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Counseling and Student Development Center

“Supporting a Healthy Learning Environment”

Main Office
Building 39, Suite 120
phone 202.274.6000


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 provides psychotherapy services to students and runs the Starting Early, Starting Smart women's retention initiative. Dr. Butler-Johnson has also served as the Project Director of the Mental Health Pilot Project grant award from the Morehouse School of Medicine, the coordinator of the Concerned Student Leaders Experience, and an Instructor for the Freshman Orientation Course. Prior to joining the Counseling & Student Development Center at UDC in 2006, Dr. Butler-Johnson provided psychotherapy and psychological assessment at a variety of facilities, including the Westborough State Hospital, the American University Counseling Center, the Washington Middle School for Girls, and the GW Center Clinic.

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 clinical interests include individual psychotherapy, relationship issues, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and body image, self-esteem, women's issues, and multicultural issues.

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 and relating to others. Dr. Butler-Johnson emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic relationship in promoting growth, change, and healing.

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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