is Angellica Wentworth. I am from Decatur, GA. I graduated with my B.S. in Psychology from The University of Georgia. I chose Valdosta State University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the program's emphasis on a systemic/contextual approach to doing therapy. What I like most about the program is the collaborative learning that takes place in the classroom along with the ability to openly communicate with the faculty. Upon completion of the program I would love to work as a clinician in a College/University setting.

Ashley LanierAshley Lanier

Hello, my name is Ashley Lanier. I was born and raised in Powder Springs, Georgia. I graduated from Valdosta State University in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.  I was initially attracted to Valdosta State’s Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the student run Family Works Clinic, and the systemic lens through which therapy is seen. I am excited to be a part of such a great program and I am looking forward to working with such a diverse and talented faculty and cohort.

Aylesha GurleyAylesha Gurley

Hello! My name is Aylesha Gurley and I am from the heart of Georgia, also known as Middle Georgia or the city of Warner Robins. My home town of Warner Robins is right next to Robins Air Force Base, which has greatly influenced my decision to seek a position in therapy that works with Military Families, Spouses and Children. Being from a Military family myself, I have experienced how the Military influences families and I am eager as to what a Military Family and their potential struggles looks like through the eyes of a Therapist. Although I intend to obtain my License in order to fulfil my desire to work in a Military setting, I will always have an open mind to work where my passion for diversity and inclusivity is not only welcomed but also desired. I am truly thankful for my acceptance into this program and after having graduated from VSU in the Spring of 2015 with my B.S in Psychology, I gladly attribute a fair portion of my decision turn around and return back to Valdosta State to join VSU’s Marriage and Family Therapy program to a fellow cohort member, Erica Velazquez. Through conversations with her and research of my own, I have come to the realization that the helping profession is where I feel most at home. VSU’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program is a great foundational introduction into the world of therapy. Within the career field of Marriage and Family Therapy, I have come to adopt the values of diversity and inclusivity as my own values. I believe that my decision to choose this career field is just my first step of many into a life of adventure and advantageous interactions with many people and I am eager and excited to continue my journey into this wonder-filled, helping profession known as Marriage and Family Therapy.

Beverly JosephBeverley Joseph

Salutations! My name is Beverley Joseph, hailing from “The City Beautiful” Orlando, FL. I am PROUD of my Haitian Heritage and being first generation born in America. I graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL with a BS in Secondary English Education, and have spent the last three years teaching 7th grade Language Arts. Throughout my teaching tenure, I noticed that the increasing number of black and brown students receiving disciplinary actions (i.e. referrals, suspensions etc.) could be lessened if more teachers were equipped with skills necessary to diffuse stressful situations. Seeing the repetitiveness of these situations inspired me towards a more therapeutic pathway towards meaningful change. My rationale for going into the field of Marriage Family Therapy boiled down to, if I could help the child with their home life issues, while working with the family unit, then maybe, the trickle-down effect would be fostering the development of a healthy child, who could now focus more on school, instead of their problems at home. After an extensive Google search, I found the AAMFT website, which led to VSU’s Marriage Family Therapy Program. From the initial welcome on the website, I knew this would be the program for me. Ultimately, I chose to attend VSU’s Marriage Family Therapy because of their reputation of academic excellence, their hands on clinical experiences and the close knit feel between the faculty and students. After graduation, I aspire to attend Nova Southeastern University in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Family Therapy. I will focus on the Afro-Caribbean population in South Florida, to dispel the stigmas of therapy, while advocating for Therapeutic services in the public school system. In my very LIMITED spare time, I am an avid reader, traveler, food connoisseur and     cook. I also love spending time with my family, and my dog Sherlock.

Cheryl ColemanCheryl Coleman 

Hello! My name is Cheryl Coleman. Originally from Hopkins, South Carolina, I completed my undergraduate studies at Claflin University. While there, I focused a majority of my attention on researching the decline in activism among HBCU students. The MFT program here at Valdosta State University was a godsend, and I am eternally grateful to Dr. Lambert-Shute for seeing potential in me. I intend to receive my licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy and use it to work with either the foster home system and abused children, or soldiers dealing with PTSD and their families. I also have aspirations to pursue a doctoral degree in the future. 

Dyson DaviesDyson Davies 

I am thrilled to be part of the Marriage & Family Therapy program at VSU. I am finding that the MFT program at Valdosta State fully supports and strengthens my commitment to critical theory and feminist praxis, cross-cultural community building, and lifelong learning. My academic and vocational background is in women’s and gender studies, international higher education, multicultural community services, and curriculum development. As an aspiring clinician, I intend to approach therapy not merely as treatment of clients’ unwanted symptoms but as a support of clients’ capacity for reflective and intentional living, relationality across differences, and vibrant health. My current research interests include relationship reciprocity, the profeminist men’s movement, and the therapeutic application of theories of embodiment. Dyson Davies

Elizabeth NewtonElizabeth Newton

My name is Elizabeth Newton and I intend to pursue licensure as a Marriage and Family therapist. After graduation from Valdosta State’s MFT program, I hope to continue my involvement in the field of wilderness therapy, which I have been doing for the past year a half. While I was at the University of Georgia, the influence of several of my undergraduate professors piqued my interest in Marriage and Family therapy. I then became convinced that I wanted to pursue a Master’s degree in MFT rather than receive an education that derives from a more traditional, diagnostic orientation or that focused primarily on research with less focus on clinical experience. MFT offers a unique approach to therapeutic practice by emphasizing the relational and systemic nature of our world. I am ecstatic to be a student in VSU’s program because of the quality and engagement of professors, the rigor of courses, and the incomparable experience offered to practice in our graduate student-run clinic. I believe this is the best niche in the country to fall into if interested in a career as a Marriage and Family therapist.

Ellory BishopEllory Bishop

Hello! My name is Ellory Bishop. I am originally from Rome, GA, and I'm the oldest of five kids! During my undergraduate studies, I bounced around between anthropology, psychology, women's studies, and comparative literature before finally planting my feet in sociology. I received my B.S. in sociology from the University of West Georgia in 2014. Consequently, I came across Marriage and Family Therapy while searching for a therapeutic orientation that aligned with my relational, sociological understanding of the world. I chose VSU's Marriage and Family Therapy program because of their philosophy on diversity, the culture of support within the program, and the unparalleled hands-on clinical training that the program offers. The students and faculty have been incredibly supportive, and I couldn't have asked for a better environment in which to practice and learn. After graduation, I plan on seeking licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I would like to specialize in sex therapy, gender based issues, and sexual abuse. Thanks for taking the time to read about me! I am thrilled to be at Valdosta State University, and I'm so looking forward to my time in the MFT program. 

Erica VelazquezErica Velazquez

My name is Erica Velazquez. I was born in San Bernardino, CA and raised in Warner Robins/Perry, GA. I completed my undergraduate studies in Psychology, with a minor in Spanish, here at VSU in May of 2015 - Valdosta has definitely become a second home to me. Once I decided to pursue a BS in Psychology before I started my undergraduate years, I knew that I wanted to be some sort of therapist. I find a lot of value in therapy, and any field that has communication at its core, so I started researching all of the careers that I could pursue with my degree. Once I came across MFT and realized how invaluable and necessary therapy is as a whole, yet thoroughly devalued in today’s society, I knew that I had found my passion and a career choice that I could make the most impact on others’ lives. The practice of Marriage and Family Therapy hits home for me in a lot of ways, due to the familial environment I grew up in, and I am ecstatic and honored to be receiving my degree from one of the best MFT programs available! Understanding that the family is the first and most important, enduring environment throughout one’s life and how function/dysfunction can be perpetuated really intrigues me. Afterall, we are all relational beings, so what better field to go into than MFT? After graduation from this program, I would love to work mostly with premarital couples, to help “iron out” as many wrinkles as possible before the pursuit of marriage, but also families/individuals that deal with sexual assault and domestic violence issues. I have given some thought to pursuing a doctoral degree some time after I become an LMFT, but I am still unsure at this point. In my increasingly dwindling spare time, I enjoy cooking and finding new recipes, singing and listening to many different genres of music, shopping, spending time with family and friends, finding new decorations for my apartment, traveling, and taking long naps.

Eveny GriffinEveny Griffin 

Hello everyone! My name is Eveny Griffin. I am a recent graduate of Valdosta State University with a B.A. in Sociology. I have always had the desire to become a therapist. Therefore, enrolling in a MFT program has been my goal. I chose Valdosta State University Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the skill developing curriculum as well as the first hand clinic experience I will receive through the student run clinic. The faculty members also offer a warm welcome and express a passion for their role in developing well educated therapist. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow into a licensed marriage and family therapist through this program.

Issy BurnhamIsadora Burnham 

Hello, my name is Isadora (Issy) Burnham. I graduated from VSU with a B.S. in Psychology. I toured the MFT Department and FamilyWorks Clinic in 2013 and found it all very appealing. I was also able to sit in on a class taught by Dr. Laughlin, and it was exciting to hear about practicum and the case loads of the second-year students in the program. The faculty members are great! They are so passionate about therapy and making sure we succeed in becoming great therapists. The family-like atmosphere is immediately evident, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to pursue my Master’s with such a great group of people. After I graduate, I hope to obtain licensure in Georgia and begin building a client load in my hometown. I am hopeful that I will one day own or co-own a successful private practice. I am excited to see where this journey takes me. If you are interested, be prepared to open your mind to a world you never knew existed (in a good way).

Jason JowersJason Jowers

My name is Jason M. Jowers and I am from the small town of Nicholls, GA. I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During one of my undergraduate classes, a MFT student came in and gave a presentation about the program that first piqued my interest in Marriage and Family Therapy. After further research and soul searching, I felt that this program is the perfect place for me. Between the excellent faculty and the opportunities to work with clients at FamilyWorks, I know I will acquire all the knowledge and tools required to further my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Jennifer YinglingJennifer Yingling

Hello, I am Jennifer Yingling. I am from the Greater Louisville, KY/Southern Indiana area. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Indiana University Southeast. I am very excited to study Marriage and Family Therapy at Valdosta State University. This program allows me to pursue my life goal in assisting individuals and their families in realizing positive change and personal growth.

Jessie VandeveldeJessie VanDeVelde

Greetings! I am Jessie VanDeVelde, and I am pursuing a master of science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. After graduation from Valdosta State’s MFT program, I hope to get licensed as a Marriage and Family therapist and work with rural populations, especially adolescents. While I was doing my undergraduate work at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the influence of several of my professors piqued my interest in Marriage and Family Therapy. While there, I was able to conduct research that had me interact with MFT’s and this convinced me that I wanted to pursue a Master’s degree in MFT rather than receive an education that followed a more traditional, research driven approach. In particular, I want face-to-face clinical experience that MFT training offers. MFT also offers a unique approach to therapeutic practice by emphasizing the relational and systemic nature of our world. I am thrilled to be a student in VSU’s MFT program because of the quality of professors, small class sizes, and the incomparable experience of practicing with real people with real problems in FamilyWorks, our graduate student-run clinic. This was my first and last choice for a Graduate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy, and it is the perfect fit for me.

Johnny WhiteJohnny White

My name is Johnny White, and I plan to attain licensure in marriage and family therapy.Upon graduating from Valdosta State University, I aim to attain my doctorate in and work towards opening a private clinic in Atlanta, Georgia. During my undergraduate years, Dr. Kate Warner visited the Psychology department at Morehouse College promoting the Marriage and Family Therapy program at VSU. Being interested in helping children from the aspect of helping the parents, I was always interested in being a marriage and family therapist. When I met Kate, I almost fell in love with the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Valdosta State University. Now that I am here, I am excited at the opportunities that will be offered to me over the next two years, especially since I am a member of a student-ran clinic! I am happy that I am a member of this Marriage and Family Therapy family here at Valdosta State University, and I would encourage anyone who wanted to be a marriage and family therapist to come here!

Julian WoodJulian Wood

My name is Julian Wood. I was born in Washington DC, but was raised most of my life in Columbia, MD. I attended  Florida A&M University with a focus in psychology and a minor in political science to familiarize myself with law and ethics. Upon my last semester at FAMU, I was introduced to the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Valdosta State University by a graduate of the program, Tawanna Woods, who spoke very highly of it. After I did some research on the institution and visiting. Ultimately, I chose this program because of its diversity and wanting to sharpen my knowledge in the realm of marriage and family therapy as a clinician, and to provide service to the communities.

Justin MooreJustin Moore

My name is Justin Moore and I have joined the Marriage and Family Therapy program with a hope of becoming a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, and eventually opening up my own private practice. I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology in December of 2014, and applied to this program after being introduced to MFT ideas upon taking a tour of the clinic. I have since become fascinated with MFT ideas around clients, therapy, and change; as well as the emphasis of "hands on" learning. The journey ahead is sure to be challenging, but with the support of my cohort and caring faculty, I take solace in the belief that we're all in this together! We're all family!

Kaitlyn BarringerKaitlyn Barringer

My name is Kaitlyn Barringer, and I've lived in Valdosta for the majority of my life. I earned my B.A. in Psychology at VSU. Post-graduation was a whirlwind of "What do I do now?" and trying to decide if I wanted to stay in Valdosta or venture into a new city for a graduate program. After researching VSU's MFT program, I knew staying in Valdosta was the right choice. Being able to work with and help community while getting my education was invaluable to me. In the future, I hope to work within a private practice, focusing mainly on families who may be struggling with LGBT issues. In my personal, time I enjoy watching movies (horror is my favorite), running off to Orlando whenever possible, and doing anything with my cats, Totoro T. Cat and Wolfgang Amadeus Catzart.

Katelyn CoburnKatelyn Coburn

Hi! My name is Katelyn Coburn, and I am super stoked to be a student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at VSU. As I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Truett McConnell College (a small Christian college in the North Georgia mountains), I was drawn to the field of Marriage and Family Therapy because of the relational approach to therapy. I am fascinated by people's stories and I love to know the context of everything, so I soon learned that the MFT program at VSU was a great fit for me. The student run clinic was a big draw as well as the family atmosphere of the program. I am interested in areas including identity development, the foster care system, and women's issues, and in the future I hope to work with populations in these areas as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I am an avid reader, a lover of anything sweet (especially chocolate-chip cookies), and a huge fan of Kerry Washington and the show "Scandal." I am thankful to be in this program and excited to learn as much as I can from the wonderful faculty.

Khalliah BryantKhalliah Bryant

Kiara McnairKiara McNair

Hey! My name is Kiara McNair and I hail from the lovely state of North Carolina. I recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. When I was looking for a Masters degree program, I knew I wanted to help couples and families. I searched for programs and stumbled upon Valdosta State and FamilyWorks clinic. The website and promptness with the faculty and staff with getting back to me really peaked my interest in the program. When I came to visit I knew immediately that I had to be in this program, between the professionalism of the faculty to the close-knit nature of the students, I felt right at home. My plans after I graduate are to find employment in Jacksonville, Florida in a private practice, obtain my licensure and eventually open up my own private practice. I also would like to open up my own motivational studio helping young minority girls with everyday societal pressures, self-esteem issues and an overall positive environment to talk about any problems that might be bothering them. So far, I am loving the challenging classes and wonderful opportunity of being apart of the Marriage and Family Therapy program here at Valdosta State…it’s an experience you won’t get anywhere else! 

Kiara MortonKiarra Morton

Kimberlee FieldsKimberlee Fields

Hello! My name is Kimberlee Fields and I am very proud to be in the MFT program at Valdosta State University. I am originally from Kansas, which is home to my alma mater, Pittsburg State University, where I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. I chose this particular program because of the warm and hands-on environment. Once I have earned my degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, I plan to go forward with getting my licensure and starting on my dream of having my own private practice in MFT with an emphasis in Couples and Sex Therapy. Eventually, I would like to take my career to the next level and get my PhD in MFT, but for now, I am enjoying my journey here at VSU. Not only am I being pushed to be the absolute best therapist I can be, I am also fortunate to get the experience of working in one of the best graduate student-run clinics in the nation. Choosing this program has been one of the best decisions that I have made, and I am eager to learn more and continue to grow.

Lawanda MaxwellLa'Wanda Maxwell

My name is La’Wanda Maxwell and I’m from St Thomas the U.S. Virgin Islands. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Dallas with a bachelors of science in psychology.  I found VSU by researching various universities that were ranked and had clinics in their program. Thereafter, I scheduled a visit to the campus and I was sold! A second year student in the program gave my father and I, a tour around the clinic, various apartments I could live in and I had a chance to meet the professors in the program.  The overall experience was amazing and I knew that VSU was the place I wanted to be.  This is the farthest I’ve ever been away from home (Dallas Texas) however, the students and faculty you enter the program with become your family and team striving to make it through together. Therefore, if you were like me and was worried about the distance, be sure to schedule a visit and I’m sure it will ease all your uncertainties.  After completing my Masters at VSU I plan to take the licensing exam and work towards owning my own practice.

Lorri LeongLorri Leong

My name is Lorri Leong and I plan to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Throughout my undergraduate studies at Cornell College, I discovered my passion for community involvement and helping others. I chose to study at VSU's MFT program to expand my way of thinking and learn first-hand at the student-run clinic. I hope to work with at-risk populations to ensure they have the resources to succeed and thrive in the future. I would love to open a private practice one day with my sister who is also studying to become a counselor. In my free time, I enjoy traveling to new countries, crafting (using Pinterest as my inspiration), and experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

Marie BolesMarie Boles

Hello!  My name is Marie Boles.  I am originally from Alpena, Michigan. I graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.S. in Secondary Education in 2010.  I have spent the past few years teaching high school English in North Carolina.  My experience as an educator has put me on a pathway towards family therapy due to the stressful and challenging lives of many of my former students.   I chose VSU's Marriage and Family Therapy Program because of the outstanding faculty and the clinical experience I will obtain within Family Works.  In the future, my goal is to open my own private practice.  In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching cooking shows with hope that I can be inspired to learn to cook, traveling, and going to the theater.


Mason PacekMason Pacek

Mason Pacek is a graduate of Clemson University with a BA in Psychology with a minor in military history. Coming from a highly academic and experimental oriented school, he was attracted to the MFT program for its unique ability to give students the chance to practice therapy. This made the FamilyWorks Clinic stand out by giving its students a rare opportunity during their journey towards their masters. His future plans involve working with veterans and their families, with a special concern regarding veteran suicide rates.


Nate PowersNathaniel Powers

My name is Nathaniel Powers. I acquired my undergrad in English from UGA, but my intention was always to return to VSU for the small campus and the closeness of the academic community. An intended road of Clinical Psychology diverted after a few meetings with students and faculty in the MFT program and I was sold. The advanced observational atmosphere and the breadth of scope in the MFT program is astounding, and I am truly blessed to be a part of this developing field.


Peggy HarlessPeggy Harless

Hi, my name Peggy Harless.  I am originally from Marshall County, Kentucky.  I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Valdosta State University.  I love the Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the fantastic opportunity to work in a student run clinic!  I’m looking forward to possibly continuing my education after I graduate and working with rural populations who normally would not have access to therapists.


Redonno CarmonRedonno Carmon

Hello, my name is Redonno Carmon and I am from Raleigh, NC. I graduated from Campbell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. I have chosen VSU’s Marriage and Family Therapy program because of the training I will receive to become a successful clinician as a professional therapist. The program’s focus on the relational aspect of therapy complements my ideal model of effectively helping future clients. The professors begin developing you as a therapist from the very beginning by giving you the responsibility of Shift Manager to learn the ins and outs of running a private practice, as well as, connecting with the community in outreach events. The professors are passionate about broadening the way you think to become a successful Marriage and Family therapist.  

Reg McCutcheonReg McCutcheon

Hi, I'm Reg McCutcheon and I'm honored to be a part of the VSU MFT program.  I recently retired from the US Air Force.  As a combat veteran, I have an understanding of the unique experiences our veterans and their families encounter in life, and I have chosen to build on this perspective for the next season of my life.  How can we help post-deployment Warriors “live for something,” when they have just spent years willing to “die to protect everything?”  I'm returning to school to develop skill sets that will allow me to help service members, veterans, and their families live and thrive under the demands of a military way of life.  I chose VSU MFT program for its progressive and engaging curricula and its emphasis on the clinical experience. 

Tiffany NewmanTiffany Newman

Hi my name is Tiffany Newman. I graduated from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee with a bachelors degree in psychology. After graduation I moved to Valdosta Georgia with my husband. After I got acquainted with Valdosta, I did some research and found the Marriage and Family Program at Valdosta State University.  I spent a great amount of time thinking about the program. After a long debate with my self, I decided to apply for the MFT program.  I can honestly say it was one of  the best decisions I have ever made. I am enjoying my time in the program and look forward to learning each day from the wonderful staff and my peers.

Violina LilovaViolina Lilova

My name is Violina Lilova and I am on a journey to becoming a licensed Marriage and Family therapist. Ever since I can remember I have dreamed of becoming a therapist. Graduating from Middle Georgia State University in clinical and counseling psychology, paved the way to VSU’s Marriage and Family masters program. This program challenges you to think in ways never before. It opens your eyes to new possibilities. After graduating from VSU, I plan on getting my PhD so I can pursue my dream of one day opening up a couple’s retreat, where couples can attend therapy as well as relax on a warm sunny beach. I am looking forward to the next two years as I get closer and closer to my dream.

 Class of 2018

Latrisha AkinsLatrisha Akins

Howdy!! My name is Latrisha Y. Akins and I am a native of St. Petersburg, Florida. I obtained my  B.A. degree in Criminal Justice from VSU. My passion for helping others is what ultimately led me to the Marriage and Family Therapy Program. After careful review of the program's diversity and structure, I was eager to learn about the different approaches that are used to help individuals and families. I am confident that this program will not only help me identify and reflect on my learning process, but it will also teach me various strategies and techniques needed to help others. I am thrilled to be apart of such an excellent hands-on program. Upon completion of the program, my desire is to pursue a doctoral degree, while working as a clinician.


Michelle BrooksMichelle Brooks

Greetings, I am Michelle C. Brooks. I graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. For years, I’ve had the pleasure of working as a health reporter. With a desire to also become a therapist, and knowing accomplished graduates of the program, I applied to Valdosta State University’s esteemed Marriage and Family Therapy program. I’m thrilled to be part of a program that fits with my therapeutic philosophy. After graduating, I plan to work both as a marriage and family therapist and health reporter using my therapeutic knowledge to inform. My husband and I have been married for 22 years, and have three precious children: a daughter, and two sons.


Jo-Anna BrownJo-Anna Brown

Hello, my name is Jo-Anna Brown, and I am from Hazlehurst, GA. I received my bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Sociology from Valdosta State University in May 2016.After attending Valdosta State for four years, I began to see it more as a home, and then knew I wanted to further my education here. After learning about the Marriage and Family Therapy program through an in-class presentation from second-year students, I knew it was the program for me. What caught my attention at first was the student-run clinic on campus. Here I knew I would get hands-on experience with clients. Healthy families make a healthy society, and knowing that I can help families who are not just statistics but real people excites me.



Vanesha BrownVanesha Brown

Hello, my name is Vanesha Brown. I grew up in Augusta, Georgia but most of my family is from Charleston, SC. I obtained my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, from Mercer University in Macon, GA.  After a much needed academic hiatus I began considering as well as visiting various Marriage & Family Therapy programs. I selected to become a part of the program at Valdosta State University because of the warm and inviting learning environment, the affordability of the program, as well as the hands on experience students receive from working in the clinic from the beginning of our journey in the program. I am anxious and excited to see what this program holds for me and I would ultimately like to become a licensed MFT after completing this program.


Callie BuchananCallie Buchanan

Hello, my name is Callie Buchanan. I attended Valdosta State University during undergrad and obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. I then went on to teach fourth grade at Highland Christian Academy, a local private school and at Quitman Elementary, a public school in Brooks County. Throughout my time teaching, I noticed that many factors outside the realm of academics affected the academic success of my students: powerful factors such as their family life and socio-economic status. As I began to yearn for ways to help my students more, I discovered the Marriage and Family Therapy Master's Program at VSU. I fell in love with the systemic and relational views of the program and realized that this could extend within the school system. I hope to obtain my Ph.D in Clinical Pyschology and teach future teachers at the university level in hopes to instruct methods of systemic theory for the classroom. 

Alyssa CalderonAlyssa Calderon 

My name is Alyssa Calderon, I'm from Queens, New York.  I received my bachelor's degree in Music Industry from York College of Pennsylvania with a minor in film studies.  When applying to graduate programs, VSU stood out to me for many reasons.  The description of the program was unlike any other program I had researched.  I knew, from researching and visiting FamilyWorks and the MFT department, that VSU would offer me an education and training no other program could.  I am overwhelmingly excited about all that I will learn and put into practice here at VSU, and I look forward to the journey of becoming a therapist!

Kristen CarneyKristen Carney

Hey there! My name is Kristen Carney and I was raised in Crystal River, FL. I graduated in April 2016 from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology. When asked, “Why VSU?” I would have to assert that the program’s affordability was the ultimate deciding factor for why I chose to become a Blazer. I chose the Marriage and Family Therapy program for several reasons. Like many decisions, there are numerous factors that were taken into consideration. For me, the MFT program stood out because of their philosophy and emphasis on and appreciation for diversity.  The program also houses the FamilyWorks clinic which I believe will be a key factor in my learning and growth as a therapist. After one visit to Valdosta and the clinic, I knew that VSU was the school for me. Each day, I strive to preserve the fervor for this career and university that I felt on that day.

Takarah CarrTakarah Carr


Courtney ChaneyCourtney Chaney

My name is Courtney Chaney. I am from Hinesville, GA. I received a B.S. in psychology from the University of Georgia. From there I took some time off from school to work for a nonprofit Historical Society in downtown Savannah. I was able to gain experience working with children, and I discovered that this was a great passion of mine. I hope to one day run a clinic that caters to the needs of families with children of special needs. I chose the MFT program, because I want to gain a higher skill set that will allow me to facilitate positive change in family relationships. My goal is to become an influential and successful therapist, and I believe the VSU MFT program will help me achieve this. 

Sarah CoxSarah Cox

Hi! My name is Sarah Cox and I’m from Homerville, GA. I graduated from Valdosta State in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Of course I am biased towards VSU, but I chose the Marriage and Family Therapy program because of it’s emphasis on multiple perspectives and the importance of diversity.  I come from a very diverse family, so acceptance of others from various backgrounds is something I value immensely.  For many years of my life I struggled with mental health issues so I understand the daily struggles that can be caused from such matters. For this reason, I want to help other people that are going through difficult times and be able to do for them what my therapist did for me. Mental health is my passion, so I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Marriage and Family Therapy program. I am looking forward to the next few years in the program, learning the skills necessary to become an effective and successful therapist.

Emily DowEmily Dow

My name is Emily Dow. I am from Southgate, Michigan. I moved down here to Valdosta three years ago because my husband is in the military, and his orders were here! I transferred from the University of Michigan to Valdosta State University, where I finished my undergrad bachelors in Psychology. I became interested in the Marriage and Family Therapy program due to the hands on clinic and specific approach to therapy. I hope to receive my license to practice when I graduate and don't have a specific client I am hoping to work with just yet! 


Celeste HouedCeleste Houed

Hello! I'm Celeste Houed and I am from Moultrie, GA. I graduated from Kennesaw State University with a B.S. in psychology. What interested me in the MFT Program at Valdosta State University was the student ran clinic and the supportive faculty. I especially look forward to working with families and children upon licensure. 

Paige ForshayPaige Forshay

Hello! My name is Paige Forshay and I am excited about joining the V.S.U. Marriage and Family Therapy program and returning to graduate school after earning my M.F.A. in visual arts from F.S.U. some time ago.  Having lived most of my life in Tallahassee, I recently moved to Thomasville and am enjoying the slower pace and beauty of the town.  I am an active artist and member of the Thomasville Artist Collective and believe that clients can learn much about themselves through creative endeavors.  Drawing, poetry, and music (among others) are all vehicles for self-exploration and expression, which are integral elements to therapy and change.  In earning a B.A. in anthropology, I also cultivated interests in how different cultures and ethnic groups navigate family and individual issues. This is most evident given the context of their native and host cultures with respect to both push and pull factors and cognitive and culture dissonance.  Maintaining one’s cultural identity is important, but understanding the foundations of cultural pressures and differences is important to both the individual and group.  After graduation, I hope to work in private practice and utilize my diverse experiences.  Outside of the M.F.T. program, I enjoy making art (when I have the time), cooking, and renovating my 1901 Victorian house.  But most of all I enjoy spending time with my daughter and my partner and his two boys.


DeAndrea FreemanDeAndrea Freeman 

Hello! My name is DeAndrea Freeman and I'm from the historic town of Jonesboro, GA. I received my Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Valdosta State in May of 2016. I initially wanted to leave Valdosta, but after touring the facility, meeting faculty AND students, I was sold! After receiving my Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, I plan to either move to Florida or California and open my own restaurant clinic where everyone will be able to experience 'The Ultimate Therapy Session'! 

Ashley FullerAshley Fuller

Hi! My name is Ashley Fuller and I am from Cartersville, Georgia.  I attended Valdosta State University as an undergraduate and received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Philosophy.  I chose to remain at VSU for my Graduate career because VSU feels like home and, more specifically, I chose the Marriage and Family Therapy program because of its philosophy.  Their philosophy emphasizes appreciating the differences between each human’s behavior in order to treat them with respect and humility. I am very excited to implement this philosophy and see where the next two years of Graduate School take me! 


Andrew Gibson Andrew Gibson

Andy Gibson is a first year Marriage and Family Therapy student intern from Lubbock, Texas. He graduated in 2014 from Texas Tech University majoring in Human Sciences, with concentrations in Community, Family and Addiction Services, Human Development and Family Studies, and Studies in Personal Finance. Prior to transferring to Texas Tech, Gibson earned his associates degree in 2006 from South Plains College.  Before coming to Valdosta State, Andy interned at Family Counseling Services of Lubbock. During his tenure, he served in an administrative function by coordinating individual intakes and group enrollment of perspective clients. His first career was in the retail industry, operating in various capacities including sales, management, and logistics. He has spent most of his adult life as a mental health advocate and has previously worked in the human services field.  Mr. Gibson came to the FamilyWorks Clinic in the fall of 2016 following a thorough search into MFT programs all over the country. After watching a recruiting video sent to him by a recent VSU graduate, he knew the program’s philosophies and kinesthetic teaching approach would be an ideal fit. Some of his clinical interests include family dynamics of psychopathology, process addictions, and financial therapy.  Upon completion of his master’s degree, Andy plans to pursue licensure in either Texas or the Southeast through the National Health Service Corps. Other future ambitions include a Ph.D. in a related field. His ultimate objective is a vocation in academia as a clinic director or other teaching and administrative role. He currently resides in Valdosta, is engaged to Gabriela Ortiz, and is the proud pet parent of a dog and cat - Misty and Tobias.

Leticia Hill

Leticia Hill

Greetings! I am Air Force veteran Leticia M. Hill. I'm a native of Valdosta, Georgia. I'm a divorced parent of three precocious children ages 5, 7 and 9.  I graduated from Valdosta State University in 2006 with a B.S. in Business Management. I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. So, the degree in Business was inevitable. However, as a child  my desire has always been to help the disadvantaged, neglected and hurting people in this world. Throughout the many trials that I have endured in my life, I have always kept that desire to help others. Thus, I stepped out on faith, applied to graduate school and was blessed to receive an acceptance letter into the Marriage and Family Therapy Fall Cohort. Upon obtaining my Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, I hope to pursue a Doctorate with emphasis in Christian Counseling and/or counseling in the areas of trauma and crisis. My goal is to utilize both my business acumen and MFT degree to eventually establish my own counseling center within the community and service all individuals in need with a focus on the underprivileged and veterans. 


Samuel HollySamuel Holly

Hello, I’m Sam! I graduated in May 2016 from the University of North Georgia with my Bachelor’s in Human Services Delivery & Administration. I chose to pursue a Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy because I desire to help and assess individuals, parents, and children overcome their circumstances so that they will have the opportunity to thrive and live enjoyable lives.

Natalia Kuzmina

Natalia Kuzmina

Natalia Kuzmina is a first year Marriage and Family Therapy student intern from Russia. She graduated in 2010 from Irkutsk State University where she studied psychology and in 2013 she got master's degree in pedagogy. 
Before coming to Valdosta State University, Natalia was working as a psychologist in the kindergarten for 8 years. The main struggle of her work was the lack of knowledge in the sphere of Marriage and Family Therapy, that prevented her from providing effective help to parents and children. She came to the FamilyWorks Clinic in Fall 2016 through participating in the Fulbright Program. The strongest scientific interest of Natalia is harmonization of relationships between parents and children. Upon completion of her masters degree, Natalia plans to return to Russia and continue her work as a psychologist in the kindergarten.

Ashley LongsworthAshley Longsworth

Hey! My name is Ashley Marie Longsworth and I am coming from the beautiful country of Belize.  I recently graduated from Florida International University, where I received a bachelor of Arts in psychology. I was instantly attracted to the Program at Valdosta for its access to hands on learning through the Family Works Clinic. My decision was further cemented by the school’s enthusiasm towards diversity; which I believe is an extremely important factor in shaping the world’s future therapists. My hope is that through this program I will be able to develop the skills needed to be an effective Family therapist and to find my own therapeutic voice. While I do plan to take the license exam and gain further experience in the US, my ultimate goal is to one-day return home to share, teach and practice the skills that I have gained and contribute to the continued development of therapy related programs in my country.

Brittney Lumpkin

Brittney Lumpkin

Hello, I am Brittney T. Lumpkin born and raised in Georgia. To be more specific I am from Woodville, GA (Greene County) where every street is named after a tree! After completing my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Armstrong State University (formally known as Armstrong Atlantic State University) in May of 2015 and graduating as a member of Psi Chi, I decided to take a year off. I quickly realized i needed to go back to school. The fact that Valdosta State University’s MFT program does not try to restrict their students to one way of being a therapist, interest me. The fully functional student and faculty operated counseling facility, drew me in. Finally the close vicinity and the outreach programs for the military, sold me. I am aspiring to be a Marriage and Family Therapist for military families with a focus in adolescence. I strongly believe that without a doubt Valdosta State University’s M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy will help me achieve that goal.


Brianna McCarthyBrianna McCarthy

My name is Brianna McCarthy, and I am a Valdosta State Alumni. I received my bachelor's degree in fine arts In Communication, with an emphasis on general speech. I was inspired to join this program after attending counseling here on campus. My therapist inspired me to become that same guiding light in someone else's life as she was in mine. After my completion of my masters, I hope to work towards getting my business license so I can open my family clinic in Metro Atlanta. I am excited to begin this beautiful journey of self-discovery as well as learning what my style of therapy will be! 


Allison McFatter

Allison McFatter

Hello! My name is Allison McFatter, and I am a born and raised Texan from the city of Lake Jackson. I attended undergrad in Arkansas at Harding University. The fall semester of my sophomore year I left American soil for the first time to study in Austral-Asia. I traveled through five countries, one of which was Thailand. It was in Bangkok that I first became aware of the worldwide phenomenon of human trafficking. Further research revealed the complexities – political and cultural – of fighting this social injustice. I was surprised to find that little help is available to the thirty million victims today. These thirty million victims are the reasons why I want to practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist. I chose VSU’s MFT program because it provides students with hands-on experience running a clinic through FamilyWorks, teaches a systemic/contextual perspective, and it considers the significance of culture – a very important component for my interests as trafficked victims are from multiple regions of the world. My goals after graduate school are to be dual licensed in both Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Counseling, and to become involved with a program focused on providing a safe environment for rescued victims/survivors of sex-trafficking. I am looking forward to Valdosta’s MFT program equipping me with the skills and knowledge necessary for me to be an effective and capable therapist. 

Wendy McLoon

Wendy McLoon

Kim MulkeyKim Mulkey

Hi there! My name is Kim Mulkey. I am originally from Covington, GA, and spent the last four years at Georgia College & State University where I attained my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. I easily chose Valdosta State’s MFT program because of the hands on training received within the classroom, the experiences learned through the student run clinic, the tremendous support given from other students and faculty, and the faculty’s investment in creating individual, unique therapists within each of us. I am thoroughly excited to be starting this program alongside other amazing future therapists with the guidance of such talented faculty!

Kamayla PerryKamayla Perry

My name is Kamayla Perry. I am from Atlanta,GA . I graduated here from Valdosta State University, with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. I decided to continue my education further at VSU and chose the MFT program, because of how close the professors work along side the students. I was/am very impressed by how the program is very hands on and let's us as students begin actually training within a clinical environment. Not only am I get a great amount of information about being a therapist, but I am getting real training and experience in a clinic which is exciting! By the time I finish the program, I know I will be fully prepared and ready to continue on as a therapist and begin my journey helping others in need. 

Paul PetersonPaul Peterson

My name is Paul Peterson and I'm from Bella Vista, Arkansas. I graduated from Brigham Young University in Utah in 2015 with a BA in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. During my studies, I took a break for a mission program for my church, which took me to Finland for two years and first peaked my interest in a helping profession. For the past year, I have been working at Kaizen Academy, a group home for boys with sexual behavior problems, and ScenicView Academy, a school for adults with autism. Valdosta State's program interested me because of its faculty, FamilyWorks Clinic,and teaching philosophy. I am still deciding where I'd like to end up professionally, but right now I love couples therapy and am considering a PhD.

Lyrica SolomonLyrica Solomon

Andrew Tatler-Burgess

Andrew Tatler-Burgess

I'm originally from the UK, but emigrated the the Netherlands when I was 23. In 2004 I made the US my home.  I have long been interested in becoming affiliated with the mental health caring profession.  I have a particular intetest in Theoretical Behavioral Cybernetics, and would enjoy participating in research to develop usable theories.  However, I'm going to defer any choices regarding future career choices until later.  VSU has a great reputation nationwide, and is local to me. This made my choice of programs easy.

Bonita ThorntonBonita Thornton

Hi, my name is Bonita Thornton. I am a mother of one terrific little boy who is my world. I work hard to make him proud and to show him that we can accomplish whatever we put our minds to. I graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA with a bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology with a business minor. I took a marriage and family course during my sophomore year and became very interested in it. When I began looking at Valdosta State master programs I saw the one for MFT and made up my mind that I wanted to come here. After I graduate I want to work for someone in my field for maybe 2 years then go own to have my own practice for MFT. After that practice is well established I plan to open other businesses to benefit girls who have lost hope because they have a child and a place for families to come and be a family (whether the parents are divorced, step parents, etc.) on safe ground. I also want to get married and have more children. I do want a big family and believe I can accomplish that; I believe I can have it all.

Cindy UrrutiaCindy Urrutia

My name is Cindy Urrutia. I am originally from Dacula, Georgia and received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Lee University. Through much research, I came across Valdosta and was encouraged through an advisor to consider it. From the moment I stepped on campus, I knew I had found my new home. I was blown away by the full-access students have to the clinic, the advanced equipment for students to view cases, and the overall atmosphere where students and faculty are truly passionate about therapy. I am thrilled to be a part of the family here and would encourage anyone to attend!

James Whelan James Whelan

Name’s James Whelan. I’m originally from Cumming, GA. I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology and minored in Spanish here at VSU. What drew me to VSU’s MFT program, was mainly a combination of missing deadlines, other programs not getting renewed, excellent access to internships, and the chance to develop skills at tackling problems relationally.

Melissa WatsonMelissa Watson

Hello! My name is Melissa Watson.  I am originally from Maryland and have been in Valdosta since 2008. I finished my bachelors degree in Communication here at Valdosta State in spring 2016.