The Wright Institute News & Events

Student Spotlight: Joe Latuga

Student Spotlight: Joe Latuga

After two years in the Wright Institute Counseling Psychology Program, Joe Latuga is about to graduate and move on to the next challenge. "The last two years have been such a journey for me, both personally and professionally," he says. "My experience has reaffirmed my decision to come back to school, and I'm sad that it's almost over!"

Latuga studied psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, graduated in 2012, and became the director of a gymnastics school before working as an HIV test counselor. After participating in AIDS/LifeCycle in 2014, he moved to California and began working as a weekly volunteer for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's Strut Program. "That work was really intense," Latuga says, "but it allowed me to realize that this is the kind of work I wanted to make a career out of."

Get to know Jeanette Lopez-Urbina - Core Faculty, Counseling Psychology Program

Get to know Jeanette Lopez-Urbina - Core Faculty, Counseling Psychology Program

Jeanette Lopez-Urbina, LCSW, recently became a core faculty member with the Wright Institute Counseling Psychology Program. Lopez-Urbina teaches Community Mental Health, Family Therapy II, Family Violence & Protection, and Professional Development Seminar, and serves on the program's diversity committee. She sat down with the Wright Institute's Dalton Green to discuss her career, what she enjoys about teaching, the importance of diverse representation in psychology, and her plans for the future.

Alumni Spotlight: Alonso Medrano Class of 2018

Alumni Spotlight: Alonso Medrano Class of 2018

In the 11 months since graduating from the Wright Institute Counseling Psychology Program, Alonso Medrano has had no problems keeping busy. On top of raising his three children with his wife, Maria, Medrano spent time at Napa County Department of Children's Mental Health and Mentis before settling at Camille Creek Community School.

"I get the summers off at Camille Creek, which has been nice. Having time where I'm not working has really allowed me to realize how quickly life picks up," says Medrano, who lives in Napa County. "It was just a year ago that I graduated, and this summer I've been able to reflect on all the adjustments I've made in my life recently."

The ACT Workbook for Teens with OCD: Unhook Yourself and Live Life to the Full

The ACT Workbook for Teens with OCD: Unhook Yourself and Live Life to the Full

Wright Institute Clinical Psychology Adjunct Faculty member Patricia Zurita Ona, PsyD, is releasing a new workbook based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP). The ACT Workbook, to be released in December, teaches teens with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) "new skills to handle the stream of pesky obsessions" that show up in their mind.

Zurita Ona dedicates this workbook to all the teens she's worked with. They are "the best consultants I have ever had," says Zurita Ona. "With this workbook, I hope to make ACT and ERP less mysterious and more accessible."

Zurita Ona continues:
There are countless teens that wake up every day struggling with disturbing thoughts. Despite all the research we have on ERP, many teens still end up not receiving proper care.

Past, Present, and Future Counseling Psychology Students Mingle at Alumni Forum

Past, Present, and Future Counseling Psychology Students Mingle at Alumni Forum

On Tuesday, July 7, seven distinguished alumni returned to the Wright Institute Counseling Psychology Program campus for the Summer 2019 Alumni Forum. Jason Shepherd (Class of 2009), Caiti Crum (2010), Ian Vianu (2014), Beth Greivel (2015), Hazel Zetino (2016), JJ Medina (2017), and Krystal Jacobs (2017) served as panelists, while Field Placement Director Stuart Lee moderated the discussion.

Each of the seven alumni imparted valuable advice for the dozens of current and incoming students in attendance. The graduates discussed the licensure process, their time at practicum, the intricacies of the counseling profession, some of their professional experiences since graduating, and issues of identity in therapy.

Wright Institute Alumni Contribute to New Textbook on Adolescent Health Screening

Wright Institute Alumni Contribute to New Textbook on Adolescent Health Screening

Wright Institute Clinical Psychology program alumni Sarah Spinner, PsyD and Brenda Vaccaro, PsyD have contributed chapters to Adolescent Health Screening: An Update in the Age of Big Data, a new textbook edited by Vincent Morelli, MD. Spinner, who graduated from the program in 2008, co-wrote two chapters, and Vaccaro, a 2012 graduate, co-wrote one.

Alexandra Keller, PsyD Presents on "The Coming Out Experience"

Alexandra Keller, PsyD Presents on "The Coming Out Experience"

Wright Institute Clinical Psychology Program graduate Alexandra Keller, PsyD presented her study, "The Coming Out Experience…" at the annual Western Psychological Association (WPA) Convention in Pasadena, California on April 26th. Alongside four co-presenters - Wright Institute Clinical Psychology faculty member Lynn O'Connor, PhD, Samford University professor Jack Berry, UC Berkeley student Patricia Hidalgo-Gonzalez, and Graduate Theological Union researcher David Stiver - Keller presented the findings of a survey that aimed to determine why members of the LGBT community may avoid disclosing sexual orientation or gender identity. "Is it because of an internal discomfort at their own identity," Keller asks, "or is it because it is not yet safe to come out?"

Ethnoracial Disparities in Traumatic Stress and its Consequences

Ethnoracial Disparities in Traumatic Stress and its Consequences

On Friday, May 24, Nnamdi Pole, PhD delivered "Ethnoracial Disparities in Traumatic Stress and its Consequences," a talk that explored the factors that contribute towards demographic differences in rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In his talk, Pole stressed that the analyses of PTSD diagnoses and symptoms, and of cross-cultural differences, describe trends rather than the experience of any particular member of an ethnic group.

Wright Institute Students of Color "Party in the Margins" Event

Wright Institute Students of Color "Party in the Margins" Event

Photo: Joshua Chow, Leon Wann, Julianna Bianes, Candice Bain, and Chizite Igwe

From Wednesday, May 15, to Friday, May 17, Wright Institute Students of Color (WISOC) hosted the 2019 Wright Institute Multicultural Symposium. Titled "Party in the Margins," the event featured guest speakers and performers, music, food, a student open mic, and collaborative art pieces.

"As organizers, we felt we needed to have a strengths-based approach incorporated into our symposium," says Joshua Chow, a Wright Institute Clinical Psychology Program student and one of the organizers of the event. "That's why we supported the theme name 'Party in the Margins.' We're so often told to be silent with our marginalized identities, but as a form of resistance (and fun) we wanted to celebrate our identities."

Congratulations to 2019 STAY Fellows

Congratulations to 2019 STAY Fellows

Four Wright Institute Counseling Psychology students have been accepted to the Services for Transition Age Youth (STAY) Fellowship. Second-year students Athenia Teng, Christina Yum, and Andre Jackson, alongside first-year student Adriana Delacruz, are 2019 STAY Fellows.

The American Psychological Association (APA) hosts the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) for those who are early in their psychology careers. Historically, the MFP has only been open to those pursuing doctoral degrees, but the STAY Fellowship is open to students in terminal Master's programs. The Fellowship assists students whose "training prepares them to provide mental health services to transition age youth (ages 16 through 25) and their families."

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