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Home › Graduate › Ph.D. Clinical Psychology › Research Labs › Clinical Crises and Emergencies: Emergency and Disaster Psychology; the Psychology of Courage

Clinical Crises and Emergencies: Emergency and Disaster Psychology; the Psychology of Courage


Dr. Bruce Bongar


The CCER fundamentally studies clinical emergencies as it relates to culture. We look at all clinical emergencies and crises including suicide, reasons for living and resilience. Some of the projects that the CCER continues to work on include the adaptation of suicide assessment measures to different cultures, suicide terrorism, development of clinical crises training programs and police clinical emergency training programs. The CCER specifically studies suicide prevention and intervention in military and veteran communities, Native American tribes and LGBT communities, as well as international psychology and global mental health. The CCER collaborates with Stanford, Harvard, Tribal lands, SOCOM, NATO, IASR/IASP and the BRTC at the University of Washington.


Current Members


Admitted 2013:

Lori Holleran –

Lori is a Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. She joined the CCER in 2013 and is currently completing her pre-doctoral internship at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She currently serves as Member-at-Large, Policy and Applied Work Focus within the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues graduate student committee. Prior to internship she obtained her MPH in Health Policy from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Heath, where she was a Philanthropy Advisory Fellow and completed an interdisciplinary concentration certification in Humanitarian Studies, Ethics and Human Rights. Her research interests include examination of trauma related behavioral outcomes, including subsequent risk for suicide and antisocial acts.  Her dissertation focuses on the examination of unique factors for risk of suicide amongst previously incarcerated homeless individuals.

Kasie Hummel –

Kasie Hummel, 2Lt., USAF, M.A., M.S. is a 5th year doctoral candidate. She earned her B.S. in psychology and M.A. in clinical psychology from Minnesota State University in Mankato, M.N., where her thesis focused on geriatric psychology. Kasie was awarded the very competitive Health Professions Scholarship from the United States Air Force and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Kasie is currently attending internship at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH. In addition, Kasie was the recipient of the Otieno Family Assistantship for Clinical Work and Community Service Award and the Georgia and Roger Printup Assistantship for Community Service Award for her exceptional contributions at PAU. Her main research interests include military psychology, trauma, positive psychology, and correctional psychology. Presently, she is working on a study examining the psychology of physical bravery among US special operations unit members. Ms. Hummel is committed to improving mental health quality and access to those who are underserved including correctional populations, Native American reservations, and military service members and veterans. Her long-term goals are to practice as a military psychologist, and to conduct trauma research among service members, prison populations, and on the Native Americans reservations in her home state of South Dakota.

Dana Lockwood –

Dana Lockwood is a 5th year student in the forensic emphasis. She is in the JD/PhD program and received her JD in 2015. She was admitted to the CCER in Spring of 2013 and has had external practicums at Goodwill Wellness Center, St. Helena Hospital, and the Palo Alto VA. Her research areas include lethal means restriction, ethical and legal standards of care, and public policy with regards to behavioral emergencies. Her dissertation is titled "Firearms law as it relates to suicidal patients: Developing a national legal standard of care for emergency lethal means restriction."

Kaitlin Venema –

Kaitlin is a fifth year doctoral graduate student studying child clinical psychology at Palo Alto University. Her research and clinical work focuses on adaptive and maladaptive processes in development including examining risk and protective factors in typical and pathological trajectories.  Kaitlin received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Washington in 2008 where she studied early biomarkers of autism spectrum disorders and perceived tool use in infants.  Throughout her graduate studies she has been involved in examining suicidality in sexual minority youth.  She is currently completing her dissertation investigating social behaviors in children with fragile X syndrome and autism. Kaitlin is currently in predoctoral internship at Denver Health Medical Center.   


Admitted 2014:

James Sottile –

Jimmie Sottile is currently a 4th year in the PhD program in the trauma area of emphasis. He was admitted to the clinical crises and emergencies research group in the spring of 2014. Jimmie is currently doing his second external practicum at LifeMoves, a homeless shelter network in San Mateo and Santa Clara County with a behavioral health program. Last year, he completed his second practicum at Healthright360, a residential substance abuse treatment program in San Francisco. Jimmie has worked on several book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and poster presentations for CCER on military and veteran suicide, as well as the psychology of terrorism. He is currently in the process of recruiting for his dissertation research study on motives, consequences, and risk behaviors associated with MDMA use. Jimmie is collaborating with Dr. Nancy Haug on his dissertation research, as well as several other research studies on cannabis use. He is from Chevy Chase, MD and attended undergrad at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Outside of psychology, he likes to go on bike rides, hikes, and attend live music events.

Tracy Vargo –

Tracy is a 4th year student in the Neuropsychology area of emphasis and is currently at practicum at PAVA. Tracy has published and presented on military and veteran suicide and is interested in Neuropsychology and veterans.


Admitted 2015:

Maryke Harrison –

Maryke is currently a third year PhD student in the Diversity and Community Mental Health track. Maryke is in her second practicum at Ronald McDonald House, Stanford and works part time as a Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) intern. Maryke has been working as a paid consultant, developing and evaluating a mental health empowerment program for the Hualapai tribe and developing an emergency psychology certificate program with Navajo Technical University. Most recently, Maryke is serving as lead coordinator and pre-doctoral member of a special interest group on risk, resilience and reasons for living within the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Maryke is also collaborating with Dr. Marsha Linehan to culturally adapt the Reasons For Living inventory. As a member of the PAU community, Maryke serves as the president of SECA and WITT.

Catherine Hausman –

Catie is a third year student in the Trauma emphasis at PAU. She is currently in the practicum program at Western Blind Rehab Center at PAVA Menlo Park. For the CCER, Catie has been primarily working with Stanford to develop culturally based suicide screening for primary care, studying Physical Bravery in military service members and Veterans, and Training Standards/Developing Training in Suicide Risk Management. Catie’s dissertation will be on physical bravery for which she has IRB approval and is working on data collection. Catie is also involved with the Trauma Student Group and Student Veterans Organization. Catie’s pre-graduate school research experience was studying Suicide Prevention in Veterans with PTSD with Dr. Herbert Hendin in NYC.

Katherine Maslowski –

Kate is a 3rd year graduate student in the Neuropsychology track. Kate received her B.S. in Oceanography from the United States Naval Academy and received a commission into the United States Navy. Following 8 years as a Surface Warfare Officer, Kate resigned her active duty commission to pursue a career in clinical psychology. After leaving active duty, Kate received her M.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Kate is interested in working with veterans and active duty military. Additionally, Kate is currently a LCDR in the Navy Reserves and is assigned to the Office of Naval Research.


Admitted 2016:

Conrad Camit –

Conrad is a second year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student in the Diversity & Community Health and the LGBTQ tracks.  His current research interests include suicide assessment and prevention among diverse populations.  Current and past research projects include developing a cultural suicide risk screening process for Stanford Primary Care, working with the Hualapai tribe to develop a suicide prevention program, and presenting on the Cultural Reasons for Living Inventory at the 2016 APA Convention.

Renata Saragon –

Renata is a second year student in the forensic track and has been involved in developing a Crisis Intervention Team training program for police officers with Dr. Leonard Beckum. She is also interested in studying help-seeking behaviors in police officers, as well as lone wolf terrorism. Renata is originally from Chicago and is of Assyrian American decent.

Kristen Vescera –

Kristen is currently a 2nd year student interested in working with veterans. She is currently working as a practicum student at PAU's Gronowski Center and hopes to work at the VA during her 3rd year. She is beginning to look at physical bravery with active and reserve Special Operations service members and is also reaching out to local and national VA teams in regard to systemic care provision with suicidal veterans. As a veteran, her work is mainly in line with her interests in policy and program development. 

Kellylynn Zuni –

Kellylynn is a second year student in the CCER in the Diversity and Community Mental Health track. Kellylynn is also a CDC CUPS Scholar as a Future Public Health Leader, and is a Navajo Nation Education Scholar. Kellylynn has a dual B.A. degree in Psychology and Anthropology from Adams State University, Alamosa, CO. Kellylynn is interested in specializing in Diversity & Community Health and American Indian/Alaskan Native psychology.  Her current research interests include suicide assessment and prevention among diverse populations. Kellylynn is a tribal member of the Navajo Nation and has been a resident on the reservation for eighteen years. She has actively participated in tribal organizations and plans to return to the reservation following her doctoral program.



Application Details

Openings: Three or Four, depending on fit.

Requirements: Students should be highly motivated and dedicated to publishing and presenting at conferences. Students should be self-directed, yet work well in a team. The ability to be flexible is highly valued and punctuality is vital. Students must be in good academic standing and have good writing skills.

How to Apply: Admission to the lab is dependent upon goodness of fit, academic merit of the applicant, and professionalism of the applicant. Interested students are asked to submit the following items to Dr. Bongar by the PAU Research Group Application due date:

·         Curriculum Vitae

·         Unofficial transcript

·         One page cover letter describing past research experience, how and why you became interested in clinical emergencies, a list of ongoing projects that you would like to contribute to, and a description of additional specific research that you would like to do while in the group

·         A writing sample (any paper submitted for a graduate-level course) 

Notification Process: Dr. Bongar and his students will interview applicants prior to the application deadline. Students accepted into CCER will be notified via email by 4pm on Monday, May 1st, 2017.

Questions: Please direct any questions to Maryke Harrison via email:





1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Phone: (800) 818-6136 Fax: (650) 433-3888





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