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.
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.
Sue McLean, Associate Director for Clinical Services
Sue McLean is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of South Carolina. 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.
Erika Pomerantz, Counselor
Erika Pomerantz is a 2010 alumna of Coastal Carolina University with a B.S. in business management and a minor in psychology. She completed her Master of Professional Counseling in 2015 from Liberty University. With a history of employment at CCU, she has experience working with students, faculty, and community resources. Professional experience includes treating mental health disorders in adolescents, adults, families, and substance abuse counseling. Areas of focus are treating anxiety, depression, anger management, trauma, substance abuse, family and relationship counseling. Erika treats individuals in both individual and group therapy at CCU. In her free time she enjoys outdoor activities, horseback riding, and relaxation.
Tena Nardin, Counselor
Tena Nardin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of SC (LPC). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Ohio University and master’s degree in professional counseling at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Penn. Tena is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) who worked in various clinical settings such as hospitals, community mental health centers, vocational rehabilitation, addiction clinics, and schools. She also has experience working with different populations to include adolescents, adults and geriatrics, however, her passion is counseling college students. Tena is skilled in treating depression, social anxiety and relationship issues and believes in effective communication and self-awareness for wellness and success. Her approach to psychotherapy is eclectic while incorporating cognitive behavioral strategies and solution-focused therapy to help promote resilience and change in individuals who are seeking emotional health.
Sitonja Valenzuela, Counselor
Sitonja Valenzuela is a North Carolina native and counselor who has spent her entire career working in college counseling. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communication and master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. Sitonja’s clinical specialties include depression, anxiety, identity development, meaning of life concerns, sexuality, relationship issues, and social isolation. In therapy Sitonja uses an integrated approach by utilizing person centered therapy, cognitive behavioral interventions, and solution-focused brief therapy. Sitonja is passionate about equality, diversity and oppression issues. Sitonja is excited to be a part of the Chanticleer experience!
Megan Rodriguez, Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor
Megan Rodriguez is a counselor who has spent the majority of her career working in mental health and addictions. Born and raised in New Jersey, she came to South Carolina to enjoy life by the beach. Megan received her master’s degree in community counseling from Montclair State University and she is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Previously, Megan worked as a crisis counselor for the NJ Mental Health Association after Superstorm Sandy and as an adjunct professor teaching in the Family and Child Studies department. Megan was also contracted through Rutgers University to teach psychoeducational, evidence based programs including: Community Based Interventions (CBI), Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR), Sources of Strength, and More than Sad: Suicide Prevention Education. Megan has a passion for working with college students, specifically focusing on career counseling, suicide and alcohol and other Drug prevention. Megan uses a strengths-based approach to counseling incorporating cognitive-behavioral techniques with a blend of positive psychology and mindfulness.
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.
Jennie Cassidy, Senior Director of Counseling Services
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Jennie Cassidy is a native Buckeye (Ohio) who came to us by way of North Carolina. 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 she 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. Her clinical specialties include career counseling, sexual assault and abuse, eating disorders, depression and anxiety. Cassidy is particularly passionate about mobilizing students to prevent sexual assault and eating disorders, and consequences of alcohol and drug behavior in university communities. She holds a license as a counseling psychologist in the State of South Carolina.
Claudia Johnson, Administrative Assistant
Melissa Swaby-Grullon, Receptionist
Come and meet us in person through the Walk-In Clinic: Monday - Friday, 12:30 - 3 p.m.