Student Ambassadors | PhD in Clinical Psychology

Student Ambassadors 

Our Ambassadors offer insight about Pacific University School of Professional PhD in Clinical Psychology program to prospective students and any other party requesting information about student life or the area. In addition to this, the Ambassadors help assist with open house, interview days, and other events. They also work very closely with the Admissions office in providing an invaluable resource for prospective students.

If you would like to speak with a current student about their experience applying to or choosing Pacific University, you are invited to contact one of our student ambassadors. They will be happy to help you.


Dr. Christopher's Lab

Nicole McCullough

3rd Year | PhD Program | Hillsboro, OR

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Faculty Lab/Mentor | Dr. Michael Christopher

Research Focus | The research focus is risk preference in decision-making, aggression, and mindfulness interventions. 

Undergraduate Institution | Brigham Young University  

Why I chose Pacific | I was interested in the Sabiduría program offered at Pacific. I have a lot family in the area as well. I adore the Pacific Northwest and could not pass up the chance to come home. 

Favorite PhD course | GPSY 903: Applied Clinical Psych – This course is taught by Dr. Harold Rosenberg. Harold has an amazing way of eliciting discussion and sharing real-life examples of the principles he is teaching. I walked away from this class feeling very confident in my clinical interviewing skills.

Hobbies | I enjoy long-distance running, surfing and fly-fishing. I love to camp in the back of my Prius. I recently took up beekeeping.


Dr. Lafavor's Lab

Billie Goddard

2nd Year | PhD Program | Spring Creek, NV

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Faculty/Lab Mentor | Dr. Theresa Lafavor

Undergraduate Institution | University of Nevada, Reno

Research Focus | Pediatric psychology, well-being, self-efficacy, intersection of mental and physical health in adolescents, specifically anxiety and chronic illness (past experience with type 1 diabetes).

Why I chose Pacific | One of the reasons I chose Pacific was the welcoming and collaborative atmosphere of the program, faculty, and students. Just from my experience at Interview Day I could easily picture myself as a part of the program. Another benefit, as someone who wants to specialize in pediatric psychology (child health psychology), was the option of the health emphasis track in the program. Lastly, I knew Dr. Lo would be a wonderful match as my mentor with our overlapping research interests.

Favorite PsyD course | The Applied Clinical Psychology I & II courses have been my favorite. The first course went in-depth on psychotherapy intake interviews and the second course is focused more heavily on individual mental health disorders (symptoms, treatments, research, etc.). These courses have made me excited to get started seeing clients in my practicum placement next year!

Hobbies | In my free time, I love reading, painting, snuggling my three Boston Terrier pups, binging Netflix shows, being outdoors (mainly in the summer months), and trying to keep my plants alive.


Dr. Jacova's Lab

Shelby Alsup

4th Year | PhD Program | Bakersfield, CA

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Faculty Lab/Mentor | Claudia Jacova, PhD

Research Focus | Examine maternal stress during prenatal and perinatal periods and infant outcomes

Undergraduate Institution | Arizona State University 

Why I chose Pacific | My two favorite things about the PhD program at Pacific are 1) the opportunities within the program to collaborate across labs and the opportunities throughout the greater Oregon area and 2) my cohort! 

Favorite PhD course | The Science of Mindfulness, Applied Clinical Psych I, and Advanced Statistics. These three courses challenged me in numerous ways. The mindfulness course provided a pathway for connection and vulnerability for my cohort & allowed me to re-engage in my formal practice. Applied Clinical Psych I added to my understanding of prenatal and postnatal development. Advanced Statistics was challenging and onset a deep curiosity for statistical modeling. 

Hobbies | I enjoy spending time with my family & friends, hiking, being outdoors, reading, & playing board/card games! 

Nicole Baggett

4th year | PhD Program | Beaverton, OR

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Faculty Lab/Mentor | Dr. Claudia Jacova

Research Focus | My broad interest is in the lifespan trajectory of cognitive, clinical, and brain characteristics associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. My current focus is on ADHD and the evolution of clinical and neuropsychological performance markers from childhood to adulthood and old age.

Undergraduate Institution | San Diego State University

Why I chose Pacific | I chose Pacific, because it offered research opportunities aligned with my interest in neurodevelopmental disorders across the lifespan. I was also excited about the growing clinical training opportunities in pediatric neuropsychological assessment. Lastly, I admired how close-knit and community-minded the program was. I am so grateful to be close with my cohort-mates and lab-mates!

Favorite PhD course | Science and Practice of Mindfulness | This course was a wonderful introduction to both the clinical and personal utility of mindfulness practice. I enjoyed beginning each class with a mindful meditation practice, because it cultivated a deeper understanding of, and compassion for, my experience and that of others. This course also acquainted me with current research in mindfulness-based clinical practices used to treat various clinical populations.

Hobbies | I love to cook, bake, hike, get creative with make-up, and play with my cat Diego! I also enjoy any time I can connect with my amazing cohort!


Dr. Vik's Lab

Ellie Embry

2nd Year | PhD Program | Batesville, AR

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Faculty/Lab Mentor | Dr. Peter Vik

Research Focus | Cognitive changes in older adults in relation to pediatric cancer survivorship; neurodegeneration and effects of sleep in older adults

Undergraduate Institution | Lyon College

Why I chose Pacific | I chose Pacific at first because the program has several faculty specializing in neuropsychology and provides several opportunities for both clinical practice and research in the specialty. However, the sense of community between the faculty and students was the deciding factor. Having a cooperative and positive working environment is extremely important to me. The close-knit atmosphere fosters a confidence to make mistakes and learn without fear that I don't think I would find at other institutions. 

Favorite PhD Course | Clinical Assessment- This course gives the in and outs of neuropsychological assessment for beginners. The lab component is extremely helpful in getting practice administering assessments and I am confident that the content I have learned will be useful when I start practicum in the training clinic.

Hobbies | I have several pen pals, enjoy hiking, watching Netflix with my cat, and working out. 

Kelly Harnsberger

2nd Year | PhD Program | Burlington, Massachusetts

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Faculty Lab/Mentor | Dr. Peter Vik

Research Focus | Adults & Older Adults, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Digitization of Clinical Assessments, Gamification

Undergraduate Institution | Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut 

Graduate Institution | Pacific University, Applied Psychological Science Master’s Program

Why I chose Pacific | I chose Pacific University for my PhD after my experience in the APS Master’s Program. I learned so much from my professors and gained invaluable experience. I also chose this program for the flexibility and openness to explore any research interest you may have. The faculty are very collaborative and supportive of differing research interests and ideas.

Favorite PhD course | Applied Clinical Psych I – So far, my favorite course has been Applied Clinical Psych I. This course was taught by Dr. Harold Rosenberg and was an introduction to clinical interviewing as a psychologist. I enjoyed this course because Harold was able to include his personal experiences as a psychologist into the lessons. This helped to apply the lessons to real world experiences and to better understand the fundamentals of clinical psychology.

Hobbies | I enjoy hanging out with my husband, dog, and cat. I love trying new breweries (especially in the Portland area) and playing video games, between schoolwork, of course!

Keegan King

3rd Year | PhD Program | Seattle, WA

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Faculty Lab/Mentor | Dr. Peter Vik

Research Focus | Psychology and Technology, Extremism, non-concussive repeated head traumas and CTE, Personality and Identity, Assessment and Diagnostics. Really, just a grab bag of things. 

Undergraduate Institution | Eastern Washington University for my BA and I also hold an MS from Pacific University

Why I chose Pacific | I really loved the small class sizes, the faculty actually works with you directly, and I’m a self-starter, but there is a lot of support for doing your own research. 

Favorite PhD course | Ooof. Hard to say. I really loved The DSK series and the stats series. But I’m a nerd for history and numbers.

Hobbies | I enjoy archery, composing and performing music, and some days I just ply video games or board games with friends. I also am a voracious reader, but often the books are weird or scary. So people stopped asking about them.