One of the factors that drew me to the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) is the commitment of its students and alumni to truly make a difference in the world. I hear story after impressive story about the good works within the GSEP family, and am truly inspired. In this, the first Colleague magazine that I have the honor of presenting to you, we focus on the diverse ways in which our alumni are using their psychology degrees to serve others.
While completing a pre-doctoral internship, Elizabeth Laugeson (MA ’00, PsyD ’04) discovered a gap in research and intervention methods for adolescents with autism. Her passion for serving those with developmental disabilities, and autism in particular, motivated her to create a program that helps adolescents and young adults improve their social skills. It has been translated into six languages and is being used in 12 different countries.
Kevin Lee Fujimoto (PsyD ’01) and Rima Danielle Jomaa (MA ’10) both have a passion for the outdoors and for physical activity. Fujimoto is the executive director of Surfrider Spirit Sessions, a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk youth make positive life changes through surfing and mentorship. Jomaa is a marriage and family therapist and a certified yoga instructor with a goal of combining her interest in healing and self-care into a residential treatment center for adolescents and young adults in Costa Rica. These visionaries shared with us their views on the connections between mind and body, and how they relate to a person’s overall well-being.
In the GSEP News section, you’ll also learn about Tara Jiles (MA ’08) and Shanetta Robinson (EdD ’13), founders of JPR Leadership Consulting, the organization that launched the Diversity IN Leadership Conference in October. I had the honor of speaking at this two-day conference which explored innovative ways to promote diversity in the workplace and in the community.
Our alumni are an inspiring group, and it is wonderful to see the impact they are making in the communities they serve. I am excited to share in these stories, and I look forward to doing my part to ensure there is always a new vision, a new goal and a new success to report.
Helen Easterling Williams, EdD