Meet Our Faculty

Carley Benton

Carley Benton, PhD

Biology, Neuroscience

Carley Benton, PhD was educated in Canada (University of Waterloo: MSc 2001 and PhD 2006 in Kinesiology and Health Sciences) before completing three years of post-doctoral research at Université catholique de Louvain, in Brussels. She then held an assistant professor position at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, where she performed neuroscience research and lectured in an International Medical Degree Program. Her research interests include metabolism, exercise, neuroscience, and (most recently) mechanisms of learning, and have earned her 20 research publications. After relocating to the Netherlands, she completed a master’s degree in International Education (Biology) from the University of Utrecht-UTEACH program, which fueled the desire to better understand “best practices” in the classroom and improved assessment methods. Benton is currently employed as Adjunct Senior Faculty at Webster Leiden, as an IB teacher at an International School in the Netherlands, and additionally works periodically in academic assessment for international school curriculums and as a skills teacher at TU Eindhoven.

Christine Fitzgerald

Christine Fitzgerald, MA

Christine Fitzgerald, MA has been a Senior Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Management at Webster University since 1985, and was Head of Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences from 1992–1999 and from 2000–2003. Since May 2021, she has been the Director of Business Psychology for the Haarlem University of Applied Sciences and is a member of their Education Board and Exam Board. In 2018, she joined the Global School for Entrepreneurship as their Senior Learning Coach, Confidential Advisor and a member of their Exam Board. She served on the Management Team at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences and has taught at several Dutch universities, including the New Business School in Amsterdam, where she directed the coaching program and lectured in applied psychology, and Nyenrode University, where she served nine years as Assistant Professor of Marketing. Her corporate experience includes a professional post at Chemical Bank in New York City, where she worked in marketing research, strategic long-term planning, project management, and corporate training. A magna cum laude graduate of Pace University, Fitzgerald received her MA in developmental psychology from Columbia University. She is the recipient of the Prince Fellow Award for Distinguished Excellence in Teaching, the Pace University Award for Excellence in Psychology, and the Percy H. Johnson Award for Academic Excellence, and was a three-time nominee for the William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching (2009-2010, 2004-2005 and 1999-2000). She continues to be an independent consultant, coach and public speaker who has provided business education in North America, Europe and Asia.

Stella Gryllia

Stella Gryllia, PhD

Economics, Statistics

Stella Gryllia earned her PhD in Linguistics from Leiden University in 2009. Prior to that, she obtained her MPhil in Linguistics from Leiden University, and her BA in Philology from National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece). After receiving her PhD, she moved to Berlin and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Potsdam (Germany). During the past four years (2014–2018), she was employed by Leiden University, carrying out research for the project “Understanding Questions”.

During these years, she also taught statistics to BSc and MA students of linguistics and supervised a number of MA and PhD theses. Her research interests include prosody and its interfaces with other modules of the grammar, as well as quantitative methods in linguistics.


Despoina Kairi, MA

Clinical Psychology

Despoina Kairi acquired her Bachelor of Psychology in Athens. During that time, she studied for 6 months in South France, as an exchange student. In 2011, after having worked in a community house with people suffering from psychological disorders and mental retardation, she came to the Netherlands and acquired her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Leiden University. She was trained in life coaching during her studies, and her main interest is on how therapy contributes to the improvement of people’s life suffering due to psychological/psychosomatic disorders.

Currently, she is participating in a project in Amsterdam regarding intercultural adaptation of expatriates in the Netherlands.

Internet: Innerpiece Psychologie Praktijk


Marcel de Lijster, MBA

Strategic Management, Organizational Behavior

Marcel de Lijster is the business owner of "Down 2 Earth Dutch," With his company, he helps organizations to build programs for skills management and lifelong learning that support the continued employability of employees.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, de Lijster worked in the financial industry as a banker. He has 27 years of working experience in the financial industry, for 23 of which he held leadership and management positions. He worked at one of the largest banks in Holland. He can be branded as a real people manager. He is also an "acknowledged" coach and helps people with their personal and career development. He has experience and knowledge of strategic management, organizational behavior, leadership, change management, risk management, and financial control.

He holds an MBA with an emphasis on Management from Webster Leiden Campus. He has been a member of the Webster faculty since 2004 and teaches courses in Organizational Behavior, Management, Managerial Leadership, Decision Making, and Strategic Management.


Erika O’Donnel, MA

Health Psychology, Clinical Psychology

Erika O’Donnell is a registered psychologist. She has completed two master’s degrees in psychology, one in Clinical Psychology and one in Health Psychology, and is therefore specialized in the treatment of both clinical and behavioral psychological issues. In the past, she worked in forensics, dealing with aggression and personality disorders and set up the expat division of PSYQ in the Hague. She is currently in a private practice, where she incorporates a variety of psychological approaches (CBT, person-centered, psychodynamic, narrative, self-regulation), tailoring interventions to suit each individual’s unique needs and way of being. She works with individuals, couples, families, and groups and does a lot of supervision of counsellors in training, starting out in private practice or as the external supervisor of counsellors in the workplace. She is a registered member of The Psychological Society of Ireland and a member of The British Psychological Society and the Nederlandse Instituut van Psychologen.

Kim O'Meara

Kim O'Meara, MA

Psychology, Gender and Sexuality

Kim O’Meara earned her MA in Psychology with an Emphasis in Counseling, and a BA in Psychology from Webster Leiden Campus. Previously, she also completed a BA with a concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Hampshire College (Amherst, MA, USA). Additionally, she has done training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy and Emotion-Focused (process-experiential) Therapy for individuals. Her areas of interest include: existential psychology and issues around gender/sex, sexuality, relationships and social justice. She is a Registered Counsellor with the Algemene Beroepsvereniging voor Counselling (ABvC) in the Netherlands, a Registered NIP (Nederlands Instituut van Pyschologen) Psychologist, and a GSRD (Gender, Sex and Relationship Diversity) Aware Trainer (via Pink Therapy). O'Meara has a private practice in Amsterdam where she provides individual and relationship therapy, and is adjunct senior faculty at Webster Leiden Campus.

Paul Rakowski

Paul Rakowski, MA, MS

Head of Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Trauma Informed Therapy, Addiction/Recovery

Paul Rakowski, MA, MSc, is credentialed in the United States as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS), and Master Addiction Counselor (MAC). He is an NIP-registered Clinical Psychologist in the Netherlands. He has over 13 years of experience as a trauma informed therapist and specializes in trauma, addiction/recovery, couples’ therapy and clinical supervision. Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) provide a strong foundation for his work with clients. In addition to his clinical practice, Rakowski has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education program at the University of Colorado-Denver and at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. He has also taught courses in biology, health/wellness and animal behavior as well as First-Year Experience courses for incoming University students. Rakowski is a strong advocate for social justice within public health and currently volunteers at De Regenboog Groep in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Sheetal Shah

Sheetal Shah, PhD


Sheetal (Agarwal) Shah has been a consulting psychologist and counselor-in-practice since 1999. She specializes in the field of counseling for chronic illnesses, namely epilepsy and HIV/AIDS. She was responsible for designing, setting up, and managing a help line for telephonic counseling in India (the first of its kind in Asia for Population Services International, Washington), specializing in issues related to HIV/AIDS and sexuality. She has also been affiliated with various academic institutions for training and supervising counselors at the post graduate level. Having completed her MA (Psy.) in U.K. (University of Sussex) and MPhil and PhD in India (S.N.D.T. University), she is well sensitized towards the cultural issues that influence the clientcounselor dynamics.

She is currently head of the Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences at Webster and is working on a research project for Webster Leiden Campus called the BIJLMER PROJECT. The project's main objective is to address the psychosocial needs of trafficked women and men in the Netherlands.


Gerard van der Ree, PhD

International Relations Theory

Gerard van der Ree studied Latin American Studies and International Relations at Utrecht University. He graduated on the subject of the Chilean democracy and democratization after the dictatorship of Pinochet. In 2007, he obtained his PhD from Leiden University on modernization through elite projects in Chile. Currently, he is working as a teacher in International Relations theory at Utrecht University College. His specialties are IR theory, methodology, and philosophy of science.


Bethany Hipple Walters, PhD

Qualitative Research Methods and Research Design

Bethany Hipple Walters, PhD is the Director for the Center for Implementation at the Trimbos Institute (the Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction) and an implementation scientist at the Center for Child and Adolescent Health Research and Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital. She teaches qualitative research methods and research design at Webster Leiden Campus. Her research focuses on understanding how evidence-based healthcare programs are implemented in practice. In her work, Hipple Walters uses a variety of theory-informed research methods, the majority of which are qualitative in nature.

Katie Lee Weille

Katie Lee Weille, PhD

Organizational Behavior

Katie Lee Weille, PhD, is a psychotherapist practicing in Amsterdam. In addition to teaching at Webster for more than 20 years, Weille was professor of parenthood and professional work with parents at Leiden University of Applied Sciences for three years, and has been teaching for more than a decade at the RINO clinical institutes in Utrecht and Amsterdam on post-doctoral training programs for psychotherapists and other mental health practitioners, developing a certificate program on the psychology of parenthood and clinical work with parents. Weille received her PhD from the University of London, after completing undergraduate and graduate studies in the United States at Wesleyan University and Smith College. Her areas of special practice and research interests include complex and non-normative identities, qualitative research methods, and psychological trauma.

Malinda Werth

Malinda Werth, MA

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Malinda Werth, MA, is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) from the United States and holds a Master of Arts in Counseling. She is a Certified Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CAADC) and has been intensively trained in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). She has over 15 years of experience in the field of mental health and substance use co-occurring disorders. She has been an educator of addiction awareness for court-ordered individuals in group settings, along with substance use disorder groups based on stages of change. She has experience teaching about the effects of trauma, substance use disorders, motivational interviewing, and the management of crisis behaviors in a variety of settings. She has a private counseling practice that's based in Amsterdam, and volunteers at a non-profit organization that provides help/support to victims of human trafficking.