Lesther Papa, a graduate student employee at the Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) Behavioral Health Clinic, received the Utah State University Student Association’s Dedication Award for his contributions to the organization. He graduates with an Ed.S in school psychology in May 2017, and will continue work on a doctorate in psychology.
He was one of four co-founders of the annual Mental Health Awareness Week at USU. In addition, he’s active in the Polynesian Student Union and the student-run Diversity Cabinet.
He also has been awarded the Lawson Fellowship from the College of Education and Human Services, for outstanding contributions for working with school-aged children. He received it for the second time this year.
As for his work at the Behavioral Health Clinic, Papa said, “I definitely do enjoy the experience. It’s one of the most challenging sites that I’ve been in, because the skill level needed is pretty high.”
The interdisciplinary clinic serves clients in areas of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, academic problems and feeding difficulties.
He is from Hawaii, and his pathway to Utah State came through Northern Arizona University, where he did his undergraduate work. He came to USU because he was attracted to the combined clinical, counseling and school psychology doctorate offered there. He also wanted to study with USU professor Melanie Domenech Rodriguez.
Papa has worked in clinical settings before coming to the CPD, but the Behavioral Health Clinic is his first experience with an interdisciplinary team.
“It is nice to see the process overall and get the whole picture in one instead of working a lot of little evaluations together,” he said.
His work at the CPD should help him secure a good internship.
“In the future I want to be in academia. One of the things that I hope to be able to do is train interns in assessment,” he said.
Contact: JoLynne Lyon, firstname.lastname@example.org