Saman Mohseni is a third year student in the Family and Couples Emphasis and has been a teaching assistant for Statistics the past two years. He will be starting his practicum placement in the fall at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), where he is looking forward to gaining more experience and building his research on methods that staff members find lead to success in terms of learning with Autism. He will mainly be focusing on assessment with these kids through IQ testing. Saman finds the Clinical PhD program to be unique compared to others due to the willingness students have to collaborate. He considers it refreshing to not have to deal with competition between peers. This helps to improve his learning experience as well as the relationship and network he is building with fellow students. During his first year Cultural Immersion Project, he was randomly paired up with a classmate with whom he had to spend a day experiencing his culture. From this project Saman made a best friend and learned a valuable lesson about the way assignments should be viewed. He encourages new CSPP students to not just focus on the grade but to experience and grow from the assignments given.
Chelsie E. Dunn, MPH, is a second-year student in the Health Emphasis in the PhD Clinical Psychology program. She is an Executive Board Member of the Association of Black Psychologist (ABPsi) SC, is involved in CPAGS committees (Diveristy and Social Taskforce) and has served as the Student Representative for APA Div. 45 Club – CSPP LA. The LA PhD program has helped Chelsie with her research and practical skills. Through her course work and research team, she has been able to increase her knowledge in areas of interests such as cultural consonance and differences, ethnic minority youth sexuality, mental health disparities and integrating psychology into the healthcare system. The relationships she has developed in the program community have become a fundamental part of her professional development. The faculty has been dedicated to the success and long-term outcome of the university and the student’s growth. Chelsie’s long-term goal is to assist in the development of culturally competent prevention and intervention programs for underserved populations.
Tara DeLuco is a second year student in the Health Psychology emphasis. She has a MA degree in School Psychology and currently works for the LAUSD charter school system while attending CSPP. The LA PhD program has helped Tara to strengthen her research skills and is currently completing a research practicum where she will be developing a “Behavioral Health Vital Signs Screener”. Tara will also be using the development of this tool as her dissertation topic. She loves the fact that her professors want her to truly understand and apply the material from the program. The professors are not afraid to connect with their students and provide them with opportunities within the school and community to grow. Coming from out of state, Tara was thrilled to be involved with professors that truly care about their students and foster positive relationships among them. Having already earned a MA in school psychology, Tara was unsure of how she would be able to apply this background to the CSPP program. When a professor found out what her current job was, Tara was asked to give a presentation to second year students on the importance of collaboration within the field of psychology as a whole. Tara’s future goals are to eventually work in a clinical setting with children and families that have serious medical conditions as well as continue research on the integration of mental and psychical health.
John Dandurand, third-year student working at AEGIS medical systems doing substance abuse work, is interested in therapeutic interventions with gay males, and just finished his research practicum. His research practicum project was looking to validate an inexpensive skin conductance assessment device using off the shelf hardware. The results indicate that the device he used (based on the Arduino, a commercially available and inexpensive microcontroller) can detect expected physiological events. John is amazed by the faculty and staff availability to students on his campus.
Shannen Vong is a third-year student in the Multicultural Community Clinical Psychology Emphasis. She received a policy fellowship doing a 10-week summer policy internship with SAMHSA via the APA Minority Fellowship Program and will be starting her clinical practicum at Rio Hondo Community College in the fall. Shannen's research interests are in the area of coping (adaptive/maladaptive coping strategies), perceived stress, and racial identity among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). She hopes to continue research in this area so she can help develop culturally appropriate interventions (toolkit) for AAPIs and other underserved populations. She recently completed a research practicum project examining coping strategies, perceived stress, and psychological well-being among Asians/Asian Americans using racial identity model as the overarching framework.
Katelyn Evans Lehman, is a fourth-year student in the Multicultural Community Clinical Psychology Emphasis, received the Certificate in Latin American Family Therapy, served as Secretary of the Student Government Association (SGA) in 2012-2013, and volunteered at Ejercito de Salvacion de Mexico in 2012. Her dissertation explores how young adults make meaning of their emotions relating to global environmental problems. She completed a practicum at the Saban Free Clinic and a certificate training for Mental Health in Complex Emergencies offered through Fordham University and International Medical Corps. Katelyn presented at APA in 2012 with Dr. Elaine Burke, Dr. Jason Platt, Dr. Huston-Armstrong, and Holly Gartler on Becoming an International Psychologist & Transcultural Education. The most valuable lessons she has learned in the Clinical PhD program have come from her interactions with fellow students, faculty, and staff. In her own words: "Learning comes in all shapes and sizes at Alliant, but the relationships I have developed over the past four years have been an integral part of my personal and professional development. Additionally, the emphasis on diversity training as well as our program's commitment to furthering independent student research make this program truly special."
Sheena Turner, fourth-year student in the Multicultural Community Clinical Psychology Emphasis, is interested in diversity-focused education in psychology. An experiences presenter, she took an Introduction to Teaching Psychology course at CSPP and obtained a coveted spot as an adjunct instructor in Pepperdine University's undergraduate program and Azusa Pacific University's Graduate Program (Masters in Clinical Psychology, MFT), where she has taught cross cultural, social psychology and family therapy. Sheena has also presented with Dr. Theo Burnes on multicultural curricula in graduate training.
Michelle Dexter is a fifth-year student in the Family and Couples Emphasis who previously served on SGA for two years and is also involved with the local psychological association (LACPA) where she has served on various committees for the past four years. She is currently completing her dissertation using both quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate cultural variations of social support. Michelle also continues to engage in clinical research with her team at Harbor UCLA and Dr. Theo Burnes on transgender individuals' experiences of trauma. Michelle has presented her research at APA conferences, as well as other local and international conferences. Michelle completed a clerkship at UCLA Office for Students with Disabilities, her first year practicum at USC counseling center, a second year practicum at UCLA DBT/Mood Disorders clinic, and her APA internship at USC's Counseling Center.