Melissa Janson named the recipient of the CCSP Alumni Fellowship, the James Hong Memorial Fellowship, and the Gale and Richard Morrison Fellowship

Monday, May 3, 2021
Richard and Gale Morrison with Melissa Janson

Richard and Gale Morrison with Melissa Janson

Melissa Janson has been named the recipient of the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology (CCSP) Alumni Fellowship, the James Hong Memorial Fellowship, and the Gale and Richard Morrison Fellowship.

Generously funded by alumni, the purpose of the CCSP Alumni Fellowship is to support deserving graduate students who show great academic promise and excellence in the areas of research and teaching, respectively.

The James Hong Memorial Fellowship was established to honor James’s life and to memorialize his lasting contributions to the UC Santa Barbara community. The fellowship supports research in at-risk youth and school violence with the goal of helping to prevent violence and promote safety, as requested by James’s family.

The Gale and Richard Morrison Fellowship is awarded from an endowed fund to recruit top applicants to the Gevirtz School to pursue a Ph.D. or support deserving students who have advanced to Ph.D. candidacy and are working on their dissertations. Recipients must be admitted into a Ph.D. program in GGSE and have demonstrated academic excellence in current or previous academic endeavors.

“It means a lot to be recognized for my research endeavors and involvements at the university,” Janson says. “I have been working on two main studies relating to COVID-19. With Daniel Del Cid and Dr. Sharkey, we have been assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on grocery store workers’ mental health in the Southern California area. The other project is a longitudinal study examining how pre-pandemic factors influence pandemic mental health in disaster-exposed young adults in the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, advised by Dr. Felix. My hope is to identify risk factors and increase support for vulnerable groups during this pandemic. I am passionate about continuing to do disaster mental health research and could not do this work without the support of Dr. Felix and Dr. Sharkey. Directing my attention to this work has helped me to cope during this difficult time!”

Melissa Janson is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology emphasis under the mentorship of Dr. Erika Felix. She received her BA in psychology from UC Berkeley in 2013. Melissa previously worked as a research assistant at the RAND Corporation interviewing military families for a study on resiliency during periods of deployment. She also coordinated a study at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology which sought to identify biopsychosocial risk factors and predictors of persistent, debilitating fatigue in breast cancer patients. Melissa conducted STRAIN (Stress and Adversity Inventory) interviews with breast cancer patients, which led to her interest in the impact of adverse life events and trauma on well-being. Her current research interests include identifying and promoting resiliency and recovery processes in diverse, understudied youth, young adults, and families. She is studying resiliency within the context of collectively experienced traumas like natural disasters, mass violence, and COVID-19.

[Melissa Janson is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at]