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Counseling Staff

The Counseling Services office is staffed by licensed clinical social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, and psychiatrists who specialize in mental health. The service also has advanced master’s-level interns from a variety of schools.

The Counseling Service staff embody a range of visible and invisible identities along the lines of race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, ability, culture, religion, immigrant, first-generation status and more. We commit to continually learning to work with a range of people and presentations using emerging interventions, research and student feedback.

Like you, we are infinitely intersectional and evolving.

Laurie Wildhagen

Laurie Wildhagen | she/her

Administrative and Budget Coordinator

Laurie earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental geography at the University of Iowa. Before coming to Smith, she worked as an AIDS advocate in Hawaii, as a court advocate for survivors of domestic violence and in health care administration. In her free time, she can be found hiking a new trail with her kids, experimenting with new cookie recipes or getting lost in a new book.

"Portrait of Michelle Marchese"

Michelle Marchese, LICSW | she/they

Director of Counseling Services

Michelle is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a certified EMDR therapist and consultant. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Smith College School for Social Work researching dissociation measures for use with queer and trans communities, and EMDR to heal race-based stress. As a trauma specialist, she has worked in community mental health, at the Veterans Administration and the Trauma Institute, and in private practice. She also has published and taught on subjects related to trauma. Her relational treatment approach rests on a trauma-centered, intersubjective foundation complemented with CBT, DBT and somatic interventions as needed. Maybe you have met her canine assistant, Stanley, around campus or when howling during a Zoom call.

Lisa Howard

Lisa Youngling Howard, M.D. | she/her

Director of Psychiatry, Associate Director of Counseling

Lisa Youngling Howard received her bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College, where she majored in biology with a concentration in women’s studies, and her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. She completed her residency in psychiatry at Harvard University’s Cambridge Health Alliance, as well as a fellowship in psychotherapy at Harvard University Health Services. After completing her training, Lisa worked at Cambridge Health Alliance as the director of partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs and was an instructor at Harvard Medical School, involved in teaching and supervising medical students and residents. She has extensive experience in college mental health, having worked at Bennington College for eight years and also at Wellesley College before joining Counseling Services at Smith. In addition to her position at Smith, Lisa also works at Gould Farm, a psychiatric rehabilitation and residential treatment facility in Monterey, Massachusetts. Her primary clinical interests include identity development, women’s issues and working collaboratively with students to address a variety of mental health issues.


Greenlee Brown, LCSW | they/them

Post Master’s Fellow

Greenlee completed their graduate internship at Counseling Services last year and then graduated from the Smith School for Social Work. They have experience working with young queer and trans people, polyamorous people, people in BDSM communities, and with young people living with complex trauma. They are working to build a clinical practice grounded in relationship and vulnerability, and are particularly interested in somatic approaches to living with trauma and working with white people to divest from white supremacy. They have a cat named Boo and an overflowing bookshelf.


Noah Cochran, LCSW | they/them

Staff Therapist

Noah is a licensed clinical social worker trained at the Smith School of Social Work. Raised in the South, they then attended Bowdoin College in Maine, where they earned their bachelor's degree in psychology and education. They practice clinical work with a trauma-centered, attachment-informed, and relational lens grounded in social justice. They believe in the liberatory potential of healing through relationships and community, and their work focuses on grief, relational and structural trauma, and identity. Beyond their role as a therapist, Noah is an avid reader and a fledgling woodworker. 


Maureen Dean| she/her/dem

Doctoral Fellow

A direct descendent of a traditional healer, Maureen has evolved a healing elixir from her study and practice of depth psychology, theology, anthropology, and ecology. She holds an advanced masters in clinical social work from SUNY-Albany, a masters of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary of Columbia University, and a masters of social work from the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, Jamaica. Maureen has extensively worked toward prevention and healing of trauma at the individual, group, community, policy, and advocacy levels. She lived and worked in Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island nation with a rich syncretism of Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and African Yorba derived religions.  Maureen embraces a holistic body-mind-spirit-environment approach towards health and wellbeing and incorporates traditional, conventional and creative healing modalities in her work with clients. She is committed to finding vitality through nurture, nature and culture.

Meg Laird

Meg Laird, LICSW | she/her

Staff Therapist

Meg graduated from Oberlin College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Following two siblings, she earned her master’s degree from Smith’s School for Social Work. She started her career in college counseling as a master’s intern, assigned to Duke University’s Counseling and Psychological Services. At Smith Counseling Services since 1992, she has helped thousands of Smith students navigate their college years and find more satisfaction in their lives. In addition to facilitating individual work on a variety of topics, she offers a beloved grief support group every semester. Certified in clinical supervision, she has worked with more than 20 master’s-level interns.


Mahajoy Laufer, LICSW | she/her

Staff Therapist

Mahajoy was adopted from the Philippines and grew up in Massachusetts. She received her bachelor’s degree at Mount Holyoke College and a master’s in social work from Smith College School for Social Work. She is committed to providing therapy from a social justice lens and inviting explorations of social oppression and mental health, and addressing trauma. She has worked with people of low socioeconomic status, of LGBTQ+ identities and people of color. She recently lived in Peru for nearly six years and is passionate about providing therapy in Spanish. Her interests include reading, eating, writing, singing, meditating and playing with her cat, if he lets her.

Nathalie Vaughn

Nathalie Vaughn, LICSW | she/her

Staff Therapist

After leaving Guyana as a young adult, Nathalie became an Ada Comstock Scholar and graduated from Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology. She continued her education by earning a master's degree in women’s studies from Southern Connecticut State University. Nathalie’s academic interests and commitment to individual empowerment led her into the community mental health field. After several years working to support women and families, Nathalie pursued a master of social work at the Smith School for Social Work before joining the Counseling Services staff.

Elena Volpe

Elena Volpe, LMFT | she/her

Staff Therapist

Elena is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She received her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She has a private practice in Amherst, emphasizing an integrative approach to therapy. She developed Somapsychology, a method that unites breathwork, yoga and martial arts with traditional verbal practices. Elena’s clinical interests are far-ranging in that they encompass the broad cultural experience of gender, race and biculturalism, as well as the intimate sensed experience of the physical body.

2022–23 Counseling Interns

Portrait of Aaliyah M. Bell

Aaliyah M. Bell | she/they

MSW Intern

Aaliyah is an MSW candidate at the Smith College School for Social Work. She graduated from Colby College with a BA in Cultural Anthropology, minoring in Environmental Studies. Aaliyah’s journey includes outdoor education, publishing, food sustainability, and foster care case management. As an MSW candidate, she gained experience supporting middle and high school students as a charter school social worker. Aaliyah’s clinical interests include centering strength-based models, youth development, nature therapy, and supporting Black Queer families. She identifies as a “deviant social worker” who centers abolitionist work and the lived experience of Black and Indigenous peoples. As an emerging Black clinician, Aaliyah is interested in developing her clinical tool box. She enjoys delicious meals with loved ones, long hikes, gardening, and cuddling with her cat.

portrait of Victoria Coons

Victoria Coons | she/her

MSW Intern

Victoria is a current MSW candidate at Springfield College. She comes from a background working in the Clubhouse community providing equitable, strengths-based services to adults. She also has experience in group work and crisis services. Her clinical interests include substance use, trauma, working with the LGBTQIA+ population, and working with young adults to navigate life transitions. Her goal is to provide a supportive, collaborative, judgment free, and empowering environment for all. In her spare time, she likes to play with her cats, watch Shonda Rhimes shows, and spend time outside.

Portrait of Kayla Crowe

Kayla Crowe | she/her

CMHC Intern

Kayla is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor candidate at Antioch University New England. Kayla grew up in the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts surrounded by nature and animals. After high school, Kayla worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in disaster relief. She later received her BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and worked with underserved youth in a psychiatric setting. Kayla's professional areas of interest are working with transracial adoption, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, Mental Health First Aid, and animal assisted therapy. When not at her internship, you can find Kayla sharing her love of rock climbing and hiking with her dogs.

Suzie Goldstein

Suzie Goldstein | she/her

MSW Intern

Suzie is an MSW candidate at Simmons University School of Social Work. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Art History in 2008 from UMASS Amherst, her passions led her to pursue a career in health and wellness. She is an entrepreneur, small business owner, and Iyengar yoga therapist/ instructor. She has experience working with people of all ages including those who have experienced trauma and those living with chronic illness. Previously, Suzie was an instructor in the ESS department at Smith College and co-facilitated trauma sensitive yoga groups in the Counseling Service at Smith. Suzie’s integrative approach to clinical work is somatically based, trauma-centered, and utilizes a neurobiological and attachment informed lens grounded in social justice. She especially loves working with the students at Smith. She embraces a holistic mind-body approach toward health and believes the definition of wellbeing is unique for each of us. She is dedicated to helping people navigate the stress of everyday life and heal from trauma while recognizing and embracing their own identities, strengths, and resiliency. In her free time, Suzie loves hanging out with her 2 dogs and 4 chickens, practicing/teaching yoga, being at the beach, and hiking around the Valley. 

Portrait of Alex Watson

Alex Watson | he/him

MSW Intern

Alex is an MSW candidate at the Smith College School for Social Work in his second year. He received his undergraduate degree in Buddhist Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School. Alex has experience working with adolescents in acute residential settings and adults in community-based programs. His clinical interests include psychodynamic therapy, religion and spirituality, mindfulness, trauma, and identity-affirming care. He loves to walk in the woods, read, and watch Youtube videos.