Student Perspectives

 
Todd Avellar

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.

Katherine Carnazzo
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.   

 

 

Aileen Chang, 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.

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.

 
Erin Engstrom

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!

Kayleigh Hunnicutt

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.

 

Sabrina Liu
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!!

 

Anahita Navab
Anahita Navab

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

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!

 

 

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
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.
 
Alexis Stanley-Olson
Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student
 
My Bachelor's degree is from UCSB in Psychology, with a minor in Applied Psychology.  
 
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.  
 
My research focuses on the mind-body connection, performance psychology, and process research.  
 
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.  
 

*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