Meet Our Team


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CAPS Director: Nicole Surething, Ph.D.Nicci Fall 2013

Nicole A. Surething, Ph.D., Director, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Education: Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, University at Albany, SUNY, MS Community Counseling, University at Albany, SUNY, BA Psychology, College of Saint Rose

Dr. Surething is excited to be a part of the University of Mary Washington community and continue her work in college counseling administration and providing services to university students.  She completed her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University at Albany and completed her internship and post-doctoral work at The Ohio State University’s Counseling and Consultation Service. Her professional interests include interpersonal and family of origin concerns, anxiety management, trauma, interpersonal violence, eating disorder and body image concerns, and group therapy. Dr. Surething utilizes an interpersonal and integrative approach in her work with students with the goal of developing awareness of patterns in relationships, increasing coping skills, and developing a healthy lifestyle.  Personal interests include exploring the local community, maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, and participating in adult league sports.

Larissa K. Ruuskanen, Psy.D., LCP, Staff Psychologist

Education: Psy.D. and MA Argosy University—Georgia School of Professional Psychology, BA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Ruuskanen is pleased to be part of the University of Mary Washington community and continuing her work with college students. She is very much interested in group therapy, multicultural issues, such as exploring strengths and concerns as related to sexual minorities and negotiating cultural values. She primarily works from a relational perspective encouraging students to be active participants in their self-discovery and growth. Some of her other professional interests include mindfulness skills and working with survivors of sexual violence. She enjoys learning about new cultures through her travels as well as through her daily interactions with diversity around her. On her off time, you may find her enjoying movies, hiking or otherwise exploring the community and its cultural offerings.

Daniel Nelson, MS, LPC, Staff CounselorDan 1

Education: MS Counseling, Radford University, BS Psychology, Radford University.

Dan is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 12 years of experience in providing individual counseling. Dan uses an integrative approach to therapy, primarily drawing upon Cognitive-Behavioral, Person-Centered, and Psychodynamic theories. He is skilled in Motivational Interviewing techniques. In therapy, Dan emphasizes forming a strong therapeutic connection as the agent for change, movement, and self-exploration. He has extensive experience with issues of trauma, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, adjustment disorders, loss and grief, and relationships.   Dan enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, camping, fishing, and gardening.

Melissa 2013Melissa Palguta, Psy.D. Staff Therapist

Education: Psy.D. & MA from University of Indianapolis; BS from University of Wisconsin – Madison

Melissa is delighted to be part the University of Mary Washington community and to continue her experience working with college students.  She completed her internship at George Mason University Counseling & Psychological Services Center.  She enjoys working in a variety of functions and with a wide range of issues, but she has a particular interest in working with trauma survivors, as well as with diversity and social justice related issues.  She is a strong ally of the LGBTTQQIAAP community and she enjoys exploring the strengths and concerns of this group through her work.  She primarily works from a cognitive behavioral perspective, providing students with concrete skills and support to aid them in overcoming personal difficulties and in improving their quality of life.  She takes a collaborative approach to treatment, working with her clients to establish a treatment dynamic and therapy goals that work best for them as individuals.  In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, arts & crafts, and spending time with her family and friends.

 Beth Parker, LCSW, CTT, Staff CounselorBeth 1

Education:           Trauma Therapist Certification, Intensive Trauma Therapies Program; MSW, Mental Health Specialization, University of Maryland; BSW, George Mason University

In over 15 years of experience in the Mental Health field, Beth has worked extensively in the areas of community mental health, addictions, domestic violence and sexual abuse.  She received specialized post-graduate training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from the Beck Institute, and completed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing training from the EMDR Institute.  Beth is passionate about supporting victims healing from trauma and individuals overcoming performance and test anxiety.  Teaching mindfulness skills and encouraging overall health and wellness are core to Beth’s work with her clients.  She is excited for this opportunity to work in the college atmosphere assisting students to build a successful foundation on their life’s journey. In her free time, she enjoys a variety of outdoor adventures with her family, cooking healthy meals, and overall living life to the fullest.

SudhirSudhir Nagaraja, DO, Psychiatrist

Dr. Nagaraja decided to become a Psychiatrist while serving as a medical officer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He was drawn to the holistic approach that Psychiatry offers in treating the mind, body and spirit. Dr. Nagaraja completed medical school at Michigan State University. He did an internship in Neurology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He completed his Psychiatry residency at Drexel University and the Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Nagaraja completed a course in Medical Acupuncture through Stanford University, and is licensed to provide this service in Virginia. He uses acupuncture to manage addiction and chronic pain in patients with Psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Nagaraja is board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry, and the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. Dr. Nagaraja and his wife have been married for over ten years. They have one son. In his free time, Dr. Nagaraja enjoys reading and spending time with his family.

General Administration Coordinator: Deirdre Bayer, VCA

Ms. Bayer is from North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She is pleased to be a part of the University of Mary Washington community and enjoys assisting students.








Trainees, 2013-2014

 Jacquelin Branche, RN, MBA, Intern from Liberty University’s Masters in Professional Counseling program

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Catherine Smith, BA Intern from Argosy University’s Masters in community Counseling program







Svetlana Mitsina-Brown, MS,  Pre-doctoral intern from Pacific university School of Professional Psychology.

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Carrie Anderson, MS, M.Ed.  Pre-doctoral intern from Immaculata University.

Carrie 2013