Our Staff

NVSU Staff

Robert Fraser, PhD, Former Director of NVSU

Honoring Dr. Robert Fraser

Dr. Bob Fraser served as the Clinical Director of NVSU since its inception for over 40+ years. While we mourn his recent untimely death, we want to honor his memory by acknowledging some of his accomplishments and the role he played in the success of NVSU. He held the following appointments as a professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, joint with the Departments of Neurological Surgery and Neurology and consultant with Associates in Rehabilitation and Neuropsychology.  He was an active counseling and rehabilitation psychologist, a certified rehabilitation counselor and a certified life care planner. He was involved in numerous grants over his career and served as a PI or Co-Investigator, most recently he was the PI for the PACES program, a grant related to Epilepsy Self-Management. He was the author of numerous books and publications over his career   Within neurological rehabilitation, he has specialized in epilepsy, brain injury, and multiple sclerosis. For the past 2 years, he has been a Professor Emeritus, but that never stopped him from supporting NVSU through clinical work, managing the NVS Board of Directors, acting as a resource to the community and actively participating in the Emerald City Rotary.  His legacy will live on through the work of NVSU

Beach Barbara

Barbara Beach, M.Ed, CRC, Department Manager

Direct: 206-744-9135

Barbara has extensive years of experience working with TBI, chronic pain, spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities in vocational 2003 rehabilitation inpatient and outpatient settings. Trained as a Rehabilitation Counselor and having worked in Administration in numerous capacities, today, Barbara functions as Department Manager of NVSU in both administrative and clinical capacities, working with a smaller caseload of clients, providing Comprehensive Vocational Evaluations, Community Based Assessments and Job Placement services. In addition to NVSU, she is also the vocational counselor in Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation.

Torfeh Jahan, M.A., Rehabilitation Counselor

Direct : 206-744-9138

Torfeh has recently joined NVSU as a Rehab Counselor and has over 7 years of experience in career planning, job placement, and vocational skills development. She is knowledgeable about available programs, resources, and current labor market. In the past, she assisted clients with disability access interventions such as short-term/long-term training, essential skills training, self-employment orientation, job search supports, and, disability supports. She facilitated referrals to more extensive or formal assessments (i.e., vocational, psychological assessments, functional capacity evaluations, neuro-psychological vocational assessments, and other reports). Torfeh has extensive knowledge in outreach and advocacy and worked in rehabilitation inpatient and outpatient settings.  

Erica K. Johnson, Ph.D., FAES – Co-Investigator for PACES in Epilepsy


A rehabilitation psychologist and a certified rehabilitation counselor, as well as a Fellow of the American Epilepsy Society. Dr. Johnson is the Co-Investigator with Dr. Poolos (formerly with Dr. Fraser)  on PACES in Epilepsy, a CDC-funded epilepsy self-management treatment program for adults. In addition to her work on PACES, Dr. Johnson is the incoming Principal Investigator for Project UPLIFT, a program to prevent and treat depression in adults with epilepsy. Outside of her research program, Dr. Johnson is in private practice in Lynnwood, WA, where she conducts psycho social and neuropsychological assessments and therapy with individuals with various disabilities, such as traumatic brain injury, blindness and low vision, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress.

Eleanor Pawley, BFA,  Program Manager  

Direct (206) 744-9132

Eleanor has been with NVSU since 2016, where she started working at the front desk for Dr. Fraser and Barbara Beach.  Eleanor is now the Program Manager, she directly works directly with NVSU clients on Community Based Assessments, Job Placement/ Development and Job Retention.  With Barbara Beach, Eleanor updates policies and procedures for CARF accreditation and represented the unit for the 2022 CARF survey.   With Dr. Fraser, she co-moderated our weekly job club which she now leads.    Eleanor is passionate about helping people and working with disadvantaged populations.  Coming from a background in conference planning, event management and theatre production, she plays a critical role in program oversight, development, fundraising, managing the office, and is Bilingual in English and Spanish.  She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Design/ Technology from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film, Purchase, NY. and is expected to complete her CDMS (Certification Disability Management Specialist) in late 2023.

Luis Lopez, Employment Specialist/ Job Developer


Bee Asfaw, Employment Specialist Intern

An international student from Ethiopia, Bee is a senior pursuing clinical-counseling psychology at SPU. With an associate degree in psychology from Seattle Central College, they’re passionate about guiding individuals toward purpose and meaning in their lives. Bee has dedicated years to volunteering with children with autism, blind, and underserved communities. They aim to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, in order to become a counselor and do research focusing on mental health advocacy in African communities.

Heather Leung, Marketing Intern

A senior with an Education, Communities, and Organization major with an Urban Ecological Design minor at the University of Washington. Heather wants to be an educator while combining her passion for marketing through Social Media Marketing. In her free time, Heather enjoys playing recreational volleyball and going to the gym.

Penelope Lilley, Employment Specialist Intern

Neuroscience undergraduate student at the University of Washington, Penelope is passionate about helping others improve their quality of life. Penelope received her Associates of Science at Spokane Falls Community college and moved to Seattle in 2022. She has experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum in the home care and school setting. Currently, she volunteers at UW’s Restoriative Technologies Laboratory, using neurotechnology to help improve upper motor function in spinal cord injury and stroke patients.

Shannon Mckinney , Employment Specialist Intern

A second-year graduate student at the University of Washington School of Social Work, Shannon wants to become a clinical social worker and help broaden access to mental health resources for underserved communities. Shannon received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in International Studies and Agriculture & Applied Economics, with a minor in Environmental Studies. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, and cleaning!