Meet Our Team

Tevya Zukor, Ph.D., CGP

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Education: Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, George Mason University, MA Clinical Psychology, George Mason University, BS Psychology, James Madison University.

Dr. Zukor is excited to be a part of the University of Mary Washington community and continue his work in college counseling administration and providing services to university students.  He completed his doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the George Mason University and completed his internship and post-doctoral work at The Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center at Virginia Tech. He is a Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP) and is passionate about group, supervision, and training. His professional interests include intimate interpersonal relationships, trauma recovery, grief & loss issues, and crisis management. Dr. Zukor utilizes an interpersonal and integrative approach in his work with students with the goal of developing awareness of patterns in relationships, increasing coping skills, and developing a healthy lifestyle.


Melissa 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.


Catherine Smith, EdD, LPC, NCC, NBCCH
Staff Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor

Education:  EdD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Argosy University; MA in Community Counseling from Argosy University, BA from American Military University.

Catherine continues her work here at the Talley Center for a fifth academic year.  Catherine understands that each individual is unique, therefore draws from an integrative approach to assist clients with their concerns.  Catherine especially focuses on empowering her clients by utilizing Strength Based theory and Positive Psychology.  She believes in facilitating inner-directed healing, drawing from Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques for lasting behavior change, Mindfulness and Meditation as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  Catherine is a National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Pain Management utilizing hypnosis. She is also a Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and certified in Eye Movement Integration (EMI). Catherine works with a variety of mental health concerns, such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, interpersonal concerns, grief and bereavement, body image concerns as well as highly enjoys facilitating group therapy.  As a Marine Corps Veteran she also has a passion in assisting fellow Veterans and student Veterans with any of their service connected or other mental health concerns.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, doing crossfit and working out, baking, reading and appreciating the outdoors.


Kylie D. Smith, LCSW
Staff Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Education: MSW Masters of Social Work, Clinical tract from Virginia Commonwealth University; BA in Women’s Studies from Mary Washington College.

Kylie is excited to return to her Alma mater that was influential in helping shape her. Kylie has an eclectic focus to appreciate the diversity of the individual. She believes strongly in utilizing a biopsychosocial-spiritual model as she understands that all of these factors contribute to make up who we are. She is interested in life transitions and the process of individuation and helping others find their voice through self-discovery and exploration. Kylie works with trauma processing and is a practitioner of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR). She is a member of the rainbow community and provides LGBQ+, Trans, and GNC affirming therapy. Kylie strives to create an environment of nonjudgmental multicultural awareness where all are welcome. She describes herself as a Type A hippie, loving lists and schedules while remaining flexible to enjoy the spontaneity that life brings as well as the energy that connects us to the universe. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, yoga, board games, collecting PEZ, and time spent with her spouse and cats.


Melanie Wert, M.A.
Staff Counselor/Mental Health Coordinator

Education: M.A. in Professional Counseling, from Liberty University; B.A. in Psychology, from Liberty University.

Melanie is excited to be joining the Talley Center team as professional staff; having completed her practicum and internship as a trainee at the center in the 2017-18 academic year. She identifies primarily as a Cognitive Behavior Therapist who utilizes an eclectic person-centered approach to meet the individual needs of her clients. Melanie worked in the school system prior to her time at Talley and gained experience working with individuals navigating learning disabilities, autism, and other academic challenges. She is intentional in treating her clients holistically and is able to incorporate topics related to spirituality. In her free time Melanie, enjoys spending time with her family, and running; having completed numerous road races to include numerous 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and a full marathon.


Christopher Nichols, M.S. 
Post-Graduate Fellow

Education: M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Walden University, M.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, B.S. United States Naval Academy.

Chris completed his practicum and internship at the Talley Center during the 2015-16 academic year, earning his Masters of Science degree in Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling in May of 2016. He returns to the Talley Center as a Postgraduate Fellow. He considers himself an Adlerian at heart, meaning he believes that people are social beings whose actions are purposeful and goal oriented. Chris enjoys working with students through the therapeutic relationship to help them understand their personal goals and works with them to achieve these goals. He draws from several treatment approaches, and is a big believer in getting to know and understand the whole person. He is also interested in couple’s dynamics and often works with couples and relationships. He has a diverse background, with a 27-year Navy career followed by 10 years at a major defense contractor. He left the “corporate world” to pursue his passion for working with college students. Chris lives in Fredericksburg with his family, and you can often find him in the gym pursuing physical fitness and working out as a path to mental well-being.


Eve Kagan, M.A., M.Ed.
Post-Graduate Fellow

Education: M.A. in Counseling from Northwestern University; Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University; B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Eve is thrilled to be part of the Mary Washington community as a Post-Graduate Fellow at the Talley Center. Eve completed her practicum and internship at Talley and has spent the past 15 years working with young adults in the arts and education. She believes in the creative capacity for change and growth. Eve engages her clients in ongoing self-discovery, helping clients to recognize their strengths and internal resources. Eve takes an integrative and holistic approach to counseling, appreciating the unique experience of each client and valuing diversity through a multicultural lens. Eve has experience working with trauma survivors; self-esteem and identity development; issues related to gender, sexuality, and sexual identity; interpersonal issues; depression; anxiety; and social justice advocacy. Eve aims to create a safe, nonjudgmental space where clients feel comfortable to express themselves freely and engage in the collaborative process of healing. Outside the office, Eve adores time with her family and friends, singing/rocking out (both in a band and in the car), creating art, traveling and practicing yoga


Jaime Opanashuk, B.S.
Victims’ Advocate/Case Manager

Education: B.S. Criminal Justice and Psychology from Niagara University 1999

Jaime is not a clinician and therefore cannot provide therapy or counseling.  However, as the Confidential Victim Advocate, she is able to meet with students and discuss both campus and community resources that may be helpful for survivors of sexual trauma and domestic violence.  In her role, she can serve as an advocate and provide information about appropriate next steps for care. Jaime is excited to be working in the Talley Center. Originally from New York, Jaime has served crime victims for over 20 years. She is a certified Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Advocate and trained in cognitive behavioral group facilitation. She is committed to developing a remarkable Victim Services program at UMW. Jaime hopes to ensure any student who has been affected by crime or violence receives support, accurate information regarding their rights/options and advocacy as they navigate through various systems. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, cooking and completing home improvement projects.


Alanna Brown, B.S.
Office Manager

Education: B.S. in Criminology and Psychology from George Mason University

Alanna is delighted to be working with the University of Mary Washington community in the capacity of Office Manager, after joining the Talley Center as an Administrative Assistant in Spring of 2017. She is passionate about providing a positive experience to all who contact the Talley Center. She works closely with the counseling center Director, clinical staff, and fellow administrative staff to support and further the development of the University students. Alanna is an alumna of George Mason University where she studied criminology and psychology. In her free time, Alanna loves spending time with her loved ones, enjoying the outdoors, and reading.


Debbie Dunivan-Ayala
Administrative Assistant

Debbie is excited to be joining the team at the Talley Center at the University of Mary Washington as the Administrative Assistant. She will be working in the Lee Hall location and assisting the UMW community as well as providing support to the staff. Debbie is a lifelong resident of VA, and in her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family.




Trainees, 2019-2020


Elena Morales, B.A. 

Education: B.A, Psychology, American Military University 2018; A.A.S, Germanna Community College 2015

Elena is currently in her first year of her Master’s in mental health counseling at Northwestern University. She is excited to begin her practicum here at the University of Mary Washington Talley Center and to start working with students from different backgrounds. Elena is still discovering her style in therapy as she navigates through schooling and training. When Elena is not at the Talley Center or in classes she spends her time with her two dogs, hiking, traveling, or reading.



Meg Ireland, M.S. 

Education: M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University; B.S. Psychology from Virginia Polytechnic and State University

Meg is delighted to join the team at the Talley Center for her practicum. She is a third year doctoral student at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, and is working towards her degree in clinical psychology. Meg enjoys working with young adults, particularly with depression and anxiety related concerns. Her therapeutic approach is greatly informed by cognitive behavioral and humanistic perspectives with significant influence from developmental psychology. She aims to create a safe space and to be fully present with her clients so as to develop a strong therapeutic alliance, and to help others learn to use their experiences and emotions to develop a deeper sense of personal awareness and meaning. When not at the Talley Center, Meg can be found hiking, reading, and spending time with her horse and four rescue dogs.


Elizabeth Brokamp, LPC, MA, EDM

Education: MA, EDM from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, BA from William and Mary

Elizabeth is delighted to work with the students and staff at Mary Washington for her doctoral practicum in Counselor Education and Supervision. She enjoys working collaboratively toward her clients’ aspirations, while offering a warm, safe environment in which to explore challenges. She considers herself a humanistic counselor with a large cognitive-behavioral toolbox and loves to weave creativity into her work when possible, whether through literature, music, or movies. Outside of counseling, Elizabeth enjoys family, her two rescue dogs, creative writing, and going to out-of-the-way diners for breakfast.


 More joining soon!