Meet the Team

The professionally licensed Counselor Faculty of the Counseling & Psychological Services include licensed marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and clinical social workers trained to work with San Francisco State's multicultural student body. Several of our counselors are bilingual. To contact the team, please email

*Counseling available in the following languages: Farsi, Korean, Mandarin, and Spanish.

Taghi Amjadi

Taghi Amjadi, PhD., LMFT*

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: East-West psychology, mindfulness-based anxiety management, relationships, trauma work with refugees and immigrants (PTSD), impact of social justice on mental health, and transpersonal psychology.

Personal Interests: Music, nature, and movies.

Motto: "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." ~ Nelson Mandela

Nicole Buitrago

Nicole Buitrago, Psy.D.

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Social Justice and minority stress, LGBTQ+, identity development, complex trauma, ADHD, non-monogamy, spirituality, mindfulness and skills-based approaches, harm reduction for behavioral change, first-generation college students, and adjustment to life transitions. 

Personal Interests: Sitting in the sunshine, being in community, trying new things, music, cooking, cleaning, exercising, traveling, and relaxing. 

Motto: “Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” ~ Joseph Campbell 

“We have been raised to fear the yes in ourselves.” ~ Audre Lorde

Karla Castillo

Karla Castillo, LMFT, LPCC*

Clinical Counselor & Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Substance use disorders, EMDR, trauma, mindfulness, multicultural issues, issues affecting undocumented students, harm reduction, and crisis counseling.

Personal Interests: Swimming, biking, jogging, dancing, music, and travel.

Motto: "I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival." ~ Audre Lourde

Stephen Chen

Stephen Chen, Psy.D.


Professional Areas of Interest: Multiculturalism, social justice, relationships, groups, training.

Personal Interests: Movies, sports, and nature.

Motto: "Grit is sticking with your future—day in, day out, not just for a week, not just for a month, but for years—and working really hard to make that future a reality." ~ Angela Duckworth

Susan Chen

Susan Chen, LMFT*

Clinical Counselor & Liaison to International Programs

Professional Areas of Interest: Social anxiety, excessive internet and social media use, harm reduction, LGBTQ issues, anti-racism, and meditation.

Motto: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." ~ Various

"It is a joy to be hidden and a disaster not to be found." ~ DW Winnicott

Laurene Dominguez

Laurene Domínguez, LCSW

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest:  cultural identity/multicultural issues, Chicanx/Latinx support, first-generation students, crisis/trauma especially sexual violence support, EMDR, somatic healing methods, anxiety, healthy relationships, and social justice issues and the integration of western and indigenous ways of healing.

Personal Interests: music, dancing, travel, watching b films on Netflix, and my puppy Maya.

Motto:  "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare." ~ Audre Lorde

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Ana Frias-Bravo, AMFT*

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Social justice, migration, interculturalism, language, issues affecting Latinx/Chicanx/Hispanic communities, first generation college students, non-violent parenting practices, narrative practices, strength-based approaches.

Personal Interests: Embroidery, yoga, music, food, collective growth and healing, bilingualism.

Motto: "Que no te digan que no." ~ Ceci Bastida, cantante mexicana

"Don't let them tell you no." ~ Ceci Bastida, Mexican singer

Yolanda Gamboa

Yolanda Gamboa, PhD.*

Coordinator of Peggy H. Smith Counseling Clinic and Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Multicultural issues, first-generation college students, AB 540 undocumented students, women of color, Chicano/a and Latino/a population, LGBTQ, and underserved and underrepresented students. Training and supervision of graduate and postgraduates.

Personal Interests: Spending time with family, walking my dog, cooking/baking, hiking, and meditation.

Motto: "Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'." ~ Mary Ann Radmacher

Catherine Jolly

Catherine Jolly, LMFT & FAMI

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Expression arts therapy, LGBTQI issues, social justice and advocacy, and FAMI (Fellow of the Association of Music and Imagery).

Personal Interests: Spending time in nature, playing and writing music, and connecting with people of all ages.

Motto: Compassion is never wasted.

Mike Lysaght

Mike Lysaght, LMFT

Lead Case Manager

Professional Areas of Interest: LGB and Transgender concerns, First-generation college students, mood disorders (Depression, Bipolar disorder); first-break psychosis.

Personal Interests: LEGO, reading social and political autobiographies, exercise (stationary bike and HIIT)

Motto: "Change is the end result of all true learning." ~ Leo Buscaglia

Rick Nizzardini

Rick Nizzardini, LCSW

Residential Life Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Interpersonal processes, trauma, relationships, LGBTQIIA+ issues, and University Residential Life.

Motto: “I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become.” ~ Carl Jung

Stacy Peterson

Stacy Peterson, LCSW

The SAFE Place - Manager

Professional Areas of Interest: Trauma due to sexual violence, social justice, transformative justice, harm reduction, and solution focused interventions.

Personal Interests: Reading, spending time with loved ones, being creative, and enjoying the outdoors.

Motto: “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” ~ James Baldwin

Leslie Shin

Leslie Jaeyoun Shin, LMFT & LPCC*

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Relationship issues, trauma work, racial discrimination and microaggressions, social justice related issues, multicultural counseling, self-esteem and personal growth, depression, anxiety, and adjustment challenges.

Motto: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.   

"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Lightfoot Wilhite

Lightfoot Wilhite, LCSW

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Thought as creation myth, deconstruction of stressful beliefs via internal awareness.

Personal Interests: Reading, music, basketball, cooking, anime, British crime/drama, and doing yoga when nobody's looking.

Motto: The Truth is also seeking the Seeker.

Administrative Support Staff

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Harry Tran

Administrative Analyst

Professional Areas of Interest: Hoping to help make it acceptable and easy for students to reach out for help.

Personal Interests: Sports, technology, current events.

Motto: Self care is also not arguing with people who are committed to misunderstanding you. ~ Ayishat Akanbi

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Justin Weiss

Administrative Support Coordinator

Professional Areas of Interest: My focus is on facilitating open lines of communication between our counselors and the student body. In my own work I’m involved in community outreach/activism, social justice, art/music therapy and equity vs equality issues.

Personal Interests: Self-expression through art and music, traveling, extreme sports, technology and basketball.  

Motto: “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” ~ Charles Schulz

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw