About CCS

Meet Our Staff:

Senior Staff

Brooke RuxtonBrooke Ruxton, Ph.D.
Executive Director &
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Ruxton joined the CCS staff in 2008 and became Executive Director in July 2013. She also has experience working with college students at Northwestern Univeristy, Arizona State University, and Iowa State University. Dr. Ruxton’s counseling orientation is integrative, with an emphasis on interpersonal and dynamic approaches that allow individuals to examine concerns from a relational perspective. Her clinical interests include grief and loss, trauma, relationship and family issues, women’s issues, eating disorders, and training/supervision.


Liz Garcia

Liz Benavides, Ph.D.
Associate Director &
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Benavides has been at CCS since 2005 and became Associate Director in January 2014. She has experience working in both university and community settings, with an emphasis in substance use assessment. Her counseling orientation is strength-based integrative, with a focus on interpersonal-process, solution focused, and motivational enhancement perspectives. Dr. Benavides’s clinical areas of interest are student substance use, the effect of substance use on family and peer relationships, relationship concerns, depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, pet loss, and supervision.


Tim PaquetteTim Paquette, Ph.D.
Assistant Director/Training Director &
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Paquette has been a staff member at CCS since 2004 and he has worked exclusively with university students for many years. He provides individual and group counseling and is training director of CCS's APA accredited doctoral internship program. His areas of expertise include multicultural issues, relationship concerns, men's issues, and anxiety concerns. Dr. Paquette’s professional interests include college student development, diversity education/training, social justice, and supervision. His counseling orientation is integrative, with an emphasis on interpersonal-process, humanistic, and cognitive perspectives.


Kara Britzman

Kara Britzman, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist & Eating Concerns Assessment Coordinator


Angela Daigneault, MSW, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Outreach Coordinator

Information coming soon


Jennifer KestnerJennifer Kestner, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Kestner joined the CCS staff in 2014. She provides individual and group therapy, supervision of trainees, and campus outreach. Dr Kestner has worked in the university setting for several years, and truly enjoys supporting the academic and emotional development of college students.  Her clinical interests include depression, anxiety, relationship and family concerns, struggles of first-generation college students, adjustment to college, and stress management. Dr Kestner uses an integrative counseling orientation, with an emphasis on humanistic, dynamic, and acceptance and commitment approaches. 


Mark Matuszewski

Mark S. Matuszewski, Ph.D.
Practicum Coordinator &
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

“Dr. Mark” (if you want to be more formal) joined the CCS Staff in 2009. Having worked in community mental health centers for 12 years, he has extensive experience helping adults with emotional and mental health concerns. Mark’s counseling orientation focuses on meaning-making and interpersonal relationships. He provides individual and group therapy. Mark’s clinical interests include: the challenges faced by student military veterans; men’s issues; recovery from and living with trauma; long-term mental health issues; and the extraordinary dichotomy between Cubs and White Sox fans.


Shiraz TataShiraz Piroshaw Tata, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Tata provides individual and group counseling to NIU students, supervision to trainees at CCS, and some outreach to the campus community. Dr. Tata has done research on issues related to acculturation in the Asian American community, and has done outreach on many topics. Dr. Tata has expertise in working with a variety of diversity, transition, identity, abuse and loss issues. Her areas of clinical interest include multicultural counseling, healing from trauma, family of origin and other relationship concerns. She uses an integrative approach in counseling and relies on humanistic, interpersonal and cognitive-behavioral perspectives.


Erica WadeErica Wade, M.S., L.C.P.C.
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor & Substance Use Assessment Specialist

Erica joined the CCS staff in August 2011 after working in the DeKalb/Sycamore area for 14 years in various counseling settings, such as private practice, the DeKalb County Health Department, an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for substance abuse, and the DeKalb County Drug Court Program. She has worked with individuals who are experiencing depression, grief and loss, substance abuse, relationship concerns, HIV/AIDS, anxiety, parent-child concerns, and posttraumatic stress concerns.  Her areas of interest are group therapy, multicultural concerns, and supervision. Currently, she provides individual and group counseling, and coordinates CCS outreach activities to the NIU campus community.  Erica uses cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused, psychodynamic, and client-centered approaches in her work with clients. She is invested in helping students reach their full potential and make life changing decisions based on their own self definitions. Outside of being a counselor, Erica enjoys watching movies and a few of her favorites are Gladiator, Pretty Woman, Joy Luck Club, Boomerang, Matrix and Shawshank Redemption. She also enjoys running, has run the Shamrock Shuffle every year since 2005, and completed the Chicago Half Marathon in September 2010.  Erica also enjoys laughing, dancing and spending time with her children. Stop in for a walk-in! Go Huskies!


Shana WareShana Ware, M.S.Ed.
Advocacy Services Coordinator

Shana provides an array of advocacy and support services to current NIU students who have been impacted by sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.  Shana joined the CCS staff in January 2015, but she has been a long time member of the NIU Huskie community, first as a student and then as a Student Affairs professional starting in May 2012.  When Shana is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, playing music, cooking, watching HGTV, and meditating. She also loves watching movies and reality television.  Some of her favorites include: Real Housewives, Dance Moms, The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Joy Luck Club, and all things Wizard of OZ related.


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Doctoral Interns

Jordan Burko, B.A.
Florida State University


Melissa Meinen, M.A.
Midwestern University


Maxine Rohde, M.S.
Adler University

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Practicum Students

Christy Allen, M.A.
Northern Illinois University


Matt Hussey, M.A.
Illinois School of Professional Psychology-Schaumburg


Riley MacDonald, M.A.
Roosevelt University


Kim Major, M.S.
Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago


Grace Spencer, M.A.
Wheaton College


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Graduate Assistants

Drew Albright

Lucy Parker, M.A., LPC, NCC  


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Administrative Support Staff

Kelsey Boll
Office Associate


 

Joan Parrish
Office Manager


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