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Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology

DBT-RU Staff

DBT-RU is an official practicum training site for students in the GSAPP school psychology programs and for the Clinical Ph.D. program at Rutgers University.

DIRECTOR:   Shireen L. Rizvi, PhD, ABPP

Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) at Rutgers University, where she also holds affiliate appointments in the psychology department, School of Public Health, and the Department of Psychiatry. She completed her internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Boston/National Center for PTSD. Her research interests include improving outcomes, training, and dissemination of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for the treatment of complex and severe populations. Dr. Rizvi has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Rutgers University, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) for her research. Her work has resulted in over 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, as well as a sole-authored book entitled Chain Analysis in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and a co-edited volume, DBT in Clinical Practice (2nd edition). Dr. Rizvi is board certified in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology and in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. She is currently on the Board of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and is a Past President of the Board of ISITDBT. Dr. Rizvi has trained hundreds of students and practitioners from around the world in DBT. She received the Spotlight on a Mentor Award from the ABCT in 2017 and was awarded Fellowship status for the same organization in 2021.


Clinicians and Research Associates 2023

Alma Bitran is a first-year clinical psychology PhD student at Rutgers University. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Yale University in 2021. She previously worked as a research assistant at the Translational Research on Affective Disorders and Suicide Lab at Columbia University, where she carried out research examining short-term predictors of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in adolescents. She is interested in increasing access to interventions for youth suicide, as well as examining how suicide-related disclosure patterns may be differentially associated with risk.

Kaileigh Conti is a research coordinator for DBT-RU. She received her B.A. from Boston College in 2020 and her M.A. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2022. Kaileigh also currently works as a research coordinator for Dr. Evan Kleiman (Psychology Dept., School of Arts & Sciences). Her research interests include severe mental illness and emotion dysregulation in children and adolescents, as well as treatment methods for this population.

Hannah Krall serves as a Project Coordinator for DBT-RU. After receiving her B.A. in Psychology from Skidmore College, she worked as a Research Assistant in the Cognition, Emotion, and Life Experiences (CEL) lab at Butler Hospital/Brown University. Her research interests include identifying acute risk factors for suicidal thoughts/behavior and reducing stigma and other barriers to increase access to treatment. In addition to DBT-RU, she also works as a Project Coordinator under Dr. Evan Kleiman (Psychology Dept., School of Arts & Sciences). In the future, Hannah hopes to pursue her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Kierra Pean is a third-year Clinical PsyD student, and a proud alum, of Rutgers University. She received her B.A. in psychology and Communication with a focus in health. Before joining the DBT-RU lab she was a practicum student at Rutgers CAPS and the Psychological Services Clinic at Rutgers. She is currently working as a student clinician for Rutgers- Newark as part of CAMPUS, a national suicide study focused on the college student population. She also works with children at CHAT (children and families healing after trauma). Her clinical interests are in treating low-income populations who need access to mental health care.

Guillermo Piñeiro is a research assistant working under the direction of Qing Yin. He majored in Psychology and Sociology at Rutgers University - School of Arts and Sciences. His areas of interest include personality disorders, trauma, and curated interventions for minority populations. Guillermo plans on pursuing graduate education in Clinical Psychology.

Hannah Pucker is a third-year clinical Psy.D. student at GSAPP. Previously, she participated in the Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Fellowship at McLean Hospital, working as a community residence counselor on a short-term, residential unit for adolescents (ART) and as a clinical educator at a DBT-adherent residential program for adolescent boys (3 East). She also conducted research on BPD with Dr. Mary Zanarini in the Laboratory for the Study of Adult Development. She is currently an extern at the comprehensive DBT program at Columbia’s Faculty Practice Organization. Her research and clinical interests include suicide and NSSI, emotion dysregulation, BPD, and improving access to treatments like DBT.

Melanie Rosen is a fourth-year clinical Psy.D. student at GSAPP. She received her B.A. in psychology from Appalachian State University and her M.A. in clinical psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Currently, she is working as a clinical extern at Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center in New York, a maximum-security forensic inpatient hospital. Melanie has also previously worked as a clinician at both DBT-RU and the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Rutgers University for two years. Prior to joining the DBT-RU team, Melanie gained clinical experience working at The Haven at Piscataway High School and the Center for Psychological Services at Rutgers University. Currently, Melanie serves as a research assistant in the DBT-RU research lab. Melanie’s research and clinical interests include means reduction approaches to suicide prevention, cognition and suicide/NSSI, emotional dysregulation, and serious mental illness.

Alejandra Sanchez-Sarmiento is a first-year clinical Psy.D. student at GSAPP. After receiving her B.H.S. and B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida, she completed the Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Fellowship at McLean Hospital where she worked as a Community Residence Counselor at the 3East DBT Partial Hospital Program. Currently, Ale works as a clinician at Rutgers’ Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services (CAPS). Her research and clinical interests include suicide and self-harm, BPD, emotion dysregulation, and DBT implementation in Hispanic-Latinx communities.

Thanharat (Poojah) Silamongkol is a third-year clinical Psy.D. student at GSAPP. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Macalester College in 2018. She is currently completing her practicum at the NYU Child Study Center using DBT, GB-CBT and other modalities with adolescents and children. Her prior clinical experiences include working as a clinician at DBTRU, GSAPP's Center for Psychological Services, and Rutgers’ Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services. Prior to coming to GSAPP, she worked as a research coordinator at the Research in Adolescent Depression Lab at the University of Minnesota. Her clinical and research interests include suicide, self-harm, emotion regulation,and attachment in adolescents.

Daniel Soler is a junior double majoring in Psychology and Criminal Justice at Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences. He is interested in studying the factors that contribute to people’s choice of method for their suicide attempts. After his time at Rutgers University, he plans on pursuing a PsyD in Clinical Psychology.

April Yeager is a fourth-year clinical Psy.D. student at GSAPP. She received her B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University. April joined the DBT-RU lab in 2018 to pursue research interests in BPD, suicidal behaviors, and emotion regulation. She also gained further research experience through her work with the Kleiman Lab. April is currently a student clinician at CUIMC's Faculty Practice Organization DBT Program. Her prior clinical experiences include working as a student clinician at DBT-RU, the Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Rutgers Center for Psychological Services, and Rutgers CAPS.

Qing Yin is a fifth-year clinical psychology Ph.D. student at Rutgers University. She received her B.S. in psychology from University of Washington and M.S. in clinical behavioral psychology at Eastern Michigan University. Her interest centers around translating science to clinical practice to improve behavioral interventions for emotion dysregulation and suicide. Her research interests include emotion dysregulation, suicide thinking and behavior, process of change in DBT, repeated measure designs, and novel approaches of DBT implementation.