Meet our Staff

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Shauna Summers Ph.D. – Director
Shauna got her masters degree and Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and has been with RISD Counseling since 2008. She is a licensed psychologist and utilizes a holistic approach – integrating body-mind, spirit(uality), culture, nutrition, and relationships into her work. She believes that students are active participants in their own treatment, and the counseling process is a collaborative one. Shauna is especially interested in alternative methods of healing as well as the relationships people form with animals and the healing effects of those relationships. In her free time, she likes to stand-up paddleboard, cook, and spend time with her dogs at the beach.

Nikole Barnes, LICSW Assistant Director, Director of Training Nikole joined the RISD staff in June 2018 after over two years at Brown University’s CAPS. She moved to Rhode Island in 2016 from New York City. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University in 2005. Nikole worked at NYU for over 8 years focusing on crisis intervention, sexual assault, trauma and working with students in the STEM fields. Her clinical interests are working with the Queer, Non-Binary and Transgender communities, students of color, trauma, graduate and international students. Nikole uses a psychodynamic, relational and humanistic approach in therapy believing humor is important to connecting and healing. Nikole is passionate about social justice issues and incorporates this framework into her clinical practice. She enjoys watching movies, binge watching Netflix shows, listening to podcasts and has a side job as a spin instructor. What she misses most about NYC is the pizza, bagels and utilizing subway rides to read books.

Damion Vania LMHC Counselor
dvania@risd.eduScreen Shot 2016-08-25 at 12.06.16 PM                                               Damion received his Masters in Counseling and Psychology from Lesley University. He has worked with college students, adults with chronic mental illness and children and families in crisis. He spent his childhood living in different countries. He works in a client-centered, relational style. Damion has been at RISD Counseling since 2008. Damion likes playing in waves.

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Mia Downes, LMHC- Case Manager                                                      Mia received her master’s degree in Art Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Springfield College and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Studio Art from Rhode Island College. She joined CAPS in 2016 and connects students with mental health treatment and resources. Clinical interests include anxiety, addictions, and psychotic disorders. She also enjoys helping students develop communication, boundary-setting, and assertiveness skills. When she is not at CAPS, she is usually playing volleyball or scavenging thrift-store books for collage materials.

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Erin Unkefer, Ph.D. – Staff Psychologist, Intercultural Specialist                                Erin received her Master’s Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in Counseling Psychology, specializing in School Counseling.  She received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia. She is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Malawi, ’05-’07) Her professional interests include providing mental health access and outreach to underserved communities, social identity development, first generation and acculturation concerns.  She uses a relational approach in therapy and has a passion for social justice and advocacy.  Erin watches a lot of movies, reads a lot of books and listens to tons of podcasts.

Roisin O’Mara, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist Roisin is originally from Ireland where she received her BA in Psychology at the University College of Dublin. After working for a suicide prevention program at Columbia University in NYC for 3 years, she then obtained her M.S., Ph.D. and Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan. She has been working in both inpatient and outpatient settings for the past 6 years, and is now happy to be part of the CAPS team! She uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy techniques, in the context of a warm, trusting relationship, to help her clients achieve their potential and lead meaningful lives. She enjoys cooking and hanging out with her puppy.

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Samantha Becker LICSWCounselor
Samantha earned her bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the Smith College School for Social Work. She
has worked with college students at Mount Holyoke College, SUNY Stony Brook, and Wellesley College. In both research and clinical application, Samantha is interested in the use of mindfulness meditation as a therapeutic technique. She is a strong generalist practitioner whose clinical interests include women’s issues, issues of race and gender, eating disorders, relationship concerns, depression and anxiety.

Catherine Cummins, MA, CAGS, LMHC
Catherine earned her Master’s and CAGS in Holistic Counseling with a Mental Health concentration from Salve Regina University. She also completed a certification program in Traumatic Stress Studies. Her belief is that every person already possesses the healing power of emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. In her free time, she enjoys reading and crafting while cuddling with fur babies.


Joanne DuvalCounseling AssistantScreen Shot 2016-08-25 at 1.05.45 PM
Joanne has been with RISD for over 5 years and is in the Counseling Office Monday-Friday, 8:30am until 4:30pm. She has lived in Rhode Island all her life and loves to impart local advice. She is a URI Master Gardener and enjoys taking care of houseplants, reading, and the Patriots.