Our mission is simple – helping students succeed! Through culturally responsive and trauma-informed counseling and psychological services and outreach, the Counseling Center assists students in achieving their academic and personal goals. Counselors work collaboratively with students to improve their emotional well-being, balance priorities, enhance interpersonal relationships, and empower them with useful coping skills to attain success in and out of the classroom.
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Counseling Center Staff
Teresa Hurst, Ph.D., Director
Dr. Teresa Hurst is a NYS licensed psychologist with over 19 years of clinical experience in inpatient, outpatient and community settings. She received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the New School. Dr. Hurst’s research interests include the impact of violence and abuse, anxiety disorders, addictions, personality disorders, resiliency, and LGBTQI and HIV stigma. Prior to becoming the Director of the Baruch College Counseling Center, Dr. Hurst served as the Mental Health Director of the Mount Sinai Institute of Advanced Medicine’s Morningside Clinic. She is committed to the prevention and treatment of familial, community, and institutional trauma, and her integrative training in body-centered gestalt therapy, psychodynamic therapy, multicultural counseling, attachment-based interventions, creative arts therapy, MI, CBT, and DBT support these efforts. In addition, through an anti-oppressive lens, Dr. Hurst strives to remove the barriers preventing students from receiving the counseling and mental health services they need in order to thrive at Baruch.
Lynn Kaplan, Psy.D., Associate Director
Dr. Lynn Kaplan is a NYS licensed psychologist with over 24 years of clinical experience. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Yeshiva University. Dr. Kaplan has provided clinical services in on-site school, outpatient, day treatment, inpatient and crisis intervention settings. She has been dedicated to mental health advocacy and outreach, chairing community mental health committees over the last two decades. Prior to becoming Associate Director, she was the Director of Training and Public Education for the mental health contact center at Vibrant Emotional Health. Throughout her career, Dr. Kaplan has focused on suicide prevention through her clinical work in Mobile Crisis and hotline settings as well as through presenting didactics on suicide assessment and intervention. Dr. Kaplan takes a holistic approach to clinical work that is grounded in Psychodynamic Therapy, Family Systems Therapy and Group Psychotherapy practices. Her person centered approach incorporates Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as self-care, stress management and mindfulness. Dr. Kaplan’s clinical interests include trauma treatment, suicide and self-harm prevention, and deaf studies.
Jael Amador, Ph.D., Student Psychological Counselor
Dr. Jael Amador is NYS licensed psychologist who provides individual and group therapy, supervision, crisis intervention and outreach services at the Baruch College Counseling Center. Her clinical approach integrates cognitive behavioral therapy with feminist/multicultural theory to treat a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, relational issues, trauma, stress management, and performance anxiety. Dr. Amador earned her doctorate degree from Loma Linda University where she specialized in socio-cultural behavioral health. In her research, she explores the impact of culture on psychological processes and behavior. She has shared her work on this topic through conference presentations and peer-reviewed articles. She currently serves as a member of the International Behavioral Health Trauma Team and the APA Health Equity Ambassadors program.
Gary Dillon, Ph.D., Student Psychological Counselor
Dr. Dillon is a NYS licensed psychologist who earned his M.A. in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Fordham University. Over the past decade, he has worked in numerous hospitals and college counseling centers throughout NYC. Dr. Dillon takes an integrative approach to therapy, often working relationally from a feminist and multiculturally-informed lens with clients while incorporating dynamic interventions and evidence-based treatments (i.e., MI, PST, CBT, and DBT).
Dr. Dillon’s areas of expertise involve social justice and advocacy, implicit bias and microaggressions, and diversity, equity and inclusion – all of which inform his sensitive, curious, collaborative, and conscientious approach to therapy. He has published and presented his research focusing on understanding the unique lived experiences of marginalized populations, such as those who are of color, undocumented, or self-identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Dr. Dillon is currently working at Baruch College as a Supervising Psychologist/Student Psychological Counselor, providing individual and group psychotherapy, crisis intervention, supervision, psychoeducational workshops and outreach services.
Gabrielle Rieckhof, Ph.D. (Biology), M.A. (Mental Health Counseling), Part-time Trauma Counselor
Dr. Rieckhof holds a Ph.D. in developmental biology and genetics from Columbia University and a MA in mental health counseling from New York University. She did her clinical externship at Baruch College Counseling Center where she is continuing as a Psychological Counselor. Having trained in genetics, developmental biology and neurobiology, she understands the importance that both nature and nurture play in our lives but also that we are more than the sum of our genetics and our experiences because we have the capacity to change. Nature is expressed in particular environmental contexts and nowhere is that more critical than in social relationships, which literally shape the architecture and function of our brain as we develop and go through life. Dr. Rieckhof views the therapeutic relationship between counselor and student as a powerful agent of change. She approaches her therapeutic work with a focus on relational psychodynamics that is grounded in attachment theory and integrates mindfulness. Her clinical interests include how the complexities of cross-cultural living and issues of identity, diversity, and acculturation affect a person’s well-being.
Abigail Méndez, M.A. (Mental Health Counseling), Part-time Psychological Counselor
Ms. Méndez holds a MA in Mental Health Counseling from New York University and a MA in Spanish from Hunter College. She did her clinical externship at Baruch College Counseling Center where she is continuing as a Psychological Counselor. Ms. Méndez’s approach to therapy is an integrative one built on relational cultural therapy, mindfulness and evidence-based treatments such as CBT and DBT. She frames the therapeutic relationship around connection, mutual empathy and authenticity in order to examine how societal, multicultural and political factors impact how we relate to ourselves and the world. Her clinical interests include complex trauma, and the role the intersection of diverse identities plays in the development of self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as an individual’s mental, physical and emotional well-being. Her research interests include how to destigmatize and normalize mental health in order to empower marginalized communities.
Elizabeth Ruggieri, M.P.A., Administrative Coordinator
Ms. Ruggieri joined the Counseling Center in 2012 to provide administrative support while working alongside the director and associate director in the development and implementation of the Center’s strategic initiatives. With over 10 years of higher education administration experience, she has a strong background in database management, preparing reports and presentations that inform strategic plans and program initiatives, coordinating the Center’s daily functions, financial/ budgeting and staffing management activities. Ms. Ruggieri has worked for CUNY since 2004 and earned a B.A. degree in English from Queens College in 2008 then went on to receive her master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in non-profit administration from Baruch College in 2014.
Clinical Supervisory Staff/Non-Teaching Adjuncts
Robert Kayne, Psy.D.
Dr. Kayne currently serves as an adjunct assistant professor at the Baruch College Counseling Center, where he provides weekly supervision to interns and externs, in assessment/testing and individual psychotherapy. Dr. Kayne received his Psy.D.degree from Pace University in 1988 and obtained his NYS license in 1989. He worked for twenty years as a psychologist in an inpatient New York State facility, ultimately serving there as the Psychology Training Director and Director of the Psychology Department. Since leaving state service he has been an Adjunct Faculty member at a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology for nine years. In his private practice, Dr. Kayne has focused on child and family assessment and treatment, as well as psychological testing for ADHD, Learning Disorders, Mood Disorders, and other diagnostic issues.
Jairo N. Fuertes, Ph.D.
Dr. Fuertes is licensed as a Psychologist and as a Mental Health Counselor in New York State, and is board certified by the American Board of Counseling Psychology and the American Board of Clinical Psychology. He is currently a Professor at the Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (within Division 12: Clinical Psychology and Division 29: Psychotherapy), and a Fellow of the American Academies of Counseling and Clinical Psychology. He is the author/editor of four books, and has published 60 research studies and chapters.
Elizabeth Merrick, Ph.D.
Dr. Merrick holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from NYU. She is a licensed psychologist working with adolescents and young adults in New York City. She is currently an adjunct professor at Baruch College, City University of New York, where in addition to seeing patients and supervising trainees, she holds a weekly Multicultural Competencies class for the training staff and provides an in depth weekly seminar for the interns on character styles during the spring semester.
Stacie Kessler, Psy.D.
Dr. Kessler currently serves as an adjunct assistant professor at the Baruch College Counseling Center, where she provides weekly supervision and individual psychotherapy, as well as instructional seminars. She earned a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2004 from George Washington University and graduated summa cum laude with a focus in child and adolescent psychotherapy. Dr. Kessler has held a New York State license in psychology since 2005. She worked as a psychologist and supervisor in an inner city hospital, delivering outpatient services to adults, children and families. During that time, she also worked with The National Child Traumatic Stress Network learning collaborative focusing on adolescent female victims of trauma. Dr. Kessler joined the Baruch College Counseling Center as the substitute assistant director in 2006, providing counseling services and overseeing the internship and externship programs. In her private practice, Dr. Kessler has focused on adult and adolescent treatment, utilizing a psychodynamic and developmental framework to treat depression, anxiety and trauma.
Jung Rok Shin, Ph.D.
Dr. Jung Rok Shin holds a Master’s degree and a PhD degree in Clinical Psychology from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. Dr. Shin has over 5 years of experience in college mental health counseling. His clinical interests include identity development, acculturation and immigrant experiences, grief and loss, and relationships. Dr. Shin views the counseling experience as a collaborative journey and seeks to provide a safe and supportive environment to help individuals to fulfill their goals and improve their lives.
Training Staff 2021-2022 Cohort
Nina Lei, MS, LMHC, Ph.D. Candidate
Vanessa Rumie, MS, Psy.D. Candidate
St. John’s University
Casey Buonocore, MA, PhD Candidate
Gregory Friedman, MA, Phd Candidate
Kimone Williams, Ed.M Candidate
Kristin Lynch, MA, PhD Candidate
Michael Cruz, Ed.M Candidate
Rachel Bomysoad, BA, PhD Candidate
Sandra Gomez, MA, PhD Candidate
Victoria Monte, MA, PhD Candidate
CUNY Clinical Psychology Fellows
Alexis Brown, BA, PhD Candidate
Neil Allicock, MA, PhD Candidate