Student Medical & Counseling Clinic

Counseling Clinic Staff


The professional staff at the center can assist you with a wide variety of mental health issues. Some of these issues include, but are not limited to; anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD assessment and treatment, anger management, communication skills, sexual minority issues, relationship skills, couples counseling, and stress management.


Rhonda McKinney, M.S., LMFT
Director of Counseling Clinic   
I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from California State University, Stanislaus and went on to receive my M.S. in Counseling from that same institution. I became licensed in the State of California as a Marriage, Family & Child Counselor and worked in a number of different settings. Eventually I ended up back at Cal State Stanislaus and worked for six years in their Counseling & Career Development Center. I am currently licensed as a counselor in Washington State and serve as the Director of Counseling Services here at Central. I love my job and thoroughly enjoy working with students on a variety of different issues.

Melissa Anderson, M.A., LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Outreach Coordinator
I'm a Washington State native and lived in Montana before settling in Central Washington. I feel very fortunate to be able to live and work in an area with so many outdoor recreational opportunities.
My academic studies began in forestry and eventually drifted to a degree in psychology. I received my BA in Psych, here, at CWU, and my Master's in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University-Seattle. I have enjoyed working at CWU since 1995.
When not working, my partner and I spend our time trying to out-smart our two standard parti-poodles, Rum Doodle and Sherlock Bones. Rum Doodle has received his Therapy Dog International certification and comes into the clinic from time to time.

Cindy Bruns, Ph.D.
Psychologist/Training DirectorCindy Bruns
Hello! I am a licensed psychologist in Washington State. I received my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, Alameda Campus, in 2002 and have been licensed since 2003. I have worked in a variety of clinic settings, including most recently at a college counseling center. I love working with college students, as this is a time of life when people often are ready to look at the past, make some peace with it, and begin to experience life with greater authenticity and personal presence. I am excited to be part of this transformative process. I also enjoy the diversity of experiences, backgrounds, and cultures that students bring to the counseling experience. I have worked collaboratively with clients and consider a safe, positive therapeutic relationship to be essential to the change process. I will work with you to clarify your beliefs, values, and goals and help you find a way forward through your difficulties to greater connection and zest in your life. In my free time I enjoy cooking, gardening, and playing with our daughter.

Laura H. Dixon, Ph.D.

I received my Master’s degree in community counseling from The College of William and Mary and my Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Brigham Young University. Before coming to CWU, I spent five years working at a university counseling center in Georgia and was licensed as a Psychologist there. I enjoy the interaction with students and the variety of clinical, outreach and consultation work that occurs in counseling centers. I love living in Ellensburg! Having grown up in the mountains, I have missed them and am glad to be back in a place that is so beautiful and has so many outdoor activities.

Chelsea Buffum, MS, LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

I'm originally from Colorado but have spent all of my adult life in Washington and love it here. I received my undergraduate degree in Sociology from Whitworth University in Spokane, WA, and went on to get my M.S. in Mental Health Counseling right here at CWU. Besides working at the Student Medical and Counseling Clinic, I have worked as a counselor in a residential eating disorder program, and in a rehabilitative nursing home. I love to work with students on a wide variety of issues, and I am especially interested in eating disorder/body image concerns, anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. In my spare time I enjoy traveling around Washington trying different foods and brews, running, weight lifting, and having great conversations with my friends and family.

Amal Abuzalaf Mull, Psy.D
Licensed Psychologist/Postdoctoral Resident

I am Arab-American and grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, I began my career as a high school teacher, then changed my mind and went back to my passion of understanding and working with people from a psychological perspective.  I completed my doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Denver, and this will be my third year working as a counselor at the SMaCC. Since embarking on my journey of helping and connecting with people, my work with the college students at CWU has been the most rewarding for me. I am dedicated to working with clients on a wide variety of issues, and am especially interested in anxiety, spirituality, diversity, and relationships.  Other passions of mine include hiking and playing music.

Paul Reppas, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Resident

I am originally a Washingtonian. I did my first two years of undergraduate training at CWU and then finished up at Taylor University in Indiana, where I received my B.A. in Psychology. Currently, I am working toward my Ph.D in Clinical Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary which is located in Pasadena California. I am excited to be back in the Cascades for this year of practice, as I missed the adventures they often provide (hiking, skiing, and tubing especially).  I also enjoy reading, making music (solo guitar), engaging in philosophical musings, and being politically active. I approach counseling as a "guide who follows." I believe that you are the only expert of you, and therefore I see my job as simply pointing out mileposts, warning signs, and destinations. Therapy is a collaborative process of understanding and then deepening the narrative of your life.

Lauren K. Palazzolo, Psy.D.
Postdoctoral Resident

Hello! I grew up in Michigan, where I earned a B.A. in Psychology from University of Michigan and a M.A. in Humanistic and Clinical Psychology from the Center for Humanistic Studies. In September 2016, after a 12-month doctoral internship at CWU's SMaCC, I completed my Psy. D. degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University of Maryland. I am thrilled to continue my professional journey at SMaCC this fall as a part-time Postdoctoral Resident. Working with young and emerging adults in the midst of their own journeys toward adulthood, at such a unique and complex time of life, is one of my greatest passions. I have particular interests in improving access and quality mental health services as a means of better supporting young adults in becoming the best versions of themselves, as they define it. Other passions include life-long learning, traveling/exploring, journaling, attending alpaca festivals, and spending time with loved one.

Sarah Eckstein, M.S., N.C.C.

Doctoral Intern

I earned my B.A. in psychology from the University of Oregon and my M.S. in mental health counseling from Southern Oregon University. Though I am originally from Oregon, I have been living in Nashville for the last three years while working toward my Ph.D. in counseling psychology. Part of my motivation for moving to the south and attending Tennessee State University, which is a historically black university, is to continue learning how to serve diverse populations. I am an ally with the LGBTQ community and enjoy working with clients from all walks of life. I am passionate about working with college students, particularly students with ADHD. I have a background in counseling college students as well as performing psychodiagnostic and neuropsychologocal testing. Mindfulness is a core aspect of my counseling style and my self-care practice. In my free time I love hiking, dancing, and spending time with my friends and family.

Samuel Reyna, MS

Doctoral Intern

Hi! I am a doctoral intern working on my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas. I was born and raised in Texas and obtained my B.A. in Psychology from Baylor University. I have trained in a community mental health clinic and a university counseling center, in addition to having work experience at a VISN COE. I have been trained as a generalist with an emphasis in brief approaches. I work with individuals, couples, and families. My areas of interest include: mood and anxiety disorders, sexuality, multicultural/diversity issues, relationship concerns, spirituality, life adjustment, and supervision and training. My preferred approaches to therapy include ACT, brief psychodynamic therapy, solution-focused therapy, vocational counseling, couples therapy, family therapy, and group therapy.

Kristen Besler, M.S.

Doctoral Intern

Hello! I am currently working on my Psy. D. degree in Clinical Psychology at Pacific University in Hillsboro, OR. I was born and raised in Upstate New York at New Paltz. I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2012 and completed my M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Pacific University in 2014. I have worked in a variety of settings, including community mental health and university counseling. I love working with college students on a variety of mental health issues, life transitions, self-discovery, and other concerns during this transformative time. I view therapy as a collaborative process where each clients unique set of values, goals, and beliefs guide the therapy process. I strive to create a supportive and safe environment and I value honesty, compassion, authenticity, and humor in my work with clients. I love to spend my free time at live music events, painting, being outside and in the mountains, and enjoying time with friends and family.

Chelsy Harris