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SASP Leadership

Student Affiliates in School Psychology (SASP) is the student-led organization of APA’s Division 16: School Psychology. One of the main goals of SASP is to keep graduate students up to date on issues pertaining to school psychology and to encourage participation in activities that will further strengthen this discipline in the future. Email the board.

Kaitlyn Young

President

Hello everyone! I am a fourth-year school psychology doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) and previously received my B.S. in Psychology from UW. I am excited to serve as SASP’s President this year, where I hope to continue to drive initiatives surrounding diversifying the field of school psychology. My research interests include understanding how schools can best meet the mental health needs of students; I am specifically interested in how locale and cultural and linguistic diversity plays into meeting those needs. In my free time, I enjoy exploring new restaurants, lifting, and getting together with friends. I look forward to getting to know and interacting with SASP members in the 2020 year!

Andrew Thayer

Past President

Hello! I am in my internship year of the PhD program in School Psychology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, currently serving as an integrated behavioral health consultant for schools and families in central Illinois. I spend this time implementing evidence-based academic and behavioral health practices, as well as consult and guide others to do the same, all for the purpose of enabling children to thrive in any context and any domain. This represents the core of my professional identity: mobilizing communities to implement and integrate services that promote whole children, whole schools, and whole communities. When not focused on work, I enjoy spending time with good friends and undertaking new challenges. I have greatly enjoyed my time serving in SASP as the Student Interest Liaison, President-elect, President, and now Past-President, and am looking forward to continued involvement. Please reach out to me if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for how SASP can improve. 

Marie Tanaka

President-Elect

Hi there! I am so excited for the privilege to continue to serve on SASP this year. I am a third-year doctoral student at the University of Arizona minoring in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory. In addition to my time with SASP, I serve as the Equity and Inclusion Coordinator for NASP’s Graduate Student Committee and as Student Membership Co-Chair for ISPA. My research interests include 1) understanding newcomer immigrant student experiences and adjustment and applying a social justice lens throughout the school psychology practice, 2) understanding and improving the lived experiences of minoritized graduate students in School Psychology, and 3) utilizing a Critical Race Theory lens for examining classroom- and systems-level practices in schools. In my free time, I enjoy practicing/learning languages, traveling, acro-yoga, rock-climbing, hiking, snowboarding, reading, writing poetry, and crafting. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for how SASP can improve its services for students in D16.

Alaina Puff

Student Interest Liaison

Hello everyone! My name is Alaina Puff and I am a third-year Ph.D. student in the School Psychology program at the University of Arizona. I previously received my B.A. in Psychology and Education from Bucknell University in 2013 then continued my education at The Ohio State University where I studied School Psychology and graduated with my Education Specialist degree in 2017. Since then, I have worked as a School Psychologist in a school district located just outside Columbus, OH. However, my passion for advocacy and systems-level change led me back to graduate school. My research interests include the promotion of social justice in the schools, disproportionality in special education programs, and burnout/personnel shortage within the field of school psychology. I am truly honored to serve as your Student Interest Liaison and greatly appreciate your nomination. If you have any questions or comments in how I can improve your graduate school experience, please feel free to contact me!

Jessie Kotik

Membership Chair

Hello, everyone! I am a second-year school psychology doctoral student at the University of Tennessee- Knoxville. While at UTK, I will also receive a M.S. in applied behavior analysis. Before attending graduate school, I received my B.S. in psychology from Kent State University, which was not too far from my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am currently a Graduate Teaching Associate for the Life Skills courses at the FUTURE: Postsecondary Education Program at UTK. This program is designed for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to successfully transition from high school to adult life by way of attending college and receiving the opportunity to attend college courses, take part in internships, and receive specifically-designed instruction on life skills, digital literacy, and career and life planning. I also provide independent living skills interventions to FUTURE students living on or around campus. My current research focuses on include peer revision techniques and their impact on writing, self-efficacy in writing, and writing motivation, however, I enjoy contributing in any way to the field of school psychology. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends, traveling, exercising, watching Pittsburgh sports, and playing with my dogs, Daisy and Poko. I am thrilled to serve as the SASP Membership Chair this year. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have about the membership process. I look forward to working with you!

Chloe Zhang

Convention Chair

Hello! I’m a second-year doctoral student from the counseling, clinical and school psychology program at UC Santa Barbara. I obtained my B.S. in Spanish Philology from Peking University in China and my master’s degree in school counseling from the College of William and Mary. Prior to my Ph.D. study, I interned and then worked as a school counselor in VA with students and families with diverse backgrounds and linguistic minorities. My research interests mainly focus on global collaboration and scholarship interchange, Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) as well as linguistically and culturally equivalent assessment tools and applicable research for second language learners. I am honored to serve as the SASP Convention Chair and strive to support the SASP Executive Committee in enhancing the development and translation of science in school psychology. Please feel free to contact me via email for any questions or concerns.

Shuzi Meng

Convention Chair-Elect

Hello everyone! I am currently a second-year doctoral student in the school psychology program at University of Wisconsin-Madison. I received my master’s degree in developmental psychology from Teacher’s College, Columbia University in the City of New York where I worked on creative thinking and developmental psychopathology. Before joining UW, I worked as a behavior analyst at Deveruex Glenholme School, a therapeutic boarding school for children with anxiety, depression, behavioral issues and developmental disabilities. My research interests include gender issues in autism spectrum disorder, diversity issues in special education, and intervention design and implementation in schools. My current research focuses on the evaluations of intervention programs for girls with autism spectrum disorder and Asian representation issues in special education. I am honored to serve as the SASP convention chair-elect this year. I look forward to learning from the convention chair and I will dedicate my energy to providing enriched student experiences to those who wish to thrive in school psychology either as a researcher or a scholar-practitioner. Please feel free to reach out with any questions, suggestions or if you just want to say hi! looking forward to a great year in 2020!

Mary Comis

Communications Liaison

Hello everyone!  My name is Mary Comis and I am a 2nd year Ph.D. student at Duquesne University.  I received my undergraduate degree in psychology at Duquesne University where I served as the secretary for Psi Chi.  I have recently served as cohort liaison for the Duquesne SASP chapter and hope to continue and grow the communication skills that I learned as I serve on the 2020 SASP board as your communications liaison.  My research interests currently include restorative practices in schools, juvenile justice, ASD, and emotional-behavioral disorders.  I am looking forward with providing everyone with the exciting opportunities, news, and research from SASP in the upcoming year!  Feel free to reach out with any comments, questions, concerns, or announcements you may have!

Cydney Quinn

Editor

Hi everyone! I’m currently a fourth-year Ph.D. student at Duquesne University. I earned my BS in Health and Human Development at Penn State in 2013 then continued on to earn my Masters at Chatham University in Counseling Psychology. I worked for two years as a counselor in the Pittsburgh Public schools specifically for students with Emotional Disturbance before going back to graduate school once again! My research interests include trauma, aggression, violence, neuropsychology, emotional disorders, mental health disparities in school and communities, and the multidisciplinary teams. I am honored to serve as your SASP Editor and look forward to reading your submissions for the School Psychologist! Please reach out if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions!

Miranda Zahn

Editor-Elect

Hello! I am a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the School Psychology program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and SASP’s 2020 Editor-Elect. Before entering graduate school, I completed undergraduate studies in Psychology and Human Development & Family Studies at UW-Madison. My research interests center on promoting evidence-based practice in social, emotional, and behavioral domains among the natural treatment agents (like parents and teachers) of youth in secondary schools. Before and during graduate school, I have been a preschool teacher, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for youth in the foster care system, a behavioral consultant, and an educational technology developer and researcher, among other roles. I am looking forward to serving SASP and student researchers through The Student Corner!

Marisa Solé

Diversity Affairs Chair

Hello! I’m serving as this year’s Diversity Affairs Chair for SASP. I am currently a third-year doctoral student at Lehigh University in the school psychology program. I am pursuing a subspecialization in pediatric school psychology and attaining my Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification. My research interests include ethnic-racial socialization in native-born African-American and foreign-born Latinx families, with specific investigations on the unique messages that parents from these two groups communicate with their infants and toddlers about ethnicity and race. As a bilingual-bicultural scholar, I have assisted in qualitative and quantitative research connected to themes of social inequities, supporting disadvantaged children and families, and identifying areas of improvement to impact the ways larger systems deliver educational, psychological, and health services to underserved communities. I’d be happy to connect via email with any suggestions or feedback regarding SASP, Division 16, and diversity-related topics.