Samira Amirazizi and Chava Nerenberg awarded 2022 Graduate Division Dissertation Fellowships

Thursday, July 14, 2022
Samira Amirazizi and Chava Nerenberg

Samira Amirazizi and Chava Nerenberg of the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at the Gevirtz School were awarded 2022 UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division Dissertation Fellowships. This Fellowship is a one-quarter award intended for doctoral students from all academic disciplines who have advanced to candidacy and who are in the final stages of completing their dissertation. Financial need is a critical component. The Dissertation Fellowship is intended to free the awardee from TA or non-academic employment obligations, enabling full attention to dissertation writing. Students receiving this award are not allowed to have student employment during the quarter in which they receive the Dissertation Fellowship. Students who have not had regular support, such as GSR positions, for dissertation research will be given priority. This is a one-time, non-renewable award and is expected to be the final award before the degree is conferred.

Amirazizi is a 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. Samira also has interests in early childhood mental health, culturally informed parent interventions, and trauma-informed school practices.

Chava Nerenberg is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology working with Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating. Chava holds a B.A. from Cornell University in Government and Asian Studies, an M.S. from American University in International Development Management, and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Before beginning her Ph.D., Chava worked for more than a decade as an international aid worker, providing food aid, psychosocial support, and community programming to vulnerable populations in ten countries. Most recently she served as the program manager for a randomized controlled trial evaluating different approaches to building resilience among Congolese refugees. Chava’s research focuses broadly on trauma and resilience. She is particularly interested in vicarious trauma, mental health care for aid workers and first responders, and therapeutic approaches for treating trauma among multicultural populations.

[The fellows are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at]