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Yusen Zhai

Yusen Zhai, Ph.D.

Executive Director and Faculty Supervisor

Dr. Yusen Zhai is an Assistant Professor of Counseling and Director of the UAB Community Counseling Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Prior to that, he served as the lead clinic supervisor in the Edwin Herr clinic. He completed his Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at The Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on the impact of infectious diseases on mental health and well-being, social determinants of health, multicultural and social justice issues, and career development. He has experience in clinical supervision as well as mental health, career, and substance abuse counseling, working with clients from diverse backgrounds. He has focused on employing research, teaching, and counseling to inform health policies and clinical practices to address health disparities and educational inequalities.

Shannon McCarthy

Shannon McCarthy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and CACREP Accreditation Liaison

Dr. Shannon McCarthy earned a doctorate of philosophy from University of Florida. She has taught courses in teacher education, family, youth, and community sciences, and counselor education at the University of Florida. Dr. McCarthy has had extensive training and clinical experience in counseling in community mental health and medical settings as well as marriage and family therapy. Her research focuses on counselor development/ training, the effect of mental illness on families and family-school collaboration, particularly the effect and improvement of family systems training for school counselors and other school-based personnel. She will teach graduate courses in our counselor education program and continue to develop her research concerning families’ involvement in schools and family systems.

Dwayne White

Dwayne White, Ph.D.


Dwayne White was born and raised in Miami, FL. He is a graduate of Auburn University in Auburn, AL where he earned a doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision. Dwayne is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), and a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC), and a past NBCC Minority Fellowship Doctoral Fellowship recipient. Dwayne is committed to serving, supporting, and engaging queer and transgender Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) activists and community members through his professional activities. His primary research interest centers on the wellness and liberation of queer and transgender BIPOC. Dwayne’s secondary research interests are related to exploring the use of humanistic and post-modern approaches in counseling and counselor education.

Dayna Watson

Dayna Watson, Ph.D.

Faculty Supervisor Dayna Watson completed a Ph.D. in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of Florida. She has extensive experience and training in clinical supervision and mental health counseling, specializing in counseling children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Watson’s clinical areas include play therapy techniques and creative interventions with children and adolescents, group therapy with young children, and cognitive therapy. Her research interests include issues of social class and poverty in mental health counseling, community-school collaboration, and counseling student development.