Facebook pixel Iluminar laboratory co-creators | Pepperdine University | Graduate School of Education and Psychology Skip to main content
Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Iluminar laboratory co-creators

Sheva Assar - Pepperdine GSEPSheva Assar, BA
Assar is a Master's Student in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior, and Spanish. Being of an Iranian-American background, she has always been passionate about minimizing the cross-cultural challenges that many individuals of different ethnicities face. Her interest in cross-cultural psychology has been fostered by the guidance of an Iranian Clinical Psychologist, who Sheva has been assisting for the past six years. Her cultural competence with the Iranian-American population has increased her interest in also being involved in the Spanish-speaking populations and further striving to reduce the cross-cultural differences. Sheva has furthered her passion of working with multiethnic populations through her work with Dr. Gallardo, specifically in conducting research on ethno cultural communities through community-based participatory research. Sheva plans to pursue her doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Douglas Gomez - Pepperdine GSEPDouglas Gomez, BA, MA
Gomez graduated in May of 2012 with his Master of Arts in Psychology from Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology. He currently works as a research assistant for Dr. Miguel Gallardo also through Pepperdine University. Douglas has accrued clinical experience for over a year in the Pepperdine Resource Youth Diversion and Education program (PRYDE) where he counsels adolescents at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Aliso Viejo California. His research interests include the areas of sports psychology, multicultural psychology, and counseling psychology with an emphasis specifically on evidenced-based approaches.

Natalie González, BA
González is a full-time graduate student at Pepperdine University studying Psychology. Prior to studying at Pepperdine University, González studied Psychology at the University of California Riverside.

As an undergraduate at UCR, González was a research assistant in the Health Communications Laboratory working under the guidance of Dr. Robin DiMatteo. She also was a research assistant in the Biobehavioral Laboratory and Leadership and Group Dynamics Laboratory with the guidance of Dr. Chandra Reynolds and Dr. Thomas Sy. In addition to her laboratory research, González was the president of Psi Chi as well as Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society. In her last quarter at the UCR, González worked with Dr. Eliud Martinez in publishing a short story about a man returning from the Vietnam War suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder titled, “Charlie Talafoni Returns to Victorville”.

González specializes in statistical analysis of meta-analysis, survey studies, and correlational designs. She has proficient knowledge of the Spanish language and plans to build her knowledge through practice. González graduated in the top ten percent of her class; she was a member of Psi Chi, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Gamma Beta Phi, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

Nahal Kaivan, BA, MA
Kaivan is a first year Doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at Washington State University. She earned her MA in Psychology at Pepperdine University and her Bachelor’s degree at the University of San Diego in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. While completing her master’s degree, Nahal had the opportunity to work with ethnoculturally diverse low SES adolescent youths and families, primarily of Latina/o backgrounds, in Orange County. Upon graduation from Pepperdine, she worked as an advocate and mentor with middle school youth in the South Bay of San Diego through South Bay Community Services. After working within the schools, she was given the opportunity to work administratively as a program specialist. Her clinical work, advocacy/mentor experience and administrative work researching, analyzing and contributing to large grants has allowed her to piece together a unique understanding of needs at the client level, needs at the community level and steps of action at a systems level.

Kaivan's research interests include analysis, evaluation and development of comprehensive, evidence-based intervention, prevention and wraparound programs and models; understanding and developing responsive clinical practices in social justice and counseling, with a specific interest in Mexican/Mexican Americans, Middle Eastern Americans and North African Americans; mentorship and retention of students of color, with a special interest in identity development and exploration with students of color away from home and first-generation student advocacy and retention.She has been a member of Dr. Gallardo’s research lab since 2010 beginning with her tenure at Pepperdine as a graduate student. She has had the opportunity to conduct research both domestically and internationally in Mexico City with the research team. This experience has been enriching and formative in her development both as a researcher and in counseling.

Farrah Khaleghi - Pepperdine GSEPFarrah Khaleghi, BA
Khaleghi is a master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program at Pepperdine University. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. With a multi-ethnic background that includes Iranian, Irish, and European American influences, her interests reflect a desire to understand and aid individuals, couples and families in conquering culturally unique challenges. Additionally, Khaleghi's interest in cross-cultural psychology and the couples’ and family therapy approach has sparked her interest in research that identifies challenge areas, strength areas and effective tools to use in aiding unique populations. Her cultural competence spans through mixed-ethnicity populations and unique challenges presented by the intersection of multiple cultural backgrounds. Khaleghi has furthered her passion of working with multiethnic populations through her work with Dr. Gallardo, specifically in conducting research on ethno cultural communities through community-based participatory research. Furthermore, Khaleghi plans to purse her doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Anna Kiiveri - Pepperdine GSEPAnna Kiiveri, BA
Kiiveri is currently earning a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. She is interested in the individual and cultural expressions of people, having received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Kiiveri's interest in research and service to underserved communities began through her work with adults with developmental disabilities and she currently provides community-based therapy services, working with children and adolescents at Harbor View Community Services Center in Long Beach, California. In addition to her current research in culturally responsive therapy in the Mexican/Mexican-American community through Iluminar, Community Action and Research Lab, Kiiveri's interests include mind body awareness and spirituality, specifically their effects and contributions toward well-being in psychotherapy.

Jon Laski - Pepperdine GSEPJon Laski, BA 
Laski is a graduate student at Chapman University studying Marriage and Family Therapy. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a bachelors degree in psychology. Laski has worked at the Bridge to Recovery center in San Diego and the Health Services Research Program through U.C.S.D. and considering specializing his practice with populations struggling with issues of homelessness, mental illness, and traumatic experiences due to immigration, poverty, and individuals reentering society post deployment. Additionally, his interests included promoting awareness about Mexican American mental health concerns and helping this population as well. Laski enjoys playing basketball, reading novels and poetry and spending time at church with family.

Alexandra Martinez - Pepperdine GSEPAlexandra Martinez, BA, MA 
Martinez completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at California State University, Fullerton and recently received her Master or Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pepperdine University. She is registered with the Board of Behavioral Sciences as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern. As part of her clinical practice, Martiniz interned at a continuation school where she worked closely with at-risk adolescents at the Orange County Department of Education. Additionally, she has worked with Spanish speaking clients at the Village of Hope Rescue Mission in Tustin, CA. She acquired a strong interest in forensic psychology after volunteering in the correctional unit at Metropolitan State Hospital. Martinez anticipates in earning her doctorate degree and becoming licensed as a clinical psychologist working in a correctional setting such as juvenile halls and/or adult prisons.

Elizabeth Romero - Pepperdine GSEPElizabeth Romero, BA, MA
Romero has worked within the community as a tutor, behaviorist, and most recently as a mental health therapist. She has volunteered as a peace observer in the South of Mexico and assisted at orphanages in Guanajuato, Mexico. Romero's research interests include: ethnic bias in neuropsychological measures, traumatic brain injury, multi-cultural psychotherapy and the mind body connection in relation to psychotherapy. She earned her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology at Cal State Dominguez Hills and is currently pursing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) at Pepperdine University.

Raquel Tovar Goodwin - Pepperdine GSEPRaquel Tovar Goodwin, BA, MA 
Tovar Goodwin is a bilingual, Spanish speaking and bi-cultural Marriage and Family Therapist registered intern and certified domestic violence counselor. Her professional interests include providing culturally responsive psychotherapy services for ethnocultural communities, specifically Latina/o children and adolescents. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities/Liberal Arts from Concordia University in Irvine, California. She also received her master's degree in Clinical Psychology from the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology.

Tovar Goodwin began her clinical work two years ago at Pepperdine Resource Youth Diversion and Education (PRYDE), which is co-partnered with the Orange County Sheriffs Department in Aliso Viejo, California. She gained pre-graduate clinical experience providing psychotherapy services for first time juvenile offenders and their families. She is currently a Community Education Specialist providing on-site school counseling services (grades K-12) to underserved at-risk youth in the city of San Juan Capistrano, California. Her work as a research assistant with Dr. Miguel Gallardo through Iluminar began in the summer of 2012. Tovar Goodwin expects to receive her Marriage and Family Therapy license and to specialize in working with children and adolescents. Additionally, she plans on continuing her clinical work with the Mexican/Mexican American community and contributing to the field of clinical psychology as an educational professional.

Laura Zamora - Pepperdine GSEPLaura Zamora, BA 
Zamora is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pepperdine University. Additionally, she is a graduate research assistant under Dr. Gallardo and at Aliento, The Center for Latinx Communities. Zamora is gaining clinical hours and experience at the Pepperdine Community Counseling Center and Village of Hope using a narrative approach, while working with a diverse population. Prior to enrolling in the master's program at Pepperdine, Zamora worked at Casa De La Familia conducting mental health outreach within the Latina/o community. She is also involved with the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force by creating awareness in the community.