Psi Beta Member and Alumni News!!!

Mike Viacheslavov, former Psi Beta member at Collin College in Plano (TX), was recently featured in an article appearing in the Austin American Statesman newspaper. The article describes Mike’s fascinating undergraduate research in the Phelp’s Prairie Vole Lab at the University of Texas. Mike said, “I just received the undergraduate research fellowship last year, which will fund all of my demands I have for completing several neurobiological projects. Currently at UT, I am an undergraduate researcher over at the Phelp’s Prairie Vole Lab, where we analyze the evolution and neurobiology of a monogamous species of rodents called prairie voles. I specifically study how infidelity emerges on a behavioral neuroscience level. I will also be applying for a travel grant that will pay for my trip to present my research over at the Animal Behavior Society conference in Columbus, Missouri. Other meetings I plan to present at include the University of Texas Undergraduate Research Symposium, the Evolution meeting being held in Austin, and the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego this fall. This fall, I will be applying for a couple of PhD programs, which includes the Department of Behavioral Ecology in Oxford, the Department of Comparative Cognition in Cambridge, and the Psychology Department in Cornell. Furthermore, I will also be applying for the graduate research fellowship proposal this summer, which will help fund all my expenses in grad school. And finally, hope to publish a couple of research papers. This includes scientific research papers I will be coauthored and first-authored.”

“Psi Beta helped me get my feet wet in research. Psi Beta at Collin taught me what a research project is, how it gets carried out, and how to communicate it with the public. One of the greatest moments I ever experienced in Psi Beta was getting an opportunity to present my animal behavior research for a study abroad internship I did, over at the 2014 Southwestern Psychological Association Meeting in San Antonio, TX. This meeting is what allowed me to know that research and academics is where I would like to reside for the rest of my life. Thus, Psi Beta really taught me how to play the part of a scientist.”

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Issanna Loughman

San Diego City College recently announced that one of its students, Issanna Loughman, Psi Beta Chapter President, was named to the 2016 All-USA Community College Academic Team. She is one of just 20 students from more than 1,900 nominations selected for the prestigious honor, and she was also named a 2016 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar for receiving the highest application score in California. Loughman received a $5,000 scholarship and special medallion for making the All-USA Team. She also received a $2,000 scholarship as a New Century Scholar. The All-USA honors were presented to Issanna and City College President Anthony Beebe at the Presidents Breakfast this morning during the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Convention in Chicago. She and the other 19 team members are also featured in a special edition wrap that accompanied today’s USA TODAY.

Loughman, a psychology major, is on the dean’s list and has been inducted into two national honor societies: Psi Beta and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). A dedicated community volunteer, she has created multiple outreach programs including the Hart Healing Art Project for therapeutic art activities, the Vida Joven Preschool Program to help orphaned preschoolers in Mexico, and a college Psychology and AODS Tutoring Program. She plans to earn a B.A. in developmental psychology and a doctorate in clinical psychology so she can offer therapy to children with mental illness and conduct research to support positive policy change concerning the treatment of children in residential psychiatric care.

In reflecting on her recent honors, Issanna shared, “I never thought I was smart enough to be an honors student or transfer to a 4-year college, but by being at San Diego City College I have been able to do things I never thought possible. I am so grateful to have earned a place on the All-USA academic team and represent City College, because in my opinion there is no better place to go to school than here.” Issanna began her studies at City College in fall 2013. Her first year, she used a walker on most days to get to her classes as she had recently been diagnosed with a degenerative disc disease. Some days, she couldn’t lift her head off the pillow; she couldn’t walk for an entire year and had spine surgery. “That first year I was in and out of the hospital because of complications from my spine surgery. The pain was so intense, but being in school gave me something to dedicate my time to,” Issanna said. “Even if I was in the hospital, I would do my assignments. I never fell behind, and having things to keep me mentally stimulated was so important.” Issanna credits her experiences at City College with opening her eyes to what was possible for her. “I was able to realize my potential because of the faculty and students, especially the psychology faculty,” she said. “I have done all I can to give back to City College.” Issanna’s latest awards are additions to many other honors. In spring 2015, she received the Ann G. Robinson College Life Award from the National Psi Beta Council, a San Diego Gas & Electric Leadership Award, and a State Senate Certificate of Recognition, among other awards. She has also received two Friends of Downtown scholarships, the Encore Capital Scholarship and the Raymond R. Farmer Memorial Scholarship.

Issanna has gained experience in the area of research, including currently serving as a research assistant at UC San Diego. She also participated in a research study, Behind the Glitter, which she is presenting at this year’s Western Psychological Association convention. She is working on her research thesis, Lock It: Children in American Psychiatric Institutions, and also serves as an intern for Dr. Dan Stacy at Circles 4 Change, who runs a restorative practice and provides trauma-informed care to San Diego County youths.

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Several Cerritos College Psi Beta students have been accepted to the competitive BUILD Scholars Program at California State University at Long Beach (CSULB) (https://www.csulb.edu/build). These students are Vanessa Altamirano, Tatiana Avila, Tania Rodriguez, Patsy Rodriguez, and Chyann Richard. The Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity is an extremely competitive research program funded by the National Institutes of Health. Students will work and be mentored by a faculty in the psychological sciences for the next two years and receive a tuition waiver and a stipend. Students will conduct research and have the opportunity to present it at regional and national conferences. Students will also be provided with the opportunity to complete a summer internship with a participating university, such as UCLA, University of Michigan, University of Illinois and many other partners. The goal of the program is to mentor students into careers into health related research and build sustainable pipelines to mentor students toward graduate degrees in their field. These students will join two Cerritos Psi Beta alumni, Alex Gomez and Amalia Lira who were accepted into the program last year.

Three Cerritos College Psi Beta students were awarded the University of California at Irvine (UCI) Regents’ Scholarship, which is one of the most prestigious merit scholarships at the university. Julian Ruiz, Nancy Gomez, and Aima Choudry will be awarded a scholarship, guaranteed housing, priority enrollment, and additional opportunities to be successful at UCI.

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Ana Beltran-Castillo

Psi Beta member Ana Beltran-Castillo, Psi Beta chapter president this year was honored by the Irvine Valley College Foundation as the Student of the Year! Ana has presented at conferences such as the IVC/SC Research Symposium, the HTCC Student Research Conference at the University of California, Irvine, and the Western Psychological Association Annual Convention. She recently published in HTCC’s Building Bridges academic journal. She participates in Psi Beta’s CONNECT Peer Mentoring program. She was a student presenter for the Heroic Imagination Project. She has worked at Irvine Valley College’s Writing Center since Fall 2014 and member of IVC’s LGBTQA Club.

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Ian Beard

Ian Beard a Psi Beta member at Irvine Valley College, was recently honored by the Irvine Valley College Foundation as the Veteran Student of the Year! During five years of active duty in the U.S. Navy, Beard served over 2,500 patients through individual and group psychotherapy. He established a relationship with the Orange County Mental Health Association’s Multiservice Center of Santa Ana, where Psi Beta members have provided therapeutic intervention and facilitated group therapy for over 60 residents. He is a tutor in the Student Services Center. He created official Psi Beta team for the Orange County National Awareness of Mental Illness (NAMI) Walks 5K. He organized a benefit concert/silent auction for those affected by 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, and with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Haiyan Relief Fund, raised $8,500, which was directly distributed to families in need.

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