A. Keshani Perera
Dissertation Topic (In Progress): Bicultural Identity Integration as a Protective Factor Against the Stress Appraisal of Color Based Racial Discrimination Among First and 1.5 Generation Immigrant College Students.
Alejandra Toledo is a second-year master's student in the Clinical and Counseling program at William Paterson University. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from The College of New Jersey in 2021. She has co-led the Spanish Cultural Adjustment group for recently arrived middle school Latinx youth in Paterson, NJ.
Alejandra’s research interests include focusing on understanding and improving mental health services and disparities for racial and ethnic minority individuals. She would like to work with the Latinx, immigrant, and LGBTQIA+ populations.
Arohan Rimal, B.A.
Arohan Rimal is a first-year student in the clinical/counseling psychology master’s program at William Paterson University. He graduated with a BA in Psychology from University of Louisiana Monroe in 2021. Arohan currently works as a Graduate Assistant at the WPUNJ Office of Student Transitions and assists the office with social media management, student consultations, event-planning, and administrative support. His research interests contain cultural differences in experience of trauma, resilience, and existential issues. Arohan is currently looking forward to applying for Clinical Psychology PhD programs after graduating from the clinical/counseling program at WPU.
His research interests contain cultural differences in experience of trauma, resilience, and existential issues. Arohan is working on developing a project to assess the influence of cultural variables (time/duration of acculturation, language proficiency, etc.) on existential isolation. Arohan is looking forward to applying for Clinical Psychology PhD programs after graduating from the clinical/counseling program at WPU.
Ashley Sandoval, M.A.
Ashley is a 2022 graduate of the M.A in Clinical and Counseling Psychology program at William Paterson University.
Bryan Alava, M.A.
Bryan is a fourth-year student in the Psyd program and is currently an adjunct professor teaching Abnormal Psychology. He graduated with a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University and a master’s in clinical psychology from Montclair State University. After graduating with his masters, he worked as a Clinical Team Lead for a Mental Health Crisis Intervention Program. Bryan’s research interest includes protective factors associated with adverse childhood experiences. He currently is an extern at Rikers Island providing individual and group therapy to clients with serious mental illness.
As part of the Culture and Resilience Team, Bryan has participated on a project exploring the relationship between racial Microaggressions and Clinical Symptomatology in Ethnic Minority College Students with Christopher Watkins, Keshani Perera, and Fernanda Moura. He has provided group therapy to recently immigrated Latinx youths from Paterson, NJ.
Chana Becher is a fourth- year student in the William Paterson University PsyD program who received her BA in Psychology/Education at Touro College. Chana studies intimate partner violence (IPV) in adolescent and young adult romantic relationships to prevent relationship violence. Additional research includes dating relationships within religious groups. She has also spent several years working with children and adolescents facing emotional, social, and educational challenges.
Her research interests include shifts in behaviors that lead to violence and aggression and the relationship between IPV and different religious groups or cultures. Additionally, aggression against children both at home and in school settings is an important interest. Chana’s dissertation study will investigate the identification of violent shifts in behaviors across middle, high school and college students and probe for possibilities of prevention and earlier identification of aggression and violence.
Dissertation Topic (In Progress):
Identifying and understanding internal barriers in black male college students that impact their openness to treatment
Christine Wang, M.A.
Christine is a third-year doctoral student in the PsyD program. She has worked as a Telemental Health Care intern at Mantra Health offering comprehensive treatment service for young adults. She worked at Prof. Lawrence Yang's lab in Columbia University on effects of epigenetic malleability framing to the clinical high-risk youth. She's been a crisis counselor at WMC since 2018, providing hotline service and in-person accompaniment. Her interests in the field include multicultural counseling, anxiety, depression, telemental health care and CBT.
Christine enjoys nature, hiking with friends, walking along the Hudson River, and traveling to learn other cultures. She is also a certified yoga teacher who loves practicing yoga and daily meditation. She likes cooking at home, drawing, and reading while listening to music in her downtime.
Farhana is a second year student in the Clinical and Counseling Psychology Masters program at William Paterson University. She graduated from WPUNJ in May 2021 with a Bachelors in Psychology.
Farhana is very excited to work with adolescents as a clinician. Additionally, she is interested in research on depression and anxiety and the root cause of of these disorders. As a Research Assistant on the Cultural and Resilience team, Farhana has assisted with the Bengali group at JFK high school alongside Nuu Grenier.
Fernanda is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology PsyD program at William Paterson University. She received her MA in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from WPU in 2022 and graduated from Kean University in 2019 with a BA in Psychology. Fernanda is currently an adjunct professor teaching Child Abuse and Neglect at WPU and she also works as a clinician at the Metro Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center at Wynona’s House conducting psychosocial evaluations for children and adolescents due to concerns for child maltreatment and abuse.
Fernanda’s primary clinical and research interests are grounded in trauma, victimization, its attendant features, and the individual and systemic contexts in which these experiences occur. Through her clinical and research efforts, Fernanda seeks to explore child and family development, psychopathology, the nature and impact of various types of abuse, and most of all, the individual and cultural differences that impact resilience and post-traumatic growth.
Israel Salmeron-Flores is a transfer student at William Paterson University. Israel is an undergraduate psychology major in his final year. Israel is a part of the honor’s college and is currently involved in the Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology track. Israel hopes to pursue a Master’s in Clinical Psychology.
He / Him
Jacob Perone is a second-year student for the Master's in Clinical and Counseling program. He recently graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh in May, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.
The past two summers Jacob has worked for Homeless Solutions Inc. in Morristown, New Jersey. His experiences at HSI encouraged him to consider the risk factors for homelessness, drug addiction, and general family issues.
Jennifer is a second-year master's student in the Clinical and Counseling program. She graduated from Montclair State University in 2019 with a master's degree in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent psychology.
Her research interests include adolescent trauma, behavioral issues, and the correlation between delinquency and adverse childhood experiences. She currently works as a psychiatric clinician for an outpatient program that treats court referred adolescents to help safely maintain them in the community through individual, family, and group services.
Jose Manalansan, B.A.
Jose is a 2022 graduate of the BA in Psychology program at William Paterson University. Jose is part of The International Honor Society in Psychology called Psi Chi. In his spare time, he works as a Home Health-Aide, assisting elderly people in their daily needs, routines, and activities.
Prior to transferring to William Paterson University, he was studying Mechanical Engineering at Mapua University in the Philippines. There he was able to volunteer a lot of his time to help feed families in the poverty-stricken parts of the community and teach children there who did not have access to schools . He also acted as a formator to some students there as part of a student organization. As a part of his studies, he researched The Correlation of Aggression and Competitiveness to Aggressive Driving Behaviors.
Kimberly Perez-Lucero, B.A
Kimberly is a first-year master's student in the Clinical and Counseling program at William Paterson University. She graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Latin American Studies from Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2019. She will be assisting with the Spanish-speaking group for the Paterson Project.
Kimberly works as a Support Coordinator for adults with disabilities. Her research interests in the field include multicultural counseling, and the risk factors that contribute to mental health disparities amongst racial and ethnic minorities. Including socioeconomic status, undocumented status, and cultural stigma.
Melissa Zea is a second-year Master’s student in the Clinical and Counseling program at William Paterson University. She graduated from Montclair State University in New Jersey with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Social Work in 2021. She co-led the Spanish Cultural Adjustment group for recently arrived Latinx youth in Paterson, NJ in the Spring of 2022.
Her research interests include working with the Latinx population, immigration, children & adolescents and behavioral issues. She is working on creating a child development program for children who are referred for misconduct issues, depression, anxiety, or other diagnoses for low-income, minority populations.
Melissa received the APA’s Interdisciplinary Minority Fellowship Program (IMFP) award for graduate students who commit to significantly improving the quality of care provided to ethnic and racial minorities who have a mental or co-occurring mental and substance use disorder.
Meredith DeDilectis, M.A.
Meredith is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology PsyD program at William Paterson. She graduated from Montclair State University in 2013 with a BA in psychology and child advocacy, and in 2016, she completed her MA degree in clinical psychology with a specialization in children and adolescents. Her clinical work focuses on the treatment and assessment of children who have been impacted by trauma, specifically child maltreatment, and at-risk adolescents who are involved in the legal system. Additionally, her research interests include the intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment and attachment, developmental trauma disorder, and child maltreatment.
Dissertation Topic (In Progress): Personality Styles Associated to Non-Offending Caregiver’s Reactions to Child Sexual Abuse
Nafin Elias, M.A.
Nafin Elias is a 2022 graduate of the M.A in clinical/counseling psychology master’s program at William Paterson University. Her professional interests and goals developed from her own cultural identity and journey as a multicultural student. As an immigrant, she felt that it was important to explore and navigate the intersectionality that she and many other students have experienced. Elias has extensively volunteered and worked within her local communities and at William Paterson University.
During her undergraduate experience, some of the work she has done includes volunteering her time to mentor students enrolled in the course “Psychology of Women”, worked as co-researcher in the Social Cognition/Perception Research Lab Team, and has been a part of the Circassian Benevolent Association in Wayne, New Jersey for nearly a decade. Nafin believes that strong communities are shaped by individuals who want to help others achieve their goals; Elias hopes to do just that through her future work in the field of clinical/counseling psychology.
Raghad is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology PsyD program at William Paterson University. Raghad graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in criminal justice from the University of Toledo in 2018. She has assisted with the Arabic group for the Paterson Project, along with the group leaders Marawa Ahmed and Ghada Saleh.
Raghad worked for a domestic violence agency supporting women and their children, while serving as a court advocate. Overall, Raghad’s research interests include the development of childhood fears from the transmission of negative information from parents. She is also interested in adolescent intimate partner violence, as well as how personality and cultural factors influence the processing of trauma.
Ryan Puebla, B.A.
Ryan is a 2022 graduate of the M.A in Clinical and Counseling Psychology program at William Paterson University. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2019 with a BA in psychology and a minor in biology. Additionally, he attended Passaic County Community College and in 2017 earned his Associates of Arts in Psychology. Ryan is a part of an international honors society for two-year community colleges called Phi Theta Kappa and on his spare time provides workshops and activities to community college students to empower and improve their leadership abilities.
His research interests include developmental anxiety and depression in children/adolescents living in non-traditional families, coping mechanisms for those children/adolescents, and communication between first generation students and family members in a hispanic household.
Sekinat Kuku ("Jojo")
Sekinat Kuku (“Jojo”) has been a member of the Paterson project team and has received a Graduate Student Research Award from the New Jersey Psychological Association from her work on a separate project with Dr. Torres.
Steven Hauck is a second-year master’s student in William Paterson’s Clinical and Counseling Psychology Program. He graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Rowan University in 2020.
Steven currently is performing his internship at community psychiatric institute, where he helps provide group therapy for those experiencing serious mental illness.
Steven is currently interested in researching topics pertaining to trauma and substance use and hopes to go on to become a licensed professional counselor.
Tarek Hijazi, M.A.
Tarek Hijazi is a fourth-year student in the Psy D program in Clinical Psychology at William Paterson University. He has obtained a M.A in Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Prior to enrolling in the Psy D program at William Paterson University, Tarek worked as a neuropsychological technician at the Rutgers Behavioral Neuroscience Center and as a research coordinator at Columbia University Medical Center. More recently, Tarek has completed a practicum at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, primarily working with patients suffering from brain injury and neurodegenerative disease. Throughout his academic and professional career he has worked with a diverse client population.
His primary interest is in neuropsychology. While he is primarily interested in neuropsychological assessment, he is also intent on honing his therapeutic skills to provide evidence-based psychotherapy and cognitive remediation in a competent manner. Tarek strongly believes in the utility and necessity for cultural competence in clinical practice. His research interests include exploring cognitive correlates of psychopathology and brain injury, particularly with stress-related disorders.