PAU Celebrates Stars of Academics, Research, Teaching, and More

May 30, 2022
PAU Stars 2022
On May 13, 2022, Palo Alto University held PAU Stars, an annual event celebrating the outstanding achievements of students, faculty, staff, and supervisors. More than 50 community members were recognized for excellence in academics, clinical work, research, equity and diversity, and teaching, as well as mentorship, collegiality, and supervision.
“PAU Stars is an opportunity each year to honor our students, faculty and staff for the dedication, commitment and hard work in the fields of psychology and counseling,” said PAU President Maureen O’Connor. “This event is one small way in which we can both recognize the extraordinary efforts of our community and show our gratitude.”  
A list of awardees and their nominators comments is below:
Award for Academic Excellence 
Katrina Volante
Nominated by Cristen Wathen, PhD, Kelly Coker, PhD, Jennie Ju, PhD, and Rachel Jacoby, PhD
Katrina Volante is an exceptional student who goes above and beyond on assignments, is specific and precise, follows instructions, and who asks thought-provoking and culturally-competent contextual questions in a classroom environment. She has strong writing skills and is committed and focused on completing her coursework and clinical work at the highest standards. From the time Katrina started in the program until now, she has been an active and engaged student, both in and outside of class. She constantly seeks out new opportunities for learning and is proactive in her efforts to become the best counselor she can be. Juggling international time differences has not deterred Katrina from taking full advantage of engagement in everything PAU has to offer. Her experience in international environment helped to develop cultural sensitivity and humility in social settings. Katrina works well with peers in group tasks and projects, and is respected by her cohort members for her diligence, openness and collaborative attitude.
Christina Raes

Nominated by Bill Froming, PhD

Christina was in three of my classes. She earned A+ grades in each of them. She asked me to write a letter of reference for her and, in looking at her transcript, I saw that she earned A+ grades in all of her classes to that point in the program. She is very talented and thoughtful. She goes well beyond what is in class and applies it to other topics, thereby checking her comprehension of the principles involved. We continue to correspond about varying topics. You really can't ask for more in a student than what you get with Christina. If she isn't the epitome of academic excellence, then I really don't know what the term means.

Alexandra Rousseau
Nominated by Charlotte Beard, PhD
Alexandra is a conscientious student driven toward conceptual understanding and practice skills related to clinical psychology. She demonstrates strength in research methods and statistics, exceeding requirements and expectations of the class. Alexandra consistently seeks more challenging work as she strives toward a deeper understanding of class material. Her academic success is reflected in her overall course grades and, moreover in her hard work and time spent mastering skills - from understanding the underlying formulas for statistics questions to seeking information about journals that are appropriate for publication. She asks challenging and relevant questions in class that creates a richer learning experience for her peers.
Jerry Uribe-Alcazar
Nominated by Joseph Novosel, MSEd
Over the past six quarters, Jerry Uribe has been in at least eight courses I have taught. He finished in the top two in them all and at the top of his class more often than not. Jerry demonstrates an exceptionally positive attitude, consistently does top-notch work, and is an excellent collaborator. He contributes significantly to the learning of the class as a whole. In addition, all the students like, admire, and respect Jerry. He adds tremendously to the esprit de corps of the cohort. He is a joy to have in class.
Award for Excellence in Clinical Work
Elizabeth Velazquez Lopez
Nominated by Diana Herweck, PsyD
Elizabeth Velazquez Lopez has grown in her self-confidence and beliefs in her skills exponentially. She continues to improve her engagement in class and has taken risks by showing openness and vulnerability with her peers. Elizabeth has become more personal over the quarter by sharing her experiences about her family and culture with her peers while challenging beliefs her peers have about multiculturalism. She displays cultural humility through examples and asks engaging questions making us deeply think about our work differently. Elizabeth shows she cares for her clients by creating spaces for them to be themselves, share difficult parts of their lives with her, and shows she never judges them. She uses humor to allow her clients to process their experiences while also feeling the safety she creates in session. Elizabeth has been an excellent example of how we create space, hold space, and validate our clients’ experiences for the betterment of communities long term.
Vibhuti Pandey
Nominated by Diana Herweck, PsyD
Vibhuti Pandey's supervisor stated she is one of our best therapists. She carries a big caseload and has a broad range of clients including individuals, couples, and some very difficult cases.  I have read some really positive feedback clients have written about her.  I would take 10 interns like her. Her learning attitude, her attitude towards her clients, and her skills are really good. 
Kamden Spector
Nominated by Diana Herweck, PsyD
Kamden Spector has done a wonderful job coming into our class environment when her classmates had already spent a quarter together. She fit in wonderfully into our class and openly shared her experiences from day one. She offers her peers a lot of in-depth feedback and views they have not considered before. Kamden does a great job meeting her clients where they are in their process and showing them empathy. She shows she deeply cares during sessions and checks in with how the client is feeling about themselves and their work together. She shows the same empathy and cultural humility she continuously provides her clients to her peers as well.
Chelsea Barnes
Nominated by Matt Cordova, PhD
Chelsea Barnes has done stellar clinical work across multiple settings, including in the Early Intervention Clinic (EIC) lab and her practicum at VA Palo Alto's Tele-Mental Health Clinic. In the EIC, Chelsea has shown outstanding skills in evidence-based treatments (EBTs) for trauma and loss, treating some of our most distressed recent trauma survivor participants. She is also our lead lab manager and has been instrumental in redesigning and orienting our new students to our clinic procedures. She is unfailing in her support for others in group supervision, fostering a culture of transparency and safety that has facilitated others' learning. At PAVA, she has thrived in providing EBTs to Veterans via telehealth, receiving outstanding PCAF ratings and building strong working relationships with supervisors and other professionals. Chelsea secured an outstanding internship for next year at VA Sacramento. She is the epitome of a well-rounded clinician and a great advocate for her patients and peers.
Ben Goldwasser
Nominated by Daniella Halperin, PhD, and Patricia Eaton, PsyD
From the beginning of the training year, Ben has shown excellence in his clinical work. He has a good foundation of evidence-based practices that he thoughtfully incorporates into therapy sessions based on patient need. He builds and maintains strong therapeutic alliances with patients, and is able to work with complicated cases with ease. Ben has been an outstanding addition to our department. He consistently shows a strong sense of responsibility, clinical judgment, professionalism, and collaborative teamwork. He is highly valued by his patients, his peers, and staff. He has excelled in his group therapy rotations, receiving unanimous positive feedback from colleagues about his performance delivering group interventions. He consistently receives praise from training program directors and supervisors, and he has clearly stood out among his peers as one of our strongest practicum externs this year, and in years past. He comes across as a clinician far beyond his years of training and is very deserving of recognition for his talents, skills, and dedication to clinical work.
Jennifer Lynne Stephens
Nominated by Raquel Osorno, PsyD, Neda Kharrazi, PsyD, and Lisa Zhang, PhD
Jennifer is the hardest working student that I have had the pleasure to supervise. There has not been an opportunity for learning and growth that she has turned down. She is reliable, thoughtful, and exceptionally poised under pressure. She also proved to be a supportive teammate, advocating for a fellow student in need. Jennifer has demonstrated outstanding clinical commitment and performance as an exceptional practicum student at the Stanford Inpatient units. During a year with tremendous challenges in the hospital setting, including navigating the complexities of providing inpatient care during a pandemic while the psychology team was under-staffed, Jennifer took on a huge role in providing and coordinating patient care and supporting the growth of the psychology team. Her ideas about the role of psychologists on the unit have inspired valuable discussions that have helped the psychology team explore their role on the unit and creative interventions with patients.  She has been able to do all of this with a positive attitude, keeping patient care first, and with a team-oriented spirit. We are consistently impressed with her maturity and ability to balance her responsibilities with an ever-present smile. I can’t think of a student more deserving of this award!
Samantha Jo Kirshon
Nominated by Melanie Lean, PsyD, and Katherine Eisen, PhD
Samantha is exceptional in her passion for working with individuals with psychosis and other serious mental illness, and she does not shy away from clinical situations that are complex and challenging. I have had the pleasure of co-facilitating and supervising her on our CBT for Psychosis group in the INSPIRE clinic. She also took a lead on preparing new group material as well as novel ways to engage this often hard to engage population. She has a calm, and compassionate demeanor that allow her to skillfully navigate difficult group dynamics effectively. She is highly motivated to learn new skills, and although she is only in her second year of training, she comes to her practicum work with the therapeutic intuition and clinical knowledge of a much more seasoned clinician. In addition to her excellent clinical work, she is probably the only clinician I have ever worked with who has told me, without a trace of irony, that 'I love documentation!'  Given her level of skill and enthusiasm for working with individuals experiencing serious mental illness in acute settings, Samantha is, and will continue to grow and develop into, a fantastic clinician and is very deserving of this award.
Award for Excellence in Equity & Diversity
Luis Iller Martinez
Nominated by Karen Roller, PhD, and Shreya Vaishnav, PhD
Luis Iller Martinez is not only an MA in Counseling student but is a professionally-trained medical interpreter at Stanford Children's Hospital. As a student he was assigned a text that directed students to use children in the interpretation of clinical sessions with their parents, which is highly unethical for a variety of reasons. In bringing this situation to faculty attention, he has since developed pre-recorded lectures and training modules for the Counseling Skills, Multicultural, and Spanish for Clinicians classes, as well as volunteered his time to begin CONCEPT CEU modules on same so that all PAU students may be properly trained for free in the use of ethical interpretation for their clients. He also initiated contact with the textbook authors to address the questionable guidance in the text, and worked with them on updating to the appropriate protocols. Luis also served as course interpreter for the Family Play Therapy online Child-Parent Relational Therapy class, assuring that all enrolled students could engage in service-learning that boosts their multicultural competence and concrete skills for working to reduce language-based disparities in clinical outreach and parenting empowerment. He does this with the utmost humility and reverence for all the clients he serves.
Jessica Lin
Nominated by Alayna Park, PhD
Jessica exemplifies excellence in equity and diversity across her research, clinical work, teaching, and other professional and personal activities. She is currently leading a study investigating barriers to help-seeking among sexual minority BIPOC and has taken great initiative in reviewing relevant literature, identifying appropriate measures, and proposing measure adaptations to promote inclusivity (e.g., setting a new standard in our lab to change demographic questions from forced responses to open responses). She has also sought clinical training to develop competencies providing trauma-informed, affirmative, culturally-responsive, evidence-based care in the Sexual and Gender Identities Clinic (SGIC) and City of Fremont: Youth and Family Services. Additionally, Jess created an asynchronous lecture video for Evidence-Based Approaches on affirmative psychotherapy, which received rave reviews from students. Furthermore, she has advocated for POC through drafting policy briefs sent to hundreds of legislators and fundraising. Jess is a model of PAU's value of social justice and the ideal candidate for this award.
Devon Taylor
Nominated by Stephanie Crockett, PsyD
Devon is a strong advocate for providing culturally competent care. In her practicum in the Mental Health Clinic at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, she actively seeks working with patients who hold marginalized identities and frequently brings topics related to cultural diversity into supervision and group meetings. She independently reviews relevant literature and applies culturally sensitive conceptualizations and interventions to her work (e.g., identity models and trauma-informed lens with race-based trauma). Devon has demonstrated ability to connect with particularly vulnerable patients who have lost trust in their providers and in the system. She is currently working on implementing a race-based traumatic stress group at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, in order to help fill a gap in mental health care for BIPOC Veterans.
Award for Excellence in Research
Ramona Amely
Nominated by Rachel Jacoby, PhD, and LaToya Smith, PhD
Ramona Amely is an excellent student and goes above and beyond to grow in the counseling field. She has recently volunteered to assist on upcoming faculty research projects, and has been incredibly hands-on in her participation. As she continues to navigate the world of research, she quickly is growing her research agenda, particularly in clinical work with children and adolescents. She is committed, focused, and determined to make an impact in the counseling field. I am her internship instructor and see the previously stated in her work as a clinician too.
Daniel Baldini
Nominated by Eduardo Bunge, PhD
Daniel's commitment to research started early in his career. He has a first-author publication and has contributed to numerous labs and projects. He helped at the I AIM EDU study in the eClinic, guiding participants through an online therapy program called Silvercloud. He is currently volunteering at the BRAIN Lab with Dr. Hirst and in the Attention, Impulsivity, and Regulation Lab at UC Davis. Since this is not enough for him, he has also joined the Adamson Lab at Stanford/the Palo Alto VA. They research Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and how it affects outcomes in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) among many other things involving TBI, with Dr. Victoria Liou-Johnson as his mentor!
Nesha Harper
Nominated by Tilman Schulte, PhD
Nesha Harper is an outstanding student with an already impressive research productivity. In addition, she demonstrated excellent initiative, time management, ability to collaborate well with others, and recently first authored a paper examining the intersectionality between mindfulness and cognitive performance via neuropsychological assessment in older adults with and without amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Previously, she co-authored a publication on how negative mood reduces negative false memories after a brief mindfulness exercise. She has 9 professional presentations (four as a first author) and is currently working on several manuscripts. She is a third-year practicum student at the UCSF Epilepsy Center, where she administers neuropsychological assessment to adults (18+) within an outpatient setting. Within this practicum, Nesha was also offered the opportunity to conduct neuropsychological assessment for the SLATE Study, which is a unique experience not given to many students. In addition to this, she is also engaged as a senior student research associate at SRI International, where she collaborates on several NIH-funded studies within the sleep lab. Overall, Nesha has an exceptional talent for research and a promising record showing a high productivity for a third-year PhD student.
Sariah Daouk
Nominated by Yan Leykin, PhD
Sariah has published at least 8 papers, both covering work done at PAU and, concurrently, work conducted prior to PAU, and she will be submitting several more in the coming months. Her dissertation examined decisions about depression treatment among Arabs residing in the Arab World, which is a grossly understudied population. She has a unique aptitude and talent for research, which should be recognized.
Josh Tiller-Ormord
Nominated by Robert Friedberg, PhD
It is my genuine pleasure to nominate Mr. Josh Tiller-Ormord for the excellence in research award. Josh is a most deserving student for a myriad of reasons. Over the course of his short career at PAU, Josh has authored or co-authored a book chapter, several journal articles, and many scholarly posters presented at such prestigious national and international conferences as The World Congress of Psychiatry, the European Congress of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association, the University of Dublin School of Medicine, and the annual meeting of Division 54 (Pediatric Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. His interests span multiple areas including pediatric behavioral health, LGBTQ issues, and parents’ reactions to perinatal illnesses. He is an active member of his research group and his peers regularly look to him for his sage advice on statistical matters.
Katy Stimpson
Nominated by Anneliese Radke, PsyD
To say that Katy’s graduate research has been excellent is a drastic understatement. Her enormous CV reflects her dedication to research and her impressive publication history. Her interests are complex, fascinating, and incredibly important to the field of psychology and beyond. Katy works with clinicians in multiple disciplines and easily holds her own thinking critically through multifaceted issues related to treatment-resistant depression and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), brain imaging, genetics, research design, statistics, and patient care. Katy’s research acumen stands out not only among her peers, but also among students coming from research-intensive programs. On top of it all, Katy’s clinical supervisors consistently highlight her advanced clinical and therapeutic skills with patients. She truly represents the best of both worlds: an excellent researcher and psychotherapist.
Daniellee Benfica
Nominated by Eduardo Bunge, PhD
Daniellee is an amazing student that has been doing her internship at the Children and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Technology Lab with Dr. Bunge. She has been helping with recruitment in many projects and contributed to the work of many doctoral students. But most importantly, she has contributed to a research project on the dissemination of online resources for parents during the pandemic. This project has reached a large population and Dani is making a significant contribution to the community through her efforts in research.
Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Service
Ana Real
Nominated by Murphy Alafoginis, MS, MBA
Ana is compassionate, dedicated to her studies, and driven to do her best in everything. She arrives to class excited to learn and consistently demonstrates her academic and professional prowess in discussions related to both psychology and non-psych topics. She is supportive of her fellow students, is incredibly organized, and is a joy to have in class. Even with numerous outside responsibilities, she has demonstrated a willingness and desire to go above and beyond for her classmates, and always scores quite highly on academic requirements--demonstrating her commitment to her studies, peers, and herself.
Award for Excellence in Teaching
Vicky Bouche
Nominated by Sita Patel, PhD
Vicky is an amazing student-teacher, mentor, and peer-supervisor. She has been a TA for several classes, including Mental Health Disparities, for which she helped develop an advocacy service learning project that included training and a live advocacy experience with a real legislative issue impacting mental health disparities. As a TA, she has always been incredibly supportive of students - generous with her time, input, sharing her academic experiences with her junior peers and taking a genuine interest in their development. Vickie plays a similar role in my lab - as a senior member, she has supervised junior members, conducted skills trainings, and more. Vickie was also an adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco - teaching an undergraduate Cross-Cultural Psych class. She earned glowing student evaluations, despite it being her first time teaching independently, and navigating sensitive class content. Vickie very much deserves the Star teaching award!
Victoria Guinn
Nominated by Lisa Brown, PhD
Victoria Guinn truly deserves the Excellence in Teaching PAU Stars award. In the MS program, she served as a TA for Research Methods and Statistics II & III (Rowena Gomez). In the PhD program, she continued working as a TA for Research Methods I (Charlotte Beard) and for Adult Development and Aging (Lisa Brown). As a TA Victoria received 4.3-4.5/5 effectiveness ratings. This is no small feat, given that these are all required courses. Students in her courses praised her for her professionalism and ability to answer questions stating, “She was great at responding and clarifying questions. She also has a great attitude,” “She is extremely patient, kind, and a comforting presence in class,” and "A truly outstanding TA. Always made herself available and went above and beyond to help students." Victoria recently was hired to teach Statistical Methods in Social Sciences as adjunct faculty for the PAU undergraduate program.
Aileen Kucsera
Nominated by Karen Osilla, PhD
Aileen was an excellent TA for Substance Use Disorders. She gave two guest lectures focused on mindfulness-based treatment and psychedelic treatment that were engaging, evidence-based, thorough, and well-received. She was incredibly thorough when grading essays, always adding affirmations and objectively grading to our rubrics. Finally, she was supportive to me and the students. It was my first time teaching and Aileen was dependable and shared her feedback to optimize the quality of the course. She was also very supportive of students who openly went to her for guidance and questions. In my eyes, she went above and beyond expectations for a TA and worked on par with me as a colleague teaching the course. The commitment and responsiveness she exerted are difficult in the midst of other demands, but she excelled flawlessly in this regard.
Award for Overall Outstanding Student
Hannah Steinberg
Nominated by Consortium Core Faculty
Hannah is this year's Outstanding Overall PsyD Consortium student as she excels on all domains – teaching, clinical, service, research, and community building. Hannah has been an exceptional TA for multiple assessment courses, as well as the TA at the Palo Alto VA’s Mental Health Clinic where she functions at a very advanced level assisting clinical supervisors and students with case interpretation and report writing. Last year, she was honored by her junior peers when they selected her for the Golden Apple Best TA Award. Hannah has also consistently received rave reviews from her clinical supervisors for her strong clinical reasoning, resourcefulness and productivity, and generosity supporting colleagues. Hannah’s commitment to research has resulted in several first-authored poster presentations, one of which was awarded the WPA Student Research Award. Hannah was also the recipient of an APS Student Research award in 2020. Hannah has been a consistently generous citizen within the Consortium, serving on the DEI Student Advisory Board, and going above and beyond to assist with admissions. Hannah is highly conscientious and serves as a positive voice and uplifting member of our community. She is very deserving of the Outstanding Overall Student award.
Jackie Grapa
Nominated by Shreya Vaishnav, PhD; Karen Roller, PhD; Rachel Jacoby, PhD; and Donna Sheperis, PhD
Jackie Grapa is very committed to student support and learning. She has been a TA for multiple courses and has proven to be dedicated, engaged, and an excellent communicator. Jackie took great initiative to begin practicum early so that she could maximize her training time, and has managed two very different placement sites concurrently, to address the treatment disparity for Spanish-speaking Latinx families throughout the pandemic. She simultaneously trained in Emotion-Focused Therapy and Child-Parent Relational Therapy while voluntarily translating the entire second edition manual so that Spanish-speaking students would not need to do so in their heads while delivering the training, and so that Spanish-speaking families could have handouts they could read. She has successfully managed multiple client systems in high-risk crises, honed her case conceptualization skills while helping find appropriate long-term care for those beyond the scope of her sites' resources, and mentored colleagues in creating and managing process groups. Jackie has consistently sought growth and feedback on her skills development while never needing a reminder about paperwork or administrative duties. She found ways to safely provide field-based exposure therapy, online play therapy, and crisis intervention in spite of clients' widely varying clinical presentations. Jackie brings thorough humility even though she is also a widely sought-after TA and RA, and Co-Chair of the PAU Latinx Task Force--updating the LTF website and completely translating it so families of potential and current students can access it. She has contributed to several national presentations and peer-reviewed publications related to developing a commensurate bilingual clinical workforce, and specific research projects focused on Latinx populations, and is a blessing to any system she serves. Jackie shows her commitment to the university by attending interviews for faculty and staff - interviews of people she will likely never interface with given her graduation date. Yet she attends, asks crucial questions, and always provides feedback to the interview team about each candidate.
Rosalva Mejia
Nominated by Eduardo Bunge, PhD
Rosalva Mejia completed her Masters of Science Degree in Psychology with a perfect academic record, being on top of all the assignments and contributing nicely to every class. On top of this she has contributed to different areas throughout Palo Alto University. Rosie has volunteered as a research assistant for the Maternal and Digital Research for Equitable Solutions (MADRES) lab with Dr. Alinne Barrera, and as research assistant for the Institute for International Internet Interventions for Health (i4Health) under Dr. Ricardo Muñoz. She has worked on digital interventions being used to prevent, treat, and intervene in mental health problems and reduce health disparities in under-resourced, marginalized, minority populations. She also joined PAU’s Latinx Task Force, a group of faculty, staff, and students that focus on preparing and training Latinx students to best serve Spanish-speaking communities. It is not surprising that she got accepted to a PhD in Clinical Psychology program in Southern California with a full scholarship. Rosie has made PAU proud.
Alyssa Herman
Nominated by Alayna Park, PhD
Alyssa is an exemplary student and the ideal candidate for the Outstanding Student Award. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA, while carrying an active clinical caseload and serving as a statistical consultant for the PAU Statistical Consulting Center. She is also leading a research project, in partnership with Dr. Eric Youngstrom at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the nonprofit organization Helping Give Away Psychological Science, that is crowdsourcing a collection of free, online, evidence-based mental health resources. Alyssa has submitted an IRB proposal, developed a system for screening nominated resources, and recruited and trained a diverse team of undergraduate research assistants who are thriving under her mentorship. She demonstrates excellence in her coursework, clinical work, and research and exemplifies PAU’s values of inclusive excellence.
Mona Midani
Nominated by Sara Markuson, MS
Mona Midani is a model student. Not only does she produce excellent papers and classroom discussion posts, but she consistently adds to classroom discussions in thoughtful and meaningful ways. Mona proactively requests additional materials and readings to add to her learning. She applies this learning in classroom discussions by providing evidence-based insights into multiple areas of the field of psychology. On multiple occasions, Mona displayed a personal strength in leadership skills as she elegantly navigated challenging classroom conversations with compassion. Mona's knowledge, creativity, and empathy allow her to easily engage and support the learning of her fellow students. Mona is an asset in and outside of the classroom and will undoubtedly continue to shine brightly as she continues her service in the field of psychology. 
Campus Team Recognition
Staff Council
Nominated by Chelby Tookey
The Staff Council has been working so hard to listen to colleagues and implement changes that will make PAU a more equitable place to work. They should be recognized at PAU Stars because they go above and beyond their already busy job duties, to be advocates for PAU staff. It is evident that each and every member of Staff Council cares about staff, about PAU, and are diligent change-makers. They also push PAU to be more transparent and forthcoming with helpful information, exemplified in their execution of last year's Staff Forum.
Change Maker Award
Alaina Dunn
Nominated by Chelby Tookey
Alaina is the Assistant VP of Admissions. In her three years at PAU, she has completely revamped and streamlined the admissions processes for all PAU programs. As a result, programs are meeting their enrollment goals earlier and with stronger applicant pools than ever before! Student enrollment has such a huge impact on PAU in a myriad of ways, so it's extremely important that admissions is done well. Alaina should be recognized at PAU Stars because she has totally restructured the Admissions Dept., improved collaboration across PAU departments, developed more equitable and inclusive admissions processes, and continues striving to increase representation of underrepresented groups among PAU's student body. She's also a fantastic leader, manager, and mentor.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Leadership Recognition
Murphy Alafoginis
Nominated by Maleah Losito
Professor Alafoginis is an amazing teacher with an exceptional understanding of how to motivate and engage her students. She supplies ample enthusiasm for the subjects she teaches and creates a safe space to explore topics that show respect around equity, diversity, and inclusion. Her leadership style should be commended as she demonstrated that you can be a professor and a student who puts in the hard work for a PhD. As a woman who has never seen this done, I am inspired and motivated to do the same, through such phenomenal leadership this is why I believe she should be recognized as one of PAU's Stars!
Meditation & Mindfulness Everest Award
Nesha Harper
Meditation & Mindfulness K2 Award
Alicia Torres
Meditation & Mindfulness Kangchenjunga Award
Jamie Kirby
PsyD Excellence in Clinical Work and Research
LittleDove Rey
Nominated by Judith Prochaska, PhD and Nancy Haug, PhD
LittleDove was nominated for both Clinical and Research Excellence. In the Stanford Cancer Center, LittleDove has treated nicotine addiction to cigarettes, chew/dip, cigars, and e-cigarettes. Thus far, all of the patients with whom she completed treatment have successfully become tobacco-free. With her nonjudgmental approach, patients who initially were not ready to quit have reconnected when their circumstances changed. She is thoughtful and skilled in her interactions with patients and demonstrates maturity and follow-through. Her calm, empathetic, and approachable style contribute to her impressive clinical rapport, high patient engagement rates, and the success of her patients’ achieving a tobacco-free lifestyle. For patients who are non-English speakers, LittleDove has made effective use of Stanford’s interpreter service. LittleDove is also conducting research on suicide and substance use among Native American populations in a research group with Dr. Joseph Gone and the Society for Indian Psychologists. She recently published a first-author paper, "A systematic review of research methodologies in American Indian and Alaska Native suicide research from 2010 to 2020." LittleDove is a strong researcher and completed exceptional scientific work as evidenced by this publication among other studies in which she is involved. She is especially skilled in conducting systematic reviews.
Excellent Student Employee
Juan Gonzalez
Nominated by Jessica Ayres
Juan has been working for the Office of Financial Aid for 3 years and is an enormous asset. With very little direction, Juan has year over year improved our office's communication with students. He completely overhauled all of our documents, forms, and instructions so that they were consistent in look and feel. Additionally, he converted them to an electronic format, so that students weren't burdened with completing and submitting paper forms. He ensures that the language is up to date, clear, and professional. Since he started with us, we have seen a reduction in confused student emails and phone calls and largely attribute that to his efforts. Juan is kind, conscientious, and always goes above and beyond. He is the epitome of an excellent student employee.
Leadership: Faculty
Professor Joseph Novosel
Nominated by Ana Real
Professor Novosel goes above and beyond for every student. He is an excellent professor and mentor. He deserves to be awarded.
Leadership: Staff
Amber Watkins
Nominated by Patricia Zapf, PhD, and Angie De Muzio
Angie De Muzio: I am excitedly taking this opportunity to nominate Amber Watkins for this award based on her leadership skills and dedication to her Continuing and Professional Studies (CAPS) team. Amber embodies the most valuable leadership qualities, including clear, consistent communication, empathy, integrity and vision. Although Amber has her own workload, she meets every new challenge with a positive "can-do" attitude, going above and beyond, and serving as a consummate professional. In addition, she always makes time for her direct reports (as well as those who don't report to her) and focuses, listens, and provides supportive and constructive feedback. We recently adopted a new platform and Amber dedicated additional time and effort into not only understanding the platform but making herself available to answer questions and assist those who were asking for assistance in the new platform. In addition, she is patient and very thorough when she trains colleagues, always responding and disseminating information in a positive and supportive manner. Thank you!
Dr. Patricia Zapf: Amber Watkins is a consistent and strong leader who works with PAU faculty, staff, and students to support their continuing education and professional development opportunities. She works tirelessly to ensure everyone who requests it is provided access to CAPS training materials and has worked with the Forensic Mental Health Student Group to develop a series of practicum forum training events on forensic topics, recruiting internationally-known speakers for this series. She also works with faculty to develop their training materials into CAPS programs and certificates, such as the Foundations in Digital Mental Health certificate. She is an amazing asset to the CAPS team and an invaluable member of PAU's community."
Leadership: Student
Cyrus Chang
Nominated by Charlotte Beard, PhD
Cyrus Chang, MS, has an innovative perspective in digital mental health marked by contributions in clinical research (including four professional presentations in technology-psychology interactions) and consulting. As the president of the Behavioral Intervention Technologies student group (BITs), Cyrus has served as a community leader through administration, fostering personal connections, working with leadership at the highest level of the university, and dedicating time to understanding innovation in psychology. Innovative projects include contributing to novel VR applications of mental health and content development for the integration of tech and clinical psychology. Cyrus is a conscientious and accomplished student and TA, who was reliably well-prepared and engaged in a classroom setting, through his experience in the PAU Bachelors, masters and PhD programs. His innovative ideas have also resulted in two CONCEPT courses on technology and mental health. He is a trailblazer!
Mentorship: Faculty
Dr. Stacie Warren
Nominated by Kevin Liu
As a mentor and research advisor for students in the PhD program in Clinical Psychology at Palo Alto University, Dr. Warren exemplifies a mentor who is committed to the growth and professional development of her students. As an assistant professor, Dr. Warren has served on more than 40 dissertation committees, co-authored more than 30 posters and talks at academic conferences with students, and published 5 empirical papers in peer-reviewed journals with her students, with several more under review. Throughout this work, Dr. Warren incorporates growth mindset paradigms and challenges students to push past their own perceived limits, often using her own missteps as teachable moments and to normalize the experience of mistakes and setbacks. Dr. Warren also provides ample scaffolding for students to explore and engage in their own research endeavors independently following a developmental model of supervision. Dr. Warren has been a consistent advocate for students across multiple programs at the university; she has made multiple proposals for a Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) scholarship and often been an advocate for students who have felt unjustly treated on the basis of their identity by other supervisors.
Mentorship: Student
Juan Gonzalez
Nominated by Nesha Harper
Juan Gonzalez should be recognized at PAU Stars for student-student mentorship recognition. Juan consistently goes above and beyond to help younger students navigate various aspects of PAU, including the neuropsychology track, classes, BAPIC applications, competency exams, dissertation, and the internship application process. Juan demonstrates leadership and strong mentorship abilities, never hesitating to share his knowledge, read a cover letter or CV, or provide insight into different training experiences. Juan emulates what a student mentor should be, and his guidance has made navigating the ins and outs of a PhD program smoother for many other students. He shares strategies for choosing BAPIC sites, helps students prepare for interviews, reviews and edits cover letters, provides guidance for dissertation, and shares tips and insights into the internship application and interview process, among countless other things, all while navigating the PhD program himself. Juan deserves this award because he does not do these things for the glory. He never asks for, or seeks, praise or recognition. He never hesitates to help another student or lend a hand, regardless of the circumstances. There is no amount of gratitude to express how much Juan is appreciated.
Outstanding Clinical Supervisor: External
Dr. Kaci Fairchild
Nominated by Nesha Harper
Dr. Fairchild should be recognized at PAU Stars for her outstanding supervisor mentorship. She embodies what an ideal mentor should be – supportive, encouraging, and open-minded. She respects her mentees and treats them as colleagues, invests her time and energy in their training and professional growth and development, and provides thorough and helpful feedback. Dr. Fairchild nurtures her mentees’ love of psychology, both research and clinical practice, and she never hesitates to support academic/personal/professional endeavors. She teaches her mentees the value and pride of hard work and seeing it come to fruition, whether it be in the form of a poster or a first-author publication, and she always takes time to celebrate the wins. She believes in her mentees when they struggle to believe in themselves, and she never lets them give up on themselves, which is invaluable beyond words. 
Outstanding Clinical Supervisor: Internal
Dr. Satoko Kimpara
Nominated by Elia Mattke, Kylie Schulz, Ido Tzivion, Gentry Vest, and Hannah Zelcer
Elia Mattke: Dr. Kimpara has been an incredible support to two supervision groups (a second was given to her mid year). She has invested so deeply in her groups and has created a professional yet familial feel in which we can all learn and grow as clinicians. She is the most incredible mentor I have ever been lucky enough to learn from and I know this sentiment is felt by my peers as well.
Kylie Schulz: Dr. Kimpara goes above and beyond for her students in our supervision group. She is very dedicated to her students, often taking extra time out of her day to help us achieve our goals and improve as student therapists. When students come to her with questions, problems, or for help, she immediately solves the problems and you never have to remind her twice. She is graceful in providing support and noting students’ strengths, while at the same time recommended areas of improvement where they are needed. She took on additional students and groups when the clinic needed her to, and is always willing to help in any way she can. She is incredibly responsive, and will often text and email back within an hour of our emails. Overall, Dr. Kimpara is genuine, passionate, hard-working, and very dedicated in helping students achieve their goals!
Ido Tzivion: Dr. Kimpara is incredibly dedicated and empathetic to not only the students she supervises, but the clients as well. Dr. Kimpara goes above and beyond to do her best to aid both students and clients. She watches every session recording, thoroughly reads every progress note, and works collaboratively with her students to implement dynamic and integrative treatments for clients. Dr. Kimpara truly cares about each of her students’ success, and even checks in on their wellbeing and makes sure they are engaging in self-care. She is understanding and patient, and handles issues with grace and professionalism. She is incredibly knowledgeable in a diverse selection of treatment modalities, helping her students implement CBT, psychodynamic, and mindfulness-based interventions.
Gentry Vest: Dr. Kimpara goes above and beyond. When we were without a supervisor at the start of practicum, she so graciously stepped in and has provided us with the best supervision possible. She is so responsive and caring toward all of her trainees. She truly is a natural and I feel so fortunate that she is our supervisor!
Hannah Zelcer: Dr. Kimpara is an empowering and dedicated supervisor who spends her time providing the support and resources for those in her supervision group. Dr. Kimpara has proven that when her supervisees are facing difficult times or struggles, she is there to provide support for them and is understanding of the various factors that we as graduate students are balancing in the moment. When I was faced with no supervisor due to my original supervisor quitting during the summer, she returned to the clinic and smoothly transitioned to taking over my cases and immediately started to help provide structure for us. Even when not in supervision together, Dr. Kimpara has made herself available to anyone in our group and consistently helps us when faced with difficult situations. She is a hardworking and dedicated supervisor who has made my experience at Gronowski fulfilling and has made me a better therapist under her guidance."
Supportive Colleague
Jerry Uribe-Alcazar
Nominated by Maleah Losito and Ana Real
Maleah Losito: Jerry has been an amazing fellow student in my Business Psychology cohort. He has always been one of the top achievers in our classes together, putting in the extra time and hard work to understand our classes fully and ask the hard questions. He puts collaboration at the top of his list and is always willing to help his fellow classmates understand subjects and goes to lengths to be an exceptional mentor. His dedication to our studies has made me a better student and I believe that he should be recognized as one of PAU’s Stars.
Ana Real: Jerry is kind, thoughtful, and very supportive, he is an outstanding student and cohort member.
Supportive Faculty Member
Dr. Anneliese Radke
Nominated by Natalie Freeman and Katie Sullivan
Natalie Freeman: Dr. Radke has been an incredible advisor and professor for me! She is kind, thoughtful, caring, and brilliant! She has gone above and beyond in developing the assessment curriculum and helping at the VA.
Katie Sullivan: Dr. Radke is an incredible member of the PAU community. She is knowledgeable, approachable, and does it all. She is there for students even when on maternity leave and I always feel like I can go to her for honest support and advice. She knows so much about the PsyD Consortium and about our resources. She is an incredible professor and supervisor. I feel as though I can go to her with questions and I won't be judged. I am also in constant awe of all that she does for our program and for her students. Making herself available to anyone who has assessment questions or just questions about the program. As her TA I have witnessed her go above and beyond to help her students understand and enjoy the material. The skills she taught me as a student were invaluable and applicable to my clinical work this year."
Supportive Staff Member
Ana Castrillo
Nominated by Lauren Mlodzianowski
Ana Castrillo has been a beacon of light since learning of my acceptance at PAU. She took the time to reach out and Zoom to ensure I understood the steps needed to receive accommodations, as well as suggestions to help me cope more successfully while in the program. Ana has created an environment for students who require accommodations to feel supported without feeling alienated or self-conscious. She has always been available when needed, even on short notice, with quick Zoom sessions or email responses. She tries extremely hard to alleviate any stress that is associated with requiring accommodations. Her hard work shows in my ability to learn and perform in classes successfully, significantly above the minimum requirements. She goes above and beyond in her job to check on students throughout the year, to ensure she is providing enough support and offers a space to give feedback to improve. Her humility in allowing constructive feedback shows her kindhearted nature and commitment to her job as well as the students of PAU. Her comforting nature and ability to make students feel valued has been noticed and extremely appreciated.
Supportive TA
Meg Wallace and Katie Sullivan
Nominated by Emma Huston
Assessment this quarter has been confusing over Zoom; Meg and Katie have helped clarify administration and concepts each week. When I'm confused, I know I'm in good hands and I can rely on them to clear things up in lab. They are very easy to get a hold of, offer support quickly, are very positive and encouraging, and provide extra resources to supplement learning. They clearly put in a lot of effort each week to help us in and out of the classroom. They are very mindful and manage the hyflex classroom very well, checking in on Zoom folks and displaying video examples so those online can see them clearly. I feel very comfortable coming to them with concerns. In general, they are both stellar teachers and make a great team. I'm constantly grateful and impressed by them both!!
Dean’s List
Elianeth Arjona
Amy Ball
Daniellee Tess Benfica
Jourdan Misa Boten
Leah Kathryn Campbell
Alfredo M Contreras-Cabrales
Bertha Alicia Cornelio
Silvia Corral
Brooke  Allison Davis
Adrianna  Louise De Gante
Brooke de la Rambelje
Simran Dosanjh
Earl Espinoza
Drew Gabrera
Kimberly Ann Garvin
Sabrin Ghuman
Sabrina  Kelly Gonzales
Maritza  R Gray
Khalid Hakimi
Destinee Henderson
Sean  Lewis Hodson
Chelsea  Maureen Hofrichter
Isaac Houston
Melissa  Paige Jones
Samantha Kong
Haley Marie Madison Levesque
Haley  Marie Madison Levesque
Gisell Mendoza
Mona Midani
Chancy Montgomery
Noosha Jasmine Nafarzadegan
Rachael  Michelle Nagy
Micaela  Linda Ndaki
Elizabeth  Phuong Nguyen
Lisna Octavianti
Robert Olaires
Gabrielle Paige
Francesca Pedraza
Brianah  Danielle Pedregon
Jenna  Rose Perez
Alicia  Denise Pescador
Tigran Petrosyan
Stephanie Pulizzi-Hernandez
Ana  C Real
Sylvia Romero-Pagan
Adrian  Nazareth Sanchez-Cuevas
Greta Siegrist
Andrea Silva
Casey  James Skoonberg
Elizabeth Tashakori
Terrance  Dalton Tedford
Jerry Uribe-Alcazar
Trevor Whelan
Elaina  Evangeline Yip
Shuangshuang Zhang