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Undergraduate Program

Cristian Rivera-Nales Named Chandler Scholar

"Through the knowledge that I have gained from my multi-disciplinary classes at the University of Washington, I've become familiar with the adversities that those from impoverished communities - especially children - face. I want to become a pediatric clinical psychologist to better assist those with mental health problems in these communities."

     - Cristian Rivera-Nales

Aric Chandler and Cristian Rivera-Nales
       Aric Channdler                   Cristian Rivera-Nales

This fall, numerous psychology majors applied to become the 2018-19 Aric Chandler Scholar. Applicants were asked to demonstrate their interest in child or adolescent psychology by outlining their relevant volunteer, research, work, or personal experiences, as well as their educational and career goals. The recipient of this year's $4,000 Aric Chandler Memorial Scholarship is psychology senior Cristian Rivera-Nales.

In 2016, Aric Chandler had been admitted to UW as a transfer student from Bellevue College and was on the way to fulfilling his dream of studying psychology here. Just days after being admitted, that dream was cut short when Aric died unexpectedly from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). What did not die on that day was Aric's passion and commitment to working with adolescents. Aric's parents, David and Kacee Chandler, along with his family members and friends, established an endowment to keep Aric's dream alive by providing support for transfer psychology majors who plan to work with children and adolescents.

Cristian Rivera-Nales transferred to UW from Pierce College in winter of 2018 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in psychology. A member of the rigorous departmental honors program, Cristian works with Psychology Associate Professor Shannon Dorsey. The research he is involved in aims to identify plausible and sustainable implementation practices that assist lay counselors in Kenya in delivering trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy to children who have experienced a traumatic event. "Global mental health is a relatively new field that has focused mostly on the disparities in access to mental health services in developing nations to provide feasible and sustainable services," explains Cristian.

"Because Aric overcame his own difficult struggles with anxiety as a teenager, his passion was helping young people overcome their challenges and fulfill their life's potential," says David Chandler, who continues, "this endowed scholarship will help dozens of psychology students continue Aric's life's work and passion, who will in turn impact the lives of thousands of young people in our lifetimes and beyond." A first-generation college student, Cristian credits the support of his parents, family, and friends with allowing him to be inspired and to pursue his passion for psychology.

Reflecting on being named this year's Aric Chandler Scholar, Cristian notes that the award will assist him in multiple ways. "Not only will this scholarship benefit me financially," says Cristian, "but it will allow me to have additional time to continue my own research project and to become greatly immersed academically."




New Course: Neurosciences of the Mind

"I believe that our psychology majors will greatly benefit from a deeper dive into new and exciting neuroscience discoveries that transform how we think our brain enables complex behavioral and mental functions such as learning, memory, planning, decision making, social communication, emotional regulation, and motivation."

     - Psychology Professor Sheri Mizumori

Sheri Mizumori
Sheri Mizumori

New to the lineup of undergraduate courses in psychology is Dr. Sheri Mizumori's Neurosciences of the Mind. A member of the core faculty in behavioral neuroscience, Dr. Mizumori's research seeks to understand how the brain enables dynamic and accurate learning and memory, as well as how we make decisions that determine what we learn and remember. Of the neuroscience discoveries referenced above, Dr. Mizumori notes that "they are truly fantastic and are critically important for us to fully understand why we behave and think the way we do, and why others behave and think differently from us."

This new course aims to help students to develop a working knowledge of the basic principles of brain function, to learn how our brains mediate social and developmental influences on our behaviors, and to work toward creating an understanding of how brain dysfunction and disease can result in uncontrolled behaviors. Specific take aways will include the ability to understand and critically evaluate public reports that refer to the relationship between our psychological state and brain/body functions and to learn how to research the latest scientific evidence on topics of interest.

Dr. Mizumori hopes that, in addition to the knowledge to be gained from the course, students will come away with the understanding that everyone is unique for very good reasons. "Hopefully, students will walk away from the class with a better understanding of the uniqueness of their own brain, experiences, and sense of self," she explains, "not only right now, but as their lives unfold into the future."