Meet Our Alumni
Janessa Kelly (2013)
Janessa earned her Master's in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Janessa graduated from Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach in 2008. From there, she attended California State University Northridge. At CSUN, Janessa was selected as a Ronald McNair Scholar and was highly involved in campus activities including her leadership roles as Vice President of the Residence Halls Association and Associated Students’ Senator for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Janessa completed a clinical internship during her senior year at the Child and Family Guidance Center. Janessa also served as a research assistant for Dr. April Taylor and presented findings from the project at the Biennial Meeting for the Society for Research in Child Development in 2013 in Seattle, WA. Janessa works as a clinician with children and adolescents that have mood disorders and/or developmental delays.
Marissa Colangelo (2012)
Marissa earned a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) at Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW) in New York, New York. It was at CSSW that Marissa developed a passion for working with emotion dysregulation disorders and participated in a Special Project, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). During Marissa’s time at CSUN, she was involved in numerous activities including serving as a Peer Mentor and as a lead research assistant for Dr. April Taylor. Marissa engaged in an internship her senior year at Child Development Institute. She was presented the University’s 2012 Outstanding Graduating Senior Award and Dean’s Award. Upon graduating from CSSW, Marissa obtained a job in mental health as a DBT Therapist at Clearview Treatment Programs. Additionally, Marissa has joined the faculty of the CADV Department and regularly teaches CADV 250 Professional Pathways and Careers in Child and Adolescent Development, CADV 310 Child Abuse and Neglect, and CADV 361 Adolescence. In the summer of 2017, Marissa met qualifications to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
Shaquinta Thomas (2011)
Shaquinta earned a Master's of Social Work Program at Humboldt State University. She is completed an internship at Humboldt County's Department of Health and Human Development Social Services Branch. While at CSUN she was a member of the Child and Adolescent Development Association (CADA), served as a peer mentor for Los Angeles Valley College and was a corps member in JumpStart Early Literacy Program (Americorps).
Shandi Lopez (2010)
Shandi is currently employed as a school psychologist with the Sulphur Springs School District in the Antelope Valley. After completing her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development she completed a Master's in Education in the School Psychology program at Loyola Marymount University. While at CSUN she served as a Teaching Assistant and Peer Mentor for Dr. David Wakefield in his Applied Cognitive Development course.
Cati Acevedo-Torres (2003)
Cati currently works at Odyssey Charter School as Middle School Inclusion Specialist with grades 7th and 8th. She is an experienced Special Education Teacher and graduated with honors from Azusa Pacific University receiving a M.A. in Special Education and Mild/Moderate Disabilities Specialist Credential. While at CSUN she was a founding member and served as the President of the Child Development Association.
She is passionate about ensuring that Latino youth, specifically students in Special Education, have access to a quality education. In addition, she advocates for importance of educating Latino parents on their rights within Special Education. As a mom of a high school student, she understands the value of parental involvement and wishes to ensure that parents are an included in their child's education. She has made it her mission to wholeheartedly serve students with special needs with compassion, integrity and respect. She resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and teenage son.
Diana Yassanye (2002)
Diana has a Bachelor's of Arts in Child Development from CSUN and a Master's degree in Sexuality Education/Health Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. She currently works at the Centers for Disease Control in the Office of Public Health and Preparedness to enhance existing partner relationships and expand work with new, diverse partners to promote the achievements of public health preparedness; make the case for resource investment; and cultivate collaborations that strengthen and support national public health security. Prior to joining the CDC, she spent over 10 years working on adolescent sexuality education and HIV prevention in Oregon, Los Angeles, New York, and Paris prior to falling in love with public health preparedness.
Erik Vidstrand (1981)
Erik has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development (CSUN) and a Master of Public Health (CSUN). Since coming back from West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, Erik has been dedicated to monitoring the tobacco industry and has educated thousands of educators and youth around the country. In 2000, Erik was trained at the New Mexico Media Literacy Project as a media literacy catalyst and helped found Media Think. Erik is a Health Educator with the Multnomah County Health Department School Based Health Center Program in Portland, Oregon and the Director of Northwest DOC (Doctors Ought to Care), which coordinates anti-smoking campaigns throughout the Northwest.