Meet the Counseling Staff
Sean Pierce, Counselor
Sean Pierce, an alumnus of Coastal Carolina University, provided counseling services in the Department of Mental Health for the six years prior to returning to CCU. After graduation from Coastal, he attended The Citadel and Webster University, where he graduated with honors, earning a M.A. in counseling. He has worked as a disaster counselor for F.E.M.A. and a speaker for the University of South Carolina, School of Public Health. Sean's disaster program was nominated by the Governor as a Blue Ribbon Area of Excellence. He has had specialized training in psychodrama, peak performance training, mind-body awareness, as well as trauma and educational psychology. In his previous job, Sean was known as a specialist in young-adult issues. Sean's experience lies in working with self-injurious individuals as well as anxiety, depression, mood and thought disorders.
Kendall Irvin, Psychologist
Kendall Irvin has worked in a variety of mental health settings, including community clinics, university counseling centers, social security evaluation offices, crisis centers, and jails. She earned her B.S. in psychology with a Religion minor at the University of Florida. She completed her Psy. D. at Florida Institute of Technology as well as a one year internship at Clemson University before joining us. Kendall has ample experience treating anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues and relationship problems. She especially enjoys working with students who wish to discover and develop their unique identities, including religious or spiritual identities, sexual or gender identities, and identities both within and apart from one’s family. Kendall’s expertise is in use of assessment instruments, including intelligence tests and personality inventories, which led her to write her doctoral dissertation on the expression and assessment of psychopathic characteristics in community populations. As a former Floridian, Kendall prefers a warm climate close to the ocean, and is happy to have joined the Coastal Carolina family of Chanticleers.
Keeba Gardner, Psychologist
Keeba Gardner is a clinical psychologist who specializes in evidence-based, culturally sensitive interventions. Dr. Gardner earned a B.A. in psychology from Spelman College, one of America's oldest historically Black colleges for women, and her experience there cultivated her interest in the mental health of women, specifically issues related to depression, anxiety, self-esteem, life transitions, and trauma. Dr. Gardner then journeyed to Chicago, where she earned her doctorate in psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. While in the Windy City, she primarily serviced underserved, marginalized communities, including African American and Latino communities, urban youth, and women. Dr. Gardner also worked in a variety of clinical settings such as community mental health centers, juvenile probation, schools, and hospitals. In her practice, she primarily uses interpersonal, dynamic, and object relations ideas to conceptualize and understand clients and cognitive behavioral strategies to work toward change. She describes her approach to psychotherapy as affable, empathic, non-judgmental, and collaborative. Furthermore, Dr. Gardner takes a strength-based approach to treatment and believes that people are extremely resilient, having the capacity for growth and positive change at any point in their lives.
Tim returns to Coastal after completing his clinical counseling internship here in 2009, working in private practice for several years as well as part-time at Coastal from 2011 to 2014. He comes from a varied background of clinical experience, working with people from varying ages and varying clinical issues from marriage and relationship counseling to depression and anxiety, as well as substance abuse. For several years he has been working with alcohol and other drug issues occurring in adolescents and adults, working mostly within the forensic field of psychology and helping people whose alcohol and/or drug usage has directly lead to legal consequences. Tim earned a B.A. in Foreign Language from Georgetown College, an M.A. in Education from Marshall University, an M.A. in Professional Counseling from Liberty University, and is currently working towards his Doctorate of Psychology through California Southern University. Tim’s passion is to see lives redirected, redefined and reestablished, filled with purpose, meaning and hope.
Alex was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She came to the U.S. in 1990 as an international exchange student to Cleveland State University, where she received her B.A. in English. For over 20 years Alex worked as a Russian translator/interpreter for the U.S. Department of State, courts, and the private sector. She is a certified Court Interpreter in South Carolina. Following her growing interest in psychology, Alex earned her M.A. in counseling from Webster University in 2011. She graduated with honors and was nominated as Student-of-the-Year by the faculty of the Counseling Program. Alex holds a license as an LPC-I in the state of South Carolina. Upon completion of her graduate internship at the CCU's Counseling Services, Alex embraced an opportunity to continue working with students as a counselor. Her areas of interest include crisis intervention, conflict resolution skills, personal identity and growth, adjustment issues, anxiety and depression. She believes that a person can achieve optimal inner peace through conscious integration of body, mind and spirit. As an existential counselor, Alex strives to get to the root of the problem via guiding her clients to approach life with Awareness, Courage, Responsibility and Creative Authenticity. Her life’s motto is: “All is Possible with Focus and Determination.”
Elisa Sperduto, Clinical Social Worker
Elisa Sperduto is a clinical social worker who has trained and worked in numerous New York City metro-area hospitals, non-profit agencies, and public school districts. She comes to CCU Counseling Services from Horry Georgetown Technical College where she worked as a counselor in Student Affairs. Elisa received her B.A. in psychology from Marymount College and her Master in Social Work from Fordham University. Her research experience has focused on schizophrenia; suicide in adolescence; veteran readjustment; and developmental disabilities. Elisa approaches counseling from a social work perspective of person-in-environment. She utilizes an eclectic and evidence-based approach to individual and group counseling which includes existential/humanistic theory; cognitive behavioral/dialectical techniques; positive psychology; and mindfulness. Her areas of interest are depression; anxiety; trauma/grief; self-harm; veteran issues; community resources; and academic/career issues. Elisa believes each individual is unique and collaborates with the client to design their preferred model of care. Elisa is from Westchester County, N.Y., and is licensed as an LMSW in South Carolina and New York. Her personal interests include Southern history, writing, music, and nature/animal-related activities.
Jennifer Poindexter, Counselor
Jennifer earned a B.S. in psychology and a M.S. in counseling psychology from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. Her prior experience includes working with at-risk children for neglect and abuse, as well as outpatient services for adults with severe and persistent mental illness. She provides individual counseling for a variety of mental health needs, including depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and relationship problems, among others. Jennifer has a passion to help others gain the tools necessary to transform into healthy, functioning individuals. Her goal in counseling is to support and empower students’ personal growth as they overcome difficulties.
Sue McLean is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of SC. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and is also certified in Clinical Hypnotherapy (CCH). She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major in Psychology and Sociology from Coastal Carolina University and she earned her Master’s degree in counseling at Webster University. Sue completed her practicum, internship and continued employment with Coastal Carolina University’s Counseling Services for several years prior to entering private practice. Her seven years’ experience as a counselor at Coastal Carolina University has allowed her to work with a diverse population of college students with a wide range of challenges related to their success at the University. She realized a passion for counseling college students and returned to counseling at Coastal Carolina in the fall of 2016. Sue has experience conducting group therapy for individuals with general and social anxiety issues, depression, adjustment disorders and relationship problems. She enjoys providing both individual and group therapy with an emphasis on a cognitive behavioral approach.
Violetta Czepowicz, Psychiatrist
Violetta Czepowicz was born in Cracow, Poland and graduated from medical school in Poland in 1983. She came to the U.S. in 1986 where she completed residency training in psychiatry at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and continued with a fellowship in anxiety disorders research in the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Czepowicz lived in Charleston for 11 years where she served on the faculty at MUSC as an assistant professor involved in research, teaching, and treating patients. She mainly treated patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar and addiction problems. She became certified in Addiction Medicine in 2002 and moved to Myrtle Beach to be a director of the Adult Psychiatry Unit in the newly opened psychiatric hospital – Lighthouse Care Center of Conway. She continues to work at Lighthouse with adults having psychiatric problems, patients with addiction problems (alcohol and drugs), and troubled adolescents. She started working at Counseling Services in 2006 and maintains a private practice.
Denise Logan, Clinical Dietitian
Denise Logan has been a registered dietitian for almost 20 years with experience in both clinical and community settings. She received her B.A. in psychology with a minor in nutrition from SUNY Oneonta and her MS in clinical nutrition from NYU. She's worked with dietary issues that affect people from the womb to the elderly. She can provide counseling to those who just want to learn to eat healthier, lose weight, or manage their weight, to those that require more intense medical nutritional therapy. She's recognized as a registered dietitian by the Commission of Dietetics Registration and is licensed as a dietitian by the state of South Carolina. Denise is currently employed as a public health nutritionist by SC DHEC as well as a clinical dietitian at Coastal Carolina University.
Administrative and Outreach Staff
Jennie Cassidy, Director and Counseling Psychologist
Jennie Cassidy is a native Buckeye (Ohio) who came to us by way of North Carolina. Dr. Cassidy has worked in various university counseling centers for over 25 years. She earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of Toledo, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Akron. While Jennie enjoys the wide variety of issues and activities of a university counseling center, she has specialized particularly in administration, training peer counselors and doctoral level psychologists, individual and group counseling, and prevention activities. Jennie’s clinical specialties include career counseling, sexual assault and abuse, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. Jennie is particularly passionate about mobilizing students to prevent sexual assault and eating disorders, and consequences of alcohol and drug behavior in university communities. Jennie holds a license as a Counseling Psychologist in the State of South Carolina.
Lee Carter, Associate Director for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention
Lee Carter is a native of Fredericksburg, Va. She earned her B.A. in psychology from James Madison University and her M.Ed. in community counseling from the University of Georgia. She has worked with college students for the past 10 years to address alcohol and other drug use and its relationship to mental and physical health as well as academic success. Lee also has previous experience working in campus and community settings with issues related to violence prevention, crisis response, sexual assault and domestic violence. Her experience and interests include administration, student retention and success, public health, peer education, trauma and threat assessment. Lee is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor.
Chris Donevant-Haines, Assistant Director/Outreach Coordinator
Chris Donevant-Haines is a Licensed Professional Counselor in South Carolina and holds memberships in the American Counseling Association, American College Counselors Association and the South Carolina Counseling Association. Chris has lived in Myrtle Beach for nearly 20 years and is originally from “Wild Wonderful West Virginia.” Having obtained an A.A.S. in legal studies from Marshall University, a B.A. in social science from Bluefield State College and an M.A. in counseling from Webster University, Chris has accumulated an extensive history of service in the helping profession. Chris has served as an advocate for survivors of relationship violence. Chris was honored with the Student Advocate of the Year Award in 2008. She is experienced in training peer educators, coordinating outreach and providing counseling on a wide variety of mental health concerns faced by college students of all ages and backgrounds. Her special areas of interest are student engagement in the campus community, working with student interns, increasing education and awareness of mental health issues and empowering individuals to value and respect themselves and others. Chris oversees operation of “The COAST” (Counseling Outreach Advocacy Student Team) located in Wall Building 313 where she advises the SHORE Peer Educators and the Women’s Resource Cooperative (WRC).
Come and meet us in person. Call 843-349-2305 for an appointment.