Alumni Recognize PAU Faculty During National Mentoring Month

January 11, 2022
 
January is National Mentoring Month and PAU understands the importance of mentors to future counselors and psychologists. We reached out to our alumni to ask which faculty mentored them while they were students, or long after! Here are their responses:
 
Emily Bogdanoff (Koff), PhD in Clinical Psychology, 1999 - Dr. Stephen Hibbard
 
He was a great man. I had the opportunity to score many projective assessments honing my tools that I use today. And he got me through my dissertation process in a year.
 
Taylor Pouncy, MA in Counseling, 2020 - Dr. Scott Hinkle
 
Dr. Scott was the best! I could always count on him to answer questions, provide feedback, and endless resources that would help me to grow in my career.
 
Jerry Chen, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2020 - Dr. Stacie Warren
 
Stacie was a very dependable, knowledgeable, and critical academic/research mentor for me throughout my graduate training. She helped shape my interest and passion in neuroscience and neuropsychology at PAU.
 
Vidya Bharat, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2019 - Dr. Yan Leykin
 
Dr. Leykin was an amazing mentor who motivated me to complete my Ph.D. There were many occasions when I was ready to quit the program and his gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) nudges helped me with passing my various competency exams. This was my second career and getting back to academics after twenty years would not have been possible without Yan Leykin.
 
Molly Shepard, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2020 - Dr. Amanda Fanniff & Dr. Christopher Weaver
 
The forensic emphasis at PAU thoroughly prepared me for work within the field of forensic psychology. The Forensic II and Assessment courses with Dr. Fanniff were essential and very applicable to everyday work I complete today. I am beyond grateful for their mentorship and guidance throughout my graduate school training.
 
Anthony Mathias, MA in Counseling, 2019 - Dr. Donna Sheperis, Dr. Dareen Basma, & Dr. Megan Speciale

All three of these tremendous individuals were pivotal in ensuring that I succeeded. Each were amazing sounding boards, guiding lights, as well as instructors of so many academic (as well as personal) topics that came up in my three years at PAU.  I wish all instructors could care about students the way that these three amazing people do.

 
Nicholas Madian, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2017 - Dr. Stacie Warren
 
Dr. Warren was an incredible mentor. She is a wonderfully smart, wise, patient, and compassionate teacher and invests deeply in her students. In my case, working in her lab sparked a love for research which has greatly influenced my postdoctoral career. I never saw myself in research before I joined Dr. Warren's lab, but now I'm in a postdoctoral research fellowship!
 
Paula Alvarez, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2014 - Dr. Alinne Barrera & Dr. Jorge Wong
 
My mentors were very supportive and created opportunities for me. For instance,  I went to my first professional conference after Dr. Barrera was able to find me a grant to travel. Dr. Wong helped me find practicums and scholarships during graduate school, and after graduation he continued being supportive and available to provide me with guidance and advice when needed... I will always be grateful to my mentors for their support, wisdom, and encouragement throughout the years. 
 
Mark Staal, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 1997 - Dr. Roger Greene
 
Roger wasn't just a great faculty member who knew his stuff, he was also a kind and caring person. He tolerated my missteps and tried to be encouraging. He was wise yet practical. He was a role-model in and out of the school. I was lucky to find him, and I was blessed to have him lead me through the final stages of my program. I recently launched a podcast, and last month's episode was on mentorship...and I spoke about Roger during the episode
 
Christina Shirey, MA in Counseling, 2015 - Sharon Graf

Sharon was always very supportive to us as students. She cared about us as human beings as much as she cared about what we were learning and how well we were learning it. She shared excellent, relevant real-life stories of herself and other practitioners that still impact me and influence me as a licensed therapist. I truly appreciate how she addressed us and our needs as people first and spent whatever extra time with us we needed in order to truly learn what we would need in practice.

 
Cecilia Si Si Han, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2018 - Dr. Stacie Warren

Dr. Warren helped me through my internship applications. I would not have gone this far without her. She was down to earth, genuine, and kind. She was inspirational and supportive, and helped me tremendously through my graduation and early career development. We have stayed in touch since. I still reach out to her for questions regarding professional development. She makes me feel supported and welcomed. I am grateful to have Dr. Warren as my mentor.

 
Marybeth Wiefels, MA in Counseling, 2020 - Dr. Kelly Coker
 
Kelly was more than just an advisor. She always treated us as peers, very respectful and caring. Yet she provided strong leadership and gentle guidance. She led by example, and I still embrace her teachings. I literally thought of her today of a scenario we role played once! I’m a better than average clinician today because of KC. 
 
I sure miss getting to visit with our instructors!
 
Meagan Stanley, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2017 - Dr. Alinne Barrera
 
Alinne Barrera is one of the biggest contributing factors to my success in graduate school. I learned so much from her, both professionally and personally, and I could not ask for a better advisor. As a mentor, she provides warmth and sincerity while also being pragmatic and objective. She advised me through many difficult obstacles and shared her guidance so that I could become the best psychologist I could be. I attribute so much of my achievement in my career to her and I truly cannot think of anyone who deserves this recognition more. Alinne Barrera is an inspirational woman and does so much for others – she motivates me to be a better person and psychologist. 
 
Jessica Schwartzman, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2020 - Dr. Stacie Warren

Stacie Warren, PhD had a significant impact on my clinical and research skills as a clinical psychology doctoral student at PAU. Clinically, she advanced my understanding of neuropsychological assessments and ways to sensitively adapt approaches for vulnerable populations. In research, she encouraged my independent work on parent experiences and interventions in autism, which I continue to pursue in my own faculty role at an academic medical center. In sum, I have been fortunate to receive clinical and research training from leading experts at top-tier universities across the country, and Stacie Warren stands out as an excellent mentor.

 
Sean Pereira, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2018 - Dr. Alinne Barrera

During my time at PAU, Dr. Barrera distinguished herself amongst the faculty as an advocate and supporter of professional and personal growth since my first-year course in Clinical Interviewing. In doing so, she evoked compassion, and modeled how to professionally navigate challenges with work-life integration. When my initial advisor announced retirement plans, I was incredibly grateful to have her support in gracefully guiding my research, balancing immediacy and patience while adopting me as her new advisee. While trekking across the country at various externships and internships, she championed my dissertation efforts and rooted for me as I crossed the finish line at graduation. In all interactions, whether electronic or in person, she generously shares her insights while nurturing yours.

 
Nick Grant, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2015 - Dr. Peter Goldblum

Dr. Peter Goldblum is THE reason I applied to PAU. His reputation as a leader in the field of LGBTQ psychology and his service to the development of PAU’s Ph.D. program in clinical psychology made him the #1 faculty member I wanted to study under while pursuing my doctorate. I was fortunate to get to work with him as a clinical supervisor, research advisor, and mentor during my time at PAU. I am even more fortunate that today he continues to serve as a mentor and someone I can go to when I need advice or want to consult or collaborate on a new project related to LGBTQ psychology. I think back to my years at PAU and reflect on how Dr. Goldblum always supported me while also helping me to grow as a psychologist and future leader. His mentorship was key in my own success within the fields of both clinical and LGBTQ psychology, and for that I will always be grateful. 

 
Nicole Inlow, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2021- Dr. Alinne Barrera
 
Dr. Barrera was an incredible mentor to me throughout my journey at PAU. She was always available when I needed support, whether it was related to designing my dissertation or balancing my personal and academic lives. Thanks to her mentorship, I discovered my passion for perinatal mental health, which is a specialization I will continue to pursue throughout my career. Thank you, Dr. Barrera, for everything you have taught me and all the opportunities you presented to me. I am forever grateful! Dr. Barrera also interviewed me when I was applying to PAU. She was one of the reasons I chose PAU over other graduate programs.
 
Aaron Brodsky, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 1996 - Dr. Amy Wisniewski
 
Dr. Wisnieski set me on the path to follow my dreams and become the best neuropsychologist I could be. She was an extraordinary teacher who brought life and good humor to the classroom. She taught complex neuropsychological concepts in real world language and I will always appreciate how she emphasized writing reports using normal language, without all the psychobabble. As a member of my dissertation committee, she brought more out of me than I thought possible. It wasn't easy at the time, but it made me a better psychologist and a better person. I was able to bring her teaching to my career in a variety of roles, some of which included helping to stand up the military's first TBI and Neurorehabilitation Center in 2005 and serving as the TBI Advisor to the US Marine Corps in 2016. Her teaching and guidance helped not only me, but all the servicemembers I had the opportunity to help. I am now in private practice, and I continue to think back on her training and guidance.
 
Sharlisa Byrd, MA in Counseling, 2016 - Dr. Karen Roller

Hard work, integrity, perseverance, and love are just a few of the attributes that come to my mind when reflecting on Dr. Karen Roller. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you most. Your words of encouragement brightened many of my days and helped sharpen my experiences as a professional. The sacred space you offered so many of us provided an opportunity to learn, change, adapt and grow. Your passion for being an advocate for social and racial injustice is to be applauded. This was done with amazing talent, skill, and grace. You have shown me how to live a life of intellectual and ethical rigor and I can only hope to have the same impact on others as you have had on me. I call myself a manufacturer of hope and healing and I view you as a guiding light to safety, compassion, and transformative change. It has been an honor mentoring under you, and I hope my work in the community does you justice. You have so elegantly taught me: That which is to give light, must endure burning.  Thank you for being the blessing you were meant to be.

 
Nick Grant, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2015 - Dr. Grace Chen

I had the privilege of having Dr. Grace Chen as my assigned mentor for the internship application process and can honestly say that my life changed because of it. Dr. Chen is extremely passionate about professional development and truly invests in each and every student that she works with. She is completely authentic and utilizes her brilliance and dedication to help those she mentors achieve their pursuits. I do not think I would have matched with my first-choice internship or been successful in becoming an APA Congressional Fellow, pursuing my current career as an active-duty psychologist in the US Navy or taking on a variety of leadership roles within and outside of APA had it not been for having Dr. Chen as a mentor. Her presence and support in my life has helped me grow and learn how to appropriately challenge myself to take on new and exciting opportunities. I am grateful to have had her as a PAU mentor and today to be able to call her a friend. 

 
Dr. Chen is AMAZING!
 
Jennifer Paternostro, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2017 - Dr. Robert Friedberg

I was fortunate enough to be a member of Dr. Friedberg's CSTAY research lab during my time at PAU and have since continued to seek his mentorship and support on a regular basis. I cannot begin to describe the impact Dr. Friedberg has had on my career as a pediatric psychologist and my passion for CBT and youth mental health. Dr. Friedberg is one of those mentors that makes you want to be the very best version of yourself, as a clinician, a researcher, and human being. I remember early in my training, I was questioning if this was the right path for me and was seriously considering if I had what it would take to become the psychologist I had dreamt of becoming. Dr. Friedberg sat me down and we had a heart to heart about my goals and aspirations. This was a turning point for me that I will never forget. Since that talk almost ten years ago (WHAT!?!), Dr. Friedberg and I have co-authored countless manuscripts, book chapters, poster abstracts, workshops and even co-edited a book together. He is selfless when it comes to his students’ success and promoting career advancements. I can honestly say, I would not be where I am today without Dr. Friedberg’s mentorship and professional and personal support over these past 10 years. Five hundred words could never be enough to describe his invaluable mentorship. Thank you, a million times over, Dr. Friedberg! 

 
Diana Cohen, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2020 - Dr. Stacie Warren
 
Dr. Warren has mentored me in numerous capacities. As a professor at PAU, she taught several of my foundational classes for my training in clinical psychology, with an emphasis in neuropsychology. Dr. Warren allowed me to assist in a lecture of particular interest, even while I was still enrolled as a student. Over the course of the next few years, I would serve as a TA for Dr. Warren, and she would supervise me in neuropsychological assessment in the Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory at Stanford University. As a part of this team, we applied for and received a grant. I have cherished her expertise so much that she also served on my dissertation committee and was my faculty internship advisor- Dr. Warren has been involved in nearly every step of my graduate training and career. Moreover, she has given me endless hours of professional advice, even during my fellowship as a pediatric neuropsychology fellow at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It is difficult for me to imagine what the last seven years of training would have been like without her guidance. Dr. Warren is one of the most driven and hard-working individuals that I have ever met. She brought a new level of clinical research to PAU, and gave her students opportunities that had been very difficult prior to the time that she joined the faculty. It is rare to find an individual who exhibits compassionate clinical acumen, while also possessing expertise in all aspects of research, down to mastering technological issues. Despite a rigorous teaching and research schedule, she has always made time for me when I have needed it. Her dedication to her students, both current and former, has been unwavering.
 
I am very grateful for Dr. Warren and her commitment to her students.
 
Michael Richards, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2018 - Dr. Kimberly Balsam
 
Dr. Balsam has been a supportive and knowledgeable advisor since I started working with her as my research advisor. Her experience in the field of LGBTQ+ psychology was invaluable as another student and I worked with her to create an original research project that I eventually used for my dissertation. She has advocated not only for LGBTQ+ research in general, but also for me and other LGBTQ+ professionals as we navigated graduate school and our early career. As a student, she was one of the first people to note how working as a supervisor might be well suited to my skills, which has become a major part of my professional identity. As I’ve begun my career as a clinical faculty member, she has given much appreciated time, energy, and perspective whenever I’ve needed it. One of my favorite recent memories was a Zoom research group reunion during the early days of the pandemic. Knowing that we had a professional community and support from Dr. Balsam as we dealt with the uncertainty and stress of this time made a big difference for me. I can certainly say I would not be the psychologist I am now without her mentorship. Thank you for all your guidance!
 
I've just really appreciated all the things that Dr. Balsam has worked on with me at all the different stages she has been a mentor to me.
 
Whitney Geller, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2021 - Dr. Stacie Warren
 
Stacie Warren has consistently been an outstanding mentor. Palo Alto University (PAU) requires that faculty advise an exceptionally large number of students compared to other doctoral programs. Despite this, Stacie has always provided thorough and individualized mentorship that never wavers in quality. During my graduate training, Stacie helped me to refine my skills as an emerging researcher and clinician. This included rigorous training and feedback in fMRI research methodology, manuscript preparation, neuropsychological testing, and therapeutic interventions. Of note, Stacie’s background in neuroscience and neuroimaging provided a unique opportunity to conduct scientifically-based physiological research, which can be hard to come by in psychology. I was elated that I was able to do this type of research while at PAU, given that this opportunity is usually only available at major universities. Stacie truly brings unique opportunities to the university that would otherwise not be available. In addition to allowing for unique training experiences, Stacie is a brilliant researcher with excellent statistical, writing, and clinical skills. Mentors whom I have had since Stacie frequently comment on my research background and acquired skills as unique qualities that set me apart. Clearly, I have learned from the best. As further demonstration of dedication to her students, Stacie has continued to mentor me in my career (e.g., navigating postdoc, manuscript submissions) despite lack of any obligation to do so past graduation. In discussing mentorship experiences with students at PAU and other universities, I am confident in saying that Stacie is superior in her mentoring ability. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from her and believe that she is truly an exceptional advisor. PAU is lucky to have faculty as skilled and hard working as Stacie Warren. 
 
Joanna Servin, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2020 - Dr. Alinne Barrera

Throughout my doctoral training at PAU, I greatly valued Dr. Alinne Barrera’s mentorship and encouragement to pursue my research interests and career goals. Dr. Barrera made a strong commitment to fill in any gaps and undeniably enhanced my doctoral training. Over the years, she generously extended herself on numerous occasions to support my growth as a psychologist in training. I am forever appreciative of her continuous support in seeking opportunities for academic funding and career development. Under Dr. Barrera’s mentorship, I was designated as an Alternate for the American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program in 2016, and I received Honorable Mention for the fellowship for an additional two years. I also earned funding support from national organizations, such as La Unidad Latina Foundation, the National Latinx Psychological Association, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Beyond her remarkable credentials as a professor at PAU, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and Associate Director of the Institute for International Internet Interventions for Health (i4Health), as a self-identified Latina academic, she possesses the wisdom of successfully overcoming challenges and trail-blazing a path of success for future Latinx scholars, such as myself. As a mentor, Dr. Barrera continually displayed a willingness to make herself available to discuss and support any personal and academic challenges I faced. I always appreciated her insight and ability to provide a safe space of candor during our discussions of navigating work-life balance and challenging institutional spaces for Latinx and women of color. Lessons I learned during our discussions continue to influence me as I navigate my career as an early career professional. Dr. Barrera embodies a level of scholarship, dedication to teaching, and style of supervision and mentorship that I aspire to. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had Dr. Barrera as my advisor during my doctoral training and even more fortunate to have our relationship extend into a lifelong mentorship and collaboration of colleagues.

 
Hannah Saltzman, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2023 - Dr. Stacie Warren
 
I met Dr. Warren during my first year at PAU when she taught one of my courses. Her fierce passion and curiosity inspired me to be inquisitive and thoughtful as I engaged with class material. I spoke to Dr. Warren one day to inquire about her lab and she invited me to sit in on a meeting. Similar to the dynamic found in her classroom, the lab meeting was lively and filled with rich discussion. I have been a part of Dr. Warren’s lab for four years now. She has been one of my most influential mentors. As the only women STEM professor who has tenure at our institution, Dr. Warren is someone I have sought guidance from when grappling with difficult decisions related to my future professional career. 
 
In lab meetings, Dr. Warren frequently creates space to discuss issues related to gender inequality in STEM and academia. These discussions result in both recognition of injustices as well as action from Dr. Warren. She has frequent meetings with our academic institution’s administration to discuss the inequalities of all marginalized identities within the field and our school. In response to these inequalities, Dr. Warren dedicates time to advocate for the development of resources for first-generation college students as well as BIPOC students. Most recently, Dr. Warren has proposed a BIPOC-focused research project and a BIPOC student scholarship. Dr. Warren created a learning environment that empowered me to curious and challenge information. 
 
As Dr. Warren’s research is inter-disciplinary it provides a wide range of opportunities for her trainees when it comes to their research projects, student grant opportunities and dissertation topics. Through dedication and advocacy, Dr. Warren spearheaded the creation of our academic institution’s first neuroimaging research lab. This facilitated even more opportunities as her students are now able to pursue and publish research using neuroimaging. 
 
Dr. Warren honors and respects the role of research within our society and therefore promotes open and reproducible science. She also advocates for students to be a part of the Open Science Framework. Dr. Warren has endeavored to help all students at our academic institution. She recently established a pediatric neuropsychological assessment supplemental practicum to help fill a clinical training need. Dr. Warren has also taken on mentoring undergraduate students from our program who want to gain more research experience. Although it often seems Dr. Warren has all the answers, she is not shy to admit when she does not know what to do or has even made a mistake. In these moments, Dr. Warren shows her trainees how much she is enamored with the learning process. As she welcomes moments of uncertainty or errors with openness and intrigue.
 
Stacie is an amazing teacher.
 
Alex Kelman, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2016 - Dr. Alinne Barrera
 
I can say that she has undoubtedly made an indelible mark in not only the research domains that I now investigate but the ways that I function as a psychological science researcher. At UCLA, my research work focuses on conceptual models for trauma-informed systems, synchronous and asynchronous learning as mechanisms to reach broad audiences, and anti-racism culture shifts within academic medical centers. My work is substantially partnered, both with internal faculty and students as well as community partners. Dr. Barrera, through her research on Internet interventions and notable abilities in engaging in partnered work, has instilled in me the importance of partnership within research and methods to build strong partnerships in ongoing research work. Additionally, she opened many doors for me to both step into her research studies as a research assistant and scaffolded for me increasingly more agency in processes to help me to build requisite skillsets for functioning as a researcher. 
 
Perhaps the most salient example of her mentorship in this domain relates to my dissertation study, which was a proof-of-concept, pilot randomized trial comparing a novel compassion-focused intervention to the gold standard in automated Internet-based psychological care for perinatal women (i.e., CBT). Dr. Barrera not only encouraged me to learn through partnering in her research but also challenged me to contribute to the literature based on my specific interests related to compassion and meditation-based interventions. This scaffolding allowed for me to construct a dissertation that then resulted in both a peer reviewed protocol paper and a peer reviewed outcome paper. Dr. Barrera’s mentorship during my dissertation work speaks to a mentor who truly wants for her advisees to succeed, knowing that a substantial part of this success is finding research that speaks to one’s own values and professional interests. 
 
As mentioned, I continue to do work in these domains at UCLA, albeit focused on population level training and development as opposed to empirically supported treatments, and am already working with biostatistics, psychology, and physician colleagues to iterate on some of our work and conceptualize publications we want to put together. I cannot imagine a scenario where I would have been able to do this partnered work without mentorship that created the context for this professional growth to happen. 
 
This truly speaks to a mentorship philosophy that is based on growth and development of her advisees, which is a true gift that Dr. Barrera’s gives to the next generation of psychologists. Her warmth shows through in everything that she does, and it is a true warmth that concurrently includes compassionately pushing her advisees to work hard, push their professional boundaries, and contribute to the field of psychology. To that end, I am without a doubt confident in saying that Dr. Barrera is not only an immensely strong advisor but also an individual who represents the best of academic work. Her humility alongside immense competence is truly an example of how to be a psychologist, mentor, and genuinely kind human being.
 
Trisha Gaudig (Karsten), PhD in Clinical Psychology, 2019 - Dr. Stacie Warren
 
I have known Dr. Warren since she accepted me to join her research lab and become my academic advisor and clinical research mentor at Palo Alto University in 2014. I can speak to Dr. Warren’s excellent mentorship and commitment to her students’ success very well. From the time we met, Dr. Warren has mentored me in multiple areas, including research, clinical work, and professional development. She has played a major role in my current successful career in the VA Health Care System.
 
 As a first-generation college student and woman in STEM, Dr. Warren shows great dedication to being accessible to students with underrepresented identities in academia. I began my academic career with very little research experience, especially in neuroimaging. Dr. Warren devoted many hours to teaching and guiding me to learn new skills, obtain scholarships and awards, and develop my own program of research in trauma and attachment. 
 
It is important to note that since our official academic ties no longer exist, Dr. Warren is no longer responsible for mentoring me; however, she continues to assist me in my research endeavors through her own interest and dedication to her students and advancement of psychological science. Another more personal example of Dr. Warren’s outstanding mentorship is shown through her actions in assisting me in one of the most trying times of my graduate career. I had a challenging early adulthood which left me with problematic background, well before beginning my graduate program. This background placed barriers to my professional advancement and obtaining a competitive internship (I did not match the first year I applied). Dr. Warren helped me through this challenging time, both personally and professionally. She helped me to build my confidence as a woman in science, and as a clinician, by showing me we all have unique - sometimes adverse - backgrounds that are in fact strengths when the right energy and effort is put forth. She also assisted me in obtaining additional clinical and research training to increase my skills and accolades on my CV. 
 
Finally, Dr. Warren supported me through my second round of applying for internships and preparing for interviews. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Warren in helping me to obtain the internship training I deserved, among other teachings she shared with me. I personally do not know of any mentor who has gone to as great of lengths as Dr. Warren has to support her students. Dr. Warren’s mentorship has shown me the utmost respect and dedication that I feel every student deserves. She has fostered in me a similar drive to support my future mentees in a way that advances the future of psychological science and clinical work.