Current CCP Biographies

2016-2017 Counseling Center Paraprofessionals

Name: Jaridd Albert

Hometown: Mascoutah, IL

Major: Clinical Psychology

Other Campus Involvements: Brother of the Zeta Psi - Alpha Epsilon Chapter (On Rush Committee)

About Your CCP Experience: My time in CCP has been everything I had hoped for and more. It allowed me to find a whole new group of people who I can call friend, as well as help to lower my emotional walls with other people. It allows me to develop skills as an effective counselor and facilitator. All of this furthers my goals in life to eventually be a professor and counselor. All in all it is an experience that I’m extremely grateful to be apart of and I would not want to trade it for anything.

Plans After Graduation: I plan to attend Grad school, hopefully attending the University of Illinois, and receive my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to eventually work as a professor, counselor, and researcher for depression in adolescence.


Name: Ashley Asuncion

Hometown: South Elgin, IL

Major: Psychology with a clinical concentration

Other Campus Involvements: Lifeguard and Rockwall CSA at the ARC

About Your CCP Experience: CCP has been an amazing all around experience for me. It really helped me get to know a solid group of people and really find a place for me on campus since I was a lost transfer student before the program. It was pretty cool to actually learn the different tools and techniques one can use while interviewing others, and be able to use them effortlessly in real conversations. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my cohort on a personal level with all the unique activities we had to do, and I can’t wait to continue to build these relationships in the upcoming year.

Plans after Graduation: After graduation I plan on pursuing my PhD in clinical psychology. I’d love to work with clients who have more severe personality disorders in either a hospital setting or prison. I also plan on owning five dogs at some point.


Name: Kaitie Cooley

Hometown: Paxton, IL

Major: Psychology

Other Campus Involvements: Student Data Associate at University of Illinois Foundation; Private Hire Aide at Beckwith Residential Services

About Your CCP Experience: Being in CCP has opened my eyes to a multitude of important topics that I’d never thought of before being accepted into the program. It has given me amazing insight on diversity, the importance of listening to others’ perspectives, and communication overall. The best part of this program is the classmates you get to meet and become close with and the professors/GA’s. Each person I’ve met through CCP has become a major part of my life, and I’m forever grateful for the friendships that have blossomed through this program. I’ve never met a better group of people and they’ve significantly (and positively) changed my experience here on campus. I also love how CCP has helped me become more involved on campus, including having a deeper interest for student life in general. I’m looking forward to doing lots of outreach with CCP over the next year and to keep learning with my classmates! Overall, CCP has made me a better student, person, and friend.

Plans after Graduation: After graduation I plan to attend graduate school (location TBA) and pursue a master’s degree in either special education, child life studies, or rehabilitation counseling. My end goal is to work with people (of all ages) who have disabilities.


Name: Jennifer De La Rosa

Hometown: Waukegan, IL

Major: Psychology/ Pre-nursing

Other Campus Involvements: In addition to being a part of the Counseling Center Paraprofessional Program, I am a Busey-Evans Desk Clerk. I am also a member of IEMS, an RSO here on campus.

About Your CCP Experience: Apart from getting to know amazing individuals, I have learned valuable skills that will help me with my future endeavors. Being able to engage in discussions that have both challenged and impacted my perspective, has helped me reflect and grow as an individual. This has been a wonderful learning experience that I would not have had the chance to be a part of if I didn't apply for the program. I look forward to the next couple of semesters in the CCP program and everything I will get the chance to participate in!

Plans after Graduation: I hope to work in the medical field as a paramedic while I pursue a master’s degree in nursing. Afterwards, I hope to continue my education and become an anesthesiologist.


Name: Miguel Herrera

Hometown: Bellwood, IL

Major: Psychology

Other Campus Involvements: In addition to being in the Counseling Center Paraprofessional Program, I am also an undergraduate research assistant for the Infant Cognition Lab and the LGBT Psychology Grad Study. I also serve as Executive Director for Dance2XS Caliente.

About Your CCP Experience: In my time being a CCP I’ve learned a great deal about myself as an individual and I’ve gained the valuable interpersonal communication skills needed to work in the helping professions. I’m proud to have met the diverse set of people in my cohort and within the Counseling Center, which adds a rich experience to the program. CCP has not only given me the opportunity to become more involved on campus through different projects, but also to become a representative for the Counseling Center. Being in the program has assured me that I want to stay in the field of psychology and pursue further education to promote and raise awareness on mental health and social justice issues. 

Plans after Graduation: I hope to pursue a graduate degree in counseling and still be involved in research that aims to support and benefit minority communities. 


Name: Minh Dung (Virak) Hoang Le

Hometown: Kampong Speu, Cambodia

Major: Clinical/Community Psychology

Other Campus Involvements: Event Director for Rainbow International (an LGBTQ student organization) and a member of other RSOs that focus on social change such as ManTalks, She's The First, Operation Smile, and NAMI. 

About Your CCP Experience: I’ve had the chance to widen my horizons regarding psychology—CCP has shown me that it’s not just an academic field, but a vehicle to be involved as a social change agent. Our class activities and involvements with the Counseling Center fuel my desire to do more personal development and community outreach. This program has helped me to see myself as a future psychologist. It provides useful and practical skills, insightful knowledge about myself and the world around me, and a profound awareness of mental health areas and other social issues. The most valuable gift CCP has given me is a meaningful connection with my cohort. :)

Plans After Graduation: I am considering taking a year off to immerse myself into the job market to improve my professional development. After that, I hope I will continue my path from being a CCP to a Ph.D. student in Counseling or Clinical Psychology. I would love to get involved in research that helps advance those who are underprivileged. 


Name: Mahak Lalani

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Major: Psychology, Neuroscience

Other Campus Involvements: Research assistant at Beckman Institute studying the neurochemical effects of antidepressants with an emphasis on SSRIs. current vice president and former education/outreach chairperson of National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) at Illinois, Vice president and former treasurer of Partnership Walk, current secretary and former publicity chairperson of the American Red Cross Club.

About Your CCP Experience: My experience as a CCP, so far, has been very positive. I love working with my fellow CCPs and, as a Psychology major, I’m very interested in mental well-being. This is one of the most practical programs I’ve ever been part of. I’m excited to conduct workshops this semester and help my peers in any way I can.

Plans after Graduation: Graduate school


Name: Jessica Mack   

Hometown: Urbana, IL         

Major: Psychology concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience

Other Campus Involvements: Moda (modeling team), Hypnotic (dance team), Student Leader for Carle Volunteer program

About Your CCP Experience: Being a part of the CCP program has allowed me to grow tremendously. Not only have I met amazing individuals in my cohort, but I have also learned lifelong skills.

Plans after Graduation: After graduation I plan to attend graduate school in a state other than Illinois to study Behavioral Neuroscience.


Name: Yuvraj Malhotra (Yuvi)

Hometown: Dubai, UAE

Major: Economics and Environmental Sustainability (Double Major)

Other Campus Involvements: Consultant at Illinois Business Consulting, the largest student-run consulting organization in the United States; Peer Mentor for the UIUC Economics Department, to assist incoming freshman and transfer Econ students with adjusting to life at the U of I.

About Your CCP Experience: I think that, just in the span of one semester, the CCP experience drastically changed my life, or at least the way I look at life. I feel that I learnt more life lessons than I have ever learned in any classroom, and that I developed relationships that can only be formed by a certain level of trust and interaction. As for the program itself, I think it gives students an invaluable insight into real world issues and problems that people have to deal with. It reminded me that, when it comes to working with human emotions, things are often not as simple as they seem, and each situation is different. As a result, I believe that I have significantly developed my interpersonal skills, as well as my counseling skills, and I hope that I can use them to make a difference in the world.

Plans after Graduation: As of right now, my aim is to combine my passion for environmental sustainability with my love for problem solving, and hopefully pursue a career in environmental consulting. That being said, I’m aware that ideas/feelings can change at any time, and I’m open to explore any range of possibilities. One thing’s for certain, I’ve had an amazing college experience thus far, and I’m excited to see what the future holds!


Name: Meera Nair

Hometown: Boston, MA

Major: Psychology

Other Involvements: None (I used to be a lot more involved than I am now)

About your CCP Involvement: I joined CCP because I wanted to make a difference in the way mental health is treated and viewed on this campus and explore other issues that people face.

Plans after Graduation: I want to spend a year volunteering for one of a number of organizations that helps people who are struggling with suicide, trauma, etc. and then spend a couple years interning at a counseling center before getting my PhD in counseling.


Name: Ryann Perry

Hometown: Bartlett, IL

Major: Psychology with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience

Other Campus Involvements: Delta Delta Delta Sorority & DGS Leaders

About Your CCP Experience: Last semester, CCP was always a class I looked forward to going to. I always felt comfortable and welcome by my classmates as well as by Theresa and Charlene. Gaining new friendships as well as counseling material was a great experience for me and I cannot wait for my second semester with CCP!

Plans after Graduation: Graduate school 


Name: Brian Robinson

Hometown: La Grange, IL

Major: Psychology and Creative Writing

Other Campus Involvements: Hive Society Improv, Montage Arts Journal, Climbing Club, DBSA

About Your CCP Experience: The CCP program is absolutely incredible!  It’s introduced me to some amazing people, and has given me skills that I will use throughout my professional career.  I love the structure of the program, and I can’t wait to further my involvement in 2016-2017!

Plans after Graduation:  I plan to learn German, live in Europe for a few years, and write a book (not necessarily in that order).  After blissfully enjoying my youth, I intend to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.


Name: Kelsey Stoecker          

Hometown: Gurnee, IL

Major: Psychology and Spanish majors, Social Work minor

Other Campus Involvements: I am a facilitator for First Year Campus Acquaintance Rape Education (FYCARE), I volunteer with Rape Advocacy, Counseling, and Education Services (R.A.C.E.S.), I am the treasurer for an RSO that is new this semester called Stone Creek Church-Midtown, and I am a casual member of the Flippin Illini Gymnastics Club.

About Your CCP Experience: CCP has been an experience unlike any other in my undergraduate career. It is a class, and yet it feels more like a real world experience. I have learned more practical knowledge in one semester of this program than in any other class I have taken on campus. I plan to be a clinical psychologist, and CCP is really giving me a feel for what I am getting myself into. Aside from the psychology–related information we learn in CCP, we also work on improving our communication skills in general, which can be translated into any life setting and make a monumentally positive difference in the way others perceive and respond to you. I could go on forever about how this type of learning environment is so productive, but hopefully you get the point!


Name: Namah Vyakarnam

Hometown: Schaumburg, IL

Major: Psychology with a minor in Communications

Other Campus Involvements: Besides CCP, I work in the Allen Lab doing community/clinical psychology research on violence against women in Guam. I also am part of another research team that explores engineering education and students’ success within the program. Apart from research, I’m part of a professional sorority on campus and the National Alliance for Mental Health at UIUC.

About Your CCP Experience: I love everything about CCP! I really wanted to be a part of the program because I thought it would help me become better at my chosen career path (psychotherapy/counseling), but it has offered me so much more than that. CCP pushes me out of my comfort zone, allows me to develop immensely important skills like teamwork and public speaking, and has given me the chance to meet such amazing people. My cohort is absolutely incredible, and they’ve made the program that much more amazing for me. Can’t wait to see what next semester has in store for us!

Plans after Graduation: After graduating, I’m going to be taking a semester off to visit my dear old grandparents in India (while I anxiously wait for grad school acceptance letters)! I want to go into counseling and psychotherapy, but I’m still trying to make up my mind between master’s programs and PhDs. Once I figure that out, I’ll be starting grad school the following semester, which is both terrifying and exciting!