About Us

Meet the Staff

The Wellness Center is staffed with credentialed, licensed professionals and graduate student trainees who provide Psychological Services, Medical Services, Prevention Services, and Victim Advocacy. Many of our staff are Certified Safe Zone Allies and are trained in Mental Health First Aid. If you are interested in collaborating with the Wellness Center please reach out to our Assistant Director of Prevention Services.

Psychological Services Staff

Anita Sahgal, PsyD, Director & Psychologist (she/her/hers)

Anita Sahgal

Dr. Anita Sahgal, a licensed clinical psychologist, has worked at USF St. Petersburg since January 2008. She currently serves as the Director of the Wellness Center and Student Accessibility Services. Dr. Sahgal received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology. She has trained and worked with people of all backgrounds and in many different settings throughout her career. Dr. Sahgal approaches her clinical work from an integrative and holistic perspective, emphasizing developmental and cultural dynamics. Her areas of interest include: mind-body wellness, social justice, group psychotherapy, clinical training/supervision, educational outreach/consultation, positive psychology and advocacy/leadership. Additionally, Dr. Sahgal is a certified QPR trainer, a Safe Zone Trainer, and Gallup Strengths coach. She has completed training in USF St. Petersburg Leadership and Management and the NCBI Leadership for Diversity Institute.

Evita Persaud, PsyD, Assistant Director— Counseling Services & Psychologist (she/her/hers)  


Dr. Evita Persaud has served as a staff clinician at the USF St. Petersburg campus since August 2022. She is a Florida native and attended UF, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Disability Studies. She earned her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at Xavier University and completed her predoctoral internship at FIU’s Counseling and Psychological Services center. Dr. Persaud completed her postdoctoral fellowship at both the USF Tampa’s Counseling Center and USFSP Wellness Center in Summer 2023. Her fellowship also allowed for an external summer rotation where Dr. Persaud worked on both the adult and child IOP eating disorder units at Rogers Behavioral Health in Tampa.  Dr. Persaud works from an integrative interpersonal process therapy style that incorporates aspects of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to manage presenting concerns. Her clinical areas of interest include identity development within diverse communities, intergenerational processing, social justice and advocacy work, psychoeducational outreach/material development, primary care behavioral health, anxiety/stress management, and emotion regulation/distress tolerance skill-building.  

Suzanne Stambaugh, PhD, Psychologist (she/her/hers)

Suzanne Stambaugh

Dr. Suzanne Stambaugh, a licensed psychologist, earned her B.S. in Psychology at the University of Florida and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Tennessee. She completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago Counseling Center and her postdoctoral fellowship at Insight Behavioral Health Centers in Chicago, Illinois. Her clinical interests include interpersonal process psychotherapy, psychological abuse recovery, family and relationship concerns, trauma recovery, and training and supervision. Dr. Stambaugh works from an integrative and interpersonal theoretical orientation, incorporating feminist and mindfulness-informed approaches. She is a native of St. Petersburg, and enjoys being a part of the USF St. Petersburg community.

Samantha Circelli, MSW, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (she/her/hers) 

Samantha Circelli

Samantha Circelli joined the Wellness Center in January 2023. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned her Masters of Social Work from the University of Central Florida. Samantha earned her state licensure while working as a school-based therapist as well as an outpatient therapist at a local private practice. Samantha has experience working in domestic violence and sexual assault awareness, womens issues, LGBTQ+ concerns, family stressors, body image and self esteem work. Samantha approaches therapy with a holistic lens, taking into account many factors and limiting beliefs that may be present in her clients. Samantha focuses on the Acceptance and Commitment therapy model as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mindfullness practices.

Christian Antos, Practicum Therapist 

Kelly Pires, Practicum Therapist

Medical Services Staff

Aimee Dougherty, MSN, APRN-C (she/her/hers)
Aimee Dougherty-Gallegos

Aimee Dougherty joined the Wellness Center in March 2017 as the Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. In 1999, she received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing from USF. She obtained her Master’s of Science degree in Nursing from USF in 2010 and is an Adult Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. Her nursing career background includes primary care, women’s health, and oncology. She enjoys educating students and has a special interest in women’s health.

Megan Roller, APRN-BC (she/her/hers) 

Megan Roller

Megan Roller joined the Wellness Center in October 2018 as a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in 2007, and Masters of Science in Nursing in 2008 from the University of Florida. Her prior nursing experience includes adult primary care and women’s health. She previously worked at the University of Miami student health clinic for seven years before relocating to Tampa Bay. She sees students on Tuesdays.

Barbara Chacon (she/her/hers)

Barbara Chacon

Barbara Chacon is a certified Medical Assistant who joined the staff at the USF St Petersburg’s Wellness Center in March 2014. She received her certification from Concorde Career Institute. Barbara has experience working with family practice, critical care, pulmonology, and sleep disorders. Barbara also speaks Spanish.

Prevention Services Staff

Courtney Safko, MS, CHES®, Assistant Director— Prevention Services (she/her/hers)

Courtney Safko headshot

Courtney Safko is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and USF alum. She is a proud Tampa Bay native dedicated to empowering local communities through education and skill-building. She has a background in research, nutrition education, food safety, healthcare administration, and activities coordination. After receiving her B.S. in Health Sciences from USF she spent several years working in the health field before pursuing her M.S. in Health Education and Behavior from UF. Her primary research areas of interest include investigating health-related quality of life, substance use, and truancy from the behavioral economics lens.

Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention Services

Vanessa Ellingson, Victim Advocate & Violence Prevention Coordinator (she/her/hers)

Headshot of Vanssa Ellingson

Vanessa Ellingson joined the Wellness Center in December 2023. Vanessa graduated with her Bachelor’s in Arts in Law and Society in 2015 from Colorado Women’s College at University of Denver in Colorado. Vanessa has focused her 10 plus year advocacy career towards victims work specializing in sexual and domestic violence crisis and ongoing services, domestic sex trafficking awareness, and holds certifications in A.S.I.S.T. and SAVE, both suicide awareness and intervention programs. Vanessa follows a compassionate, victim centered model of care. She enjoys participating and collaborating on community wide multi-disciplinary committees and boards working towards common goals of responding to and preventing interpersonal abuse. Vanessa moved to the area from out of state and will be busy both exploring Florida and being a homebody with her two rescue cats when not at work.

Support Staff

Gena Lapinski, Client Services Assistant (she/her/hers)

Rocky the Bull

Gena Lapinski joined the team May 2020 as our Client Services Assistant. She has had many positions in health care offices that focused on customer service and provider support. She will be your first contact, either by phone, email, or in person. She helps schedule students for all appointments, process paperwork and payments, and performs various other administrative duties for the clinical team.

Michelle Farren, Administrative Specialist (she/her/hers)

Rocky the Bull

Michelle joined in the team in Spring 2022 as the Administrative Specialist. She has worked in office administration for 20+ years, most recently in higher education working with EMS & Physical Therapist Assistant Health programs. Her previous work experience includes Physical Therapy clinic administrator and collegiate retail store management. She supports the Wellness Center front desk and may be your first point of contact for scheduling. She is also the liaison to other USF departments to facilitate communication and outcomes, plus day to day business operations. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring local nature preserves, traveling and spending time with family.

Landjie Abacy, Federal Work Study Student

Specialty Services


Christen McNew, PMHNP-BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (she/her/hers)




Katie Jones Webster, MPH, RD, Registered Dietitian (she/her/hers)
Katie Jones Webster

Katie is a registered and licensed dietitian. She has been working at USF Tampa since 2010 and joined the staff at the Wellness Center in 2015. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition and Food Science from Georgia Southern University and Master of Public Health degree from the University of South Florida. Her areas of interest include sports nutrition, weight management and eating disorders.


Karen Briskin, LMT (she/her/hers)

Karen Briskin

Karen has been licensed in Massage Therapy for over 10 years since she earned her certificate from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy. She has practiced in a variety of settings with an underlying mission of holding a space and partnering with clients on their path to wellness. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Women’s Studies from the University of Delaware and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and Personnel Services from The College of New Jersey. She currently teaches at the Cortiva Institute of Massage Therapy and is a certified health coach.