President Rosenberg recognizes SISH Worlds Ahead Graduates

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Aparajita Biswas Kuriyan

Ph.D. in Psychology (Clinical Science Program)

Aparajita Biswas Kuriyan is the first doctoral candidate to complete the clinical science program in child and adolescent psychology at FIU. From her undergraduate days at the University of Rochester, Aparajita knew she wanted to pursue a career in child mental health.

She started her graduate studies at SUNY Buffalo under William E. Pelham, Jr. – the country’s top authority on ADHD and child mental health. In 2010, Pelham moved to Miami to establish FIU’s Center for Children and Families and start a clinical science program. Kuriyan became part of the first cohort of this new mentor-based program at FIU. It is one of the few programs in the country with an emphasis on training clinical scientists in child and adolescent psychology.

Kuriyan studies different aspects of ADHD research including young adult outcomes, child and adolescent treatment including school settings, and training professionals to work with children who have ADHD. Under Pelham’s guidance, she has published 12 peer-reviewed articles – two are first authored and all are published in high-impact journals. She has presented at annual conferences and secured funding from the American Psychological Association for her research. She was instrumental in developing the effectivechildtherapy.fiu.edu website in collaboration with the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. The website offers video resources in English and Spanish for parents and professionals about evidence-based practices that promote child and adolescent mental health.

After graduation, Kuriyan will continue to conduct research and educate mental health professionals and patients on the importance and benefits of using evidence-based treatments.

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Milton Young

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Milton Young has always been drawn to the mental health field. His compassion and willingness to listen made him the go-to person for advice while he was a corpsman in the U.S. Air Force. He’s been a psych attendant, a milieu therapist and a halfway house counselor. He has also worked in a dual diagnosis treatment program for substance addiction.

But Young had to put his pursuit of a college degree on hold 21 years ago. His wife died, leaving him to care for his two young daughters and week-old son.

Young had promised his wife he would go back to school and pursue his dream. He kept that promise in 2011 when he enrolled at Miami-Dade College and then transferred to FIU in 2013.

Young has studied all areas of psychology, but counseling is his passion. Under the guidance of several professors including Jessica Klemfuss and Shannon Pruden Dick, Young is researching children’s acquisition of language, positive youth development and empowering second-language learners and immigrant students.

Although he is almost completely blind due to rapidly advancing open-angled glaucoma, Young did not let his disability stand in the way. He completed a pilot program in photography at Miami Dade College where visually impaired or blind students work with seeing students. He learned braille and how to use computer-assisted technology for the visually impaired. He also utilized the support and services provided by FIU’s Disability Resource Center.

After graduation, will pursue a master’s degree with a focus on family counseling, addictions, support for second-language learners and empowerment of special communities including the visually impaired.

Today, Young’s daughters Ciara and Alexa are college grads with children of their own. His son David will soon be graduating from the University of Miami. They joined Young at Spring commencement, who at age 63 and despite being legally blind, received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

He came to FIU for its diversity. He enjoys working in groups and conducting research with students from around the world who although decades younger, can teach him a few things.

After graduation, Young will take some time off for a well-deserved summer vacation. He will then pursue a Master’s degree with a focus on family counseling, addictions, support for second-language learners and empowerment of special communities including the visually impaired.

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Daniella Roberts

B.S. in Physics (minor in astronomy)

Daniella Roberts was born in Quito, Ecuador to an Ecuadorian mother and American father. Her love for astronomy started at about age 6 after her father bought a telescope so she could gaze at the blanket of stars seen on clear nights in the Andes.

This spring, she is receiving her bachelor’s in physics with a minor in astronomy. Under the guidance of astronomy professor James Webb, Roberts studies telescopic images of quasars. These compact regions in the center of galaxies are known to serve as sources for electromagnetic energy including radio waves. The ultimate goal of her research is to better understand the very early history of our universe, right after the Big Bang.

Roberts was one of the first students to operate the new 24-inch telescope atop FIU’s Stocker AstroScience Center. She volunteers at the various star parties hosted at the observatory every semester where she helps students and members of the community learn how to operate telescopes, find the season's constellations and answer astronomy-related questions. She is treasurer of FIU’s Astronomy Club and a member of the Society of Physics Students. She is helping to transform how physics is taught as a learning assistant. Roberts is also the recipient of the Southern Cross Astronomical Society Scholarship Award presented to physics majors at FIU who have demonstrated a strong interest in astronomy.

After graduation, Roberts will pursue a doctoral degree to continue to inspire the next generation of scientists and explorers.