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Amanda M. Fanniff, Ph.D.

Dr. Fanniff is an Associate Professor at Palo Alto University. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona, where she specialized in Psychology, Policy, and Law. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and her post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the University of South Florida. Her research interests historically have centered on how typical and atypical development impact juvenile offenders' involvement in the justice system, including two main populations of interest: juveniles who may be incompetent to proceed to adjudication and juveniles who have committed sexually abusive behaviors. Her interests have expanded over time to include research with emerging adults and research focused on culturally competent forensic research and clinical practice.

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Katareena Done

Katareena Done is a 6th year doctoral student. Katareena's primary research interests are in sexual/gender identity and intimate partner violence.  She is currently working on her dissertation regarding the barriers of gender and sexual minorities to reporting intimate partner violence to police. She has previously completed a practicum at HOPE conducting individual and group sex offender treatment and Caminar conducting treatment for serious mental illness in a community mental health setting. Katareena aspires to be a community mental health therapist for gender and sexual minority individuals, conducting program evaluations, clinical supervision, and is contemplating teaching.

Ariane Olsen, MA, MS

Ariane is a 5th-year doctoral student. Ariane's primary research interest is in trauma histories in forensic populations, with a particular interest in the assessment and treatment of adult sexual offenders. Her dissertation focuses on how the organizational implementation of trauma-informed care affects vicarious trauma symptoms in sexual offender treatment providers. Additionally, she is currently working on a meta-analysis looking at differences between juveniles that sexually offend against children and juveniles that sexually offend against a peer or adult. Ariane is currently completing her practicum rotation on an acute psychiatry inpatient unit at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. She has previously completed practicum rotations at San Quentin State Prison, the HOPE Program, and the Gronowski Center. Her long-term goals are to conduct psychotherapy with adult criminal offenders in a correctional setting in concurrence with competency and risk assessments for adult offenders in a court setting.

Briana Ponte

Briana is a 4th year doctoral student. Briana's primary research interest is the intersection between forensic psychology and neuropsychology. She is currently working on a research project which reviews how rape myths are affected based on race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation of the victim, perpetrator, and participant, which provides considerations for future forensic studies. At this time, she is completing a practicum at Veteran’s Affairs, Palo Alto, where she conducts neuropsychological testing to determine neurocognitive levels of functioning of patients who have previously served in the military. She previously completed her third-year practicum at the HOPE Program, a specialized treatment facility providing assessment and treatment to individuals on probation and parole with sexual offense histories. Her second-year practicum at The Gronowski Center, which provides outpatient therapeutic services to the local community, including individuals (male and female), and couples, who suffer from a wide arrangement of ailments (bipolar disorder, grief, depression, substance abuse, anxiety, self-esteem). Briana hopes to pursue a career in forensic assessment, working with the serious mental illness population and the court of law.

Taylor York, MS

Taylor is a 5th year doctoral student. Taylor's primary research interests include culturally inclusive forensic practice and evidenced-based forensic practices. She is currently working on multiple studies related to cultural competence in forensic assessment including a review of how culture is included in currently published literature, a survey of current forensic practitioners culturally inclusive practices, and a Delphi survey to establish recommended best practices for incorporating cultural identities into forensic assessments. She is currently working on her dissertation which will validate a coding scheme to evaluate forensic evaluators’ culturally inclusive practices on a risk formulation and assess if there is a relationship between practitioners' self-reported competence and they're scores on the case formulation. She is currently on Internship at Larned State Hospital conducting forensic assessments and competency restoration therapy. She has previously completed practicums at Monterey Country Children's Behavioral Health working with adults and children who are involved with the Department of Social Services Child Custody Court, StarVista's Insights program, GIRLS camp, Camp Glenwood and Youth Services Center, as well as the Gronowski Center. Taylor's professional goals include providing therapeutic services to incarcerated individuals and help to improve access to evidence-based mental health services for forensic populations. 

Alexandra L. Montena, M.A., M.S.

Alex is a 4th-year doctoral student. Alex’s primary research interests include trauma, attachment, SMI, and neuropsychological assessment. Her dissertation will examine the relationship between attachment and neuropsychological performance across diagnoses. Alex is also interested in using a transdiagnostic approach to investigate overlapping psychosocial and neurocognitive factors in mental health conditions. Alex is currently completing a practicum at VA, Palo Alto, where she conducts psychological and neuropsychological assessments. Notably, Alex is receiving extensive training in Rorschach administration and interpretation through this practicum. Alex’s assessment supplemental practicum at Stanford University School of Medicine involves researching neurocognitive performance in typically and atypically developing children. Her research supplemental at VA, Menlo Park, involves qualitative research that assists in developing innovative implementations to improve care. Alex completed a practicum at Goodwill Wellness Center of Silicon Valley, a community mental health clinic that provides therapeutic and assessment services to a vulnerable population, SMI, chronic homelessness, and criminal justice involvement. Alex received training in ACT and DBT therapeutic approaches through this site. Alex’s professional goals include examining the impact of early adverse experiences to develop early intervention programs that utilize evidence-based treatments and assessments to enhance lasting outcomes.

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Kenzie Bohnsack, M.A.

Kenzie is a 4th year doctoral student. Kenzie’s primary research interests are in juvenile offending, trauma, substance use, and the developmental progression of problem behaviors. She is currently working on a group project that is focused on cultural identities of perpetrators and victims of sexual assault and their impact on rape myth acceptance. She is also assisting with a project looking at defense attorneys’ attitudes and beliefs regarding immaturity and competency in juvenile defendants. Kenzie is completing her fourth-year practicum at Adolescent Counseling Services with their adolescent substance abuse treatment program. She is currently conducting in-depth assessments and providing substance abuse and mental health treatment services to youth. She is also completing a supplemental practicum at the HOPE Program, a community based forensic training site that specializes in evidenced-based sex offender treatment to parole and probationers who are mandated for individual and group treatment. Her previous practicum placement was with StarVista’s Insights program, an outpatient treatment program providing substance abuse and mental health treatment services to youth who are on probation as well as youth who are participating voluntarily. Her 2nd year practicum placement was at the Gronowski Center, a community mental health clinic, providing psychotherapy with adults and adolescents who have varying diagnoses. Her professional goals include conducting forensic assessments and providing empirically supported treatments designed to fit the risks and needs of the juvenile population.

Leah Anderson M.S.

Leah is a 4th year doctoral student with primary research interests in the intersection of psychology, law, ethics, and public policy. She is currently completing her psychology externship at the San Francisco VA Health Care System - Santa Rosa Community Based Outpatient Clinic serving a Veteran population. Leah's previous practicum rotation was at an in-patient psychiatric hospital with a diverse population emphasizing crisis intervention, stabilization, and the treatment of serious mental illness. Leah is involved in research projects exploring topics of sociocultural identities, attitudes, and rape myth acceptance. As a fusion of interests, Leah's dissertation is currently under development to test the racial threat theory among sexual assault case records. Leah's professional goal is to apply evidence-based practices to serve the public as a future military psychologist. Leah is passionate about suicide prevention and promoting mental health via preventative care. 

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Ayanna Payne, M.A., M.S.

Ayanna is a 4th year doctoral student. Ayanna’s primary research interests are in forensic assessments and environmental factors that contribute to recidivism rates in the African American Transitional Age Youth community.  Ayanna is currently completing a practicum at San Quentin State Prison and has a practicum at The HOPE Program, a specialized sex offender treatment facility providing assessments and individual and group psychotherapy to individuals on parole with sexual offense histories. Ayanna previously completed her second-year practicum at the Gronowski Center, a community mental health clinic, providing psychotherapy to adults with varying diagnoses. Ayanna’s professional goals include conducting psychotherapy to adult criminal offenders in a prison setting and conducting and providing competency evaluations for adult offenders in a court setting.

Murphy Alafoginis, MBA, MS

Murphy is a 3rd-year doctoral student. Murphy’s primary research interests include severe mental illness and forensic assessment. Murphy is currently completing a practicum at The Gronowski Center, an outpatient community mental health clinic, providing therapeutic services to adults diagnosed with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Murphy’s professional goals include working with incarcerated populations suffering from mental health concerns and increasing the quality of life for forensic populations.

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Ashton Scherrer, MS

Ashton is a 3rd-year doctoral student. Ashton's primary research interests include severe mental illness, neuropsychological assessment, and neuropsychological disease. Ashton is currently completing a practicum at Goodwill Wellness Center of Silicon Valley, an outpatient community mental health clinic, providing therapeutic services to adults diagnosed with severe mental illnesses and interpersonal relationship issues. Ashton has recently completed a practicum at The Gronowski Center, a community mental health center focused on treating low-income patients with a variety of diagnoses. Ashton's professional goals include working in a hospital setting, performing neuropsychological assessments, and diagnosing neuropsychological disease.

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Leila N Wallach, MA

Leila N. Wallach is a 2nd year doctoral student. Her research and clinical interests focus on juvenile justice, alternatives to incarceration, program design and evaluation, risk assessment, and culturally and trauma-informed care, practice, and policy. Leila received her MA in General Psychology at New York University in 2019, and her BA in Psychology (minor Criminology) from Simon Fraser University in 2015. Leila is currently completing her second-year practicum at the Gronowski Center, in the Clinica Latina, a linguistically and culturally responsive specialty treatment clinic for Latinx and Spanish-speaking clients.  

Morgan Hester Howell, BS

Hester is a 2nd year doctoral student. Her primary research interests include antisocial personality behaviors as coping responses to trauma, complex trauma, protective factors for at-risk youth, parenting, and familial bond. Hester received her B.S. in psychology and minor in Deaf Studies from the University of  North Carolina at Greensboro. She is currently completing a practicum at the Gronowski Center, providing services for clients with a variety of diagnoses. Hester’s professional goals include intervention and evidence-based psychotherapy for at-risk youth involved in the justice system.

Kyara N. Mendez Serrano, B.A

Kyara is a 2nd year doctoral student. Her primary clinical and research interests include minority mental health, culturally informed treatment, and the role of social justice in the therapeutic space. Originally from Puerto Rico, Kyara received her B.A. in Psychology and Community Mental Health from the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey. She is currently completing a practicum at the Gronowski Center, in the Clinica Latina a specialty clinic for Latinx and Spanish-speaking clients. Kyara's professional goals include working towards decreasing mental health stigma in the Latinx community and providing psychotherapy to Spanish-speakers. 

kmendezseerrano

@paloaltou.edu