2010 Distinguished Alumnus Awards

2010 Psychology Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient

Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson (MA ’00, PsyD ’04) received the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the GSEP Psychology Division commencement on May 23. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, and the director of The Help Group-UCLA Autism Research Alliance, a collaborative research initiative of the Semel Institute and The Help Group, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit dedicated to developing and expanding applied treatment research for children and adolescents with autism-spectrum disorders. Laugeson is also the director of the UCLA Early Childhood Clubhouse Program, a partial hospitalization program designed to improve social and behavioral capacity in preschool children with high-functioning autism, and the associate director of the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Program.

One of Laugeson’s current projects is the development of PEERS, an evidence-based social-skills intervention for teens. Her work has been featured on many national and international media outlets, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, CBS, and Channel 4 in England. Prior to her current appointments, Laugeson was principal investigator and collaborator on a number of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, investigating social skills training for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. Among her numerous professional accolades are the Nathan and Lily Shappell Foundation Donor Award from the Friends of the Semel Institute, the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health, and the Ann Chaplin Award from the Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology.

Laugeson received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Long Beach. She earned both her MA in psychology and her PsyD from GSEP. She resides with her husband, Lance Orozco, in Sherman Oaks, California.

2010 Education Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient

Dr. Tod Burnett (EdD ’05) received the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the GSEP Education Division Commencement on June 19. He is the president of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. The two-year community college serves approximately 40,000 students each year. Burnett was appointed to the presidency in August 2008 and, as CEO, manages 1,350 employees and a $95 million budget. Previously, Burnett served as vice chancellor of the California Community Colleges—the largest higher education system in the world, comprising 110 colleges and serving more than 2.7 million students each year. He coordinated the implementation of the California Community Colleges’ first system-wide strategic plan, managing emergency planning, communication, and preparedness efforts. He also facilitated a $70 million private philanthropic gift for scholarships, the largest ever made to a community college system in the U.S.

Burnett also served as deputy appointments secretary to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and advised on more than 300 appointments to state agencies, boards, and commissions. His public service has included positions within the EPA in Washington, D.C., and on the Board of Public Works for the City of Los Angeles. Burnett is the recipient of the Alumni Public Service Award from the University of California, Riverside for his work at the national, state, and local levels of government.

A longtime supporter and two-term president of Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, Inc., Burnett has served on boards and committees of the Westchester Family YMCA, the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the California State Society.

Burnett received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside, and his MBA from the University of Southern California. He was awarded his doctor of education in organizational leadership from GSEP. Burnett resides in south Orange County.

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