Meet the Staff

Executive Director of Student Wellness Services

Jennifer Howes, Ph.D.

Assistant Director of Counseling Services

Lee H. Coleman, Ph.D., ABPP

Staff Clinicians

Charisma Bartlett, Ph.D.
Ashwini Lal, Psy.D.
Denise Lin, LCSW
Naj Alikhan, LMFT


Mariel Tourani, M.D.

Administrative Staff

Jennifer Howes, Ph.D.

Executive Director of Student Wellness Services

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Education: Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology; B.A. History, University of California, Los Angeles
Professional Affiliations: Organization of Counseling Center Directors in Higher Education (2018-2019 Chair); Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors; California Psychological Association; Higher Education Case Management Association
Professional Interests: Suicide prevention initiatives, ensuring that Student Wellness Services is providing quality care in an equitable way; deep dives into the "upstream" causes of the high levels of distress we are seeing in student populations; being creative, and trying new things!
Liaisonships/Committees: Caltech CARE Team; UASH (non-voting)
Hobbies/Self-Care: I enjoy traveling with my partner and two sons - they'd like to visit every US state before they turn 18. I also enjoy reading non-fiction, making stationery, and hiking.
Wellness Tip:  Resist the urge to grab your phone or electronic device first thing in the morning. Set your intention for the day, and take a couple of deep breaths for good measure. Doesn't take but a minute, and I find it helps ground me and give me some focus in the morning, which sets the tone for the rest of the day.

I completed my undergraduate work at UCLA and received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. Prior to arriving at Caltech in 2011, I worked with a diverse group of students at the Claremont Colleges and maintained a small private practice. While I now focus on administrative aspects of Health and Counseling Services, I enjoy supporting students through programming and outreach events related to mental health, emotional wellbeing, identity development, physical fitness, and the Caltech Cares initiative. 

Lee H. Coleman, Ph.D., ABPP

Assistant Director of Counseling Services; Coordinator of Groups and Outreach

Pronouns:  he/him/his
Education: Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Miami University, 1999
Professional Affiliations: Diplomate, American Board of Professional Psychology; International Mindfulness Teachers Association
Professional Interests:  Depression and anxiety; preventing depressive relapse; suicide prevention; emotion regulation; mindful awareness skills
Liaisonships/Committees:  Liaison to Blacker and Ricketts Houses
Hobbies/Self-Care: Meditation, playing bass guitar, cooking, and reading
Wellness Tip:  Meditation isn’t necessarily something you have to set aside separate time for. It’s an attitude of welcoming awareness that you can bring to whatever you happen to be doing anyway.

It’s an incredible privilege to work with such talented, insightful, and delightful students.  There’s so much that Wellness Services can offer you - please come talk with us, and let’s find out how we can work together.

Charisma Bartlett, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist, Asian/Asian-American Focus

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Education: Ph.D. Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University 2010
Professional Affiliations:
 Asian American Psychological Association
Professional Interests:
Multi-cultural/Diversity issues
International Student Programs (ISP), Page House liaison
travel, cooking and eating all cuisines, making blends with essential oils, hiking national parks
Wellness Tip:
I use an adjustable height standing desk to boost mental alertness during afternoon slumps and allows me to dance while jamming to my favorite tunes!

After traveling through 39 countries around the world as a student, tourist, and self-proclaimed international food taster, I completed my doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2010 and joined Counseling Services in 2011. My interest areas include cultural identity, spirituality and existential issues, and advocacy for the mental health needs of Asian and Asian American students. As a liaison to International Student Programs (ISP), I provide adjustment and ongoing support to  international students. Through my diverse experiences at local universities and hospital settings, I am also able to work with a student’s relationship with food and body image. 

I believe it’s never too late to make mindset shifts that can make a significant impact on one’s present circumstances and future trajectory. My therapeutic style is warm, relational, and focuses on your strengths and goals, in addition to managing areas of impasse. I assess how past relationships and experiences may be connected to arrested development in your current context. Through collaborative exploration, I can help you discover deeper connections in your relationships and move toward a greater sense of purpose and work-life balance.

Ashwini Lal, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist and Residence Life Liaison

Pronouns: he/him/his
Psy.D. Illinois School of Professional Psychology
B.A., University of California, Irvine
Professional Interests:
Grief/Loss, Cultural and sexual Identity Development, Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Suicide assessment and treatment, Life events/transitions
Hobbies/Self-Care: Gym, kayaking, spending time with friends, exploring different restaurants, cooking, spending time with family, visiting Hawaii to reconnect with nature
Wellness Tip: Always make time for yourself.

Dr. Lal has trained and worked in different hospitals and university health settings. Throughout his career, he has contributed to the research literature, has written online articles, and has been involved in radio shows addressing mental health issues.

He uses an integrative approach to psychotherapy focused on increasing awareness into factors contributing to struggles and works collaboratively to increase one’s ability to manage symptoms. Symptom management provides immediate relief while allowing for the therapist and patient to work collaboratively to gain an in-depth understanding of the patient’s struggles. This increased awareness leads to long term improvement and increased life satisfaction.

Denise Lin, LCSW

Staff Clinician / Crisis Intervention Coordinator

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Education: Master in Social Work, California State University, Los Angeles
Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
Professional Affiliations:
National Association of Social Workers
Professional Interests: Acculturation; suicide prevention; multicultural identities; issues related to assault and trauma; interpersonal relationships; depression; issues related to self-esteem
Liaisonships/Committees: Liaison to Avery House
Hobbies/Self-Care: Traveling, cooking, reading, going to the beach, and being in nature
Wellness Tip: The small things make a difference – 3 healthy meals a day, 8 hours of sleep, playing with your cat or dog, reading for fun, sketching, playing an instrument at night, meditating, exercising, calling a friend, or going for a hike or beach day. We need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others and reach our goals. We all have difficult moments, days and times; reach out to a friend or other supportive individual. Be that supportive individual for someone else.

Denise is a licensed clinical social worker and has been a staff clinician at Caltech Counseling Services since January 2017. She is able to offer counseling in Mandarin and has worked in the field of Asian American mental health for 7 years prior to her experience with college counseling. Drawing from several therapeutic approaches, including psychodynamic and systems theory, Denise strives to use an integrative approach that taps into students’ strengths and resilience to address current difficulties.

Naj Alikhan, LMFT

AOD Education and Intervention Coordinator

Pronouns: he/him/his
 B.A. Philosophy, University of California at Santa Barbara
M.A. Clinical Psychology, Antioch Univesity
Professional Affiliations:
Professional Interests: 
Substance use, Adolescents, South Asian population
Rock climbing, playing guitar, being in nature
Wellness Tip: When it comes to alcohol,  know your sweet spot

Naj Alikhan, LMFT is a Psychotherapist specializing in substance use issues, the adolescent and college age population, anxiety, and the South Asian population. After spending nearly a decade in the mental health field, he believes therapy can help anyone experience more joy and meaning in their lives. He has worked with public, private, and non-profit agencies as a consultant and board member working to bring mental health services to his community. Naj’s lecturing work includes undergraduate and graduate level education on Alcohol & Drug Safety and Psychological Theory.

Mariel Tourani, M.D.

Consulting Psychiatrist

Maria Lopez

Office Manager for Student Wellness Services

I am the Office Manager for Student Health & Counseling Services and provide administrative support to the centers’ professional staff. My responsibilities are to do the many tasks required by the Director and the staff to keep the office running smoothly.  I have a background in the medical field doing Administrative/Secretarial work and as a Surgical Scrub Tech.  When I am not at work I enjoy spending time with my family.

Nari Shin

Administrative Coordinator for Student Counseling Services

Nari Shin manages front office operations and supports students, clinicians, and the office manager at Student Counseling Services. Prior to coming to Caltech, she worked at UC San Diego, providing administrative support to departments, scholars, staff advisors, and the director. Working at an international office, she is well-versed in cross-cultural communication and loves working with students and departmental contacts from all backgrounds. In her free time, Nari enjoys serving the youth and children, volunteering in developing countries, and spending time with her community.