The Appalachian State Psy.D. program will maintain a low student-faculty ratio so that admitted students can receive close individual mentoring from faculty members. Individual mentoring will allow students to pursue clinical and research experience that best matches their interests and allows them to pursue the career path they seek. We anticipate admitting approximately 6 students per year, and graduate stipend support will be available for all incoming graduate students. 

2023 Cohort

2023 Cohort

Tori ElliottTori Elliott

My name is Tori Elliott, I use she/her pronouns and I am from Winston-Salem, NC. I graduated from Appalachian State University in May of 2023 with a B.S. in psychology with a concentration in human services and departmental honors. During my time as an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Martz on my senior honors thesis focusing on hair presentation in Black women and how it is related to racism and colorism. I am grateful to still be working with Dr. Martz throughout my time in this program and aim to focus my research on healthcare disparities among queer populations in the rural south. She has been very supportive of my research endeavors and I look forward to learning more about those struggling with mental health and how to best serve them, particularly those that have been historically underrepresented and underresearched.

Shelby HolmesShelby Holmes

My name is Shelby Holmes and I am originally from Weaverville, NC. I completed my undergraduate degree at Davidson College (‘20) with a B.A. in Sociology (Honors) and Gender & Sexuality Studies. After graduation, I was selected as a Lead for North Carolina Fellow (LFNC) for the City of Shelby, a UNC-School of Government program dedicated to public service in rural communities across the state. The COVID-19 pandemic led me to reflect thoroughly on my passions (as it did for many) and I chose to pursue my M.A. in Mental Health Counseling at Boston College. I absolutely loved clinical work, which I found was complemented by my background in social science research, policy, and systems theory. During my master’s program, I worked as a research assistant in Counseling Psychology and a milieu counselor at McLean Hospital. My clinical internship at the Renfrew Center of Boston nurtured my passion for evidence-based care, particularly focusing on eating disorders, body image, and related and co-occurring conditions. Having observed significant barriers to general mental health services in my hometown and during LFNC, and having seen the significant gaps in eating disorder care more broadly, I was drawn to ASU’s program to further my education. My research interests include eating disorder treatment access, barriers, and outcomes in rural and underserved communities. Dr. Lisa Curtin serves as my program mentor.

Camden HutchinsonCamden Hutchinson

My name is Camden Hutchinson, and I am a part of the 2023 cohort of the PsyD program here at Appalachian State. I grew up in Huntersville, NC, but spent many weekends visiting Boone. I graduated with my bachelor's in psychology from App, where I participated in research under Dr. Galloway. I completed an honors thesis and an internship with the Appalachian State Psychology Clinic. Through these experiences, I learned of the importance of accessible mental health resources. I am excited about all the opportunities this program affords. I look forward to working with Dr. Canu to complete further research projects.

Katie ReaganKatie Reagan

My name is Katie Reagan, and I grew up in Marietta, GA. I graduated from Wake Forest University in 2023 and received a B.A. in Psychology with departmental honors. During my undergraduate program, I was a research assistant and worked on projects that focused on factors that influence education outcomes in schools. I also completed an honors thesis focusing on post-traumatic growth validity. I was also fortunate to work at the Mind Body Institute which sparked my awareness of mental health inequities in rural communities. Through my research and clinical experiences, I became interested in researching school-based intervention programs to provide more equitable and accessible mental health care in underserved communities. Dr. Jaqueline Hersh serves as my research mentor. 

2021 Cohort


albertinoe.jpgEmma Albertino

I was raised in a rural town about an hour outside of Boone and transferred to Appalachian State University in August 2019 from a community college. Growing up in a rural community gave me a passion to improve mental health resources in my hometown. I completed my B.S. in psychology with departmental honors and a concentration in health studies in May 2021. During my undergraduate program, I served a semester as a research assistant and completed an honors thesis on how in person and technological sexual assault relate to the mental health of women in emerging adulthood. In addition to the research aspect of this program, I am excited about the clinical training. Dr. Denise Martz is my faculty mentor.

blumj.jpgJonah Blum

I'm Jonah, and I joined the Psy.D. program at ASU to make a career change. After graduating as an adult student with my BA in Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2017, I began volunteering as an adult literacy tutor for men with severe literacy deficits. It was intensely meaningful to help my students develop foundational skills they needed to take charge of their own personal growth. That work made me reconsider the marketing career I'd had for years. I pivoted my agency to focus on working with mental health professionals, but that wasn't enough. I ended up going back to my alma mater for a full year of psychology courses before applying to graduate school. I chose this Psy.D. program because it focuses on serving rural communities like those in which I grew up. My mentor is Dr. Canu, and my goal is to find ways to make rural communities safer by exploring issues around clinical supports for sex offenders after incarceration, cannabis use among adults with psychological disorders, and rural sexual health.

crossg.jpgGeoff Cross

My name is Geoff Cross and I'm from Morganton, NC. I received my undergraduate degree from UNC Charlotte in 2016 and then after some odd jobs I began working in group homes. I found my passion for working in the field of Psychology doing this so I went back to school and got my M.A. in Forensic Psychology from George Washington University. I used this degree to work in a private practice conducting psychiatric intake assessments. I loved my job but I wanted to do more in the realm of assessments and to start conducting therapy so I knew I had to obtain higher education. Growing up in a small town and working with underserved populations led me to choose the App State PsyD program because it is an amazing program which focuses on rural mental health and working with underserved populations. Dr. Jameson is my mentor and I have the pleasure of working with him on the safe storage project.

scrippsh.jpgHenry Scripps

My name is Henry Scripps and I graduated from NCSU with a major in psychology and minors in philosophy, biology, and cognitive science. During my undergrad, I did research in NCSU's school psychology program under the CCR and HELP'S intervention. I now continue my focus on child psychology by working with Appalachian State's Assessment, Support and Counseling center under my mentor, Dr. Kurt Michael. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to be in the Clinical Psychology program. I grew up in a small town in western North Carolina so I appreciate the program's focus on practical applications in a rural setting. I hope to use the skills I learn to provide quality mental health service to rural communities.

weimerm.jpgMarissa Weimer

My name is Marissa Weimer and I graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor's in Psychology and minors in Youth Development and Human Resource Management. During my time at Clemson, I had the opportunity to participate in research studying violent video games and their effect on racial implicit bias using VR technology. I also worked as a research assistant exploring honor vs dignity cultures through social media use, specifically the cross-cultural differences present on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social medias. I am originally from Sugar Grove Pennsylvania, a small town in the heart of Amish country. I developed a passion for rural mental health after seeing firsthand the drastic differences in both quality and availability of care between the two populations. I am incredibly excited to be attending Appalachian State and to work with my mentor, Dr. Broman-Fulks, investigating exercise and mindfulness and their influence on anxiety.

sodeyim.jpgMaryam Yetunde Sodeyi

My name is Maryam Yetunde Sodeyi. I am an international student from Nigeria. I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. I also have a master's degree in Community Psychology-Clinical services from the University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut. As an undergraduate I was exposed to the reality of mental health challenges and the stigma associated with mental health in my home country. My passion to eliminate stigma and provide effective and accessible mental health care across cultures has fueled my drive for more knowledge in the field of psychology. My research interest is centered around developing strategies or techniques that can be used to address mental health challenges across various cultures - providing effective and holistic care while dispelling the stigma surrounding mental health. Another area of interest to me is informing policies that govern the delivery of evidence-based treatments. I am excited to continue research in these areas under the supervision of my mentor, Dr Jacqueline Hersh.

2019 Cohort

2019 Cohort

Brittany FosterBrittany Foster

Brittany Foster was awarded a B.S. in Psychology with Departmental Honors from Appalachian State University in May 2019. She became interested in this program because of the devoted mentorship provided, its emphasis on evidence-based treatments, and the worthwhile practica placements. Dr. Jameson serves as her program mentor. She became motivated to become a rural clinical psychologist because of the lack of psychological care in her hometown in rural Appalachia. Her long-term goals include returning to her hometown or other underserved areas as a practicing psychologist. Her research interests include suicide prevention, future-thinking as it relates to suicide, and school-based mental health care. Dr. J.P. Jameson serves as her program mentor.

Emma WalkerEmma Walker

Emma graduated from Appalachian State University (ASU) with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Departmental Honors) in May 2019. In her experience as an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in two labs for a year and a half, completed an honors thesis, and interned at the ASU Psychology Clinic. She chose to attend the Psy.D. program at ASU primarily because of the focus on rural and community mental health, passionate faculty members, excellent clinical training, and valuable practica sites. Her goal is to practice as a clinical psychologist in rural North Carolina, improving access to evidence-based mental health services in underserved communities through research that informs her practice (and vice versa). Her research interests include adapting and disseminating evidence-based treatments to better serve children and adolescents in rural settings as well as how trauma combined with other factors may influence the manifestation of psychopathology and treatment outcomes. Emma Walker is mentored by Dr. Jacqueline Hersh.

Kimmie WaltonKimmie Walton

Kimmie Walton received her B.A. in psychology and sociology from Wake Forest University and her M.A. in forensic psychology from George Washington University. Her clinical experience includes working with juvenile and adult offenders in state hospitals, psychiatric group homes and government agencies, including Pre-Trial Services Agency for the District of Columbia. These experiences fostered her interest in working with violent offenders in a treatment and assessment capacity. She is particularly interested in the underserved population of rural offenders in state hospitals and juror bias toward offenders with psychological diagnoses. Dr. Denise Martz and Dr. Twila Wingrove serve as her mentors.

2022 Cohort


edsonhuessia.jpgAnna Edson-Huessi

My name is Anna, and I am an international student from the UK. I joined the Clinical Psychology Doctorate here at App State after working as an Assistant Psychologist in Yorkshire, UK. For as long as I can remember, I have been working towards a career in Clinical Psychology. My goal has been to obtain clinically relevant experience and knowledge in the field so that I could be better prepared for training at the doctoral level. My work experience has also allowed me to gain insight into my interests. Most recently, I worked in a specialist Eating Disorder Service for children and adolescents. Prior to this I worked as an Assistant Psychologist in an Autism and ADHD assessment service. I also obtained my MSc at the University of York in Child Development, Disorders and Clinical Practice. Over time I have come to realize that I am passionate about working with children and families in addition to developing the mental health resources available to them. I was drawn to the program at AppState due to its emphasis on meeting the needs of underserved and rural communities. I am excited to be a part of this mission and hope that I can make an impact in the local community. I am thrilled to be working with Dr. Hersh as my mentor as our research interests align around child and adolescent mental health, adapting interventions and working in partnership with local schools. Currently, my research interests fall broadly into the realm of exploring children’s perspectives towards school-based mental health programs, including how they define their needs in their own words. I am also interested in emotional language and how this is used within families.

kaplanj.jpgJosef Kaplan

Born and raised in New York, Josef Kaplan attended West Point for his undergraduate studies. He was subsequently commissioned an Army Infantry Officer and served in the 101st Airborne Division and 75th Ranger Regiment across several combat deployments. Following his service in the military, Josef held roles in the financial, non-profit, and most recently healthcare sector. During that time, Josef earned his MBA from Northwestern University. Across these diverse experiences, Josef further confirmed his passion for serving others and made the vocational transition to pursue his dream of becoming a clinical psychologist. Josef’s mentor is Dr. Broman-Fulks, where he supports research related to evidence-based support for mindfulness interventions.

nelsonj.jpgJen Nelson

My name is Jen Nelson and grew up in Morganton, NC, just down the mountain! I received my undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018 and my M.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University in 2021. While pursuing my M.A. degree, I moved from North Carolina to Rochester, New York to pursue a position at an OCD and trauma clinic called Genesee Valley Psychology. During my time at Genesee Valley Psychology, I was able to gain relevant clinical experience by providing exposure and response prevention (ERP) to clients presenting with OCD. I was also able to gain related research experience by helping develop the OCD and Trauma Timeline (OTTI), a diagnostic tool, as well as publish my first, first author paper, a literature review on the overlap of OCD and panic disorder. I am both grateful and excited to be a part of the PsyD program at Appalachian State University. Growing up in a small, rural town, I am passionate about providing and expanding evidence-based care in rural settings and for underserved populations. I have the pleasure of working with Dr. Canu as my mentor and I am excited to explore the possible implications presented by the overlap of OCD and ADHD. 

nuttern.jpgNicolette Nutter

My name is Nicolette Nutter, and I graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a concentration in human services and a minor in dance. During my time at Appalachian, I was able to serve as a research assistant in the Anxiety, Exercise, and Mindfulness Lab. I was initially drawn to this program due to its focus on rural communities. I am originally from Oxford, North Carolina, a very small and rural town. Growing up there allowed me to see the lack of resources in rural areas and the effects that has on the population. I am very excited to conduct research with my mentor, Dr. Denise Martz, exploring areas such as negative body talk, female relationships, and eating disorder prevention.

simerlyg.jpgGabriel Simerly

My name is Gabriel Simerly and I was born and raised in Limestone Cove, Tennessee. I received my B.S. in clinical psychology at East Tennessee State University after discharging from Military Service. After graduating, I worked as a military contractor before being hired as an exercise therapist at a large psychiatric hospital where I worked until being accepted to ASU. For most of my life I’ve known that I would spend my life working in psychology, though I didn’t know exactly in what capacity until I worked in a psychiatric setting. From that experience I realized the best way to use my interest and knowledge was to pursue clinical licensure. I intend to use my education to give rural Americans the resources they need in order to live their lives as fully and happily as they can. I’m being mentored by Professor Broman-Fulks and will be working in his Anxiety, Exercise, and Mindfulness Lab.

woodhamb.jpgBreanna Woodham

My name is Breanna Woodham, and I am originally from Ocala, FL. I completed my B.S. in Psychology at the University of Florida in May 2022, graduating with high honors. Throughout this experience, I developed my research skills by completing an honors thesis exploring the association between self-efficacy and Covid-19 related stressors. I also had the opportunity to volunteer with Hospice’s Bereavement Department and a counseling center for children who have suffered from abuse and/or neglect, where I was exposed to several health disparities in psychology, namely rurality and low socioeconomic status. These experiences led me to choose App State’s PsyD program, as I knew the focus on underserved populations, emphasis on evidence-based practice, and a strong generalist training model would help me accomplish my goal of becoming a well-rounded clinical psychologist. My research interests include suicidality, stigma, and the dissemination of care to underserved populations. I am beyond grateful and excited to continue my development as a student, clinician, and researcher under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Curtin.

2020 Cohort


daviskelly.jpgKelly Davis

My name is Kelly Davis and I am from Trinity, N.C. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2018 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Sociology. During my undergraduate degree, I was selected to be a Golden Leaf Scholar, which helps provide education to students from North Carolina's rural or economically distressed counties. With aspirations of becoming a therapist, I enrolled back at UNC Chapel Hill and received my M.S. in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling in May 2020. My graduate studies cemented my interest in becoming a clinical psychologist with a focus in rural and underserved populations and integrated care settings. Dr. Lisa Curtin serves as my mentor in the program.

Kim HoltKim Holt

My name is Kim Holt, and I was born and raised here in Watauga County. I spent several years focusing my career on finance and administrative assistant work. It wasn't until I worked with families facing various struggles, including poverty, illness, and chronic mental health concerns at an elementary school that I realized my true passion. During this time, I realized the need for mental health services in rural areas. I enrolled at ASU, and in the Spring of 2020, I received my B.S. in Psychology. I was drawn to the PsyD program at ASU because it offers strong generalist training and will prepare me to work in a clinical setting with rural and underserved populations. My research interests are child and adolescent psychopathology and improving mental health services for children and adolescents in rural areas. I am excited to work with my mentor, Dr. Kurt Michael, who has spent the past 20 years developing and implementing school mental health services in Watauga and neighboring counties.

killiuse.jpgEsther Killius

My name is Esther Killius and I graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor's in Psychology and a minor in Spanish in the spring of 2019. Originally, I am from Cleveland, Ohio and came to Boone because of a love for hiking and for the friendly community. During my undergraduate years, I was fortunate to have an internship at the Hospitality House and study abroad in Spain. Throughout my experiences, I developed an interest in risk factors for substance abuse and addiction, as well as the practice of mindfulness meditation. I plan to continue researching these topics in addition to rural mental health alongside my mentor, Dr. Broman-Fulks.

monizs.jpgShayla Moniz

My name is Shayla Moniz and I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. I received my bachelor's degree in Psychology with a human services concentration here at Appalachian State. I spent a year after graduating working in an inpatient psychiatric facility with children and adolescents, which really solidified my desire to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology and have the chance to influence the legislation about and systems surrounding mental health. Two of my current research interests are suicidology and culturally appropriate mental health care for ethnic/racial minorities living in rural areas. I will be achieving these goals under the supervision of my mentor Dr.Jameson, who also mentored me during my undergraduate honor's thesis.

selanis.jpgShraddha Selani

My name is Shraddha Selani, and I am an international student from Mumbai, India. I had the incredible opportunity to attend school here in the United States for my undergraduate at Ohio University where I received my B.A. in Psychology from the honors program. I worked in a Pain Psychophysiology lab during my undergraduate studies, which helped develop my research skills. Concurrently, I was able to intern at the Cleveland Clinic for their ADHD treatment program for children during the summer. Both of these experiences propelled me into the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program at Appalachian State University. Being from a country with a predominantly rural population, I was immediately attracted to this program and its core values of providing the best possible resources to the rural population. I hope to better support the vulnerable population of Appalachia and bring light to important social justice issues under the mentorship of Dr. Denise M. Martz.

Maggie WitherspoonMaggie Witherspoon

My name is Maggie and I grew up in a small town close to Boone and spent four years as an undergraduate student at Appalachian State University. I participated in the Aging, Growth, and Experience lab in which I conducted research and worked directly with children in Boone. I graduated in Spring of 2019 with a Bachelor's in Psychology. Living here my whole life has made me passionate about helping members of rural communities and hopefully helping to reduce the stigma of mental health in small-town areas. In the Clinical Psy.D. program, I am interested in conducting research on telehealth and I look forward to further researching ADHD with Dr. Canu as my mentor.