Lab Member Alumni and Accomplishments

Graduate Student Alumni

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Michael Liuzzi

Master’s Student Alumni
Email: liuzzitmichael@gmail.com

Michael is currently pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At UWM, his research is focused on investigating neural vulnerability for developing depression and PTSD following acute trauma in youth.

Graduate Student Karen Shwartz

Karen Schwartz

Master’s Student Alumni
Email: kgarelik@gmail.com

Karen completed her clinical internship at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. After receiving her doctorate, Karen joined the ADHD Program at the University of Maryland as a postdoctoral associate. There, she is coordinating a randomized trial testing the effectiveness of a school-based depression prevention program for high schoolers with ADHD against referrals to care. This work aligns with Karen’s program of research focusing depression prevention in high-risk youth and families, as well as promoting equity and accessibility of evidence-based mental health services.

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Cindy Kiefer

Master’s Student Alumni
Email: ckiefer02@gmail.com

After graduation, Cindy worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator in oncology clinical trials at UCSD’s Moores Cancer Center for 2 years. In the last year, she has been working as a Clinical Research Associate for a clinical research organization called PRA, where she perform site management for pharmaceutical research. Most recently, Cindy worked on Janssen’s COVID vaccine trial.

Maria Kryza-Lacombe PhD Student

Maria Kryza-Lacombe

Doctoral Student Alumni
Email: mkryza-lacombe@sdsu.edu

Maria is a PhD Candidate at the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing her Clinical Internship at the San Francisco VA with a focus in Neuropsychology. Her research lies at the intersection of affective, cognitive, and clinical neuroscience, with a special interest in clinical translation.

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Lizzie Hodgdon

Master’s Student Alumni
Email: ehodgdon@unm.edu

Lizzie is continuing her research endeavors as a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at University of New Mexico under the mentorship of Dr. Kristina Ciesielski. Her research examines the neural, cognitive, and affective underpinnings of pediatric psychopathology, particularly autism spectrum and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.

Lab Staff Alumni

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Brianna Hernandez

Former Project Coordinator
Email: hernandezbri98@yahoo.com

Brianna moved to San Francisco to start an MA program in Psychology with a concentration in Development at San Francisco State University. She’s missing her friends and family back home in San Diego, but she’s excited to be continuing her education. She plans to apply to Clinical PhD programs next year.

Research Assistant Alumni

Closeup of Meg outdoors with ferns and mountain in background.

Meg Robinson

Computational RA Alumni
Email: mirobinson100@gmail.com

Meg is currently pursuing a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. At UCSD she will rotate in different research labs before finding her home, but she hopes to join a neuroscience lab. Meg’s main area of interest is in computational neuroscience (broadly).

Closeup of Meg outdoors with ferns and mountain in background.

Sam Villavicencio

Research Assistant Alumni

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Gaby Ibarra

Research Assistant Alumni

Closeup of Meg outdoors with ferns and mountain in background.

Noah Bland

Computational RA Alumni
Email: nbsoccer23@gmail.com

 

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Danielle Palumbo

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: danielle.palumbo12@gmail.com

 

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Cassidy Owen

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: cowen7516@sdsu.edu

Cassidy is about to enter her fourth year at SDSU, majoring in Psychology with two minors in Counseling and Social Change and Social Work. She just started working as a Behavior Technician at Kyo Autism Therapy, and is a Crisis Counselor Volunteer at Crisis Text Line. She is looking forward to finishing up her final year at SDSU, and plans to apply to graduate programs to earn her Master’s in Social Work (MSW) degree.

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Isaac Christian

Computational RA Alumni
Email: Isaacrc@princeton.edu

Isaac “Big Time” Ray Christian is currently working towards his PhD in Psychology at Princeton University. His interests include the role of cognitive control in meditation and the functional role of mind wandering.

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Lily Osuna

Research Assistant Alumni

Wing standing in front of Grand Canyon with red backpack.

Yuet Wing Cho

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: wingcho@connect.hku.hk

Wing is currently working towards her Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology at San Diego State University. Her ultimate goal is to continue to pursue a research-focused Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology or School Psychology.

Headshot of Marianna outdoors

Marianna Smith

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: marianna.smith2014@gmail.com

Marianna Smith received a Bachelors in Social Work and Sustainability in the Spring of 2021. She is currently working as a Youth Lead for Project Artemis through the MAAC Project in an attempt to reunify unaccompanied alien children/youth recently released from ICE detention facilities. The project will end in San Diego on July 5, 2021 and continue at a long-term facility located in Pomona, CA. Prior to starting a Masters Certificate Program in Early Childhood Transdisciplinary Education and Mental Health (EC-TEaMH) at SDSU in the Fall of 2021, the goal is to find full-time employment as a social service assistant or case manager in the mental health field (preferably with children or youth). Marianna Smith is certified in various training including NAMI Peer Advocate, Trauma-Informed Care team member, BLS, LGBTQ+ Train the Trainer, QPR, and Mental Health First Aid. The primary goal is to better serve populations in need of mental health services and become BBS certified.

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Katie Strickland

Research Assistant Alumni

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Jake Biglow

Research Assistant Alumni

Headshot of Dede Alsaigh.

Dede Alsaigh

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: alsaighdijla@gmail.com

After graduating from SDSU, Dijla Alsaigh AKA Dede is currently entering her second year of medical school at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. She is pursuing a doctorate in osteopathic medicine and is aspiring to specialize in either anesthesiology, psychiatry, or pain management.

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Sally Christine

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: misssallychristine@gmail.com

Sally is currently working for the SDSU Research Foundation at the Academy for Professional Excellence. Her program, Responsive Integrated Health Solutions (RIHS), provides workforce development training services for San Diego County Behavioral Health Services staff. Sally provides administrative and logistical support to the program and its trainings. She hopes to return to school to earn a Masters Degree in the coming years.

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Carly Farrington

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: carlyf07@gmail.com

After graduating from San Diego State University, Carly took a few years off from her education to gain experience in counseling related workforce before applying to graduate school. She has recently been admitted into the University of San Francisco for a Counseling Psychology Marriage and Family Therapy program. Once Carly receives her MFT license, she plans to specialize in working with LGBTQ+ individuals and integrating social justice into her practice.

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Sophie Bills

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: sophiemswork@gmail.com

After graduation, Sophie worked at an investment firm in client relations. She is now stay at home mom.

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Geneva Toledo

Research Assistant Alumni

Headshot of Madison Gratalo.

Madison Gratalo

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: madisonagratalo@gmail.com

After graduation, Madison worked full-time doing business to business sales as an account executive in the staffing industry. However, the covid-19 pandemic reignited her passion, and reinforced her calling for helping others. Currently, she is enrolled in the accelerated bachelors of science in nursing program at the University of Miami in  Miami, FL. She is set to graduate in December of 2021 and hopes to pursue labor and delivery nursing. She is incredibly grateful for the plethora of knowledge and valuable skills which she acquired during her time at the TEND Lab as they have laid a solid foundation for her professional and academic career thus far and surely, for many years to come.

Portrait of Natalia

Natalia Iturri

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: n.iturri@yahoo.com 

Upon graduation, Natalia moved home to Scottsdale, Arizona where she works as Chief Medical Scribe in the Neurosurgery Department at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. In addition, she volunteers on the Neurology Floor at this pediatric hospital. Natalia is actively applying to Physician Assistant Programs, hoping to start next Fall. Overall, she is enjoying her gap years!

Mid shot of Raechel with road in background

Raechel Rodda

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: raechel@roddaelectric.com

Raechel is currently a mild to moderate special education teacher in Santee, California. She teaches in a 2nd/3rd grade Special Day Classroom at Cajon Park Elementary School. 

Headshot of Andy Villalba

Andy Villaba

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: andrewvillalba@gmail.com

After graduation, Andy was accepted into the Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) program at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Furthermore, he was selected for the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) with the United States Army.

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Katie Nynas

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: ktnynas@gmail.com  

After graduating from her undergrad program, Katie moved to Ferrol, Spain and worked in public schools as an English teacher. After she returned, Katie started graduate school at SDSU pursuing a Master’s of Public Health with a concentration in Environmental Health. As of now, she works full-time for the SDSU Research Foundation at the school of Public Health as a Research Specialist. Katie plans to graduate from her program this summer and continue her research at SDSU.

Headshot of Yonca Cam.

Yonca Cam

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: ynccam@gmail.com

Upon graduation, Yonca earned her master’s degree in Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences at Illinois State University. Currently, she is working toward her PhD in Psychology – Cognition and Neuroscience at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Her research is focused on the neural networks of homeostatic and hedonic mechanisms of feeding as well as the motivational systems of voluntary physical activity and drugs of abuse.

Katrina Cole, Research Assistant

Katrina Cole

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: katrina_cole@icloud.com

Katrina is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in criminology and justice studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her research focuses on sexual violence, commercial sex, and public policy.

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Diego Velasquez

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: drvelasquez77@outlook.com

Diego is working towards earning his Master’s degree for the social work program at SDSU. He currently works as a social work intern at the Veterans-Home of California in Chula Vista. 

Female student

Ysabella Panggat

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: panggat.ysabella@gmail.com

After graduation, Ysabella began working as a teacher’s aide at a non-public special needs school. She is now attending California State University San Marcos and taking courses to fulfil prerequisites for a graduate school Speech Pathology program.