People



Ya Yang

Research Assistant

Ya Yang is currently a second year student. He was born and raised in Thailand and spent his adolescent years in Oroville, CA. He has a double major in Psychology and Public Health. Ya plans to pursue law school with an emphasis on health policies or a graudate school for a PhD in clinical psychology. In his spare time, he likes to play badminton, sleep, and hang out friends.



Jana Chriselle De La Paz

Research Assistant

Chriselle De La Paz is a psychology major with a minor in public health. Attending graduate school to become a clinical psychologist is her ultimate goal. She is originally from Los Angeles. She is constantly looking for ways to help the Merced community that she is now a part of. She likes to dance and cook in her spare time.



Joy Pham

Research Assistant

Joy is a fourth-year Public Health major from Irvine, California. As a Public Health major, she strives to find ways to promote better health in the community she lives in. By taking part in the Health Communications and Interventions Lab, it will enable her to gain a psychological perspective on what drives people to pursue maladaptive behaviors. In the future, she aspires to be in a career in the health field. She’s also passionate about learning new languages.



Charles Udeze

Research Assistant

Charles is a 2nd-year undergraduate student from Stockton, CA. He majors in Public Health and double-minors in Management & Business Economics and Community Research & Service. Charles is interested in learning how he can improve the health and wellness of disadvantaged communities and would like to become a doctor in the future. In his free time, Charles reads, plays the tuba and trombone, and plays sports.



Neeru Basanti

Research Assistant

Neeru Basanti is a fourth-year transfer student from Shasta College. Neeru was born and raised in Redding, CA and she is a first-generation college student. Neeru has a major in Psychology and plans on emphasizing in Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology. Neeru has a particular interest in working with children. Therefore, she is very interested in working closely with Linda Cameron in the lab with the ACE Overcomers. Neeru is a well-rounded student who is also active in Hermanas Unidas, PSI CHI, and Tri Delta.



Yuriyah Manus

Research Assistant

Yuriyah Manus is a fourth-year undergraduate student with a major in Psychology and a minor in Cognitive Science. He is from the Inland Empire in Southern California. He plans to pursue a degree in clinical psychology and plans to assist with children who have cancer. He hopes his involvement in this research will further his knowledge about children and their families involvement when it comes to an illness.



David Hernandez

Research Assistant

David Hernandez is a 4th-year transfer student from Lynwood, California pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology. His goal is to attain a Ph.D. in developmental psychology in where he can evaluate and treat people living with developmental disabilities. David has volunteered at Metropolitan State Hospital, where he interacted and conversed with the elderly and other patients who are suffering from a variety of mental disorders.



Cory Wilson

Research Assistant

Cory will receive her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a focus in Cognitive Science at the University of California, Merced in Fall 2017. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Psychology and plans to continue her education with a research-oriented graduate program in 2018. Her main research interests lie in Health Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Psychoneuroimmunology. She currently works as a research assistant in the Health Communications and Interventions Lab and the Psychoneuroimmunology Lab at UC Merced.



Sam Field

Research Assistant

Sam Field is a third-year Psychology student from the Bay region. He is currently pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in anthropology. His main interests are in understanding what influences individuals decision making and thought processes, as well as understanding differences in cultural and social backgrounds. He is also extremely interested in Health Psychology highlighting topics such as stress, exercise, and nutrition. In the future, Sam wishes to attain a PhD or Masters degree in a Psychology driven field.



Leslie Chan

Project Manager

Leslie is the project manager for the Health and Communications Intervention Lab. She graduated from the University of California, Merced with a B.S. in Human Biology and a minor in Economics. She is interested in understanding how a community’s background from culture to socio-economic status influences health behaviors as well as understanding the process in deriving interventions that would promote a healthier lifestyle. She has assisted Dr. Linda Cameron on various of projects such as a text-based program promoting an increase in physical activity as well as a former graduate candidate, Paul Carroll, on his dissertation for restorative justice.



Anthony Orr

Research Assistant

Anthony is a third-year psychology major at the University of California, Merced. He is particularly interested in the prevention and treatment of mental illness and plans to continue his education in a research-focused program after graduating.



Brandon Rodriguez

Research Assistnat

Brandon Rodriguez is a fourth-year Psychology major student with a minor in Sociology. He is originally from Orange County. He is a transfer student from Irvine Valley College where he earned an Associate’s Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. He is currently interested in pursuing a graduate program with the focus of school psychology. He would one day like to be able to support students who require additional help. He hopes to learn more about health-related psychological aspects that people encounter while he continues to be a part of the Health Communications and Interventions lab at UC Merced.



Cedric J. McCray

Research Assistant

Cedric J. McCray is a third-year undergraduate student. He was raised in Palmdale, California and arrived to the University of California, Merced to pursue a B.A. in Psychology. Although he is interested in many aspects of psychology, he’s currently assisting Dr. Linda Cameron in developing interventions to improve health literacy in the community.



Ileana (Lily) Aguilar

Research Assistant

Ileana Aguilar is a third-year attending the University of California, Merced, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in Spanish. She has taken multiple classes outside of her field of study. Some of those classes include Spanish in Health Professionals which allowed her to learn more about the medical Spanish vocabulary and intercultural issues to improve the possible interactions with Spanish speaking patients in the future. This may help her in the future by giving her the advantage of communicating with people that may only speak Spanish. In the future, Ms. Aguilar plans to attain a PhD. in developmental psychology.



Dr. Linda Cameron

Professor

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Linda Cameron is Professor of Psychology at University of California, Merced. Her research focuses on developing health communications and psychosocial interventions for individuals who have or are at risk for illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. This research takes a self-regulation perspective by evaluating the cognitive and emotional processes influencing health behaviors and illness experiences. She focuses on both theoretical and applied aspects of issues in order to address the parallel goals of developing theoretically-based interventions and refining psychological theory. Her research has included the development and evaluation of psychosocial support programs for women with breast cancer, therapeutic writing techniques for stress management, and exercise therapy as an aid for smoking cessation.



Roberto Corona

Graduate Student

Roberto

Roberto Corona is a teaching fellow and doctoral candidate in health psychology. He is interested in understanding how emotions, culture, coping style, and illness representations influence health decision-making such as treatment adherence, screening, diet and exercise, and coping with a chronic disease. He is also interested in identifying factors related to health disparities including race and ethnicity, language, self and emotion regulation, and other psychosocial and cultural factors.  Roberto has worked extensively on research assessing the cognitive and executive functioning of dementia patients and the related caregiver burden and distress; stress, coping, and sleep quality in prostate cancer survivors; and collaborated as a research consultant with researchers from the National Cancer Institutes on a text message-based intervention promoting healthy diet, increased physical activity, and smoking cessation. Lastly, Roberto is passionate about teaching, mentoring, and advising undergraduate students.



Arturo Durazo

Graduate Student

Arturo Durazo

Focused in Medical and Cognitive Anthropology, Arturo received his B.A. in Social Sciences at University of California at Irvine in 2006. Between then and entering his doctoral program in 2011 at University of California at Merced, he has held roles in the public health, health care delivery, and academic sectors addressing public policy, health communications, and health decision making.

Currently a PhD candidate, he focuses on psychosocial factors that promote protective behaviors among those with disproportionate burdens of illness associated with membership in low socio-economic and ethnic minority groups.   Under the supervision of Linda Cameron and guided by self-regulation theory, he examines how illness and risk beliefs, particularly those relating to fatalistic control beliefs, influence emotional reactions such as illness worry and, in turn, either motivate or deter protective health behaviors.  These findings are used to guide the development of tailored health communications to promote adaptive health decision making. His current research includes projects healthy Hispanic/Latino participants who are at risk of diabetes, including the development of culturally appropriate mHealth programs for promoting healthy diet and physical activity. In his dissertation research, he is focusing on promoting healthy behaviors among cancer survivors.



Tenie Khachikian

Graduate Student

Tenie is a doctoral candidate in Health Psychology at the University of California, Merced where she works with Dr. Linda Cameron in the Health Communications and Interventions Research Group. She received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Her research interests focus on exploring parental influence on alleviating health risk behaviors in their children, such as substance use and unhealthy eating. This research takes into account both parent and child psychological factors. In her dissertation research, she plans to develop and implement health communications to motivate parent and child discussions on health-risk behaviors, in an effort to lessen these behaviors.  



William Kyle Hamilton

Graduate Student

William Kyle Hamilton

William is a Health Psychology graduate student at the University of California, Merced. His research focuses on Adverse Childhood Experiences and has gained expertise conducting studies through Amazon Mechanical Turk. He earned his B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Political Science from the University of California, Merced in 2012. William serves as a board member for the Alumni Association on campus, as well as a board member for the Merced County Advisory Board on Alcohol and Drug Problems.



Sara Fleszar-Pavlovic

Graduate Student

Sara Fleszar-Pavlovic is a graduate student in Health Psychology at the University of California, Merced where she works under Linda Cameron, Ph.D. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science from Florida State University on 2006, as a Licensed Funeral Director from the American Academy McAllister Institute in 2009, and a Bachelor’s in Arts from the City University of New York-Hunter College in 2015. Sara most recently worked as Research Coordinator for Michael A. Diefenbach, Ph.D., Director of Behavioral Research at Northwell Health, on prostate and bladder cancer research as it relates to shared decision-making and treatment decision-making. Her research interests include patient treatment decisions under uncertain medical conditions, sexuality and intimacy in terminal illness, and attitudes and communications surrounding organ donation.