Current RVT Students

RVT members on Internship

Melissa Gowen (pictured on the left) is originally from Nebraska. She moved to Seattle to pursue her graduate degree at SPU. She graduated with a BS in Psychology in 2012 from Missouri State University, and earned her MS in Psychological Science in 2014 from Seattle Pacific University. Her dissertation topic involves studying psychological well-being following trauma. She has completed practicums at the Monroe Correctional Complex (2014), HealthPoint (2015), Madigan Army Medical Center (2016, 2017), and is now completing her doctoral internship at the Montana VA in Helena, MT. She appreciates how SPU professors care for and mentor their students. Melissa absolutely loved her time in Seattle, but is also passionate about providing care for Veterans in rural, high need areas. In her free time, she enjoys crossfit, reading, and hiking/camping.

Kaitlin Patton (pictured on the right) moved to Seattle to pursue her doctoral degree in clinical psychology after receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Biola University, earning her Masters in Psychological Science from SPU in 2015. Her clinical interests have included geropsychology, international applications of clinical psychology, adjustment, and health psychology. These interests have been fostered by her practicum work at Monroe Correctional Complex (2015), Multiple Sclerosis Center at the Neuroscience Institute at Swedish Hospital (2016), and Swedish Family Medicine (2017) as a behavioral health provider on the integrated health team. She successfully defended her dissertation, "Examining the Interacting Effects of Marital Role Salience and Satisfaction on Mental Health Trajectories of Female Expatriates", in August 2018 and is currently completing her internship at the Southwest Consortium, housed in the New Mexico VA in Albuquerque. She shared the following about her training at SPU, "One of the things that I love the most about the clinical psychology program at SPU is the Research Vertical Team. I have gained so much knowledge, experience, and help through this model, and, as I have moved along in the program, have seen the benefits of passing that along to those joining us in our research group. Also, we are the best at making RVT a gourmet experience, which I am grateful for." Kaitlin enjoys getting outside, awkward interactions, cooking, and has come to appreciate a great cup of coffee after living in Seattle.

RVT members at Seattle Pacific University

Caitlin Coyer (pictured on the left) is in her fourth year at SPU, with research interests in health psychology, trauma, and international psychology. She graduated with her Bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota in 2015 and then moved to Seattle to pursue her Ph.D in clinical psychology. Last year, she completed her practicum at the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center. This year, she is working at the Swedish Family Medicine Residency-Ballard as a practicum student, and is also in her fourth year as a graduate career advisor at the Center for Career and Calling on campus. For their 2YP, she and Desta examined the effects of global service learning experiences and a campus shooting on the calling trajectories of students. Outside of psychology, she is interested in history and traveling, which led her to travel to Croatia for a month to participate in an archeological investigation of Roman ruins. She also enjoys reading, playing video games, and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dog.

Desta Gebregiorgis (pictured on the right) is a fourth-year graduate student pursuing her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Seattle Pacific University after she finished her Bachelors of Science in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. She is interested in interpersonal violence trauma, cross-cultural applications, and health psychology. As a fourth-year student, she has completed a full-time practicum placement at Swedish Primary Care - Issaquah, and she is currently doing her full-time practicum at University of Washington - Bothell. Desta also does a part-time practicum at Neuropsychological and Psychoeducational Services with Dr. Tedd Judd where she assists with administering neuropsychological and cognitive assessments for immigrants, refugees, and those seeking asylum. Last year, Desta worked at a high school and used a culturally-sensitive substance use intervention with African-American adolescents. She plans to write her dissertation on the psychometric evaluation of the English and Spanish-translated measures for the program evaluation with KCSARC legal advocacy services, and, in turn the effectiveness of the legal advocacy program for clients who are Spanish speakers. For their second year project, Caitlin and Desta are researching calling trajectories in college students after exposure to a college shooting and global service learning experience. Desta loves the close atmosphere at SPU; her cohort, her RVT, and the faculty at SPU have supported her throughout this experience and have made it worthwile! In her spare time, Desta loves to cook for her friends, knit and crotchet, and smash the patriarchy.

Lauren Hirsch (pictured on the left) is a third-year student within Dr. Bikos's lab, having graduated from Oregon State University with a B.S. in Psychology in June 2016 and her M.S. in Psychological Science from Seattle Pacific University in June 2018. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she was excited to be able to stay in the PNW for graduate school. Currently, she is working as a graduate administrative assistant for Dr. Bikos, focusing on collecting data regarding study abroad and doing administrative work for SPFC IRB. She hopes to continue working with and understanding the implications of international psychology throughout her time at SPU. In addition, she has started her first practicum position at the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center in Seattle where she works with individuals and their families who have been affected by multiple sclerosis. At SPU, she loves that there are many opportunities to collaborate with other students in class who have different interests and find interesting new topics to work on together. Lauren anticipates being able to integrate her love of international psychology into her clinical practice once she graduates. Fun facts about Lauren: she can read, write, and speak Japanese; loves cats; has traveled to 21 different countries, most recently England and Japan.

Thomas Pankau (pictured on the right) is a third-year graduate student who joined Dr. Bikos' RVT in 2016 after having graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology in 2014. Having lived overseas for many years, he was interested in the international component of Dr. Bikos' research and hopes to work internationally in the future. He is currently doing his first practicum at Providence Children's Hospital, conducting a variety of assessments for children being evaluated for autism. He also currently works at SPU's International Student Services in a variety of roles including leading a group for international students adjusting to the United States. He enjoys small, close-knit nature of SPU and the opportunity it provides to explore the Pacific Northwest. In his spare time, Thomas enjoys playing, writing, and recording music, and traveling.

Elena Cantorna (pictured on the left) is a second-year graduate student in Dr. Bikos' lab. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Penn State University in 2015.  She has an interest in the international component of Dr Bikos' research and hopes to use her Spanish language skills in the future. She is also interested in trauma in particular secondary victimization in the health care field. She currently works at the Center for Career and Calling with undergraduate students on their vocational discernment. Her second-year project will be focused on career outcomes for undergraduates in a online career discernment intervention, in particular looking at sense of purpose, sense of calling and degree of participation. The only place you will realistically see her outside of school is on a rugby field, usually playing with the Seattle Saracens or the WAC rugby team. She also enjoys reading, traveling and watching movies. Over the summer she went to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe with her family reigniting her desire to see the world further.

Megan Fox (pictured on the right) is a second-year student who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Whitworth University in 2017. During this time, she gained research experience in vocational psychology as well formative work experience with adolescents. She is currently working as a Graduate Career Advisor at the Center for Career and Calling at SPU. Aligning with Dr. Bikos’s research, she is collaborating with other doctoral students on an online interactive intervention studying vocational development for undergraduate students. Her 2YP will be focused on life satisfaction by degree of participation in this online intervention. She plans to continue her studies with career development, while also incorporating work with adolescents in future practicum opportunities. Megan is originally from Colorado and loves anything outdoors, particularly hiking, fly fishing, and skiing. She also enjoys traveling and reading.

Katherine Degenhardt (pictured on the left) is a second year graduate student in Dr. Bikos’ lab who hails from Portland, Oregon. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon where she studied journalism and women’s studies and completed her thesis on the film industry in Ghana for which she conducted independent research in Accra. After working at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, she moved to Seattle in 2017 to pursue her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Seattle Pacific University. Her research interests include international and cross-cultural psychology, trauma, and health psychology. She is especially passionate about positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy. Her Second Year Project will focus on an online interactive intervention studying vocational development for undergraduate students at Seattle Pacific University. Along with her team she will examine life satisfaction by degree of level of participation in the intervention. She loves the beautiful Pacific Northwest and enjoys spending time with her exuberant one-year-old daughter! Her hobbies include photography, cycling, cooking, and wondering what kind of dog she will eventually add to her family.

Jamie Layton (pictured on the right) is a first-year student who was born and raised in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. She moved down to California for college and received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology at Biola University in 2017. At Biola she did some research in positive psychology and was a research assistant for some work on a parenting psychoeducational program and how that can help how professionals work with youth who have behavioral issues and contact with the legal system. She is interested in pursuing areas of trauma and different developmental impacts such as one’s family of origin and international and cross-cultural exposure. She is working as a Graduate Admissions Officer as well as a Graduate Career Advisor playing a role in the implementation of the Online Field Guide in undergraduate classes. Hailing form the Pacific North West she was definitely hoping to stay there for graduate school, and coming from a small town she was beyond stoked at the possibility of taking the bus somewhere and things being open passed 9pm. Aside from Seattle, SPU in particular drew her in with their strong emphasis on mentorship both with a professor and older peers. Fun facts about Jamie include that she has been trained in verbal Judo five times and was a nationally ranked collegiate impromptu speaker. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, and if she had the money she would frequent plays and hockey games.

LeAnne Zaire (pictured on the left) is originally from Milwaukee, Wi but moved to Nashville, TN to earn her Bachelors of Science in psychology in 2014. LeAnne first gained research experience on the campus of Tennessee State University (TSU) focussing on vocational decidedness in undergraduate populations. She also held a leadership role at TSU as chapter president of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. After graduation she served in the Peace Corps as a TEFL Teacher in Kyrgyzstan where she wrote and implemented a grant for a youth development seminar in 2016. She then relocated the Pacific Northwest to pursue her Ph.D in clinical psychology. Her focus this year will be on facilitating a campus wide intervention for career exploration in undergraduate students. LeAnne is excited to explore her international, multicultural, and trauma research interests within Dr. Biko’s Lab. She is excited to explore the city and parks of Seattle! She enjoys visiting cultural, art, science, and natural history museums following her interests in anthropology. She loves running, working out, and watching her favorite team the Green Bay Packers.