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Faculty & Staff

PLEASE NOTE:  Potential MA degree applicants should look at the link at the bottom of the MA program page for information about faculty research interests and publications.

Faculty Office Hours and Location:  Please contact the faculty member via email or visit the faculty member during his/her office hours. Please refer to the Spring 2018 Psychology Department Directory & Office Hours.

Tenure-Track Faculty      Current Lecturers  Department Staff

Emeritus and Retired Professors:




Tenure Track Faculty 

Daniel R. Berry, Ph.D. (2017, Virginia Commonwealth University)

Dr. Berry joined CSUSM in the Fall of 2017. His program of research adopts a social and affective psychophysiology approach to understand the consequences of mindfulness (training) for social well-being. Dr. Berry’s most recent projects examine how mindfulness training catalyzes empathy and prosociality. He also studies resiliency factors of social threat. He addresses these questions through multiple methodologies including lab-based and diary indicators of in vivo social behavior and through the lens of psychophysiology (i.e., EEG/ERP).

  • Office:  SBSB 3208
  • Phone:  760-750-8203
  • Email:

bufferdSara J. Bufferd, Ph.D. (2012, Stony Brook University)

Dr. Bufferd joined CSUSM in the Fall of 2012. Her area of specialization is clinical psychology. She completed her undergraduate work in human development at Cornell University, post-baccalaureate research in child psychiatry at Columbia University, predoctoral clinical internship at the Yale University School of Medicine, and Ph.D. at Stony Brook University. Dr. Bufferd's research interests lie within a developmental psychopathology framework. She investigates factors that contribute to the onset and course of emotional and behavioral problems in young children, including temperament, psychosocial functioning, stressors, and parenting behavior. She is particularly interested in anxiety and mood disorders as well as distinguishing normative and pathological psychological development.

caineNancy Caine, Ph.D. (1980, University of California, Davis)

Dr. Caine joined CSUSM in the Fall of 1992, and served as the Psychology Program Director from 1992 to 1998. Her area of specialization is comparative psychology. She completed a postdoctoral traineeship in the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and was on the psychology faculty at Bucknell University (Pennsylvania) from 1981- 1991. Her research projects focus on the behavior and social organization of nonhuman primates.

Dustin CalvilloDustin Calvillo, Ph.D. (2006, University of California, Santa Barbara)

Prior to joining the faculty at CSUSM in Fall of 2007, Dr. Calvillo was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Ohio University . His area of expertise is Cognitive Psychology. His research interests include human reasoning, judgment, and decision-making.

Nate C. Carnes, Ph.D. (2017, University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Dr. Carnes is joining CSU San Marcos in the Fall of 2017. His areas of specialization include both social and quantitative psychology. Dr. Carnes is interested in the group dynamic processes that underlie our moral psychology, and answers research questions surrounding why we care about equality, fight in wars, and pick political sides.

  • Office:  SBSB 3235
  • Phone:  760-750-8201
  • Email:

 Kimberly DAnna HernandezKimberly L. D'Anna-Hernandez, Ph.D. (2008, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Dr. D'Anna-Hernandez joined CSUSM in the Fall of 2011; her area of specialization is behavioral neuroscience. She completed her predoctoral work at Michigan State University and postdoctoral training with the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group at the University of Colorado Denver. Among her research interests are the role of stress/arousal peptides on maternal behavior in mice and the role of acculturation and other psychosocial measures on the biological response to stress in pregnant women, particularly Mexican and Mexican-American women.

Maureen Fitzpatrick Maureen J. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D. (2001, University of California, Irvine)

Dr. Fitzpatrick, a lifespan developmental psychologist, came to Cal State San Marcos in the fall of 2000 as a Visiting Faculty Fellow and joined the faculty full time in fall 2002. Her research focuses on the socioemotional development of infants and children; effects of non-parental care; and cross-generational interactions, including parent-child and grandparent-grandchild relationships.

Gerardo M. GonzalesGerardo M. Gonzalez, Ph.D. (1989, California School of Professional Psychology, Fresno)

Dr. Gonzalez joined CSUSM in the Fall of 1991; his area of specialization is clinical psychology. He completed his predoctoral and postdoctoral clinical training at the University of California, Berkeley and a clinical-research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Among his research interests are multicultural mental health issues (particularly for the Spanish-speaking), computerized clinical assessment, and the cognitive treatment of depression.

Elisa GrantValloneElisa J. Grant-Vallone, Ph.D. (1998, Claremont Graduate University)

Dr. Grant-Vallone joined CSUSM in Fall of 1998. Her area of specialization is organizational psychology and her research focuses on work and family issues, mentoring, work environments and employee health.

Sharon HamillSharon Hamill, Ph.D. (1990, University of California, Irvine)

Dr. Hamill joined the faculty in 1996 after serving on the faculty at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Dr. Hamill was CSUSM Psychology Department Chair from 2005-2008. Her area of specialty is developmental psychology. Her current research focuses on (1) multigenerational family relationships and caregiving for grandparents with Alzheimer's Disease and (2) the development of personal responsiblity in adolescents and emerging adults.

Heike MahlerHeike I. M. Mahler, Ph.D. (1986, University of California, San Diego)

Previously Dr. Mahler was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach and a Research Psychologist at the University of California, San Diego. She joined CSUSM in the Fall of 1990. Her areas of specialization are health psychology and social psychology. Dr. Mahler's current program of research focuses on how various psychosocial factors (e.g., perceived personal control, coping style, social support) may affect recovery from major surgery.

 Kim PulversKim Pulvers, Ph.D., MPH (2006, University of Kansas)

Dr. Pulvers is a clinical psychologist focusing on how psychological factors impact health behaviors. Before joining the faculty at CSUSM, Dr. Pulvers was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Pulvers’ areas of interest include disease prevention and health promotion; health disparities; nicotine and tobacco use and other addictive behaviors; stress and mental health; distress tolerance; and positive psychology.

P. Wesley Schultz, Ph.D.P. Wesley Schultz, Ph.D. (1995, Claremont Graduate University)
Dr. Schultz came to CSUSM in 1997 after two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor at St. Lawrence University. His areas of expertise are social psychology and statistics. His current research interests are in the application of social psychology to help understand and solve social problems.Recent projects include studies on environmental programs (energy conservation, water conservation, green marketing, recycling), cross-cultural research on environmental attitudes, and longitudinal research on programs aimed at promoting research careers among underrepresented students. Dr. Schultz is currently serving as Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice President for Research.

Schustack, MMiriam W. Schustack, Ph.D. (1981, Carnegie-Mellon University)

Chair of the Psychology Department. Prior to joining CSUSM in the Fall of 1991,
Dr. Schustack was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and a research scientist for the U.S. government. Her area of specialization is cognitive psychology. Among Dr. Schustack's research interests are skilled reading and the development of literacy, reasoning and problem solving, language, and human-computer interaction. She also works in the field of personality psychology, with a particular interest in the relationship between cognition and personality.

Thomas, MMarie Thomas, Ph.D. (1981, Fordham University)

Dr. Thomas was on the faculty at the College of Mount St. Vincent (New York) and had worked as a Personnel Research Psychologist at the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center in San Diego. She joined CSUSM in 1995 and served as Psychology Department Chair from 2000-2003 and 2004-2005.  Her areas of expertise are psychological testing, methodology, and statistics. She is currently working on a project with a colleague in the Economics Department to study the subjective well-being of college students. She is also interested in mindfulness, positive psychology, gender issues, and the scholarship of teaching.

Trujillo, KKeith Trujillo, Ph.D. (1985, University of California, Irvine)

Dr. Trujillo came to CSUSM in the Fall of 1994 after eight years at The University of Michigan as a Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Investigator and Psychology Instructor. His areas of specialization are psychopharmacology and neuroscience. His current research focuses on behavioral and neural effects of psychoactive drugs, including drugs of abuse (such as opiates, amphetamine and cocaine) and psychotherapeutic drugs (such as antidepressants and antipsychotics).

wtsaiWilliam Tsai, Ph.D. (2016 University of California, Los Angeles)

Dr. Tsai joined CSUSM in the Fall of 2016. His area of specialization is clinical psychology. His research applies theories in cultural psychology to test hypotheses concerning the promotion of well-being and mental health among culturally-diverse groups. One primary branch of his research examines how cultural values shape the ways individuals cope with stress, and the impact of these processes on physiological and psychological well-being. Dr. Tsai’s areas of interest include ethnic minority mental health, clinical-cultural psychology, stress and coping, and emotion regulation.

photo of Kimmie Vanderbilt, Ph.D.Kimmie Vanderbilt, Ph.D. (2013, University of California, San Diego)

Dr. Vanderbilt joined CSUSM in Fall 2013. Her area of specialization is in social cognitive development. She completed her graduate and undergraduate degrees at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Vanderbilt's research interests focus on how children (and people in general) learn to reason about the thoughts and behaviors of others. Particularly, she investigates how young children learn to judge the reliability of sources who provide information, as well as how and when children make inferences about the mental states of such sources.

Williams, C.Carrick C. Williams, Ph.D. (2003, Michigan State University)

Prior to joining CSU San Marcos in 2014, Dr. Williams was at Mississippi State University (2005-2014) as an Assistant and then Associate Professor. His area of specialization is cognitive psychology with a specific interest in visual cognition. Dr. Williams' research focuses on the interaction of vision, attention, and memory when people view and process objects, faces, and scenes.

Lecturer Faculty

Emily Blumenthal, Ph.D. (2011, Ph.D. University of Washington) 

Dr. Blumenthal has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology, with a focus on cognitive neuroscience and quantitative methods. Her research uses visual psychophysics, behavioral methods and electroencephalography to answer questions about how our perception (the information we get from our senses) and cognition (how we think) interact to form our understanding of the world. Dr. Blumenthal teaches courses on child and lifespan development, statistics and research methods, cognitive neuroscience and biological psychology, cognitive and social development, and the psychology of parenting.

  • Office:  SBSB 3231
  • E-Mail:

Kristine Brady, Ph.D.  

Theresa CookTheresa Cook (Vazquez), M.A. (2011, University of California, Riverside)

Theresa studies the influence of emotion on audiovisual speech perception, as well as cross-modal sensory integration and behavioral alignment. She is a Doctoral Candidate at UCR, where she teaches courses such as Introductory Psychology and Research Methods. Theresa teaches Introductory Psychology and Biopsychology at CSUSM.

James Danoff-Burg, Ph.D. (1995, Ph. D. Univ of Kansas; 1992, MA Univ of Kansas; 1988, BA Univ of Michigan)

Dr. Danoff-Burg came to CSUSM as a lecturer in 2016, after 14 years as a professor at Columbia University and then three years as Director of Conservation Education at the San Diego Zoo. His areas of expertise revolve around applied conservation approaches that are community based and focus on building capacity, using social psychology approaches to optimize involvement. Dr. Danoff-Burg directs Helping Rhinos USA and also teaches Environmental/Conservation Psychology and Research Methods courses at CSUSM.

  • Office: SBSB 3241
  • E-Mail:

 Michael DiehrMichael Diehr, Ph.D. (1999, SDSU/UCSD Joint Program in Clinical Psychology)

Dr. Diehr has a B.S. in Cognitive Science and a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology. His research focus includes neurocognitive sequelae seen in disease (such as HIV) and psychoactive substance use, as well as development of assessment tools and software use in research. He teaches in the Psychology Department (Cognition), and on occasion in the College of Business Administrations (Databases). In addition to teaching, he manages a small company providing consulting services to non-profit and healthcare organizations, and tries to spend as much time at the beach and in the mountains as possible.

Megan DunbarMegan Dunbar O'Brien, M.A. (2010, California State University San Marcos)

Ms. Dunbar's area of specialization is industral organizational psychology with research interests in leader development. She teaches industrial organizational psychology and group dynamics at CSUSM. She also teaches at Palomar College.

Karen EsoKaren Eso, M.A.  

Ruben Hernandez, Ph.D. 

Heather Herrmann, M.A.  (2015, California State University San Marcos)

Heather Hermman join CSUSM in the Summer of 2015.  Throughout her educational career, Heather Herrmann's emphasis has been in developmental psychology where she focused specifically on socio-emotional development. Her research investigated the socialization of empathy through children's understanding of apology.

Marilyn Johnson-Kozlow, Ph.D. (2003, University of California, San Diego)
Dr. Johnson-Kozlow has a Masters degree in Psychometric Methods, Psychology, from the University of Minnesota (2002). She is a behavioral epidemiologist with research interests in evaluation of health behavior change interventions, improving measurement of tobacco, physical activity and dietary intake, and understanding health disparities. She teaches several classes at Palomar College in the Psychology Department as well as at San Diego State University in the Graduate School of Public Health. At CSUSM she teaches statistics (PSYC 220).

Alison Kreisler, Ph.D.  (2015, University of Pittsburgh) 

Alison Kreisler joined CSUSM in the Spring of 2017.   She is a neuroscientist currently doing research in rodent models at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla. Her research interests are in the neurobiology of pathological feeding and metabolism.

Anne Marie Larsen, Ph.D.  (2005, California School of Professional Psychology)

Dr. Larsen joined CSUSM in the Spring of 2011.  She graduated in 1999 with BA in Psychology from UCLA and graduated in 2005 with PhD in Forensic Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology.

Naomi LoweNaomi Lowe, M.A. (1997, California State University San Marcos)

Naomi Lowe's area of specialization is biopsychology, with research interests including evolutionary psychology (short/long term mating and extroversion), statistics and neuropsychopharmacology. Ms. Lowe teaches in the Psychology and Biology departments at CSUSM and at Palomar Community College.

Barbara McPhersonBarbara McPherson, M.A. (2008, California State University San Marcos)

Barbara McPherson has a Master's Degree in Experimental Psychology and is currently teaching Introduction to Developmental Psychology (PSYC 210) and Introductory Statistics in Psychology (PSYC 220). Her research interests include investigating how print media (coloring books) influence young children's development, examining both the positive and negative effects. She is also interested in positive psychology, curiosity across the life span, and the scholarship of teaching.

Emily MerryweatherEmily Merryweather, M.A., NCC (2015, University of San Diego)

Emily Merryweather’s area of specialization is clinical counseling with research interests in end-of-life care and trauma-informed care. She is currently part of a research and therapy team at University of California, San Diego studying positive therapeutic outcomes for hospice and palliative care patients. Additionally she serves as a consultant for a national disaster management company. She teaches Evidence-Based Practice, Abnormal Psychology and General Psychology.

A-Lisa MilesA-Lisa Miles, Ph.D. (2013, Alliant International University)

Dr. Miles has a Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology and a M.S. in Kinesiology – Sports Psychology. Her area of specialization is in clinical health psychology, specifically chronic pain, sleep disorders, and mood disorders. Her research interests include looking at the effects of  mindfulness, yoga, and/or meditation on chronic illness, mood disorders, and anxiety.  She started teaching at CSUSM in the fall of 2014 and is currently teaching Abnormal Psychology (PSY 336) and Psychology of Personality (PSY 334). In addition to teaching, she is a psychological assistant doing her postdoctoral clinical work at Phillips Medstone and a certified yoga instructor.

fac-rachel-millerRachel M. Miller, Ph.D. (2011, University of California, Riverside)

Dr. Miller began teaching at CSUSM in Fall 2011. She has taught courses in Cognitive Processes, Introduction to Psychology, Brain and Mind, and History of Psychology.In Fall 2013, she began conducting research in cognitive psychology that focuses on how perception influences the perceiver and how the background of the perceiver influences what is being perceived. She is particularly interested in understanding accent, audiovisual speech perception, speech production, and memory. She hopes to expand her research to include sign language perception and is currently learning American Sign Language.  

Lori Montross, Ph.D.  

Michele Mulholland, Ph.D. (2017, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ms. Mulholland's area of specialization is biopsychology with research interests in animal behavior and communication, and statistics. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She teaches Introduction to Psychology, Statistics, and Research Methods at CSUSM. She also teaches at MiraCosta College.  

  • Office: SBSB 3104B
  • E-Mail:

Matt O'BrienMatthew O'Brien, M.A. (2008, California State University San Marcos)

Mr. O'Brien's area of specialization is Cognitive Psychology with a specific interest in the fallibility of human memory in cases involving eyewitnesses. He teaches Cognitive Processes and Introduction to Psychology here at CSUSM, and an Introduction to Social Psychology class at Palomar College. He is near completion of his Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate University and plans to continue teaching when he is finished.

 David Perkins, Ph.D.  

Judi PhillipsJudith Phillips, Ph.D. (2003, University of South Australia)

Dr. Phillips has taught internationally and for the past several years has been teaching at community colleges in the San Diego area. She has taught at CSUSM since Fall 2006. Her research interests include pre-departure preparation, in-country support, and repatriation of expatriate employees and their families on global assignments; social support networks, stress and cross-cultural adjustment of accompanying spouses on global assignments; social-cognitive development of children; and gerontology.

Evan Raiewski, Ph.D.  

Mara Sanders, Ph.D.  

  • Office: SBSB 33236

Trofimoff, VVince Trofimoff, Ph.D. (1992, University of California, Riverside)

Dr. Trofimoff is a social-personality psychologist with interests in intergroup relations, the self-concept, cross-cultural psychology, and personality. His current research focuses on the interactive effects of personal self-esteem and collective self-esteem on in-group loyalty and the perceived legitimacy of intergroup status differences. He has taught a wide variety of courses at CSUSM since 1994 although he most frequently teaches Research Methods (Psyc 230) and Computer Applications (Psyc 300).

Michelle Vogel TrauttMichelle Vogel Trautt, M.A. (2011, California State University San Marcos)

Michelle Vogel Trautt specializes in applied social and health psychology and more recently, has added educational leadership to her research interests, primarily focusing on the role of leadership in student and faculty service driven departments at the collegiate level. She teaches an array of courses including Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Behavioral Statistics and Research Methods for Behavioral Sciences, as well as Social and Developmental Psychology. She is also the Advisor for Gamma Sigma Alpha and Order of Omega, two academic honor societies at CSUSM that focus on student leadership throughout scholarship and service.

Jarryd Willis, Ph.D.  

Anna Woodcock, Ph. D.Anna Woodcock, Ph.D. (2012, Purdue University)

Dr. Woodcock is a social psychologist whose research interests lie in the broad areas of diversity, prejudice and stereotyping.  She is currently investigating: the impact of implicit racial and gender bias on behavior and strategies to reduce bias, the processes by which stereotype threat operates, and the psychological processes underlying the underrepresentation of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. Dr. Woodcock has taught Introductory Statistics in Psychology (PSYC 220), Social Psychology (PSYC 332), and Psychology of Prejudice (PSYC 333) at CSUSM..

Brittany Gabrielle Wren, M.A.   

Sara YerushalmianSara YerushalmianPh.D. (Alliant International University, 2010)

Dr. Yerushalmian has a M.A. and a P.h.D. in Clinical Psychology.  She teaches Statistics for Behavioral Sciences and Introductory Psychology at CSUSM. She also teaches Statistics and other psychology related courses at other academic institutions including MiraCosta College, Palomar College and Park University. Courses she has taught, or is currently teaching include Psychology of Personal Growth; Social Psychology; Advanced Social Psychology; Psychology of Women; Psychology of Marriage, Family and Intimacy; Career Counseling and Development; and Theories of Personality.  Dr. Yerushalmian is passionate about teaching and prides herself in empowering students through inspiration and education. 

Emeritus Professors

Spencer McWilliams, Ph.D.Spencer McWilliams, Ph.D. (1971, University of Rochester)
Dr. McWilliams is Professor Emeritus at CSUSM. His interests are in constructivist approaches to personality and self, personal construct psychology, and Buddhist psychology.

Cherie G. O'Boyle, Ph.D. (1991, University of Oregon). Dr. O'Boyle is Professor Emeritus at CSUSM. Her research interests are in the history and philosophy of psychology, emotional and social development in infancy, and attachment and friendship between women across the lifespan.

Kathleen BoyleKathleen Boyle, Ph.D. (1992, University of California, Los Angeles)

Dr. Boyle joined CSUSM in Spring 2005, coming from California State University, Northridge. Previously, she was a research psychologist at UCLA, working in the area of drug abuse. Her research focus included antecedents and consequences of prolonged drug use, and factors that predicted drug users adherence to HIV prevention guidelines.

 Colleen Moss, Ph.D.Colleen Moss, Ph.D. (1991, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale). Dr. Moss joined CSUSM in the Fall of 1997. She is an educational psychologist with special interests in cognitive development and the impact of self-efficacy on learning. Dr. Moss was previously a child and adolescent mental health counselor in Illinois for eight years. She has taught a wide variety of psychology courses at several colleges and universities in Illinois and Ohio before moving to the San Diego area. At CSUSM, she has taught courses in Critical Thinking (Psyc 110), Developmental Psychology (Psyc 330), Developmental Psychology Lab (Psyc 395), Abnormal Psychology (Psyc 336), and Educational Psychology (PSYC 354).

Department Staff

Mohseni, SSoheyla Mohseni, Administrative Coordinator

petrosSara Petros, Administrative Support Assistant

Brittany Soderlund, Administrative Support Assistant

  • Office:  SBSB 3222
  • Phone: (760) 750-8066
  • E-Mail: