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

Elizabeth Hantman, M.D.

DeShaunta Johnson, Ph.D.

Marisa Mabli, LCSW, Coordinator, ASAP

Kathleen Niegocki, Ph.D.

Drew Bianchi, M.D.

Mayowa Obasaju, Ph.D.

Gillian Scott-Ward, Ph.D.


Post Doctoral Fellow:

Emily Patton, Ph.D.

Doctoral Intern:

Ruifan Zeng, M.S.

Jessica Gorkin, MA

Doctoral Externs:

Julien Almonte, M.A.

Lucia Haladjian, M.A.

Ranjana Srinivasan, M.S. Ed

Social Work Interns:

Allegra Coryell,  MSW Candidate

Kelsey Martinez, MSW Candidate

Carly Nelson, 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 
  • 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

Mayowa Obasaju, Ph.D., Staff  Psychologist

Education History:

  • PhD, Clinical and Community Psychology, Georgia State University
  • BA, Psychology and Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Professional and Research Interests:

  • Systemic, clinical and community based approaches to trauma intervention and  prevention.
  • Interpersonal, relational, and community violence with a focus on childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, and work with women of color.
  • Substance use, psychological problems, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Transformative and social justice

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Gillian Scott-Ward, Ph.D., Staff  Psychologist / Outreach Coordinator

Education History:

  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, Graduate Center of the City University of New York
  • M.Phil, City College of New York
  • B.A., Cornell University

Professional Interest and Specialties:

  • Multiculturalism and counseling issues with diverse groups
  • LGBTQ issues
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Integration of mindfulness in psychotherapy
  • Suicide prevention
  • Developmental issues in young adulthood  

Research Issues:

  • The media and its impact on youth development

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Emily Patton, Ph.D., Post Doctoral Fellow

Education History:

  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, Case Western Reserve University
  • M.A. Psychology, Case Western Reserve University
  • B.A. Psychology, University of California, Berkeley

Professional and research interests:

  • Depression, anxiety, and emotion regulation
  • Struggles with values, identity formation, and relationships
  • The neurochemistry of talk therapy