News & Events


September 25, 2014

PAU Students Reflect on Recent Trip to Rwanda

During the 2014 summer, PAU’s Provost, Dr. Bill Froming, three clinical psychologists and nine Palo Alto University (PAU) students traveled to Rwanda to learn more about the 1994 genocide, visit mental health facilities and exchange ideas with Rwandese mental health professionals.  The students described their travel and work in Rwanda as ‘life-changing’, ‘once in a lifetime’, and felt that it strengthened them as graduate students, future clinical psychologists, and human beings.

Here are some excerpts of the reflections of the students:

  • “To say these experiences have had an impact on my clinical work would be a grave understatement.  During our time at PAU, we have all taken diversity classes, clinical classes, and perhaps even trauma-focused classes.  We have learned and studied about clinical populations and worked with them in a variety of settings.  However, no experience that I have had in a classroom could begin to compare to any one of the experiences I had while in Rwanda.”
  • “In many ways, the more I have experienced, the less I know. I found it important to be humble and open to learning, particularly when it comes to understanding culture. These experiences have taught me to be less rigid in my conceptualizations and to search for deeper meaning.”

PAU stresses the importance of diversity within the classroom, research opportunities, and clinical experiences. This helped to prepare students for their journey to Rwanda and gave them internal resources to draw upon while in Rwanda, but the opportunity to travel abroad and work in an international context gave them a deeper understanding of:

  • World-wide trauma
  • Struggle
  • Survival and resilience

Some lessons that a classroom setting has not and will never be able to convey.  In their reflections, the students discussed the importance of understanding that there are various ways to approach trauma and that it is important for clinical psychologists and researchers to work together to come up with multi-modal treatment approaches in aiding trauma survivors all over the world. 

Learn more about other PAU efforts in Rwanda.

August 12, 2014

Compassion Focused Therapy Workshop with creator, Professor Paul Gilbert, Ph.D.

Dear PAU community, we are excited to share about this rare opportunity for a heavily discounted workshop in Compassion Focused Therapy, led by its creator Dr. Paul Gilbert, who is visiting the Bay Area from the UK. 

Dr. Gilbert's background and CFT descriptors can be found below, and attached. This offers information on the upcoming clinical training 2 day CFT workshop (Oct 24th-25th) in Palo Alto. PAU and Stanford students and Faculty are now eligible for a huge discount, $140 instead full fee of $425. The 2 days are also fully catered with delicious food all day through, a completion certificate and 12 CEU credits.  
More details can be found below: 
The Center for Compassion and Altruism, Research and Education at Stanford University & Palo Alto University are proud to present:

An upcoming training workshop in Compassion Focused Therapy, led by its creator from the UK Professor Paul Gilbert, in Palo Alto California (October 24th+25th, 2014).

Professor Gilbert will be visiting the Bay area this fall, hosted by Stanford University and Palo Alto University, and will be offering this training on October 24th and 25th. CFT is a rich model, which draws from evolutionary neuroscience, attachment theory, mindfulness work, compassion research, as well as cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. Professor Gilbert was the president of the British CBT association in 2003, and has developed a framework which is rather unique, bringing into the fold various evidence based forms of applied wisdom. Additional information is available in the attached flyer. Further, this link leads to the workshop descriptor on CCARE's website at Stanford, which also offers many resources about compassion, which you may find interesting (note this link is full fee, do not register here; the discounted link for PAU & Stanford people is below) -

Discounted - For PAU and Stanford students and faculty, instead of a full fee of $425 a special rate is being offered, at $140 for 2 days of training (includes food all day, completion certificate and 12 CEU units). If you'd like to sign up for this workshop via PAU's and Stanford's discounted rate please follow the link below, in order to register. If you choose to join, you are encouraged to do so soon, to ensure you'll have a sit reserved. 

Experience a short presentation by Professor Gilbert about CFT at Stanford last year:

We hope you will find this outlook useful and germane to your practice, and would love to see you join our workshop.


For more information, please contact:

Dr. Yotam Heineberg, Psy.D,
Clinical Faculty, PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium

Learn more about PAU’s efforts in Compassion Focused Therapy.

August 5, 2014

PAU Faculty Peter Goldblum, Ph.D. Partners with U.S. Naval Center for Combat & Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) for LGBTQ Health

PAU faculty member and the Director of the Center for LGBTQ Evidence-Based Applied Research (CLEAR), Peter Goldblum, Ph.D. has partnered with the U.S. Naval Center for Combat & Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) in a new IRB-approved study to understand the health and mental well being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members.

A quote from the official press release from the NCCOSC:

"NCCOSC is teaming up with Palo Alto University to conduct the Survey of LGB Service Members, an IRB-approved study, to better understand LGB service members since the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," said Capt. Scott Johnston, NCCOSC director and Navy Medicine's specialty leader for psychology. "The repeal of this policy really implemented a culture change for the U.S. military and it's incredibly important to comprehend how this shift is not just impacting our people, but also affecting readiness."

August 4, 2014

PAU Student Leaves Lesson, Legacy After Passing

A meaningful celebration of life took place this past February to remember the life of Dr. Tony Masini, a former PAU student.  The service also celebrated the commitment Tony had to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), meaning to accept individuality and living a life in line with personal values. As a student of a school focused on engaging minds and improving lives, an important lesson is left behind after Tony’s passing to impact future decisions positively in the hopes of preventing another family from the unbearable heartache of losing a child. 

In the days leading up to Tony’s passing, he was studying for the very difficult and stressful Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).  Unfortunately, while studying for the examination Tony tried synthetic marijuana, or commonly referred to as “K2” or “Spice”.  The American Association of Poison Control (AAPC) describes the drug as having the capability to cause severe anxiety, seizures, and many other dangerous side effects. It is believed that the synthetic marijuana was the direct cause of Tony’s unfortunate passing. 

Palo Alto University (PAU) strives to create a community of wellness and education accessibility – if you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed with stress there are many resources to take advantage of:

- Free webinar – “Wellness for Helping Professionals”

- Men’s Wellness Group Student Organization

- Wellness Initiative for Therapists in Training

- PAU Running Group

- – a PAU Faculty-led research organization with a mission to providing mental health resources online.

If you or someone you know is suspected of ingesting synthetic marijuana, please contact the AAPC toll free at 1 (800) 222-1222. 

Additional Helpful Websites:


2. U.S. Senator, Amy Klobuchar’s effort to propose legislation against synthetic marijuana

3. National Institute on Drug Abuse

4. Office of National Drug Control Policy

5. Time article on synthetic marijuana

July 21, 2014

Personal Journey as an Entrepreneur:  Is Entrepreneurship Born or Taught?

Palo Alto University welcomes a guest article written by Fred Seddiqui, CEO of Lugano and PAU Trustee,

On many occasions during my career, I have been asked the question, “Is entrepreneurship something you are born with or can it be taught?”  I wish I could provide a simple answer to what turns out to be a very complex question.  The simplest answer to the question of whether entrepreneurship can be taught is yes AND no.  I know, this may seem like I’m avoiding the question, but bear with me.  Because of the intense interest in this topic I have decided to share my thoughts from over 40 years of hands-on entrepreneurial experience.

First, let me address the “No” answer and demonstrate that entrepreneurship has to be a part of us.  For me, the concept of entrepreneurship and the feeling of not going along with the norm were an integral part of my mind and psyche since my earliest memories.  I couldn’t tell why I thought differently and dissatisfied with being a part of the mundane and commonplace daily life happening around me.  I began working early in my teen years and quickly found that the jobs I was given bored me quickly.  This created a sense of frustration and lack of fulfillment with my jobs that went on for years.  Even while attending college and after graduation I felt the same way.  I had no idea what I wanted to do next.  I knew I wanted to find a career that I was passionate about and so I decided to pursue a career in engineering. I hoped that this field would appeal to my technical mindset.

My first professional job was in a large corporation in New Jersey.  I found the job security and compensation comforting, but I soon found myself bored with this job as well.  This dissatisfaction continued until I moved to California in my early 20s and   took a job with a small company in San Jose. I was immediately inspired.  

Remember, I moved to California and left a secure employment with a large corporation and great benefits for myself and my family. However the culture of this small company had an amazing influence on me.  It helped me to recognize and understand some of the issues I had been dealing with  regarding my career, my job satisfaction and  my long term goals, issues that I hadn’t realized  were trapped in my mind.  I began to understand the meaning of entrepreneurship. 

The company I had joined was started by a young man in his thirties, who seemed to be excited about what he was doing every day.  He didn’t work to make money.  For him, every day seemed like a party, and I was being paid to participate.  Somehow we managed to be productive, and the clients liked us and loved our founder.  This was an extraordinary change from the East Coast corporate world in which I had started my career, where 2,000 employees went to work in the same building, worked for eight hours, and then all lifted their the heads at the same time, rising from their cubical, waited for the same elevators, then raced to the parking lot to leave at exactly 4:30PM.

A few years later, I began a new job with a large company in Sunnyvale that was encouraging Intra-preneurships.  This was an opportunity where I could help develop innovations within the corporate infrastructure of the company.  There was nearly no financial risk, and the opportunity made sense for me, my wife and our two young children.  This was a wonderful opportunity to learn about many aspects of leadership and to be accountable for decision-making.  During this process, however, I wasn’t able to experience the real risks and rewards of true entrepreneurship.  But my goals became clearer during this experience: I wanted a role where I could make a difference and see my contributions lead to positive change.  It seemed that time was passing quickly, and I knew I needed to break away from this predictable, mundane working environment.

During this period, I read about many success stories of others who were able to take risks by moving out of the corporate world and who realized their dreams.  I wanted to meet as many of these successful entrepreneurs as I could. So I started attending local entrepreneurial programs I became the chairman the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Santa Clara Valley and quickly discovered many inspiring entrepreneurs with inspiring stories about their lives and experiences.  Nearly all of these entrepreneurs attributed their success to the nurturing relationships and supportive environments they had experienced during their professional journeys.  I had already experienced many unexpected twists and turns of life.  I knew that there would be countless risks and roadblocks along the way but I also knew that “if I wasn’t willing to take risks, then life would take them for me, and so I should take charge of my life now.”

The lesson I learned through this journey, and which has been shared by others, is that risk affinity or risk aversion is intrinsic to our individual personalities.  However, the environment around us can support and enhance what is an integral part of our being.  I am not a psychologist, but my association with Palo Alto University, one of the most prestigious psychology university in the United States, has given me the opportunity to learn about and to discuss the matter of how psychology plays a major role in who we are and what we can do.

I began and learned about the process of entrepreneurship alone but along the way I associated with supportive mentors and friends who helped along the journey.  There are so many elements to being a successful entrepreneur, and each one has to be learned through experience.  None one of these elements is sufficient alone.  Rather it is the sum of all these elements that makes an entrepreneur successful.

Once I started my journey and saw that my innovation was going to make a difference, the intrinsic aspects of my disposition played an enormous role in my achievement.  My passion for seeing ideas through to completion drove me towards success.  My organic approach took me in many different directions, and the journey was longer than I expected.  And I learned through mistakes.  I connected with experienced people and I hired people who complimented my skills.  This approach lead too many challenges along the way and it took longer to develop than I would have liked. But it has helped to make me the successful entrepreneur that I am today.

Now let me address the “yes” answer that entrepreneurships can be taught.

Today we can find innumerable universities and colleges across the globe all which entrepreneurship programs and that teach entrepreneurship either as an independent course or part of a larger curriculum. The many skills that successful entrepreneurs need are taught in these institutions of higher learning, and there are different levels of courses offered in the areas of finance, business, management, marketing, team building, creative thinking, organizational behavior, venture financing, law/regulations, etc.

Universities   create an environment where students can safely “test to fail.” This is critical to the entrepreneurship process.  Students connect with others students and mentors to create prototypes and work to launch their start-up ideas.

Here is a short list of some of the programs that are available to entrepreneurs in universities in the US and abroad:

Innovation Labs – Some schools provide facilities where students and inventors can share their ideas through tangible models. These labs serve as launching pads and an environment for creativity with workshops that combines theory and practices.

Mentors and Advisors – Experienced entrepreneurs are able to connect with students to share their knowledge and experience with team building, product development, financing, sales, and partnership formation and exit strategies.

Venture Financing – Many venture firms have seed and first round funding set aside for student start-ups.  These same venture firms are also connected with other sources of financing and can help with subsequent rounds of funding.

Startups/Incubation Space – Space to nurture ideas from inception to prototyping while building teams, protecting intellectual property, licensing and working through product launch.

Internships – Opportunities for students to work in environments that inspire entrepreneurship. These include working with leaders of startups or fast growing companies that promote innovation.

Tours Of Silicon Valley – There are organized tours for students from around the world to come and visit the companies that made a revolutionary change to our way of life worldwide.  During their visits, they hear from inspirational leaders, see them in action and listen to lectures   about how things work in Silicon Valley.

 These programs are critical for the success of entrepreneurs and are readily available in many of the best business schools.   This type of knowledge and support greatly enhances the likelihood for success.

I’d like to finish with a few more thoughts about the character of an entrepreneur. The character of an entrepreneur is not always measured by how much money he or she makes.  Actually, not everyone wants to be a billionaire, which is good because the odds of that happening are slim.  Entrepreneurs thrive on innovation, challenges and creativity.  Classic innovators are those people whose radical viewpoints are progressive and help to disrupt the status quo of business and life for the better.

Almost every article ever written about entrepreneurship suggests that it's not for everyone.  These articles go on to list attributes that many successful people possess as the traits commonly associated with great entrepreneurs, such as a strong work ethic, persistence, persuasiveness and discipline. For 25 years, I have studied entrepreneurs and discovered that what contributed to their incredible success was not what society typically considers assets. People like John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford and Oprah Winfrey didn't achieve greatness by possessing the traits and following the narrow path recommended by management gurus. Here are some great pointers from Richard Branson that complements these idea and supports the answers I’ve provided.

Don't believe everything others say about you or how they label you. Maybe your alleged liabilities are really assets. Here are 12 signs many people might consider a liability, but which can actually be indications that you are meant to be an entrepreneur.

1. Hate the Status Quo – It doesn't make sense to you that something has been done the time-honored way with no explanation why. You are not someone who wants to just go through the motions or sit by idly. Nor do you like following the pack.

 2. Easily Bored - You find yourself easily bored, and others start viewing you as a problem. But nothing is wrong with you except that you are bored with activities that aren't up to your abilities and aren't challenging. That's why you hated most of the classes you ever attended. Bill Gates dropped out of college to become one of the richest men in the world.

 3. Fired from Jobs – You're too creative for your own good when it comes to working for others, and you may have some history, as I do, of losing jobs. Being just a cog in the wheel is very difficult for you because you want to create something others can be inspired by and contribute to.

 4. Labeled a Rebel - You know that greatness resides outside the lines of conformity and don't think that policies, laws and regulations apply to you. You have been described as a rebel and rule breaker and would defy gravity if you could.

 5. Resist Authority - You have a lifelong record of resisting authority from your parents, teachers and bosses. You don't go along with the agreed upon norms of the group or community in which you work and live.

 6. Ready to Improve Everything - You always see how you could do things better. In addition, you are opinionated and freely give your two-cents about ways things can be done better --even when you're not asked.

7. Bad at Making Small Talk - You have difficulty making the kind of small talk that so many people get comfort from. This social pattern of relationship and rapport building seems like a waste of time to you and makes you uncomfortable.

8. Bullied in Your Youth - You may have been heavily criticized, picked on and even bullied as a child or teenager. This has caused you to be driven to excel and to prove to the world that you are indeed a force to be reckoned with.

9. Obsessive - You may have been labeled obsessive/compulsive because when you get started on something you have difficulty letting go. Don't let anyone convince you that this is a disease or deficiency. All of the great entrepreneurs become completely immersed in their vision. Howard Schultz stuck with Starbucks even when his family tried to persuade him not to.

10. Scared to Go Solo - The entrepreneur in you is scared of going out on your own—and also terrified of not doing so. This fear is so common in our society because we've been conditioned to think that entrepreneurship is much riskier than getting a "good job." The reality is that there is instability in both.

11. Unable to Unwind - You can't go to sleep at night because you can't turn your thoughts off. An idea may even manifest itself in your dreams. The next morning you find yourself still consumed with that idea, distracting you from the job you're supposed to be doing.

12. Don't Fit the Norm - You have always been a bit uncomfortable in your own skin. Until you get used to the idea that you are in fact different from most people, it could prove to be a problem--or exactly the motivation you need to acknowledge the entrepreneur screaming to get out.

In conclusion, entrepreneurs are both born and made. Each of us may have some of the traits that I’ve described above. It takes some degree of effort to discover and enhance your trait.  But entrepreneurs must also learn from teachers, mentors, advisors and from trial and error the strategies and techniques that will make them successful innovators and business leaders.

Palo Alto University (PAU) is located in Silicon Valley and offers academic programs in psychology, business, and entrepreneurship. The B.S. Psychology of Entrepreneurship program, which is taught completely online, is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in entrepreneurial areas, either as entrepreneurs themselves or to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in whatever career(s) they pursue.

July 14, 2014

PAU Celebrates High Bachelor Program Graduation Rate

When it comes to offering Bachelor degree providing unique advantages to students, Palo Alto University (PAU) is way ahead of the rest.

Top Results for Palo Alto University Students

Palo Alto University, a not for profit institution, offers two-year bachelor degree transfer programs to students who have completed their general education requirements at local community colleges.  An impressive 78% of these students have completed Bachelor’s degrees at PAU, with 92% of the students finishing in less than two years.

In contrast, the national graduation rate data:

  • Six years after starting at a four-year college, 58% of students graduated with Bachelor’s degrees.
  • Students who started at community colleges were much less likely to graduate. After starting at a two-year community college, only 11% of students graduated with Bachelor’s degrees.*

Groundbreaking Tuition Stabilization Program

As students study with PAU, they take advantage of the Tuition Stabilization Program in addition to established federal student aid options.

How does it work?

  • Over the last thirty years, the average university tuition rate has risen by more than 250%.
  • CSU’s and UC’s continue to increase their tuition costs on an annual basis.

The Tuition Stabilization Program automatically freezes students’ tuition rate for the duration of their bachelor degree programs, which means that tuition and fees are guaranteed not to rise during the length of their study.

Everything on Schedule

At PAU, classes run like clockwork. Students working towards a two-year degree will find that all their classes are pre-scheduled for the duration of their studies. Scheduling conflicts are avoided, and there are no waiting lists or late graduations because a student was unable to get into a class.

Size Matters

Across the United States, students are being packed into large classrooms with other students. PAU is committed to small class sizes (20 to 35 students is the norm). PAU firmly believes that the smaller the group, the more interaction and quality time students can have with their professors and fellow students. This leads to a great educational benefit.

To learn more, contact: Michael Teodosio, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions, 650-255-8375

*National Centre for Education Statistics:  (NationalCenter for Education Statistic source: Snyder, T. D., & Dillon, S. A. (2013). Digest of Educational Statistics 2012 (NCES 2014-015).

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