More Information

Our Staff

Who We Are:


Pei-Han Cheng. Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist and Manager of Group Program 

Education

  • Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Columbia University
  • MA in Mental Health Counseling Psychology, Boston College
  • BS in Psychology, Fu Jen Catholic University

Relevant Experience
Prior to St. John’s University Center for Counseling and Consultation, Dr. Cheng completed her post-doctoral fellowship and internship at the Counseling and Psychological Services at University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Cheng received clinical training at a variety of settings, including a milieu private high school, community mental health centers, college counseling centers, and hospitals. Dr. Cheng taught graduate-level counseling psychology courses, and published journal articles in the field of multicultural psychology, psychotherapy, and body image.

Clinical Interests
Dr. Cheng’s clinical interests include eating disorders and body image, relational issues, trauma, identity development, as well as international students/scholars and first generation students’ mental wellness. She enriches her practice through continual integration of different schools of therapy – psychodynamics, DBT, mindfulness, feminism and multicultural psychology. She coordinates group therapy programs and provides therapy in Mandarin.

Fun Fact
Dr. Cheng grew up in a tiny island in Taiwan. As an islander, she enjoys nature, people, ocean, and daydreaming.

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Schekeva Hall, Ph.D.

Assistant Director of Outreach Services and Programming

Education

  • Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology Columbia University
  • M.Phil. in Counseling Psychology Columbia University
  • BA in Psychology Binghamton University (SUNY)

Relevant Experience
Dr. Hall has collaborated with students for over a decade. Specifically, she has provided both psychological and career-based counseling for students as well as supervised, taught, and mentored graduate-level student clinicians and medical residents in counseling theory and socio-culturally based applications of clinical theory and treatment planning.  Dr. Hall has presented and authored several pieces on racial identity, discrimination, and wellness-related topics all relevant to the cultural climate of a metropolitan university such as SJU. Her former work with culturally diverse students in similar university settings including several CUNY Colleges, Columbia University and Georgia State University, has influenced her unique community-based style of outreach programming. Dr. Hall also has worked in hospitals, community mental health centers, addressing clinically issues such as disordered eating, depression, anxiety, personality concerns, procrastination, creative blocks, and life transitions.

Clinical Interests and Practice
Dr. Hall’s clinical and research interests include racial identity, wellness, eating disorders and body image. Along with creating culturally responsive outreach initiatives for the St. Johns community, Dr. Hall provides counseling to the student body. As a “relational artist,” Dr. Hall utilizes many strategies to support, encourage, empower, and challenge her clients. Her clinical style delivers dynamic, relational and mindfully- based practices within a multicultural framework.

Fun Fact
Dr. Hall enjoys taking fitness and nutrition classes. She also likes Beyoncé and watching kitten videos.

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Erin Ryan, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Staten Island Campus

Education
Dr. Ryan obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St. John’s University, Staten Island Campus.  Dr. Ryan also obtained Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Clinical Psychology from St. John’s University, Queens Campus. 

Relevant Experience
Prior to joining the staff at the Center for Counseling and Consultation, Dr. Ryan was working in private practice, treating adults, children and families.  Dr. Ryan also worked at the Seamen’s Society for Children and Families in the Psychology Department for four years and completed her pre-doctoral internship at Sagamore Childrens’ Psychiatric Center.

Clinical Interests
Psychotherapy and Assessment with Children, Adolescents, Adults and Families; Anxiety, Trauma, Developmental Issues

Fun Fact
Dr. Ryan is a vegetarian.

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Dorothy Schmitt, LMHC

Associate Director, Center for Counseling and Consultation

Education
Ms. Schmitt holds a Masters Degree in Counselor Education from St John’s University.  She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York State (LMHC), and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) since 1989.

Relevant Experience
Ms. Schmitt has been with the Counseling Center in various capacities for 31 years, and is currently the Associate Director for the Center as well as the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities.

Clinical Interests
Grief and Loss, Emerging Adulthood, Identity formation, and LGBTQ concerns, Dialectical and Behavioral Therapy in Group work.

Fun Fact
Ms. Schmitt is a long suffering Mets fan, and a committed vegan.

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Juan Suarez, Psy.D.

Staff Clinician

 

Education
Dr. Suarez earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY and a Master of Arts degree in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. He then went on to earn another Master of Arts Degree and a Doctor of Psychology degree from Xavier University.

Relevant Experience
Dr. Suarez has provided counseling and psychological testing services at Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. He completed the APA accredited internship program at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York and a Post-Doc at St. John’s University/Child Help Partnership.

Clinical Interests
Dr. Suarez’s clinical interests include Gaming as it relates to Emotional Intelligence, Narrative Therapy, and Trauma.

Fun Fact
Dr. Suarez is a Third Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, an independent comic book writer, and is able to provide therapy in Spanish. 

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Robert Tringone, Ph.D.

Associate Director for Clinical Services

Education
Dr. Tringone earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Hofstra University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

Relevant Experience
Dr.  Tringone worked for the North Shore LIJ Health System for 11 years prior to joining St. John’s University’s Center for Counseling and Consultation in 2007. At NS-LIJ, he was a member of the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and worked in inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room settings and held several coordinator and supervisory positions. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor and has taught personality assessment within St. John’s University’s Department of Psychology’s Clinical Psychology doctoral program. Additionally, Dr. Tringone served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Collegiate Mental Health.

Clinical Interests
Dr. Tringone is involved in a multi-site research project in collaboration with colleagues at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, Illinois. The project investigates the connections between parent-child attachment patterns, parenting styles, and personality development in pre-adolescents. Other interests include depression, anxiety, ADHD, learning difficulties, family issues, and loss.

Fun Fact
Dr. Tringone is an Islanders fan.

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Miriam Varghese, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist and Training Coordinator

Education

  • Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, Baylor University
  • B.A. in Psychology, Vassar College

Relevant Experience
Dr. Varghese is a licensed clinical psychologist in New York State.  She has worked in a variety of settings and with diverse populations for the past 8 years.  Most recently, Dr. Varghese provided individual, couples, and group therapy to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Rochester and at Oberlin College.

Clinical Interests
Though Dr. Varghese is a generalist by training, her clinical interests include interpersonal difficulties, family of origin concerns, grief and loss, identity development and integration, and multicultural issues.

Dr. Varghese strives to create a safe, empathetic, and accepting environment for students to explore their past and present experiences and attain a deeper understanding of themselves and their current patterns of behavior.  Her approach is collaborative and she works hard to help students feel empowered to make important changes in their lives and in their relationships.

Dr. Varghese is committed to meeting students where they are and is sensitive to the ways she might modify her approach to address individual needs.  She primarily works within a psychodynamic and relational framework but often incorporates cognitive behavioral and mindfulness techniques into her therapy as well.

Fun Fact
Dr. Varghese was on a travel soccer team for 11 years and once played against Lindsey Lohan.


Tow Yee Yau, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Counseling and Consultation

Education

  • Ph.D. in  Counseling Psychology; Cognate in Clinical Psychology, University of Denver
  • M.S. in Clinical/Counseling Psychology, Western Washington University
  • B.Sc. in Psychology, University of Victoria

Relevant Experience
Dr. Yau has extensive training and experience working with diverse populations (e.g., children, adolescents, and adults) in college counseling centers, community mental health centers, medical hospitals/centers, and corporate organizations in the United States and Singapore. Over the years, he has provided individual, couples, and group counseling and psychotherapy with issues such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, stress-related disorders, career decision, and multicultural issues. He has facilitated a popular Mindfulness Meditation group called “Relieve Your Monkey Mind” for college students to deal with their anxiety through meditation and yoga exercises. Dr. Yau also loves to provide clinical supervision to psychology trainees and coaching to clinical staff members. Prior to joining St. John’s University, he served as Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Cincinnati. Further, he has been a faculty member, mental health consultant, and leadership coach in the United States and Singapore.

Clinical Interests
Professional and clinical interests include Mindfulness Training for Leaders, Mindfulness Therapy, Mindfulness Meditation, Buddhist Psychology, Corporate Coaching, Clinical Supervision & Training, College Students Mental Health, Couples Counseling, and Multicultural Counseling.

Fun Fact
Dr. Yau is an international psychologist who grew up in a harmonious and multicultural Singapore. He is bicultural/bilingual and is able to provide psychotherapy or counseling in English and Mandarin. He loves to spend time with family members drinking tea, travelling, jogging, and enjoying gourmet food.

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