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News and Announcements


Please join us for the NLU Doctoral Research Symposium on Tuesday, May 4th from 4:40-7:10. Three ISPP students are presenting – if you can support them, please do!
Congratulations to our presenters – Courtney Thompson, Austin Gonzales-Randolph, and Jena Catania!
Giving a Poster Presentation for her Research Proposal:
- Courtney Thompson - Clinical Psychology
Impact of Environmental Factors on the Academic Performance of Children with Tourette Syndrome from the Caregiver's Perspective
Giving a Talk for their Completed CRPs:
- 5:35 pm (breakout session E)
Colombian Women’s Experiences of Cosmetic Surgery and its Relationship to Body Image
Austin Gonzalez-Randolph, Clinical Psychology – Illinois
- 6:50 pm (breakout session I)
Let’s Talk About Sex: Examining Clinical Training, Attitudes, and Clinician Self-Awareness Around Sexuality
Jena Catania, Clinical Psychology – Illinois


Kudos to Psy D student Azalia Torres who was awarded the CLAVE Doctoral Fellowship! This fellowship is awarded to Latinx doctoral students who demonstrate strong potential to become educators, leaders, and scholars at local, state, and national levels. You can read about Azalia’s experience, in her own words, here:  In Their Own Words: CLAVE Doctoral Fellows Talk About Their Doctoral Experience ( Congratulations, Azalia!


Kudos to Psy.D. students Taylor Levitt, Tina Luzzi, and Monica Zabinski who gave two presentations at the Association for Women in Psychology conference this past week. They presented a Lightening Talk titled Multicultural and Antiracist education: Why clinical psychology programs should adopt both into their curricula, and led a very engaging structured discussion entitled Are you truly 'woke' or are you putting on airs: A discussion and review of performative allyship. Excellent work Taylor, Tina and Monica!


ISPP Faculty and Students Presented at the 2021 Midwintern Conference of the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology (NCSPP), Virtual Conference.

Dr. Christopher Rector and PsyD students Eric Edwards and Thomas Moushey presented: COVID 19 and Underserved Local Communities-Advocacy toward Coordinated Access to Medical, Mental Health, and Religious Care: A Strategic Plan of Action.

Drs. Kristen Newberry, Leah Horvath, and Practicum Site Supervisor Dr. Gwen Grant presented: Balancing Personal Self-Care Needs with Those of the Students and Clients We Serve in the Midst of Dual Pandemics.


Featuring ISPP Alumna Dr. Ammara Khalid and Dr. Amanda Rios and the origin story of their practice, CORE- Center of Relational Empowerment, PC, and ISPP student Angelina Witbeck as the Current Student spotlight!


Congratulations to Taylor Levitt, Tina Luzzi, and Monica Zabinski for their presentation at the International Council of Psychologists’ Annual Convention! The students presented a poster and lightening talk titled: Antiracism Training: What Works, What Doesn’t and How We Can Do Better, which focused on the AEWG, literature on best practices in anti-racism training, and ways to improve the work of this group. The presentation led to a very lively discussion among conference attendees!



Congratulations to 4th year PsyD student Angelina Witbeck who has been selected to APA's Division 40 Society for Clinical Neuropsychology Student Leadership Program!



On August 7th, Dr. Christopher Rector, ISPP Psy. D Program Director of Practicum Training, completed his three year tenure as President-Elect, President, and Past President of the Association  of Chicagoland Externship and Practicum Training (ACEPT). He was presented with an Award in recognition for "Outstanding Contributions to the ACEPT Training Community. Congratulations, Dr. Rector!



ISPP is pleased to announce the recent CRP defenses by our PsyD students:

Jasmine Daniels successfully defended her CRP in a public defense. Jasmine’s CRP is titled: The Impact of Social Media on the Self-Esteem of Youth -10-17 Years Old

Stephanie Green successfully defended her CRP in a public defense. Stephanie’s CRP is titled: Exploring Gender Differences Between Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder in Responses on the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI).

Hayat Nadar successfully defended her CRP in a public defense. Hayat’s CRP is titled: Exploration of the Link between Migration and Acculturation Related-Stress, Attachment Style, and Psychological Distress in Arab Immigrants, Refugees and Asylees.

Krystal Segovia successfully defended her CRP in a public defense. Krystal’s CRP is titled: Self-Care Domains, Benefits of Self-Care in Graduate-Level Training Programs, and Ways to Incorporate Self-Care Education and Practices in Graduate-Level Training Programs

Amanda Weaver successfully defended her CRP at her internship training site. Amanda’s CRP is titled: Clinical Trainees' Experience of Burnout and its Relationship to Supervision. 

Abigail Moulton successfully defended her CRP in a public defense. Abigail’s CRP is titled: The Inclusion of Spirituality in Supervision

Michelle Okolita successfully completed her CRP. Michelle’s CRP is titled: Accurately Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder among a Comorbid Population. 

Alumni Corner

ISPP Alumni Corner

The Illinois School of Professional Psychology (ISPP) has been training clinical psychologists since 1976. Graduates of ISPP- more than 1800 worldwide- use their expertise in in clinical psychology to serve in a wide range of settings including community mental health, medical hospitals, the VA and armed services settings, residential treatment facilities, private practices, therapeutic day schools, jails and prisons, and university counseling centers. ISPP is proud of our alumni and their accomplishments. Read more about their remarkable contributions to the field below!

Sharon Black, Psy.D. ('16)

Dr. Sharon Black, a 2016 graduate of ISPP, is the founder and clinical director of BlackBird BehavioralHealth, a group practice dedicated to promoting wellness for the whole person, increasing psychological fitness, and quality of life. With a career spanning 20 years as a master’s level clinician, Dr. Black built a foundation of clinical experience and business development. Along the way, Dr. Black’s interests have included life span development, family therapy, transgender health, positive psychology, and student supervision. In 1998, Dr. Black founded Wholehealth - a company that developed programs and groups for residents in the geriatric inpatient setting. Dr. Black provided counseling, developed programs and presentations, as well as led a dynamic team of psychologists, social workers, and counselors to deliver culturally competent clinical services. In 2005, Dr. Black continued her professional development and community outreach in the beautiful Northern New South Wales, Australia. There, she founded The Wholehealth Centre, a wellness center providing physical and psychological rehabilitation. In 2008, Dr. Black returned to the states and provided psychotherapy services for individuals, couples, and families in the Chicagoland area. Dr. Black’s integrative approach to wellness includes using one’s strengths as a platform for growth. Currently, in addition to a robust clinical practice and management of a thriving group practice, Dr. Black develops programs, working closely with primary care physicians, psychiatrists, community partners, and healthcare providers to deliver quality mental health services based on the needs of the community. Dr. Black is also developing a training program to help students utilize their own strengths, understand their interpersonal experience, and build an abundant tool bag. As a clinical supervisor, Dr. Black is committed to helping her students become confident, helpful, and thriving therapists.

Bethany L. Cook, Psy.D. (’10)

Dr. Cook graduated from the Psy.D. program in 2010. Her interests include child development, parenting, and the therapeutic role music can play in the healing process. She completed her internship at Southlake Regional Health Center in East Chicago Indiana. Currently, Dr. Cook is a freelance writer and “psychology expert" for parenting websites, magazine and blogs.  As a full-time primary parent of two children (ages 7 and 5) she jokes that she  "continues to study early child development”.  Dr. Cook also recently wrote and published her book, For What It’s Worth – A Perspective on How to Thrive and Survive Parenting Ages 0-2 (2019).   She  also narrates this book on Audible.   Dr. Cook’s Clinical Research Project (CRP) was titled “A Comparison of Personality Traits and Musical Element Preference”.

Douglas Craig, Psy.D. ('08)

Douglas Craig, Psy.D.  obtained his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, completing the Psy.D. during 2008.  He currently serves as the President/Senior Forensic and Police Psychologist with Atlantic OccuPsych, Inc, a firm that specializes in occupational psychological health.  Expertise focuses on forensic psychological assessment, largely under the umbrella of occupational-related assessments, as well as evidence based interventions with anxiety, mood and trauma-related disorders.  In addition to expertise in Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs), Fitness for Duty Evaluations (FFDE), and Pre-Employment Psychological Evaluations (PEPE), Dr. Craig’s expertise in police and public safety assessment is nationally recognized.  He is among the select group who has been awarded a Diplomate in Police Psychology through the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology (#63).  Dr. Craig has conducted over 14,000 psychological evaluations, working with diverse organizations ranging in size and mission, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Postal Inspection Service, Chicago Police Department, and over 50 other law enforcement and government organizations.  Expertise span the four domains within police and public safety psychology: Assessment, Intervention, Operations, and Consultation.

Dr. Craig reached the rank of Associate Professor while with Adler University, serving appointments in several graduate programs as well as holding institutional leadership positions.  He has since resigned his faculty position to greater contribute to quality service delivery and leadership roles to advocate for ethical practice of forensic psychology, psychological assessment, and organizational consultation regarding occupational psychological health, wellness, and assessment; while Atlantic OccuPsych, Inc is headquartered in Towson, MD, offices are throughout Maryland, Delaware, and Illinois.  Overall Dr. Craig is most passionate about advocacy and education, especially within the domain of risk assessment and mediation and supporting and sustaining employer operations within his areas of expertise.  He often presents on iatrogenic harm and the adverse impact of well intended, yet professionally harmful practices, and is an active member of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (Police Psychological Services Section), and the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology, among other professional organizations. 

Susan Benjamin Feingold, Psy.D. (’92)

Dr. Feingold is a psychologist that has been specializing in women’s mental health issues for over 27 years. Dr. Feingold is a nationally recognized expert in women’s issues related to reproductive function, including perinatal depression and anxiety disorders, PMDD, infertility issues, perinatal loss, PTSD, and couple relationship and sexual problems. Dr. Feingold advocated and helped to usher PA100-0574 through the Illinois Legislature in 2017, which was signed into law in 2018 and is the first criminal law in the nation to recognize the effects of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. She is the Co-Recipient of the 2018 Maternal Mental Health Innovation Award in Policy and Advocacy.  Dr. Feingold is the co-author of the recent publications, Advocating for Women with Postpartum Mental Illness: A Guide to Changing the Law and the National Climate (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020) and a chapter in the American Psychiatric Association's upcoming book, Infanticide & Filicide: Foundations in Maternal Mental Health Forensics. She serves on the Advisory Council for Postpartum Support International. In 2016, she was a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for her work in perinatal issues and women’s mental health. Dr. Feingold continues to work as a licensed clinical psychologist, perinatal advocate, and author.

Ryan Holley, Psy.D. ('16)
Dr. Ryan Holley is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist that specializes in the therapeutic treatment and neuropsychological assessment of school-aged children, adolescents, and adults. He is a Clinical Supervisor and the Director of Developmental Disability Services at Shared Vision Psychological Services, an outpatient private practice in the western suburbs. Dr. Holley has extensive training in play and sand-tray therapy, parenting guidance, and the assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder across the lifespan. Dr. Holley is acting President-Elect for the Chicago Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology, and currently chairs a Climate Psychology Task Force within Division 39.
Dr. Holley’s clinical interests include: psychoanalytically informed play therapy, the treatment and assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder across the lifespan, and the clinical utility of the Rorschach Inkblot Test within psychological assessment. Dr. Holley received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles Missouri. He completed graduate studies at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology where he earned both Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology, with emphases in Child Development and Neuropsychology. Dr. Holley has completed clinical training rotations in college counseling, residential and community mental health programs, substance dependence programs, and outpatient private practice treating children, adolescents, and adults.

Aaron M. Keating, US Air Force Captain, Psy.D. (’20)

Capt (Dr.) Aaron Keating is the Officer in Charge of the Mental Health Clinic at FE Warren AFB, Wyoming. He received his PsyD in Clinical Psychology in August 2020 and completed his Psychology Residency at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland, Texas. His Clinical Research Project (CRP) focused on risk and protective factors following morally injurious events in combat veterans. He entered the Army in 2004 and received a direct commission in the Air Force in July 2019. Capt Keating’s graduate level experience included practicums at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, where he completed two years of specialty training in internal behavioral health care in the obstetrics and gynecology clinic. Capt Keating is a member of the Society for Air Force Psychology, The Association for Psychological Science, and the American Psychology Association. His professional interests include PTSD and Combat/Operational Stress treatment/research. Capt Keating served in the US Army between 2004 and 2015 as a Human Intelligence Collector and Ground Surveillance Systems Operator, earning the Rank of Army Staff Sergeant. His previous positions within the US Army included Platoon Sergeant, Senior Interrogator, and Master Instructor. He served three combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Jonah Lakin, Psy.D. (’12)

Dr. Jonah Lakin is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of OCD and anxiety disorder. He founded and operates the OCD & Anxiety Center of Cleveland. Dr. Lakin serves on the Board of OCD Midwest, the Midwestern chapter of the International OCD Foundation. He also educates the public about OCD via his writing, blog and public lectures. He recently published a book titled Free Yourself from OCD from Rockridge Press in August of 2020. Dr. Lakin also provides education, training, and consultation to mental health providers seeking to gain expertise in this area.

Ashley A. Lyden, Psy.D. (’12)

Dr. Lyden, a 2012 graduate of ISPP, is a psychologist in New York City.  Her Psy.D. is in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Forensic Psychology.  She is Assistant Clinical Director of SR Psychological Services, a private practice in Manhattan, where in addition to administrative duties and staff mentoring, she also provides individual therapy to a diverse population in the practice.   Dr. Lyden also works for Behavioral Medicine Associates, a company that provides comprehensive mental health treatment to injured workers.  In addition to the treatment she provides, Dr. Lyden completes depositions for those patients for their Worker’s Compensation cases.  She also supervises psychology students at Pace University. 

Dr. Lyden’s prior experience includes teaching forensic psychology classes in the graduate psychology program at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, treating Sexually Violent Predators (SVP’s) for the state of New Jersey, competing evaluations of juveniles involved with the justice system in NYC, and completing a forensic neuropsychology postdoc.

Misty Mann, Psy.D. ('10)

Dr. Misty Mann is a 2010 graduate of the Illinois School of Professional Psychology is the current Director of Clinical Training and an Assistant Professor at Midwestern University. She has served in an academic training role as a post-doc, associate director, or director of clinical training at three Chicagoland Psy.D programs over the past 10 years. As an Assistant professor, she has taught various courses including diagnostic and advanced seminar, research clerkship, professional development courses, supervision and consultation, group therapy, and an independent study in women’s reproductive health. Her clinical interest includes women’s issues (specifically, women’s reproductive health), body image and eating concerns, and Veterinarian wellness. She has presented at conferences, didactics, and family medicine residencies on topics such as maternal mental health, integrated primary, and eating disorders. Finally, Dr. Mann has co-authored two book chapters, one on obesity and mental health within primary care and screening tools for primary care.

Vara Saripalli, Psy.D. ('15)

Dr. Vara Saripalli graduated from ISPP in 2015. Prior to her graduate studies, Dr. Saripalli worked in the automobile and insurance industries, first as a software engineer and then shifting to an actuarial path. During graduate school her teaching assistant roles and research projects were focused on diversity, inclusion, and cross-cultural psychology. She has worked as a licensed psychologist in Chicago for the past 5 years in private practice where she offers therapy services with a focus on helping busy professionals get more control of their lives and careers. More recently she has also been working as a consultant making DEI presentations to companies that are recognizing the importance of being more inclusive workplaces. Dr. Saripalli is also an adjunct instructor at ISPP, teaching Clinical Interviewing.

Ashley Shenberger, Lieutenant Commander (Select), US Navy, Psy.D. ('13)

Dr. Ashley Shenberger is a 2013 graduate of ISPP and a Lieutenant Commander (Select), Medical Service Corps in the United States Navy at the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Georgia. In this role, Dr. Shenberger provides mental health services to over 6000 Active Duty service members. From 2016-2017, Dr. Shenberger filled an O-4 billet and supervised a joint clinical staff of ten psychiatric technicians and one Licensed Clinical Psychologist in a Joint Task Force in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Recent publications include COVID-19 Impact on Mental Health in The Military Psychologist and Dolphin Docs: Mental Health Providers Embedded in the Submarine Community in the Psychological Health Center of Excellence. Dr. Shenberger was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal in 2020 for her work in Kings Bay Georgia.

Ronald J. Smith, Psy.D., CCHP-MH (’95)

Dr. Smith graduated from the Psy.D. program in 1995. His interests include correctional, forensic and community-based treatment along the lifespan. Dr. Smith was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the US Naval Reserve after graduating.  Once Dr. Smith completed his service with the US Navy, he entered a variety of senior roles which included experience in correctional behavioral health programs and community mental health programs.  Currently, Dr. Smith leads a comprehensive portfolio of behavioral health programs Wexford Health and continues to mentor other mental health professionals.  He has been an expert witness, a published author, a presenter at national conferences and a teacher of behavioral health courses at both the undergrad and graduate level.  Dr. Smith had dedicated his career to the successful development, implementation, and management of behavioral health programs, personnel, policies and performance.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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