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Counseling and Student Development Center

“Supporting a Healthy Learning Environment”

Main Office
Building 39, Suite 120
phone 202.274.6000


CSDC Staff

From left to right:  Ms. Shawnda Sanford, Staff Assistant;  Dr. Serena Butler-Johnson, Psychologist; Dr. Sislena Ledbetter, Director; Dr. Sirajul Hasan, Psychiatric Resident/Therapy Trainee; Claire Holland, Psychology Doctoral Student & Psychotherapy Extern; Maxwell Brooks,  Psychology Doctoral Student & Psychotherapy Extern; Jackie Pembleton, M.Psy., Psychology Doctoral Student & Psychotherapy Extern, Dr. Jill Fay, Psychologist.

Dr. Sislena Ledbetter - Director

Dr. Sislena Ledbetter Columbia providing overall direction for client services and University support activities.  Dr. Ledbetter is a distinguished psychologist, lecturer and counselor and has over 25 years of research experience in the non-profit and for-profit sectors.  Her past work included advertising and branding, product development (ideation and evaluation) customer satisfaction/user experience, and strategic planning.  She has applied her skills across a wide variety of sectors including engineering education, non-profit diversity, consumer marketing, primary education, healthcare, aging and non-profit advertising.  She also has experience establishing research functions within companies. 

Dr. Ledbetter completed her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Psychology from North Carolina Central University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Dr. Ledbetter completed her Master's and Doctoral degrees in Social Psychology from Howard University. The focus of her academic studies was exploring life satisfaction for mid-life African American and White women.  During her studies at Howard, Dr. Ledbetter was recognized for excellence in public service and received the Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship in Public Affairs during which she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to work with the Program to Combat Racism, and served as a White House intern in the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton Administration. Dr. Ledbetter's post-doctoral training includes the Leadership Training Program at Georgetown University and life coach training with the Newfield Network. 

Dr. Ledbetter has lectured and presented at many organizations and institutions including: Howard University, Xerox University, Trinity University, Virginia Commonwealth University and a number of conferences and symposia.

Dr. Ledbetter previously worked for the American Psychological Association, where she served as a liaison between the association and undergraduate psychology students. She also served on several committees including a committee developed to increase minority student recruitment and retention in the field of psychology. At the National Educational Association's Membership Corporation, Dr. Ledbetter revolutionized communication and feedback between NEA members and the Member Benefits Corporation by creating the NEA Member Advisory Panel.  As a Sr. Research Advisor at AARP Dr. Ledbetter has received the Sustained Excellence Award, a New Ventures in Leadership fellowship, and is the co-founder of the Jerry Florence Memorial Mentoring Program. Dr. Ledbetter is a life coach and the founder of LedBetter Coaching, a company that provides personal and business coaching and counseling services.

Dr. Serena Butler-Johnson- Licensed Psychologist

Dr. Serena ButlerDr. Butler-Johnson is a Licensed Psychologist who has worked at UDC's Counseling Center since 2006.  Dr. Butler-Johnson is on the clinical faculty of the George Washington University Professional Psychology Program, and she is on the faculty of the DC Department of Behavioral Health – St. Elizabeth's Psychiatry Residency Training Program.  During her tenure at UDC, Dr. Butler-Johnson has expanded the Center's clinical training program, served as the author and Project Director for two HBCU-Centers for Excellence in Behavioral Health mini-grant programs (2008-2009 and 2012-2013, lead the Division of Student Affairs assessment efforts, coordinated the TEAM 100 mentoring program and the Starting Early, Starting Smart women's psychosocial support program.  Dr. Butler-Johnson has also authored and co-authored grant proposals for the Counseling & Student Development Center on content areas such as suicide prevention, women's health, violence against women, HIV/AIDS, and substance abuse prevention.  She has served as chaired several institutional Hiring committees and the inaugural Involuntary Leave Policy development committee.  She has also served on the following institutional bodies:  the Threat Assessment Team, Outcomes Assessment Leadership group, the Wellness Committee, Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant Advisory Group, Retention Committee, Disability Resource Center Task Force, and University-wide Assessment committee.

Dr. Butler-Johnson's clinical experiences outside of UDC also include work at the Westborough State Hospital, the American University Counseling Center, the Washington Middle School for Girls, and the Center Clinic in DC.
Dr. Butler-Johnson received her Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.) from The George Washington University and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

Dr. Butler's interests include individual psychotherapy, relational concerns, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and body image, self-esteem, women's issues, multicultural issues, and therapeutic use of the arts.

In her clinical approach, Dr. Butler-Johnson believes that clients empower themselves by using therapy to develop insight, better understand and modify dysfunctional patterns, and to ultimately discover more rewarding ways of living.  Dr. Butler-Johnson emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic relationship in promoting growth, change, and healing.

Dr. Jill Fay

Dr. Jill FayDr. Fay is a licensed psychologist, providing psychotherapy services to students, and also serves as the Program Coordinator for the Counseling and Student Development Center, focusing on student wellness and retention.  Prior to joining the Counseling and Student Development at UDC in 2014, Dr. Fay provided psychotherapy at several universities, having completed her postdoctoral training at Georgetown University, her predoctoral internship at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, and an externship at Roosevelt University in Chicago. 

Dr. Fay received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.  Dr. Fay's clinical interests include identity development, relationship issues, adjustment-related concerns, trauma, and grief and loss. 

Dr. Fay takes an integrative approach when working with students.  Clinically, she works to co-create a therapeutic relationship which is authentic and honors each individual's intersecting identities.  It is her belief that in developing this space, students may feel safe to explore themselves and their experiences.  In doing so, Dr. Fay helps students gain insight about themselves and parts of their lives which they may hope to strengthen, shift, or further explore.  

Ms. Jamilla Allouane, LICSW

Ms. Jamilla AllouaneMs. Allouane is a counselor at the UDC Counseling and Development Center. She graduated with a Master's Degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Master's Degree in Communication Studies from the University of Bordeaux, France, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Algiers, Algeria.

Prior to joining the counseling team at UDC, Ms. Allouane worked as a mental health therapist and clinical supervisor at the Montgomery County Commission for Women, and the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County. She has also provided clinical services at the HIV Clinic at Dennis Avenue Health Center in Silver Spring, MD, and Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, MD.

Ms. Allouane work experience includes working with survivors of trauma including veterans, survivors of domestic violence, survivors of sexual abuse, asylum seekers and refugees. She also has extensive experience working with individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, auto-immune diseases such as Lupus and kidney disease. As an African immigrant herself, Ms. Allouane also specializes in acculturation, especially working with African immigrants. Other areas of expertise include anxiety, depression, divorce and separation, intimacy, self-esteem, adjustment to illness, life transitions, anger management, and grief and loss.

Ms. Allouane uses an eclectic approach to help her clients. She is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy. She provides a safe, compassionate and non-judgmental environment in therapy, and empowers her clients to reach their goals and take control of their lives.

Ms. Allouane is fluent in English, French and Arabic.

Ms. Shawnda Sanford - Administrative AssistantMs. Shawnda Sanford

Ms. Sanford is the Staff Assistant of the Counseling and Career Development Center. She has worked with TRIO and College Preparatory Programs for the past ten years here at UDC. Ms. Sanford is working on her Bachelor's degree at the University. "I am excited about working in the Counseling and Career Development


If you are currently experiencing a mental health emergency or are concerned about your own safety or the safety of someone else, please do not delay.  Call 911 for immediate help.

Regular Hours
By Appointment:  Monday through Friday between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM

Every student's sense of privacy is important to us.  For adult students (over 18), we do not release personal information without written consent, except in emergency situations where information is needed to protect health and safety.

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