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All CAPS staff can be reached at 805-437-2088.

Professional Staff

  • Kirsten Olson Staff Photo

    Kirsten Olson, Ph.D., ABPP

    Director - Psychologist License #23661
    Undocumented Student Ally Trained

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    Dr. Kirsten Olson is a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist and licensed to practice in California, Colorado, and Nevada. She is currently the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI). She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia. She completed her internship at the University of Maine Counseling Center and postdoctoral training at the University of Nevada Las Vegas CAPS. She has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1997 in a variety of outpatient and inpatient settings, including as the Manager of the Employee Assistance Program at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Assistant Clinical Director at UCSB CAPS.

    Dr. Olson works with adults of all ages experiencing a range of challenges including relationships and academically-related problems, anxiety, depression, trauma, substance misuse, life transitions, care giving, and identity development. She has worked extensively with non-traditional college students, military veterans, and their families. She specializes in behavioral threat assessment and management consultation. She practices a culturally informed, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy approach to healing. Dr. Olson is collaborative, evidence-based, and solution-focused in her work.
  • Shawn Silverstein, Ph.D.

    Clinical Director/Associate Director - Psychologist License #26562

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    Dr. Shawn Silverstein is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in the state of California. He is currently the Clinical Director/Associate Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI). He earned his Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) from Pepperdine University, and a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP). Dr. Silverstein considers himself a product of the California State University (CSU) System, as he received his Bachelor’s Degree from CSUN, and then went on to complete his doctoral internship at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP), and his postdoctoral training at Counseling and Psychological Services at Cal Poly Humboldt. He has been a practicing psychotherapist for nearly 20 years in a diverse range of clinical settings and has extensive experience working in college counseling centers. Dr. Silverstein has served in multiple clinical and administrative roles in his career, including serving as the Lead Psychologist/Clinical Director at the first Suicide Prevention Center in the United States (and largest National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call Center in California), and serving as the Supervising Psychologist/Training Director at a large community college in Southern California.

    Dr. Silverstein’s clinical interests include identity intersectionality, social justice concerns and their impact on student mental health and academic performance, working with first generation college students, providing outreach trainings, and working with student military veterans and student athletes. He has worked extensively providing crisis and case management services in a variety of clinical settings, including as a [former] member of the UC System-wide mutual aid crisis response team, and as a Crisis and Case Manager at CSUN. Additionally, he has provided a significant amount of clinical training and clinical supervision to pre-licensed Master level and Doctoral level mental health clinicians. Dr. Silverstein specializes in suicide prevention, intervention and post-vention, in addition to issues related to loss, grief and bereavement, and has spoken nationally on a variety of topics related to suicide prevention and working with survivors of suicide attempts. He approaches his clinical work with cultural humility, and he conceptualizes his work eclectically through a Psychodynamic/Self-Psychological perspective, along with the integration of Humanistic, Cognitive Behavioral and Solution-Focused based interventions.
  • Grenisha Holmes Staff Photo

    Grenisha Holmes, LCSW

    Clinician - LCSW License #82385
    Undocumented Student Ally Trained

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    Mrs. Holmes is a Licensed Clinician who earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology degree from Tennessee State University and her Masters of Science in Social Work from University of Tennessee. She is currently the Outreach Coordinator for CAPS at CSUCI. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mrs. Holmes has vast experience in working for Local, State, and federal Government Agencies. She is well connected in the Ventura County Community as it relates to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Ventura County. She has extensive Experience working in Trauma, Minority Populations, Geriatric Population, Crisis Intervention, Family Systems, Couples and Group Therapy Modules as well as Judicial Systems. Mrs. Holmes purpose is in creating a safe and secure place for students to discuss their mental health related concerns which may affect their day to day life and educational journey. It takes tremendous courage to acknowledge that you are not quite yourself and to reach out for support. Through therapy, I want to help students reduce negative thoughts/behaviors and create more effective and adaptive thought patterns that allow for healthy living. My goal is to help clients achieve a stable, long-lasting sense of self that encompasses all areas of life by providing a safe and supportive environment through which clients can thrive. CAPS is able to provide short term individual and group psycho-therapy that is problem-oriented and solution-focused. Provide consultation, resources, and referrals to students, faculty, and staff as related to mental health needs. Her goal is to help students identify their strengths and ability to set personal and therapeutic goals in which they can begin to develop and practice creating healthy boundaries and relationships for the betterment of their lives and future.
  • Kristina Rodriguez Staff Photo

    Kristina Rodriguez, Psy.D.

    Clinical Lead - Psychologist License #28919
    Undocumented Student Ally Trained
    Spanish Speaking

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    Dr. Rodriguez is a licensed clinical psychologist. She received her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree from APA accredited California Lutheran University. She is currently the Clinical Lead at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Kristina completed her post-doctoral internship at Sonoma State University and has extensive experience working in university counseling centers. Kristina identifies as bicultural and bilingual. Kristina primarily works from Cognitive Behavioral and Client Centered theoretical orientations to help students struggling with a variety of concerns such as: anxiety, depression, adjustment, relationship, and academic difficulties. She has worked in community counseling centers and specialized in working with individuals that may be healing or experiencing intimate partner violence and experiencing anxiety. Kristina is a regular contributing author to the Clinician's Corner which are comprised of articles written by CAPS staff to support the CI community. She works to help students grow and recognize their strength and resiliency in a welcoming and supportive environment.
  • Stacy Udolph Staff Photo

    Stacy Udolph, LCSW

    Clinician - LCSW License #18586
    Undocumented Student Ally Trained

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    Ms. Udolph is a Licensed Clinician who earned her Bachelor’s Degree at UC Irvine and her Master’s in Social Work from USC. Her professional interests include treatment for anxiety and depression with focus on self-esteem and self-worth, relationships, grief and loss, and issues specific to first generation learners. Her counseling orientation is cognitive behavioral, solution focused with special emphasis on mindfulness. Ms. Udolph enjoys working with community members to promote strong partnerships for aftercare planning, presenting on various topics related to wellness and prevention, and conducting groups. She also supervises social work trainees.

  • Jen Maravola, LPCC

    Clinician - LPCC License #11198
    Undocumented Student Ally Trained

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    Ms. Maravola is an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor. She earned her clinical mental health degree from Loyola Marymount University, LA, in 2017. Ms. Maravola is a Veteran of the United States Air Force and started her clinical journey working with Veterans who struggle with substance abuse. Additionally, she worked with Ventura County Foster Youth and their caregivers providing counseling and psychoeducation through Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trust-Based Relational Interventions, focusing on healthy attachment. Ms. Maravola has worked with CSUCI’s student body since 2014. Before joining the CAPS Team, she worked in the Campus Recreation Department overseeing the Channel Islands Boating Center, supervising student assistants, and coordinating healthy outdoor activities for students and community members. Ms. Maravola is passionate about the holistic well-being of college students and enjoys supporting them throughout their academic and personal journey at CSUCI.

  • Taj-Zsa Hower, LCSW

    Clinician - LCSW License # 99475

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    My mission in life it is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” - Maya Angelou

    Taj-Zsa Hower is a compassionate and wholehearted Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), proud US veteran, and loving wife and mother; who is overjoyed to bring her enthusiasm for mental health to the CSUCI CAPS program. Hower’s goals in helping others aligns with the mission Maya Angelou shares in the quote above, which is reaching beyond surviving to thriving. Hower considers it her mission, as an LCSW, to support and guide her clients toward healthier and improved mental health, as this essentially leads to enhanced self-love, self-efficacy, self-compassion, personal empowerment, and enlightened empathy.

    Hower began her higher educational journey at CSUCI, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2009, later earning her Master of Social Work from CSUN in 2016. Her passion for providing mental health services is great, but even greater when she has the opportunity to serve young adults. Her well-rounded, creative, open-minded, humorous, and relatable therapeutic approach is essential to this population.

  • Alexis McKenna, LMFT, PhD

    Clinical Case Manager - License #110240
    Certificate in Telemental Health and Digital Ethics
    Undocumented Student Ally Trained

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    Dr. McKenna is an experienced counselor and educator. For over 20 years, she has combined private practice with university instruction, and a deep commitment to a personal spiritual practice based on the Western mystical traditions. As a university professor, she has directed a research program and supervised students in the field. While in private practice, she managed a clinic, supervised community outreach programs, and worked with individuals, couples, and families. She is a Fellow of the Association of Music and Imagery (FAMI). This certification is given to those who have completed a three-year intensive training program in The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). She has been a guest speaker at both professional and community conferences, written a newspaper column, and coordinated a national speaking tour. Dr. McKenna is eager to support CSUCI students in accessing critical mental health services.

Confidential Campus Advocate

  • Ana Tougas, AMFT

    CSU Channel Islands Confidential Campus Advocate - Associate MFT License #102297
    Undocumented Student Ally Trained

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    “It takes more than one person to bring about peace- it takes all of us.” - Rosa Parks

    Ms. Tougas is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT). She earned her clinical mental health degree from California Lutheran University (CLU) in 2017. Ms. Tougas started her clinical journey working within the CLU Community Counseling Services Center working with individuals, families and children who struggle with trauma, posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and self-confidence. Additionally, she worked with Lakeside Family Counseling and Intervention Services in Ventura, providing community counseling and psychoeducation through Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and is certified in the Trauma Resource Model, Level I.

    Ms. Tougas previously worked with CSUCI’s student body from 2015 through 2020, serving in the Wellness and Athletics and the Wellness Promotion and Education departments while administratively supporting staff, faculty, graduate students, student assistants/students, including interacting with Ventura County community members.

    Rejoining the CAPS Team as a Clinician in November of 2021, Ms. Tougas counseled CSUCI students and embraced training opportunities with CAPS Clinicians through the Spring semester of 2022.

    Ms. Tougas is a compassionate and resilience-focused therapist who aspires to safely assist, motivate, and support individuals through their academic and personal journeys. She is honored to serve in her new role as the CSU Channel Islands Confidential Campus Advocate, an extension of the Ventura County non-profit organization, Coalition for Family Harmony Rape Crisis Center to support University staff, faculty, and students to transcend and to flourish.

Administrative Support Staff

  • Lezli Ballesteros Staff Photo

    Lezli Ballesteros

    Administrative Coordinator
    Undocumented Student Ally Trained
    Spanish Speaking

    she, her, hers

    Ms. Ballesteros is a first-generation, undocumented, transfer graduate. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. At UCSB, she was a Peer Educator at the Transfer Student Center. In her role, she aimed to promote academic success through mental wellness and community building. She aspires to uplift traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities by amplifying their voices in the spaces she has a privilege to occupy. The things that bring her joy are: hiking with her furry friend, live music, reading, journaling, roller blading, and spending quality time with her younger siblings. She hopes to continue her education to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Ms. Ballesteros is eager to support and serve the students at CSUCI.
  • Mackie Robinette

    Administrative Coordinator
    Two-Spirit Member

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    “Teach us love, compassion, and honor that we may heal the earth and heal each other”

    -Ojibwa (ow·jib·way) Prayer

    Mackie Robinette is an experienced administrative coordinator, a current undergraduate CSU student, and a balanced mother. She is also driven by success; Mackie takes pride in the work she does and the community she is able to help along the way. In addition to her primary job functions, Mackie has been recognized by professors at San Diego State University for her extraordinary commitment to provide exceptional work in the field of business. Mackie first started her academic journey in business at Oxnard Community College where she completed her Associate of Science in Business Administration. From there, she transferred to San Diego State University where she will be gaining her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

    During her scholarship application process, Mackie was asked about her long-term career goals to which she answered, “My long-term career goal consists of working in an academic setting since that is where my journey first started. I would love to be on the other side of my story now. I want to see students succeed and I want to work alongside professionals who wholeheartedly love what they do.”

    Mackie has also been an advocate/member in the Native American and LGBTQIA+ community for more than 15 years.
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