Samira Amirazizi, Ali Muller, and Chongzheng Wei—Ph.D. students at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education—are the 2023 recipients of the Gale and Richard Morrison Fellowship. Established by Gevirtz School Professor and Dean Emeritus, Gale Morrison, and her husband, Richard Morrison (UCSB, ’69), this fellowship is awarded to recruit top applicants to Ph.D. programs in the Gevirtz School, or to deserving Gevirtz students who have advanced to Ph.D. candidacy and are working on their dissertations. This year’s recipients fall in the latter category: Amirazizi and Wei are students in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, while Muller is in the Department of Education.
Samira Amirazizi is a third-year doctoral student with an emphasis in School Psychology working with Dr. Erin Dowdy. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Chapman University. Before coming to UCSB, Samira worked for Children's Bureau in their school readiness program conducting positive parenting interventions, developmental screenings, and case management services. Her research interests include the implementation of universal mental-health based screenings in schools for early identification, intervention, and prevention. She also has interests in early childhood mental health, culturally informed parent interventions, and trauma-informed school practices.
Ali Muller is a fifth-year Ed. doctoral student working with Dr. Danielle Harlow. She received her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in 2017. For the past 9 years, she has worked with informal science institutions, including The Chandler Museum, Tucson Children's Museum and Biosphere 2. Currently, her research interests are facilitator training and curriculum development within informal science environments as well as Research-Practice Partnerships to benefit the local community.
Chongzheng Wei is a fourth-year doctoral student with an emphasis in Counseling Psychology working with Dr. Tania Israel. He received an M.Ed. in Education with a concentration in sexuality education and counseling, from Beijing Normal University, and a B.S. in Applied Psychology from Nanchang University in China. His strong commitment to counseling psychology and social justice started by serving prisoners, underresourced migrant children, and LGBTQ individuals in China. Previously, he was sponsored by the Chinese government to work at both UNESCO headquarters in Paris and Asia-Pacific regional office in Bangkok, promoting gender equality and LGBT- inclusion in the education sector. Chongzheng speaks Mandarin, English, and intermediate French, and his research centers around addressing minority stress and mental health disparities facing the LGBTQ community.
Dr. Morrison, one of the generous sponsors of this fellowship, worked in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from 1980 to 2014. She served as the Acting Dean of the Gevirtz School from January-August 2005 and January-August 2013. During her illustrious UCSB career, she served as Chair of the Graduate Council, Director of the Research Office in the Graduate School of Education, President of School Psychology Educators of California, and Newsletter editor for the American Educational Research Association Division of Counseling and Development, among other appointments. Her research focused on suspension/expulsion disciplinary processes as they affect special education students, resiliency among the same demographic, as well as work on school safety and violence. In 1998, the UC Riverside Alumni Association honored her with a Public Service Award.