Lab Member Alumni and Accomplishments

Graduate Student Alumni

Headshot of former master's student Marvin with a yellow wall in the background

Marvin Yan

Master’s Student Alumni
Email: myan5421@sdsu.edu

Headshot of former master's student Lizzie

Lizzie Hodgdon

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

Lizzie is continuing her research endeavors as a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the 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.

Headshot of former doctoral student Maria Kryza-Lacombe in front of a blurred bridge and skyscraper background

Maria Kryza-Lacombe

Doctoral Student Alumni
Email: mkryzalacombe@gmail.com

Maria is a Ph.D. 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 on Neuropsychology. Her research lies at the intersection of affective, cognitive, and clinical neuroscience, with a special interest in clinical translation.

Headshot of former master's student Michael in front of a blurred yellow leaf tree background

Michael Liuzzi

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

Michael is currently pursuing a Ph.D. 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.

Headshot of former master's student Karen in front of a tall green bush background

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 on depression prevention in high-risk youth and families, as well as promoting equity and accessibility of evidence-based mental health services.

Headshot of former master's student Cindy in front of a peeling bark tree background

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 performs site management for pharmaceutical research. Most recently, Cindy worked on Janssen’s COVID vaccine trial.

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 Ph.D. programs next year.

Research Assistant Alumni

Headshot of research assistant Tine wearing a black tank top with a brown cardigan on top in front of a green leaf background from a nearby tree

Tina Madani

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: tmadani9243@sdsu.edu

Headshot of research assistant Natalie in a white dress with a red San Diego State University stole on the SDSU campus

Natalie Merkley

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: nataliemerkley17@gmail.com

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Katie Risher

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: krisher5724@sdsu.edu

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Jayvee Soriano

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: jsor2876@gmail.com

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Samar Gilani

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: samargilanii@gmail.com

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Sara Thornbrough

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: sthornbrough2323@sdsu.edu

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Kassidy Tolbert

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: kasstolb@gmail.com

Former research assistant Nia sitting on a large red rock in front of a red desert hilly background

Nia Alexis

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: walkernia16@gmail.com

Headshot of former research assistant Cinthya wearing a blue and gold University of California, San Diego university stole on a beach

Cinthya Perez

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: cnperez@sdsu.edu

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Casey Boyd

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: cboyd482@gmail.com

Casey is currently working towards his B.S. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California San Diego where he hopes to serve a population of veterans with a focus on clinical treatments for PTSD and suicide prevention.

Former research assistant Elizabeth sitting on a log nearby a lake in the background

Elizabeth Bereznak

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: ebereznak3466@sdsu.edu

Headshot of former research assistant Sydney standing on the cliffs by a beach

Sydney Sheldon

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: ssheldon7622@sdsu.edu

Sydney graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology from SDSU in 2022. She moved back to her hometown Long Beach and is currently taking a gap year and working before going to graduate school for a Master’s in Psychology.

Headshot of former research assistant Lexi in an empty parking lot as the sun sets in the background

Lexi Reneau

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: lexireneau00@icloud.com

Lexi received her Bachelor’s in Psychology in the Fall of 2021 from San Diego State University. She is currently pursuing a career in criminal justice where she hopes to use her degree to help others.

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Celeste Estrada

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: cestrada.cse1@gmail.com

Former computational neuroscience research assistant Meg in a field on grassy mountain

Meg Robinson

Computational Neuroscience Research Assistant Alumni
Email: mirobinson100@gmail.com

Meg is currently pursuing a Ph.D. 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).

Headshot of former research assistant Sam

Sam Villavicencio

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: samantha97vr@gmail.com

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Gaby Ibarra

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: ibarragaby17@gmail.com

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Noah Bland

Computational Neuroscience Research Assistant Alumni
Email: nbsoccer23@gmail.com

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Danielle Palumbo

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

Headshot of former research assistant Cassidy with part of her hair over her right shoulder

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.

Headshot of former research assistant Isaac wearing a white shirt with a Nike check symbol on the right side of his shirt and the text reading the letters IBS in red meaning Interdisciplinary Business Society labeled underneath in black in front of a red brick wall background

Isaac Christian

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: Isaacrc@princeton.edu

Isaac “Big Time” Ray Christian is currently working towards his Ph.D. 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
Email: lilly-osuna@hotmail.com

Headshot of former research assistant Wing wearing a pink backpack with red rocky hills in the background

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.

Closeup headshot of former research assistant Marianna with a brown fence and brick wall in the background

Marianna Smith

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

Marianna Smith received a Bachelor’s 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 in Pomona, CA. Before starting a Masters’s 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 better to serve populations in need of mental health services and become BBS-certified.

Headshot of former research assistant Katie S. with a background of sunlight shining on a hill of bright orange pumpkins

Katie Strickland

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: kstrickland066@gmail.com

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Jake Biglow

Research Assistant Alumni

Headshot of former research assistant Dede with her left hand on her waist in front of an off-white wall background

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 the 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.

Headshot of former research assistant Sally in a black no-sleeved shir in from of a green bush and white wall background

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 training. She hopes to return to school to earn a Masters’s Degree in the coming years.

Headshot of former research assistant Carly in a pink long-sleeved shirt with her right hand on her hip

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 the 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 staying at home as a mom.

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Geneva Toledo

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: genevat18@gmail.com

Headshot of former research assistant Madison in a light blue up-striped shirt with a black blouse jacket on top

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 bachelor of science in nursing program at the University of Miami in  Miami, FL. She is set to graduate in December 2021 and hopes to pursue labor and delivery nursing. She is incredibly grateful for the plethora of knowledge and valuable skills that 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.

Headshot of former research assistant Natalia in a light grey long-necked shirt with a dark grey patterned jacket on top

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!

Headshot of former research assistant Raechel in a deep purple floral top

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 former research assistant Andy in front of a blurred calendar in the background

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.

Headshot of former research assistant Katie N. in a black wide tank top in front of an off-white wall background

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 former research assistant Yuet in a black tank top in front of an off-white wall background

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 Ph.D. 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.

Headshot of former research assistant Katrina

Katrina Cole

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: katrina_cole@icloud.com

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

Headshot of former research assistant Diego in a black long sleeve shirt

Diego Velasquez

Research Assistant Alumni
Email: drvelasquez77@outlook.com

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

Headshot of former research assistant Ysabella in a white shirt with a black cardigan on top in front of a tall green bush background

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 fulfill prerequisites for a graduate school Speech Pathology program.