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Graduate Students


Regina Brodell

Regina is a clinical psychology Ph.D. student. She received her B.A. from UCLA in Human Biology and Society. Upon graduating, she joined the team at the Nathanson Family Resilience Center and worked on two primary projects: CRRF (a school-based project centered on promoting the resilience and well-being of LAUSD staff, students, and families) and FOCUS-EC (a study assessing the effectiveness of a resilience based program among military families). She also assisted with a qualitative study at UCLA TIES for Families, centered on understanding children’s pre-adoptive history and the development of adoptees into young adulthood.

Her current research interests include studying the impact of trauma among at-risk and justice involved adolescents, as well as foster youth populations and identifying protective factors and/or interventions that may differ the effects of early life adversity. She is also interested on school-based interventions that are centered on promoting resilience.                                                                                      Outside of research, she loves trail running, jiu-jitsu and spending time with all the little ones in her family.

Katie Galbraith

Katie is a graduate student in the clinical science program at USC. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Yale University in 2016. While at Yale she worked at both the Innovative Interactions Lab and the Program for Obesity, Weight, and Eating Research. After graduation, she began working at the Juvenile Justice Behavioral Health lab at the University of California, San Francisco.

Katie is passionate about improving access to and outcomes of mental health treatment for at-risk and justice-involved adolescents and young adults. Her research interests include the evaluation of substance use interventions for at-risk and justice-involved youth, particularly with respect to the relationship between trauma exposure and substance use outcomes. She is also interested in studying gender-specific risk factors for involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Katie is originally from the East Coast and is an avid Boston sports fan. Outside of work, she loves to travel and go to the beach.  She is also slightly obsessed with bulldogs, particularly her family’s bulldogs named Spanky and Darla (pictures available upon request).

Representative papers

Rubenson, M. P., Galbraith, K., Shin, O., Beam, C. R., & Huey, S. J., Jr. (2021). When helping hurts? Toward a nuanced interpretation of adverse effects in gang-focused interventions. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 28(1), 29–39. VIEW

Rubenson, M., Galbraith, K., & Huey, S.J., Jr. (2020). Understanding adverse effects in gang-focused interventions: A critical review. In F. Weerman & C. Melde (Eds). Gangs and troublesome youth groups in the modern age of internet and social media. New York, NY: Springer. VIEW

Galbraith, K., Elmquist, J., White, M.A., Grilo, C.M., & Lydecker, J.A. (2019). Weighty decisions: How symptom severity and weight impact perceptions of bulimia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 1-7. VIEW

Tolou-Shams, M., Yonek, J. C., Galbraith, K., & Bath, E. P. (2019). Text messaging to enhance behavioral health treatment engagement among justice-involved youth: Qualitative and user testing study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth7, e10904. VIEW

Crossman, M.K., Kazdin, A.E., Galbraith, K., Eros, L., & Santos, L.R. (2018). Evaluating the influence of the presence of a dog on bias towards individuals with overweight and obesity. Anthrozoös, 31, 77-88. VIEW

Nina Jhaveri

Nina takes an interdisciplinary approach to clinical research to address the real-world complexities of health systems and access barriers faced by underserved populations. Ongoing projects include identifying individual-level predictors of patient engagement with mobile health (mHealth) interventions, and exploring the role of primary medical care in mental health service utilization. 

Nina’s prior work includes creating public health programs targeting culture-sensitive behavior change in underserved populations. She also developed patient care strategies for U.S. health systems as a strategy consultant. Nina received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. She is an avid food lover and power napper.

Representative papers

Jhaveri, K., Cohen, J.A., Barulich, M., Levin, A.O., Goyal, N., Loveday, T., Chesney, M.A., Shumay, D.M. (2020) “Soup cans, brooms, and Zoom:” Rapid conversion of a cancer survivorship program to telehealth during COVID‐19. Psycho‐Oncology, 29: 14241426. VIEW

Mason, A.E., Jhaveri, K., Schleicher, S., Almeida, C., Hartman, A., Wackerly, A., Alba, D., Koliwad, D., Epel, E., Aschbacher, K. (2019). Sweet cognition: The differential effects of glucose consumption on attentional food bias in individuals of lean and obese status. Physiology & Behavior, 206, 264-273.

Mason, A. E., Jhaveri, K., Cohn, M., & Brewer, J. A. (2018). Testing a mobile mindful eating intervention targeting craving-related eating: Feasibility and proof of concept. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 41(2), 160–173. VIEW

Sayegh, C.S., Huey, S.J., Jr., Zara, E.J., & Jhaveri, K. (2017). Follow-up treatment effects of contingency management and motivational interviewing on substance use: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(4), 403-414.

Miriam Rubenson

Miriam studies racial bias in education and interventions for justice-involved youth. Her clinical work focuses on emotion dysregulation, trauma, and suicide prevention in youth and families. Before graduate school, she earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from UC Berkeley in 2010, and has worked as a litigation assistant at the Prison Law Office in Berkeley, as a special education teacher at Sand Paths Academy in San Francisco, and as a research coordinator at the Language and Development Lab at UC San Diego.

Representative papers

Rubenson, M. P., Galbraith, K., Shin, O., Beam, C. R., & Huey, S. J., Jr. (2021). When helping hurts? Toward a nuanced interpretation of adverse effects in gang-focused interventions. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 28(1), 29–39. VIEW

Rubenson, M., Galbraith, K., & Huey, S.J., Jr. (2020). Understanding adverse effects in gang-focused interventions: A critical review. In F. Weerman & C. Melde (Eds). Gangs in the era of internet and social media (pp. 271-290). New York, NY: Springer.VIEW

Cheung, P., Rubenson, M., & Barner, D. (2017). To infinity and beyond: Children generalize the successor function to all possible numbers years after learning to count. Cognitive Psychology, 92, 22-36. VIEW

Jones, E., Huey, S.J., Jr., & Rubenson, M. (2018). Cultural competence in therapy with African Americans. In C.L. Frisby & W. O’Donohue (Eds.) Cultural competence in applied psychology: Theory, science, practice, & evaluation (pp.557-573). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. VIEW

Huey, S.J., Jr., Lewine, G., & Rubenson, M. (2016). A brief review and meta-analysis of gang intervention trials. In C.L. Maxson & F. Esbensen (Eds.) Gang transitions and transformations in an international context (pp. 217-233). New York: Springer. VIEW

Sylvanna M. Vargas

Sylvanna M. Vargas is an advanced doctoral student in the clinical science program, co-mentored by Drs. Stanley Huey at USC and Jeanne Miranda at UCLA. During her PhD, she simultaneously completed a Master in Public Health at USC. She received her BA at McGill University. Her research uses an array of methodologies to examine sociocultural factors related to mood disorders and suicidality among high-risk, vulnerable populations. Her dissertation examines how experiencing intersectional discrimination is associated with depression. In support of this work, she was awarded the Ruth G. and Joseph D. Matarazzo Scholarship by the American Psychological Foundation/ Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology. Sylvanna is a recipient of the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, which is administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. During 2020-21, she will be completing her pre-doctoral internship at the West Los Angeles VA. Sylvanna grew up moving around several countries. Her family is Nicaraguan and she spent much of her childhood in Costa Rica. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling whenever possible, drinking kombucha (like any other acculturated Angeleno), and being active with her husband and their two dogs.

Representative papers

Vargas, S. M., Calderon, V., Beam, C. R., Cespedes-Knadle, Y., N., & Huey, S. J., Jr. (2021). Worse for girls?: Gender differences in discrimination as a predictor of suicide risk among Latinx youth. Journal of Adolescence, 88, 162-171. VIEW

Vargas, S.M., Huey, S.J., Jr., & Miranda, J. (2020). A critical review of current evidence on multiple types of discrimination and mental health. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90(3), 374-390. VIEW

Vargas, S.M., Dere, J., Garcia, L., & Ryder, A. G. (2019). The role of cultural values in the Folk Psychiatry explanatory framework: A comparison of Chinese- and Euro-Canadians. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. VIEW

Doucerain, M., Vargas, S., & Ryder, A. G. (2016). Mixed-methods research: Integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches to the psychological study of culture. In N. Zane, G. Bernal, & F. Leong (Eds.), Culturally-informed evidence-based practice for ethnic minorities: Challenges and solutions. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. VIEW

Vargas, S. M., Cabassa, L. J., Nicasio, A., De La Cruz, A. A., Jackson, E., Rosario, M., … & Lewis-Fernández, R. (2015). Toward a cultural adaptation of pharmacotherapy: Latino views of depression and antidepressant therapy. Transcultural Psychiatry52(2), 244-273. VIEW

Crystal Wang

Crystal is a clinical psychology Ph.D. student. She received her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in 2015, where she conducted a study assessing the impact of language on implicit attitudes towards Asian Americans.  At USC, she ran several studies investigating the effects of ethnicity and culture on mental health stigma for her master’s thesis. This transitioned to her dissertation project, where she is currently testing a novel, culturally-relevant social norms intervention for mental health stigma and help-seeking with depressed Asian and European American college students. Other ongoing projects include examining the effects of threat on racial bias and xenophobia, and how social context influences engagement in problem behaviors.

Outside of research, Crystal enjoys traveling, making trips up north to visit her family, and drinking trenta-sized americanos to stay awake.

Representative papers

Tilley, J.L., Huey, S.J., Jr., Farver, J.M., Lai, M.H.C., Wang, C.X. (2021). The immigrant paradox in the problem behaviors of youth in the United States: A meta-analysis. Child Development, 92(2), 502-516. VIEW

Wang, C.X., Huey, S.J., Jr., & Pan, D. (in press). Therapeutic alliance mediates the effect of directive treatment on subsyndromal depression for Asian and European American students. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. VIEW