Lab Member Alumni and Accomplishments

Graduate Student Alumni

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Michael Liuzzi


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.

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Karen Schwartz


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


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.

RA Alumni

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Noah Bland


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Danielle Palumbo


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Cassidy Owen


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


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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Lilly Osuna
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Marianna Smith


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
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Jake Biglow
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Dede Alsaigh


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


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
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Sophie Bills


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

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Geneva Toledo
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Madison Gratalo
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Natalia Iturri


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!

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Raechel Rodda

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. 

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Andy Villaba

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


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. 

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Yonca Cam


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.

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Katrina Cole


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

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. 

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Ysabella Panggat

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. 

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Yuet Wing Cho


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.