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Aleksandria Grabow

Aleksandria Grabow

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Office: SBSB 3232

Aleksandria Grabow

Welcome to the Trauma and Healing Lab, and thank you for your interest in our work.

The Trauma and Healing Lab was established at CSUSM in Spring 2020. See the "Research" tab for a list of our team, as well as for more information on the research we're currently doing and how to apply for a position as a research assistant. You can also find the Research Assistant Application here.

As a faculty, I joined the CSU San Marcos family in Fall 2019. My areas of specialization are clinical/counseling psychology and trauma. I completed my undergraduate studies at CSU Long Beach, and continued my work in the field of trauma as a rape crisis counselor in the community. I received my Ph.D. at the University of Oregon, and completed my predoctoral clinical internship at UC Riverside’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). My research focuses on examining individual and environmental factors that influence long-term psychological, physiological, and behavioral outcomes of trauma through a non-pathologizing lens. My work on trauma encompasses developmental trauma, collective trauma, and media violence exposure.



Counseling Psychology, University of Oregon, 2019

Advisor: Dr. Atika Khurana

Counseling and Family Services, University of Oregon, 2016


Psychology, Spanish, California State University, Long Beach, 2011



The Trauma and Healing Lab examines the short- and long-term outcomes associated with trauma and violence exposure by studying individual characteristics and environmental contexts that contribute to both consequences of adversity and holistic healing.

The Media and Mental Health Study (MMH)

This study is currently underway and aims to examine the influence of media exposure on mental health and behavioral outcomes related to current events (e.g., COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter Movement, 2020 Presidential Election) in young adults.

The Trauma and Healing Study

The objective of this study is to examine changes in healing (e.g., acute stress, physical health, dissociation) over time in children who have experienced betrayal trauma. The study will also measure how various systems (e.g., community, media) influence these outcomes. This project is unique in that betrayal trauma has not yet been studied in a longitudinal, prospective study of children with consideration of systemic influences. Recruitment for this study is currently underway.


The lab is currently accepting applications for Spring 2021. I am always looking for motivated undergraduate student research assistants. Below is a link for the application to work in the lab; please read thoroughly before completing and submit via email at


Research Assistant Application



Trauma & Healing Lab

Meet the Trauma & Healing Lab Team!

Principle Investigator

Aleksandria Grabow

Graduate Students

Pooja Punjabi

Pooja Punjabi is a graduate student in the Master’s in Psychological Science program at CSU San Marcos. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological Science from CSU San Marcos in 2020. As an undergrad, Pooja spent time working as a research assistant in three labs where she worked on studies examining adult participants’ cognitive processes, such as reasoning and memory. She also conducted research on children’s knowledge of social thinking and reasoning. Pooja’s current research interests include examining the impact of exposure to sexual violence in the media on children, adolescents, and young adults and how this affects their experiences with trauma and healing. She also aims to create and implement possible interventions for healing from traumatic events. In her personal time, Pooja enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, hiking, and cooking.

Anna Jensen

Anna Jensen is a first year Master’s student in the Psychological Science program at CSU San Marcos. She graduated in 2018 from CSU San Marcos with a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development and a minor in Psychological Science. In Anna’s undergraduate studies and shortly thereafter, she was a research assistant in the Child Emotion Lab where she worked on two multi-method, multi-informant studies in developmental psychopathology. After graduation, Anna worked as a Therapeutic Behavioral Coach and specialized in behavioral modification for children at risk of losing placement in their home due to their emotional and behavioral difficulties. Anna’s research interests are in psychopathology in children and adolescents, resiliency, trauma, and implementation of evidence-based interventions. In her personal time, Anna likes to spend time with her friends and family, go to Escape Rooms, do puzzles, and travel.


Research Assistants

Justin Mejia

Justin Mejia is in the post baccalaureate program at CSU San Marcos. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Psychological Science at CSU San Marcos in 2020. During Justin’s undergrad years he went to SD Mesa, then UC Riverside, and lastly transferred to CSU San Marcos. He used to compete under SD Mesa for their track and field team, specializing in the hammer throw. He also worked in the R.O.C.K.S.T.A.R. Lab under Dr. Vanderbilt which focused on research on children’s knowledge of social thinking and reasoning. During his last year at CSU San Marcos he was the Vice President of the Psychology Student Organization. In addition to being in the post baccalaureate program he also works with children who have autism. Justin’s futures goals is to earn a PhD and become a professor however he still plans to work with children. During Justin’s free time, he enjoys playing video games both console and mobile.

Nick Salcedo

Nick Salcedo is a fourth-year undergraduate student at CSU San Marcos. Nick plans to continue his education doing graduate work at CSU Fullerton working on my master's degree in clinical mental health counseling Fall of 2021. He is interested in working with adolescents who have depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship struggles, life transiting, etc. Nick is a member of PSO, Tau Sigma Honor Society, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. In his personal time, he likes to cook new recipes, go to the beach, and go to study at Starbucks.

Oxala Da Silva

Oxala Da Silva is currently an undergraduate student at California State University, San Marcos, where she is majoring in Psychological Science and minoring in Communications. At CSUSM, she is a part of Psi Chi and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She also partakes in a lab focused on researching trauma and its multiple coinciding factors as a research assistant and data manager. She looks forward to furthering her education by pursuing a graduate degree in Fall of 2021. In her free time she enjoys music, physical activities, learning new hobbies, and various adventures with loved ones.

Ashley Mota

Ashley Mota is a senior undergraduate student at CSUSM and is double majoring in Psychological Science and Child and Adolescent Development. Along with being a research assistant in the Trauma and Healing Lab, she is also a research assistant in the CSUSM R.O.C.K.S.T.A.R. Lab, where she conducts research on children’s social thinking and reasoning. She volunteers at the San Diego Children’s Museum where she helps the Education Department in curriculum research and preparation, as well as conducting research to strengthen the educational component of the museum exhibits. She is also a member of Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology, and is currently the treasurer of CSUSM’s Psi Chi Chapter. She plans on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology to eventually open her own practice, in which she will focus on helping victims of trauma and also aiding marginalized communities. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her 6 different pets, doing arts and crafts, and playing video games.

Christina Viveros-Cruz

Christina Viveros-Cruz is a Senior Psychology undergraduate student at CSU San Marcos. She is planning on graduating in Fall 2020 and taking a year off to gain more experience within the field. She does plan on continuing her education by enrolling in a Master’s of Social Work program and incorporating her knowledge and experience in psychology in her graduate courses. She is interested in working with adolescents who have experienced trauma and may come from abusive backgrounds. Christina is a member of Psi Chi and currently holds the Secretary officer position within CSU San Marcos’ chapter. In her personal time, she likes to work on puzzles, spend time with her family, and explore nature.

Joenetta Benjamin

Joenetta Benjamin is a senior undergraduate student, majoring in Psychological Science at Cal State San Marcos. She received multiple A.A.’s and A.S.’s from Palomar College that focuses around the social and behavioral development of children in their early stages. Joenetta’s current focal points in research is post-traumatic stress disorder in children primarily from sexual abuse, psychological consequences such as psychosomatic symptoms in adulthood relating to childhood trauma and merging multiple behavioral therapy for healing. Joenetta is a member of SVO (Student Veterans Organizations), CSUSM EOPA Executive Board: Treasurer, Peer Leader: CSUSM Tukwut Leadership Circle, the National Society of Leadership and Success, an active member on campus by volunteering with multiple organizations and a lifetime member of Phi Theta Kappa. In her personal time, she likes playing with her dog Spiderweb, tending to her plants, and learning a new skill; indoor and out. She hopes one day to be the “Voice of Change”.


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