Student Perspectives

 
Kristen Ashbaugh
Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student
 
What is my background?
I am originally from Davis, California and I got my undergraduate degree in Economics from UCLA (Go Bruins!).  I realized during my senior year in college that my passion was in psychology, so I moved to Santa Barbara after graduation and worked at the Koegel Autism Center for three years before applying to graduate school.  I was a clinician and the Clinic Coordinator during this time, and it was great to get experience in the field before applying to graduate school at UCSB. 
 
Why did I choose UCSB?
I chose to attend UCSB because of the excellent faculty, balance of research and clinical work, supportive environment, and the beautiful outdoors! All of the faculty are unique and strong in their respective areas of work, and I really appreciate how welcoming and helpful they are in working with students.  The CCSP program promotes both research and a breadth of clinical opportunities, and I felt like this was a perfect integration of my desire to get involved in both the research and applied aspect of clinical psychology. 

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

My primary area of research is clinical intervention techniques for adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I work with college students and adults on the autism spectrum, and conduct behavioral interventions to improve their communication, social, independent living and vocational skills. I like to incorporate my clinical work into my research projects, so a typical day also includes working on research, participating in supervision, and engaging in educational courses. 
What advice do I have for incoming students?
Try to find a balance between all of the courses, research and clinical opportunities available to you.  Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone, every day is learning experience, and make sure to find time to relax and have fun :)
Todd Avellar

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?

I am a 5th year counseling psychology student working with Dr. Tania Israel. Prior to enrolling in CCSP, I transferred from Fresno City College to UCSB, where I earned my B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in Applied Psychology. I am passionate about developing into a competent researcher, clinician, and leader in the field. During my time at CCSP, I have engaged in research to improve mental health and social support services for sexual minorities in the local community. I have engaged in a range of community- and university-based practica. I now serve as a supervisor (outreach emphasis) at the Hosford Counseling and Psychological Services Clinic. I have also advocated for student issues in multiple leadership roles, via the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS). I look forward to soon embarking in a career that will allow me to pursue a line of research related to longitudinal bullying issues, especially as they pertain to intersecting identities. In the process, I hope to mentor promising undergraduate and graduate students in academia and national governance, to ensure that our field remains relevant to our diverse communities for years to come.

Why did I choose UCSB?

As a transfer student, I was determined to gain admittance to graduate school immediately upon completion of my undergraduate work. However, I needed to quickly acquire the necessary research skills and experiences, in order to make myself a competitive applicant. Thankfully, Dr. Israel took me on as an apprentice in her research lab, and provided me with high quality mentoring experiences. She took me to the national APA Convention in Toronto, Canada, and introduced me to her colleagues. While Dr. Israel encouraged me to consider other programs, I still remember the moment when she asked me, “So are you going to apply to our program?” Instantaneously, my answer was “YES!” I chose to continue my work with Dr. Israel at CCSP, because I knew that I had found my lifelong academic mentor. Now, five years later…I knew I was right!

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

My initial research efforts were aimed at improving community and social support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities. I learned how to create accurate coding schemes. I took the initiate and trained myself to become the team-specialist of the qualitative data analysis software. I became well versed in operating SPSS statistical analysis software to work with complex quantitative data. During preliminary data analysis, it became apparent that few transgender-identified respondents participated in our survey. To address this gap, I engaged in outreach to local transgender community members and evaluated generational differences in transgender perceptions of community. Our team allied with local service providers and community members to develop a representative group of individuals who met monthly to steer the project. Ultimately, we conducted a community summit to generate sustainable solutions to LGBTQ community concerns.

            An outcome to being involved with the community projects was an opportunity to engage local law enforcement personnel (LEP) on LGBTQ issues. I lead the development of a survey to capture LGBTQ perceptions of, and experiences with LEP. I learned how to construct survey and recruitment materials, create human subjects applications, and developed advance knowledge of qualitative and quantitative data analyses. Findings identified helpful and unhelpful behaviors of LEP, and informed a series of LEP diversity trainings on LGBTQ issues. These proved helpful for responding officers when two men were severely attacked because they were seen holding hands. During qualitative data analysis, an inventory was developed to capture LGBTQ community members’ positive and negative experiences, and resultant perceptions of LEP. I have since participated in examining how resistance may have impeded LEP’s receptiveness of the trainings, and how impactful the trainings were on LEP’s apprehension, self-efficacy, and knowledge of effective tactics with LGBTQ communities. I have also engaged in coding factors influencing hazardous alcohol use among sexual minority women.

            Through an online mindfulness-based cognitive therapy intervention, my dissertation aims to alleviate depression, anxiety, and internalized homonegativity that many LGBQ adult survivors of bullying experience. I also intend to explore the possible interactions of the treatment between bullied and non-bullied LGBQ individuals, and between those individuals bullied for LGBQ-specific matters, vs. those bullied for non-LGBQ reasons.

What advice do I have for incoming students?

            Follow your heart. Continue to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” You will wear many hats in the program, so you must be careful not to let external motivators steer you. This is your life and career; so don’t forget to pave your own path. Most importantly…Take care of yourself! You’ve been accepted to the program. You are a smart person, and we all know it. There is no need to prove yourself to your peers. I suggest taking up a hobby, which will get you outside of the academic bubble. For me, I am working towards a black belt in the South Korean martial art, Hapkido. This not only keeps my body strong, but also provides me a diverse community of people. I also enjoy kickboxing, running (by our beautiful beach!), and a range of other fitness activities. Bottom line…get your body moving! And of course, have a glass of wine or two at Santa Barbara’s many wineries!

School Psychology Ph.D. Student
Sarah Babcock

School Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?
I received my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Education from University of California, Berkeley in 2008. Go bears! During my undergraduate years I was a research assistant in the sleep lab, where I would prepare and monitor overnight subjects for polysomnography as part of an effectiveness study for insomnia treatment. I served as a tutor/mentor and a college and financial aid advisor for East Bay Consortium, a California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP), founded to develop and improve educational opportunities for students in the East Bay. From 2009-2013, I have served as a mental health counselor at a board and care facility for adults with mental illnesses, a behavior therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, a teacher’s aid for Montessori schools, both a lower elementary classroom and a preschool. Finally, I served Goleta Union School District as an instructional aid for special education/severely handicapped students.

Why did I choose UCSB?
I was drawn to the combined aspect as well as the scientist-practitioner model. Although a school psychology student, I felt this program would supply me with a breadth of knowledge in both the clinical and counseling fields. The scientist-practitioner model was appealing as a means to increase my knowledge and skills in both applied/practical work as well as scholarship.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
As a first year student, my involvement in research is just beginning. In addition to coursework, currently I am involved in two projects at Isla Vista Elementary School under the supervision of my advisor, Shane Jimerson. One is an anti-bullying project called Promoting Positive Peer Relations (P3R), for which I implement a weekly curriculum, in partnership with a colleague, to a 5th grade classroom. The other is a project called Power of Play aimed at promoting prosocial peer relations through facilitating prosocial behaviors during recess. As part of my fieldwork, I assist in an English Language Learner classroom once per week, and I’m involved in a mentorship program for high school students at risk of drop out at San Marcos High School called Check, Connect, and Respect (CCR).

What advice do I have for incoming students in School Psychology?
Go easy on yourself! If you are accepted into the CCSP program, you have proven yourself. Many opportunities will come your way and many demands will be placed on you; you probably won’t be able to do it all perfectly. That’s okay. Do the best you can, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Schedule time for self-care. Try not to stress on the little things and focus on the big picture. Don’t forget to remind yourself why you’re here. You have a passion and you’re following it. Faculty, your cohort, and other students are great resources for support. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers; be open to the experience of exploring what interests you.

Amy Barrett
Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student
 
What is my background?
My passion for child clinical psychology and autism began while working as preschool teacher in Katy, Texas. I received my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012, where I gained experience in both developmental and clinical research. Following my undergraduate work, I spent two years as Manager of the Child Developmental Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University as well as working for a local service provider as a behavioral therapist to children on the Autism Spectrum in home, school, and community settings.
 
Why did I choose UCSB?
The Koegel Autism Center is initially what drew me to UCSB due to its esteemed reputation and high quality of research. Additionally, I was attracted to the program's scientist-practitioner model and focus on both research and clinical work. The combined-program structure has also provided me with knowledge and training in school and counseling psychology, incredibly valuable assets to my future career. Best of all, when speaking with faculty and graduate students, it is evident that everyone is passionate about their area of research and truly loves what they do!

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

Thus far, my time is split between classes, research, and clinical work. My clinical work entails assessment/diagnosing for the Koegel Autism Center Assessment Clinic as well as providing PRT therapy to clients diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

What advice do I have for incoming students?

You worked hard to get here, so take advantage of it! I truly believe how much you get out of your education is what you're willing to put in. Learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. This opportunity to be surrounded by such talented and passionate people is a blessing!
Jay Bettergarcia

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?

I am currently a 4th year counseling psychology student working with Dr. Tania Israel. I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with my B.S. in Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies in 2009. As an undergraduate, I was actively involved with with feminist and LGBTQ groups on campus. With help from the Pride Center I developed and coordinated a peer-counseling program for LGBTQ students. I hired and trained sixteen undergraduates to work with LGBTQ students on issues of identity, coming out, safer sex, and intersections of identities, such as religious affiliation and ethnic identity.

I decided that although I liked learning about therapy, what I really wanted to do was conduct research related to gender identity, transgender identity development, and LGBTQ communities. I went on to earn a Master's degree in Social Psychology from San Francisco State University where I had the opportunity to work on transgender and cisgender identity research. During this time, I got a job working with semi-independent adults with severe mental illness. I began to realize that although I loved research, I was missing the helping relationships and counseling components that I loved as an undergraduate. I found counseling psychology to be the perfect blend of social justice and diversity-focused applied research and clinical work.

Why did I choose UCSB?

I decided on UCSB's CCSP program because of the faculty and I found the perfect fit. I found an advisor whose research interest matched my own and I couldn't be happier with my decision. As I considered PhD programs in Counseling Psychology, I knew that I wanted diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice to be central to the research and clinical training I would receive. Not only does the program offer the course work, clinical training, and research experiences that I wanted, but the faculty, staff, and students have all been amazing as well. And it doesn't hurt that it is gorgeous-- the beaches, hiking trails, and weather are amazing!

What are my research projects like/What is a typical day like? 

My dissertation examines transgender participant’s perceptions of affirming and non-affirming interactions between a therapist and transgender client in a mock-therapy session. Using an analogue research design, I am investigating how perceptions of the quality of a therapeutic relationship depends on both the messages the therapists provides in the session and the transgender participants’ desire to physically transition or not transition.  

I also examine perceptions of community safety and how to optimally develop and implement diversity trainings that minimize resistance and maximize receptiveness. For example, in a series of three studies, I worked with Dr. Israel's research team to identify LGBTQ community members’ perceptions of personal safety and local police. We then utilized this data to develop a training about LGBTQ issues that was presented to all sworn local police officers. We studied the effectiveness of the training on participant’s knowledge, self-efficacy, and interpersonal comfort with LGBTQ people using a pre- and post-test design. I then led a qualitative analysis of the resistance and receptiveness of the police officers to the LGBTQ diversity training. This study provided a deeper understanding of the officers’ experiences in the LGBTQ training.

In terms of a "typical day", each week and year is really different. In my fourth year, I now spend most of my time working independently on research and traveling between campus and practicum sites. I spend approximately 15 hours seeing clients at a career counseling center and a community counseling center. I'm also taking one class, working on my dissertation, and recently applied for internship. 

 

What advice do I have for incoming students? 

Take breaks, make friends, and don't forget to breath. Graduate school is an amazing experience, but it can be challenging. We're pulled in different directions with courses, clinical work, research, and teaching. Manage your time, know that not everything can be done perfectly, and remember that everything works out in the end. Sometimes taking a step back to look at the bigger picture puts things into perspective. Figure out what really matters to you and what just needs to get done. Take care of yourself, find a good therapist, don't forget to live your life, and have fun within and outside of the department!

Katherine Carnazzo
School Psychology Ph.D. Student
 
What is my background?
I graduated from UC Davis with my BA in Political Science and History.  It was only after graduating that I found my true passion in education, and began to pursue education in both my academic and working life.  I taught for several years before returning to school to pursue my Masters in Education at Harvard University, studying cognitive neuroscience and education.  That program really fueled my interest in research in a field that I saw as always maintaining a strong connection between research and practice, School Psychology.

Why did I choose UCSB?
UCSB is lauded as one of the top School Psychology programs in the country, and it is easy to see why.  Our faculty are incredible scholars and mentors, passionate and devoted to the betterment of education and learning outcomes for all students.  Their work is inspiring, and it is a great honor and privilege to work with them. 
What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
I love the way we get to spend our days- it is a perfect mix of research and practice.  Now in my second year, I spend about 15 hours a week at a school site working alongside a licensed school psychologist.  On any one day, I likely spend the morning at my school site working with students, return to campus for classes and meetings, and in the evenings spend time on my research projects and coursework.  Some current projects involved working with schools to determine the best practices in universal screening for social emotional well being at all stages of development- elementary, middle and high school age students.   

 

 

Andrew Choi

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?
Education
HBS, University of Utah (Psychology, 2013)
HBS, University of Utah (Sociology, 2013)
 
Why did I choose UCSB?

The CCSP program at UCSB has many strengths. Multicultural considerations are a central focus throughout the program, driving our active synergy between engaging research and comprehensive clinical training. The combined nature provides an interdisciplinary diversity of research and clinical interests, allowing students a wide range of possibilities from which to construct their professional niche. And to be frank, the weather helps all of that.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

I am a doctoral student in the counseling psychology emphasis. My primary research interests focus on identity intersections (e.g., culture, race, sexuality), and the psychological mechanisms through which they are organized and influence mental health. I am specifically interested in the psychosocial antecedes that support resilience in contexts of multiple minority stress. 
 
Secondary research areas involve multicultural education and counseling, in particular the motivational and regulatory processes that underlie the development of multicultural awareness and competence. 
 
What advice do I have for incoming students in counseling psychology?

There are unlimited opportunities for student at CCSP as well as UCSB. I am happy to answer any questions regarding life in the program and campus overall. Please don't hesitate to contact me via achoi@education.ucsb.edu.

 
Taylor Damiani

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?

I grew up in Orange County, CA, graduated from Duke, and then moved to NYC, where I kicked off my employment as a dog-walker! Dog-walking was for the birds, so I became a 6th grade teacher and coach at an inner-city school in Brooklyn. I then worked with a team at NYU as a therapy intervention co-developer and facilitator for girls in the NYC Juvenile Justice System. 

Why did I choose UCSB?

Being passionate about positive psychology, my number one reason for coming here was to work with my advisor, Dr. Conoley, to explore and create interventions that can increase individual, family, and couple well-being. I was also very excited to have the opportunity to be close to my family again, who lives in LA.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

Research-wise, I will soon be working on a project looking at the mechanisms that predict grit. A typical day involves going to class, reading, writing, getting some exercise, and more reading.

What advice do I have for incoming students?

You're here to learn. Become comfortable making mistakes. Reach out to people. Start conversations. Ask for help. Try something new everyday.

Erin Engstrom

Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?

A true Gaucho at heart, I received my B.A. in Psychology, with minors in applied psychology and Speech & Hearing sciences at UCSB in 2013.  As an undergraduate, I worked in Dr. David Sherman’s social psychology lab examining climate change mitigation behavior and political decision-making. I also worked in Dr. Robert Koegel’s lab assisting with various research projects and serving as a peer mentor for a young adult with Asperger’s syndrome. In my senior year, spearheaded my own research project under the guidance of Dr. Koegel, in which I examined the effect of integrating social interaction into the interests of children with autism to increase their socialization. Because of these experiences, I passionately pursued a career in the field of autism intervention. Following graduation, I served as Clinic Coordinator and a student clinician at the UCSB Koegel Autism Center.

Why did I choose UCSB?

My main attraction lies in the combined aspect as well as the scientist-practitioner training. UCSB offers a hands-on, direct learning that is unmatched at many other campuses, and I felt UCSB and the Koegel Autism Center truly embraced their commitment to increasing access to opportunities for all children, families, and community members. More importantly, who can argue with the beautiful Santa Barbara weather?

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

I can’t say I really have a “typical” day, but often my time is split between classes, clinical work, and research.  With this lifestyle, I can say with confidence that I am never bored! Currently, my research interests include examining empathy expression in individuals with autism and further developing Pivotal Response Treatments for home, school and community settings. Specifically, I am interested in creating accessible resources through parent education and early identification for infants and toddlers at risk of an autism diagnosis.

What advice do I have for incoming students?

Keep in mind that you chose this path to better the lives of others, but that can only be done if you share that same compassion for yourself. Welcome mistakes as a chance for improvement, and ask for help when you need it. Remember that sometimes a Netflix binge is necessary!

Aileen Fullchange, M.A.

School Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?
I took a very circuitous path to school psychology. After an undergraduate degree in physics and a half a dozen odd jobs, including working in a Midwest carnival, I spent several years teaching middle school in Oakland, CA and then became a teaching coach. I decided to enter school psychology because I saw from the dozens of classrooms that I had been in that there was a need for schools to teach social-emotional skills in addition to academic skills, especially in the worst-performing school districts. I wanted to immerse myself in learning about social-emotional skills as they relate to schools, and I wanted my knowledge base to be broad, ranging from how to provide therapy for individual students and possibly even teachers to how to implement school-wide practices that promote students' and teachers' well-being. Because of these reasons, I started contemplating applying to graduate psychology programs.

Why did I choose UCSB?
Probably similar to everyone else who chose UCSB, CCSP's program was a good fit with my own interests. I am particularly interested in positive psychology and resilience, both of which are emphasized here. However, there were other reasons that really cinched the deal for me. Just as important to me as program fit was the observation that CCSP's faculty seemed happy, and I want to be immersed in an environment where people are passionate about what they do every day and model the mental health and well-being that this profession attempts to promote. An additional factor, which was really just icing on the cake, is that UCSB is right by the ocean, and I've always dreamed of living right by the coast and eventually learning to surf.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
I'm in my second year, so I have a minimum of 10 hours a week doing practicum-related activities at Santa Barbara High School, such as assessments, observations, report writing, consultation, individual counseling, and group counseling. Outside of these, I take 20+ units of coursework and am TA-ing an undergraduate Applied Psychology class. My research interest is empathy as it relates to resilience and the promotion of prosocial behaviors and well-being. I'm currently starting my second year project, which involves using an empathy-based intervention in order to decrease anger and aggression in 9th and 10th grade Special Ed students in a group counseling setting. A typical day is pretty long for me, but at the end of the day I am very fulfilled.

What advice do I have for incoming students in School Psychology?
1) Really find out what you are passionate about and pursue it.
2) Be determined to take care of yourself and find a work-life balance. Be a model of psychological health.
3) Be in therapy yourself! Practice what you preach.

Kayleigh Hunnicutt

School Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?

I graduated from California Lutheran University in 2007 with a B.S. in Psychology, after which I immediately enrolled into a PsyD program. I had little opportunity to be involved in research as an undergraduate student, and as such had underestimated the value I would later place on research as I conceptualized my role as a practitioner. I decided to leave the PsyD program in order to pursue a PhD, where I could combine a desire for training in both research and practice in psychology. While I embarked on that long journey, I obtained a job as an assistant manager of a social rehabilitation facility for individuals with mental illnesses. After a couple of years, I enrolled at California State University Northridge, where I obtained my M.A. in Experimental Psychology. During my Master’s program I served as an RA for two labs and was involved in a wide variety of research projects. I also obtained a position as a Research Assistant for Ventura County Health Care Agency, where I assisted with and conducted evaluations on multiple county programs and projects.

Why did I choose UCSB?

UCSB was a natural choice for my research and practice interests. I am primarily interested in working with and researching aspects of at-risk youth and related interventions, and many faculty members in the School Psychology emphasis focus on these topics within their own work. The combined program also allows for cross-study of related clinical interests that may apply to these at-risk youth populations. Furthermore, upon visiting the CCSP program it became very obvious that: (1) the students and faculty alike were passionate and excited about their research and practice ventures; and (2) the program fostered an atmosphere of cohesiveness and warmth. Both of these were aspects of the program that I valued highly.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

Some days are all classes, school site work, research, or a little bit of all. On average, I spend approximately:  20 hours a week in class; 20 hours a week on homework; 10 hours a week at my school site; and 10-20 hours a week doing research. It is definitely a lot of work, but it’s extremely do-able. (These hourly commitments also change depending on what year you are in the program.)

Within research, I primarily work on a grant that my advisor has with Santa Barbara County Probation department, evaluating outcomes for adult offenders in the local community and in the local Drug Court programs. We also have new and exciting grants coming up that involve at-risk youth and youth already involved in the criminal justice system. In addition, I am in the midst of preparing my qualifying papers as part of the requirements for 2nd year students.

What advice do I have for incoming students in School Psychology?

Be prepared to do the work, but also make sure that you make time to take care of yourself and your personal relationships. Basically, hone your time management skills J This program is rich with opportunities, so take what you would like from it, don’t be scared to put yourself out there, and advocate for yourself if there is something more that you need. At the same time, don’t think you have to take on everything. Cultivate relationships with those in the program with you; they are the best people to connect with, they understand what you are going through, and it will make the program that much easier. Lastly, and most importantly, HAVE FUN! There are many truly amazing experiences that you will have in this program, so cherish them for what they are.

 

Lindsey Liles

Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my Background?

I was born and raised in Austin, TX. I earned my MA Degree from the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. My lifelong interest and involvement in sports let me to pursue a career in Sport Psychology.  

Why did I choose UCSB? 

UCSB felt like a good fit and provided me with the opportunity to pursue my personal research interests. 

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

I'm currently working on a few projects related to Sport Psychology, Mental Toughness, and Athletic Identity Development. I'd like to expand this to include Athletic Injury and Transitions From Sport. Additionally, I work in Dr. Cosden's lab with Veterans Treatment Court.

What advice do I have for incoming students in School Psychology?
 Self-Care. Find things you like to do outside of school. You live on the beach, enjoy it!

Sabrina Liu
Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student
 
What is my background? 
I am a Boston native who graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in clinical psychology. After college, I worked as the clinical research coordinator for the Harvard Study of Adult Development for a couple of years, after which I moved to India to work with Sangath, a mental health research NGO, on a number of youth-focused community-based projects. My research experiences, combined with a number of opportunities I had to tutor, mentor, and counsel youth in the Boston area and abroad during a semester in Cape Town, South Africa, have inspired my research and clinical interests in resilience in at-risk youth, community-based prevention and intervention, and cross-cultural psychology.


Why did I choose UCSB?
In addition to providing a supportive atmosphere, a beautiful setting, and great facilities, UCSB offers a multitude of clinical and research opportunities aligned with my own. Also, UCSB is the only combined program of it’s kind. Therefore, it offers an amazing opportunity to learn from faculty and other students across the disciplines of clinical, counseling, and school psychology. For someone like myself whose interests span all of these areas, this is an invaluable learning and training opportunity. 


What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
I’m just beginning my time here, so there is no “typical day” yet! I know that my time will be a mix of working on research with my advisor, Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating, classwork, clinical education and practice, and working as an assessment specialist at a local community clinic for youth and families. 


What advice do I have for incoming students?
Everyone is different, so there is no set of advice or rules that will work for everyone on this journey. We all need to figure out what works for us, but we don’t need to do it alone! Utilize your peers and faculty for guidance support in this process.
Jasmin Llamas
Jasmin Llamas, M.A.

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?
I received my B.S. in combined sciences and psychology from Santa Clara University in 2006. I received my M.A. in counseling psychology with a Latino emphasis at Santa Clara University in 2009. During my undergraduate years I was a research assistant on several projects and worked in juvenile hall my senior year of college. I served as a grant coordinator for a state funded bullying prevention grant in low-income high schools. From 2005-2009 I worked full-time as a data analyst and research associate in the Data Analysis and Evaluation unit of Santa Clara County, Department of Alcohol and Drug Services.

Why did I choose UCSB?
A unique part of the program that was of particular appeal, was the combined aspect as well as the multicultural focus. Although a counseling student, I felt this program would supply me with a breadth of knowledge in both the clinical and school fields. Having a Latino emphasis in my master's program, I was interested in finding another program that was as dedicated to underserved populations. I was also interested in the opportunity to develop both my qualitative and quantitative skills.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
As a counseling psychology student, I spend on average 15-20 hours a week at a counseling site (currently I am at the psychiatric unit at Cottage Hospital) and work on research projects for approximately 10-15 hours per week. At Cottage Hospital, I work with nurses, social workers, and psychiatrists, conducting assessments and group therapy. Having entered with my masters, I have taken 4 courses a quarter and will also be working towards another masters in Research Methodology. I meet with my advisor, Dr. Melissa Morgan weekly to prepare for comprehensive exams and work on research projects.

What advice do I have for incoming students in Counseling Psychology?
Try not to stress on the little things and focus on the big picture. Faculty is there to help; be open to asking questions and exploring various aspects of the field. You don't have to have all the answers; you don't have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life, but be willing to explore the many opportunities that come your way. Lastly, there will be MANY opportunities; you cannot possibly do it all! Do what you can, but know your limits and pick and choose wisely.

Charlene Mangi

School Psychology M.Ed. Student

What is my background?
After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BS in Biology, I joined the 2008 Teach for America Bay Area Corps and taught middle and high school science at an Aspire Public Schools charter school. I taught 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th graders for two years, and in this time felt that although I loved working in education, teaching wasn't the right role for me.

Why did I choose UCSB?
After several more roles in education, I decided to apply for graduate school in school psychology, but wanted a program that would allow me to strongly develop my counseling skills, and get a well rounded education, routed in research. This led me to UCSB CCSP program.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
I research behavioral interventions, and on a daily basis, spend several hours at my school site, as well as in classes.

 

 

Ashley Mayworm
Ashley Mayworm

School Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?
Before coming to UCSB I earned my undergraduate degree in psychology and peace studies from the University of Notre Dame. While an undergrad, I worked as a research assistant in several psychology research labs and was also very involved in service-related clubs and organizations where I gained experience working with youth in a residential treatment center, tutoring children living in a homeless shelter, implementing an evidence-based intervention with children with ADHD and autism, and working for a domestic and sexual violence hotline. I also studied abroad in Uganda, where I worked with children who were living on the street and helped reconnect them with their families and schooling. After I graduated I worked as a research assistant at the Family Studies Center at Notre Dame where I was involved in research projects that focused on the impact of community and family conflict (in Northern Ireland and the U.S.) on child development.

Why did I choose UCSB?
I chose UCSB for three main reasons. First, the fit between my research interests and that of my primary advisor, Jill Sharkey, are highly aligned. I was very excited about the research Dr. Sharkey was working on at the time of my interview and continue to be invested in the research we conduct. Secondly, I was impressed by the reputation of the school psychology program; it is continuously recognized as a top training program in school psychology and the professors here are very productive and accomplished. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, after my interview at UCSB I was struck by the positive, warm feeling of the faculty and students. It just seemed like a great place to learn (and it has been)!

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
I am in my fourth year, so a typical day for me now is much different than it was in my first two years (much less coursework and much more research). Currently, I am working on preparing my dissertation proposal, so I spend a great deal of my time reading and writing, as well as discussing dissertation ideas with my dissertation committee members. I spend one day a week working as a mental health extern in a day treatment program for children with emotional disabilities at a local high school. I also supervise 15 UCSB undergraduate students who are serving as Check, Connect, and Respect mentors at another high school; I provide group supervision, ensure that data is being collected and entered correctly, coordinate with the high school administrators and staff, and analyze and report findings of the evaluation of the program. I am also employed as a GSR and work on two grants that involve the evaluation of local Probation programs. In addition, I conduct research with Dr. Sharkey’s research lab, where we are engaged in a wide variety of projects including those focused on youth gang involvement, school discipline, student engagement, bullying, and evaluation of various local probation programs.

What advice do I have for incoming students in School Psychology?
Take advantage of every opportunity. Learn as much as you can. Build positive relationships with faculty and students. If you are unhappy, be proactive and try to make a positive change. Never lose sight of the reasons you became interested in the field to begin with. Make time to have fun and enjoy the weather!!

 

Stephanie Moore

School Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?
I received my B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2013. While at UCLA, I collaborated with Dr. Howard Adelman in the Center for Mental Health and Schools on various projects to develop informational resources for practitioners interfacing with children and families. I also worked with Dr. Bruce Chorpita in the Child FIRST (Focus on Innovation and Redesign in Systems and Treatment) lab on a randomized control trial testing the effectiveness of a flexible, modular evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents with psychopathology. These research experiences as well as my school-based work with elementary aged children helped me to direct my passion for promoting children’s thriving toward the field of school psychology, specifically, working toward universal efforts to prevent risk and promote resilience and personal strengths in our nation’s youth.

Why did I choose UCSB?
I distinctly recall falling in love with CCSP at interview/recruitment day. Although the research programs and foci of the school psychology faculty at UCSB initially attracted me to CCSP at UCSB, interacting with faculty and current students, learning more about the supportive and collaborative nature of the program, and the many opportunities to engage in a variety of applied research opportunities, aligned with my own interests and goals, solidified my intention to attend this program. Everything I fell in love with about CCSP on that day two years ago has only enhanced my experience in this program: faculty are incredible supportive, their work is inspirational, and I am honored to be surrounded by these brilliant minds (students, staff, and faculty alike).

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
As a second year student in the program, I divide my time between research, practice, and course work. Each week, I spend between 10 to 15 hours at a school site working alongside a licensed school psychologist. The remainder of my time is split between course work and various research projects, whether they are my own, those with my research team, or as part of my Graduate Student Researcher appointment. Current research projects involve working on a program evaluation for First 5 Santa Barbara County as well as working with schools to coordinate universal screening and follow-up interventions.

I’m currently developing my second year research project and am broadly interested in the intersection of risk and resilience in the context of school-based prevention and early identification and intervention. Specifically, I am interested in supporting students through school-wide, universal efforts to address risk while also promoting strengths and positive development as part of multi-tiered systems of support. I am also interested in understanding the developmental trajectories of risk and resilience, as well as their interaction, and in designing and evaluating interventions that can foster positive growth and development.
 

What advice do I have for incoming students?

Opportunities abound in this program! Seize as many as you can do well. Remember to take care of yourself, seek support in your peers and faculty, and take advantage of what Santa Barbara has to offer.

Anahita Navab
Anahita Navab

Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?
I received my B.A. from UCLA in Psychology in 2010, where I began my research on early identification of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). From 2010-2012, I began my exploration of early intervention for individuals with ASD, which I began to passionately pursue in conjunction with intervention research.

Why did I choose UCSB?
I could not imagine a program that would better capture the interplay of research and clinical practice through the lens of the scientist-practitioner model. I have always felt that this stance was especially embraced by the Koegel Autism Center and have been lucky enough to pursue this multi-faceted approach to intervention research for individuals with ASD through this work at KAC.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
My research projects grow directly from the problems and solutions we find to be noteworthy through intervention practice on a day to day basis. A typical day involves frequent "costume changes" as I like to call them, bouncing from role to role as researcher, clinician, assessment specialist, and student all in the course of a few hours. It is this dynamic movement between various domains of clinical psychology that keeps the practice exciting and fresh, never with a dull moment.

What advice do I have for incoming students in Counseling Psychology?
Keep a playful and mindful attitude about this process, always remembering to take mini-breaks so that the work stays fresh and uplifting. Remember, we are doing this for ourselves, so why not make it FUN!

Mercedes Fernandez Oromendia

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?

I completed part of my formal schooling in the US, and part in Argentina (with a stint in Brazil through a study abroad program). I graduated from the University of MN, Twin Cities with a degree in Psychology, and served in a middle school in South LA with AmeriCorps. This experience cemented my passion to work with Latinos, and led me to choose a program with a strong multicultural emphasis. 

 
As an undergrad, I worked with children with autism for 4 years, and was active in two research labs. The research experience helped me know what I liked (and didn't like) about labs and aided me in applying and making the final choice on a graduate program. 


Why did I choose UCSB?

I was drawn to our multicultural emphasis as well as our human focus. Faculty works hard to foster a sense of companionship and collaboration among faculty, staff and students. I also liked that it is located in California, where there is a large Latino population and I felt I could not only conduct research with the population that I am interested, but also gain clinical experience with Latinos. 


What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

I am interested in a strength based approach to Latino mental health and in bicultural identity development for immigrants. The beauty of a psychology PhD program is that there is no typical day! I do research, see clients, teach, go to class and go to supervision all in a given week. I have many different projects and wear many different hats, so Google calendars has become my best friend. I try to end my day by doing something not related to grad school, in order to keep a clear head and work-life balance, and it is easy to find fun things to do in SB!


What advice do I have for incoming students?
I would encourage you to ask as many questions as you want and know that there are really no dumb questions (just make sure you read the website first, so you don't ask something that is written somewhere). Also, make sure you think about what you wan't from a program. Each one is different and caters to different students, talk to current students, see what they like and what they don't like, and then really listen to what feels right to you. Lastly... enjoy the process!  
 
Rebecca Parker

School Psychology M.Ed. Student

What is my background?
I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for my undergraduate degree in Psychology with a Spanish minor. I had the opportunity to work in a lab that evaluated the effectiveness of a community mental health initiative, and another that studied family, culture, and mental health. In addition, I was an advocate for an adolescent female with juvenile justice involvement, and answered calls as a volunteer crisis line clinician. I love working with children, so I volunteered at local schools and worked as a nanny as well.

Why did I choose UCSB?
I knew that I wanted to go to a school that integrated research experience and applied experience, and UCSB offers both. I found that my research interests closely match with those of my advisor, Dr. Jill Sharkey. When I visited UCSB, I noticed the positive, collaborative atmosphere of the faculty and the current students, and knew that I would learn a lot and become a successful professional after completing the program.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
As a first year school psychology student, my days consist of attending class, working in my research lab, and going to an elementary school for 3 hours a week to volunteer and gain experience working with students and teachers. It is very busy but the work is meaningful and interesting!

What advice do I have for incoming students in school psychology?
Take advantage of all the opportunities that UCSB has to offer, and be flexible and open-minded about which projects you take on. It is also important to take a little bit of time for yourself and explore Santa Barbara!

 

 

Ana Romero
Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student

 

What is my background?

Originally from the Bay Areas, I graduated in 2011 with a B.S in Psychology from Santa Clara University. During my undergraduate years, I was part of a research team that investigated the link between academic motivation and cultural identity among Latino students. In 2014, I received a M.A. in Counseling and Guidance from Loyola Marymount University. There, I worked as a graduate assistant for the McNair Scholars Program and interned at the First to Go program. After presenting a paper on mixed status families at the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Conference, I realized that there was limited research on the mental health needs of the undocumented community. This inspired me to pursue a doctorate in counseling psychology. 

 

Why did I choose UCSB?

There were many reasons that factored into my decision to attend UCSB, but the main reason was the multicultural focus. In addition, I felt that this program placed an importance on creating research that could address social justice issues. 

 

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

So far, my typical day is a mix of courses, working on projects with my advisor, Dr. Andrés Consoli, working on campus at the Non-Traditional Student Resource Center, and spontaneous coffee runs to Starbucks. 

 

What advice do I have for incoming students?

You are not alone on this journey. Faculty, your peers, and mentors are all there to support you.

 

Matthew Ruderman, B.A.
Matthew Ruderman, B.A.

School Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?
The appeal of school psychology stems predominantly from my background in working with children. I attended Chapman University in Orange, CA for my undergraduate studies. In addition to majoring in psychology, my previous experiences as a camp counselor, working and interning at a preschool, volunteering at a children’s hospital, tutoring students at the college level, and teaching after school enrichment programs to elementary school students had given me a keen insight into what it takes to work effectively with children and families. Initially, the task of finding a graduate program suited for me was a difficult one. The only certainty was that whichever path I chose, I knew I wanted to make a difference. When starting the application process, I was struggling to make a decision between the dictates of my mind and the dictates of my heart. My mind, logical and analytical in nature, was pushing me toward the harder and applied sciences. Conversely, my heart was telling me to pursue a career encompassing my passion and talents; working with children. School psychology is a synthesis of the two.

Why did I choose UCSB?
The weather! In reality, the immediate appeal of the program was its combined nature and scientist-practitioner model; training across counseling, clinical, and school psychology separates this program from many others around the country. Similarly, the prestige of the program made me confident that I would leave here prepared to help children regardless of the career path I chose. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the CCSP community was warm and welcoming.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
Currently, my research project examines how protective factors (i.e., school connectedness, hope, empathy, and/or self-efficacy) vary among individuals perceived to be in the bullying process. Additionally, I have had opportunities to work on several other projects within my lab (including articles and book chapters), as well as become involved with research projects conducted by other faculty. My research has also afforded me the opportunities to work with students, parents, and teachers, as well as make several paper and poster presentations at state and national conferences. As a school psychology student, I spend on average 10-15 hours a week working in the schools. A typical day at a site included assessment (e.g., cognitive, behavioral), brief solution-focused counseling, consultation with teachers, and report writing. For the first two years, weeks are typically full with classes, practicum, and research (and Tupperware lunches!). Currently, I am primarily focused on research and preparing for my comprehensive exams.

What advice do I have for incoming students in school psychology?
1) Remind yourself why you are here... It can be easy to lose sight of this amidst the chaos.
2) Every little thing counts. Whether it is teaching a preschooler how to write his or her name or helping a college student who is struggling with school, it is extremely gratifying to know that you are making a positive difference in a child’s life.
3) Lean on your friends and don't be afraid to ask for help (cue Lean on Me by Bill Withers).
4) Breathe.. Laugh. Somehow, everything gets done. THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

Shahrokh (Reza) Shahroozi
School Psychology Ph.D. Student
 
What is my background?
I received my B.A. in Psychology from UC Irvine in 2006. I received my M.A. in Educational Psychology and PPS Credential in School Psychology from California State University, Long Beach.  As an undergraduate,  I was a Behavior Specialist at the UC Irvine Child Development Center, which specializes in the treatment of youth with ADHD and related learning and behavioral disorders.  During my masters program, I served as a school psychologist intern to both the Laguna Beach and Newport-Mesa Unified School Districts.  After serving as Mental Health Specialist to the Santa Barbara County Office of Education, I am currently on an APA-accredited internship at St. John's Child and Family Development Center.
 
Joshua Sheltzer

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?

I’m a first year counseling psychology student working with Dr. Andrés Consoli. I received my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Music from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. During my undergraduate years, I worked in a lab studying relative numerosity in squirrels. This subject has close to no relation to my current interests, but it did teach me valuable research skills and came with the perk of frequently being around cute fuzzy animals. After Berkeley, I moved back home to the central valley of California where I worked at Tulare Youth Service Bureau, a clinic designed to serve the underprivileged youth population of Tulare County. Here, I gained invaluable experience working with children and their families in a clinical setting, which exposed me to challenges and important questions I hope to explore in graduate school.

Why did I choose UCSB?

Besides of course the breathtaking waterfront location, warm breezy weather, and extreme mountain biking, the prospect of attending this program at UCSB excited me for three main reasons. First, the scientist-practitioner model provides the unique opportunity to experience research and practice, both of which are important to me. Second, the combined aspect of the program allows a wide breadth of knowledge across fields. Third, the faculty members are top-notch and focus on important and fascinating topics.

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?

As a first year, my academic weekly schedule includes classes three to four days a week, reading and writing for classes 10-15 hours a week, working at the Hosford clinic front desk one day a week, and working on research projects a few hours a week. I also make time to play saxophone in a jazz combo, mountain bike, and go to the beach. Time management, time management, time management.

Regarding current projects, I am working with Dr. Andrés Consoli to edit a Comprehensive Textbook of Psychotherapy, submit an encyclopedia article on Personalismo, and begin working on a project concerning access and utilization of mental health services.

What advice do I have for incoming students?

Make sure to manage your time well. This means making time to do work, but it also means making time to play. Maintaining a healthy balance when you begin a new routine isn’t always an easy task, so take advantage of the wonderful location and find something that is relaxing for you. For me, it’s trips to the beach, mountain biking, and watching hockey. On the flip side, to manage my workload I schedule time to read, write, and think in a location with minimal distractions. I also try to tackle overwhelming amounts of work in smaller chunks to make it more manageable.

Alexis Stanley-Olson
Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student
 
What is my background?
My Bachelor's degree is from UCSB in Psychology, with a minor in Applied Psychology.  
 
Why did I choose UCSB?
I chose UCSB because of an opportunity to be exposed to clinical, school, and counseling psychology within an applied setting, as well as the stellar location.  
 
What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
My research focuses on the mind-body connection, performance psychology, and process research.  
 
What advice do I have for incoming students in school psychology?
A typical day could include bright and early clinic meeting, followed by classes, some time spent on research, and wrap up providing a couple sessions of psychotherapy.  I would suggest to anyone entering the program to keep an eye out for opportunities to collaborate on research, even (especially) when it seems a bit outside your zone of interest.  
 
Avery Voos

Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student

What is my background?
I am an east coast transplant! I received my B.A. in Psychology from Wake Forest University with a minor in Communication in 2009. After my undergraduate work, I spent three years working in the Child Neuroscience Laboratory in the Autism Program at the Yale Child Study Center.

Why did I choose UCSB?

I chose UCSB because it houses a world-renowned Autism Center, where I wanted the opportunity to work and learn. In addition, the location was killer!

What are my research projects like/what is a typical day like?
I am interested in using fMRI to investigate the underlying neural mechanisms of positive behavioral change in young children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) after receiving pivotal response treatment (PRT). More generally, I am interested in taking a multidisciplinary approach to the study of social perception and early intervention in autism. Currently I am working on a grant I received from Autism Speaks to explore the effects of PRT in the brain in young children with ASD.

I might say there is no such thing as a typical day…part of what I think makes graduate school so fun! But generally speaking, I like to start the day with a run or some yoga. The morning might consist of doing some research, answering emails and working on comprehensive exams (sub in classes if I was speaking about my first or second year). I tend to see clients in the evening- something you should be prepared for if you are interested in working with school aged children! The evening might be spent writing case notes or working on papers and then finished up by cooking up a hearty dinner.

What advice do I have for incoming students?

Someone once told me “time expands to the time allotted.” And I think it really is true! If you decide coming into the program that you will be working 80+ hour weeks, then you definitely can fill up that time with work. If you decide that you want to keep a more balanced life, I think that it is possible but something you need to decide on from the beginning.

*Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation