Lab Members

Pilar Gauthier (Menominee/Ho-Chunk)

Pōsōh! Pilar is a Counseling Psychology Ph.D. student at UW-Madison. She is from the Menominee Indian Reservation; a resilient and beautiful community located several hours north of Madison. Pilar is a licensed professional counselor in Wisconsin and is excited about the opportunity to build on her skills at UW-Madison. Pilar is on Dr. Thompson’s research team and studying the impact of poverty on underemployment among women. She is a current Fellow in the Graduate Training Program to develop a Mental Health Equity program that aims to provide psychology services to rural communities in the state. Pilar’s research interests are concerned with healing and wellness in Indigenous communities, with particular focus on intergenerational trauma and comorbid PTSD and addiction. She earned her Bachelors of Science in First Nations Studies and Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Western Washington University. She is a member and mentee of the National Society of Indian Psychologists. Outside of school, she enjoys spending quality time with her children and family doing their favorite activities, including, family dinners, playing rummy and watching the Marvel movies.

Kevon Williams

Kevon is a first-year post-BA PhD student in the Department of Counseling Psychology at UW-Madison. He was born and raised in Inglewood, California, acquiring his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology at California State Polytechnic University – Pomona in 2018. Broadly, his research interests are analyzing sociocultural determinants (e.g. social/cultural identity, social class, geopolitical variables, and historical/environmental trauma induced by systematic prejudice) impact on held perceptions, mental health, and education/career outlooks. He currently assist Dr. Mindi Thompson in a mixed method analysis of college internships influence on HBCU students in STEM at UW-Madison’s Center for Research of College to Workforce Transition. Additionally, he is a National Academy of Sciences Ford Foundation Fellow whose professional goals are to be a tenure track professor bridging the communication gap between research and ethnic minority communities through pursuing community participatory research and inspiring diversity in academia. In his free time, Kevon enjoys exercising/hiking, drawing, watching tv/anime, playing video games, joking with friends, and traveling.

Michael A.R. Sanchez

Michael is a first-year master’s student in the Department of Counseling Psychology.  Michael was raised in Jacksonville, North Carolina. After graduating from Stanford (’12) with a B.A. in East Asian Studies, Michael worked in the SF Bay Area as a Recruiter to help counsel and advise applicants on their career exploration and decision-making. During his tenure at Airbnb, Michael designed and led Airbnb Connect, a 6-month apprenticeship program to provide members from underrepresented backgrounds further training and a pathway to transition careers into software engineering. As a first-generation college student himself, Michael is passionate about both academic and career access / success for members from underrepresented backgrounds. Michael’s research areas of interest include differential status identity, social-cognitive career theory, vocational development, and the development of social norms. As a Counselor-in-training, his clinical interests include life transitions, career challenges and identity development. On a more personal note, Michael is an avid Dungeons & Dragons adventurer, runner and reader.

Mun Yuk Chin

Mun Yuk Chin is a fifth-year doctoral student in counseling psychology at UW-Madison. She was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and grew up in both Malaysia and Singapore. Mun earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Northwestern University. Her research focuses on the subjective experiences of social class, sexuality, and gender, as well as their connections with perceived stigma and mental health. For her dissertation, Mun is investigating the effects of social class concealment among low-income undergraduate students. As a therapist-in-training, she is passionate about working with college students and community members from underrepresented backgrounds. Outside of work, Mun enjoys trying new foods, watching birds, and reading young adult fiction.

Anna Kawennison Fetter

Se:kon (Hello)! Anna is currently a ​fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Counseling Psychology. Anna has a passion for undergraduate student development and previously worked in Residence Life at the University of Oregon, where she led countless icebreakers. She completed her Master’s in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. Anna’s research interests broadly include Native American/Indigenous and multiracial identity development and well-being, marginalized student experiences in higher education, as well as childhood trauma. She currently works as a part of the College Internship Study team, studying the role of internships in student experiences at minority-serving institutions.

Pa Her

Pa Her is a fifth-year Ph.D. student and a mother to a curious one year boy.  She is passionate about working with college students and has worked with underrepresented students as an academic advisor, a peer mentor coordinator, an instructor, and a psychotherapist. Her research examines students’ of color experiences in higher education and focuses on topics such as persistence, vocational development, social class, self-efficacy, and racial discrimination. She has experience working with diverse clients as a psychotherapist and has completed practicums at a community mental health center, a college counseling center, and a veterans hospital during her doctoral program. Her clinical interests are adjustments and life transitions, trauma, cultural issues, relationship issues, academic performance, and career challenges. During her free time, she enjoys times with her friends and family, playing frisbee, traveling, cleaning, and cooking.

Nataly Ibarra

Nataly is a fourth-year PhD student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  She was born in Mexico, moved to the US when she was five years old, and grew up in Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Brain, Behavior, & Cognitive Science and a Master of Public Health degree prior to beginning her doctoral studies in psychology. Nataly’s professional interests are forensic psychology and neuropsychology. She is currently doing her doctoral clinical training in Neuropsychology at the Milwaukee VA Hospital. Nataly is a teaching assistant for the “Criminal Mind: Forensic and Psychobiological Perspectives” class, which she really enjoys.  She aspires to become a forensic psychologist or neuropsychologist. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and Chinese Crested puppy.

Tiffany Jones

Tiffany Jones is a doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cornell University. Throughout her clinical training, she has nurtured a passion for working with college students from diverse academic, social, and racial backgrounds. Broadly, her research primarily focuses on the experiences of racial and ethnic minority students in higher education, with a special emphasis on topics related to academic persistence, mentoring, well-being, and belonging. For her dissertation, Tiffany is examining the effects of a text-messaging intervention on fostering increased faculty-student interactions among first-generation college students. In her free time, she enjoys trying new recipes, hairstyling, traveling, and spending time with loved ones.

Zoua Lor

Zoua Lor is a second-year doctoral student. She graduated from St. Olaf College in 2018, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Statistics Concentration. She is the daughter of two refugees, the third of nine children to obtain a bachelor’s degree, and the first in her family to pursue a PhD. Her research broadly focuses on well-being and cultural adjustment of Asian Americans; trajectories of first-generation college students in terminal-degree programs; and clinical applications of cultural psychology. Her professional interests are to join academia, contribute to student support programs, and conduct therapy. She is assisting Dr. Thompson on the College Internship Study, a mixed-methods study about undergraduate internships and student outcomes. In her free time, she likes to work out and watch children’s movies.

Tyson Pankey

Tyson is a doctoral candidate in the Dept. of Counseling Psychology at UW-Madison and currently a pre-doctoral intern at Rush University Medical Center. He grew up in both the Baltimore and Kansas City metro areas. Tyson completed undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Exercise & Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hills (Go Heels) and received his Master of Public Health degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine & Public Health (Go Jayhawks). Tyson’s research interests broadly focus on health disparities, social determinants of health, and health service provision among underrepresented and under- resourced patient populations. Tyson’s dissertation examines the influence of race- based stressors and coping processes on the personal and professional well- being of Black medical students. In his free time, Tyson enjoys sports, music, horseplay, and sharing hilarious memes with friends and family.

Jessica Perez-Chavez

Jessica G. Perez-Chavez is a Counseling Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was born in the beautiful city of Morelia located in Michoacan, Mexico and grew up in the vibrant Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. She received her B.A. from Cornell University where she majored in Psychology and earned two minors in Latin American Studies and Latino Studies. Her research interests include: the experiences of Students of Color and immigrant students, as well as multiculturalism, race, and racism. She currently is involved in the College Internship Study, a mixed-methods study that explores the relationship between college internships and student outcomes. She is also assisting with Dr. Thompson’s study on the impact of psychological factors on student’s career decision self-efficacy. One fun fact about Jessica is that in 2011 the Chicago hybrid-cumbia band Quinto Imperio, wrote a heart-felt song about her.

Maggie Sampe

Maggie Sampe is a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was born and raised in northeast Wisconsin and is a happy beneficiary of the University of Wisconsin System, earning her bachelor of arts in psychology  at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her master of science in counseling psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Maggie is broadly interested in the connections among the mind, body, and one’s sociocultural experiences; this common thread informs her professional interests in the effects of interpersonal trauma and trauma recovery, client and therapist effects, the therapeutic relationship, and psychotherapy process and outcome. At present, Maggie is completing her predoctoral internship at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center where she splits her time between the Substance Abuse/PTSD Clinic, the Trauma Recovery Center, and the Domiciliary for Homeless Veterans. Likewise, she is also collecting data for her dissertation, which focuses on the impact of therapist mindfulness on the ability to manage countertransference reactions and relate effectively with one’s clients. Maggie hopes to better understand the ways in which mindfulness training can be used to help enhance the therapeutic relationship and improve psychotherapy outcomes. When not busy with clinical work and research, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two dogs, traveling, cooking, knitting, and running.











Jake Diestelmann

Jacob Diestelmann, Ph.D., is a Clinical/Health Psychology Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield Wisconsin. Dr. Diestelmann completed his Doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Department of Counseling Psychology. Starting in the fall of 2017, he began an APA accredited postdoctoral fellowship at the Marshfield Medical Center and is gaining specialty training in Outpatient Assessment and Consultation, Outpatient Psychotherapy, Psychological Testing Services, Hematology/Oncology, Sleep Medicine, Bariatric Surgery, and Otolaryngology (ENT) healthy psychology services. His professional interests include Posttraumatic Stress and trauma and recovery, depression and anxiety disorders, in-depth diagnostic and assessment services, health psychology and the integration of behavioral health into primary care and specialty medicine.

His research experience started in UW-Madison’s psychology department where he engaged in research on cultural influences of perception and attenuation. As an undergraduate, he was able to help run a research lab, engage with research participants, and turn data into research publications.

At the end of his master’s training and into his doctoral studies he extended his research training into areas of direct impact for underserved and vulnerable populations. He secured a National Science Foundation research assistantship aimed at increasing STEM interests in middle youth, particularly among girls. This project allowed him to take the lead in developing the project’s research ideas and theoretical constructs. He trained six middle schools across the state of Wisconsin to implement curriculum interventions, and took the lead in data collection and analysis, as well as publications.

These experiences led him to focus on social class research with his advisor, Dr. Mindi Thompson. They co-authored and published several articles on social class experiences. He worked on quantitative and qualitative explorations of low income clients’ experiences in psychotherapy, which highlighted the under-examined perspectives of clients from low income backgrounds. Additionally, their research examined how mental health practitioners perceive working with clients from low-income backgrounds. His dissertation focused on how societal beliefs about fairness influence outcomes and expectations for psychotherapy treatment among participants from lower social class backgrounds.

Additionally, Dr. Diestelmann has successful captured 32 Zubats in Pokemon Go.

Rachel Nitzarim

Rachel Nitzarim is a proud graduate of UW Madison’s Counseling Psychology program and was incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Thompson as her advisor and mentor throughout her graduate studies and early career. Currently, Rachel is one of the Associate Directors of The Office of Placement and Training (OPT) in the Clinical PsyD department with a rank of Assistant Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology-Chicago Campus. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Counseling Psychology at UW-Madison in 2015. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at The Counseling and Mental Health Center at The University of Texas at Austin and her post-doctoral work at Student Counseling Services at The University of Chicago. Throughout her training and early career, she has cultivated an interest in psychologist training, competency development and clinical supervision. Additionally, her research on social class and psychotherapy process and outcome has resulted in numerous publications in various career, qualitative and Counseling Psychology journals as well as a number of presentations at professional conferences. Finally, after training in a number of community mental health and counseling centers, and obtaining licensure as a Clinical Psychologist in the state of Illinois, she has found a passion for long term, psychodynamically-oriented and interpersonally-based clinical work. In addition to her position at The Chicago School, she is currently providing psychotherapy services to adolescents, adults and couples at her group private practice, Smith Psychotherapy Associates S.C. To date, Rachel has co-taught Supervision, Consultation and Professional Issues and History and Systems and plans to teach a clinically based DBT course this upcoming academic year. Areas of interest include issues related to social class, unemployment, low-income populations, psychotherapy process and outcome, psychology training, clinical supervision and psychologist competency. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys going to yoga, walks by Lake Michigan with her puggle and spending time growing her [urban] garden.