Alumni Spotlight

We are so proud of the over 700 SDSU MFT alumni and the successes they have achieved working in the San Diego community and around the country as clinicians, county agency and community health clinic directors, and post-secondary instructors. We value their contributions and are proud of the meaningful ways they give back to their communities.  

Meet some of our outstanding alumni... 

nidya smiling with pink lipstick

Nidya Ramirez, Class of 2013

“I feel enthusiastic about being part of a new approach in San Diego County that attempts to remove police and criminality from mental health crisis responses. I also enjoy the varied opportunities that arise to work with the community, from facilitating dialogues, supervising trainees, or presenting on mental health issues, resources, and practices.” 

As an immigrant and past community organizer, I entered the mental health field aware of how social and political factors shape the emotional, physical, and psychological wellbeing of communities. Currently I am a Team Lead Clinician on the Mobile Crisis Response Team in San Diego. For approximately 8 years I worked at a local organization with families and individuals who have been impacted by intimate partner violence and sexual abuse. I've had the opportunity to author several publications, on topics such as narrative therapy and intimate partner violence, and the practice of therapy as a bilingual therapist. In September 2020, I co-founded the UndocuTherapist Network to build community amongst mental health professionals who live with an undocumented status.

The MFT program has led me to confidently work in different areas of the mental health field from a decolonial and social justice stance.  I am able to approach individuals with the awareness that they are separate from their problems and practice with curiosity about the ways in which the stories from their community, families, culture, and experiences have shaped their relationship and strategies for living. 


salem with a black blazer and blurred background

Salem Gebrekristos, Class of 2013

“My lifelong purpose is to facilitate the process through which individuals might become more aligned with their ideal selves. Therefore, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a helpful professional who places a high value on development in my work line in higher education and mental health. In addition, I appreciate working with people from mental health and higher education who come from many ethnic backgrounds and adding a variety of viewpoints to our talks.”

Selam Gebrekristos is the Coordinator and Counselor of the NextUp program at San Diego City College, working with former foster youth college students and assisting in their academic and personal development. In addition to her role at City College, Selam is the Director and lecturer in the MA Counseling program at San Diego State University. In addition, she has recently finished the first year of the CCLEAD doctorate program at San Diego State University. Outside of higher education, Selam is a practicing therapist. Selam is a blessed mother of three daughters, two in college and one in middle school.

SDSU MFT program has shaped my approach to working with people. I pride myself on being one of few LMFTs that work in the community college system. I take a Narrative and Solution Focused approach in my work with clients and students, recognizing that everyone's story is different and that there is no one way to interpret events. When used together, these two techniques have successfully changed how clients and students think about themselves, their issues, others, and their surroundings. I feel that we all need someone to talk to who will listen to us and accept us for who we are. Therefore, I provide my clients a welcoming, nonjudgmental atmosphere in which they may examine the difficulties limiting them from living the life they desire.



clark in a blue shirt

Clarke Heyes, Class of 2014

"People are ingenuitive - both children and adults. As a therapist, I enjoy creating a space where creativity, ingenuity, and collaboration flourish and where clients can find movement in their ideas and actions towards a preferred future. I am also a firm believer that if harnessed ethically and with care, technology can allow therapists to reach our clients where, when, and how they need us."

I am the founder of Mapping Possibilities, a private therapy practice. Additionally, I am a consultant for Little Otter, an online pediatric mental health company where I provide counseling services. I consult with Little Otter about patient experiences, provider experiences, clinical training, maintaining an ideal organizational structure, and applying design and content. After graduating from the MFT program, I received my Ph.D. in Education from SDSU and Claremont Graduate University. I have been a lecturer in the SDSU’s Online MA in Education, a lead therapist at the San Diego Center for Children, and a therapist at Cortica - a pediatric neurology company specializing in supporting children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.

The SDSU MFT program provided me a lens to position clients as experts in a field where historically, therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists have been the experts. This lens has led me to build a practice tailored to individual strengths and introduce therapeutic pathways specific to the client’s values, the client’s family, and the client’s circumstance.

mayumi smiling

Mayumi Yamanaka Douglass, Class of 2007

What I enjoy the most about my work as a clinical supervisor and as a teacher is the daily contact with graduate students who are starting their formation as mental health therapists or academic counselors.”

I was born and raised in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, where I completed my bachelor’s degree in Psychology at my local state university (UAEM) and obtained my license as a psychologist in Mexico. After I graduated from the SDSU MFT program in 2007, I worked as a therapist in a county-funded outpatient clinic before becoming a licensed MFT. I have been working as a clinical supervisor for the past ten years. Since 2017, I have been the clinical supervisior for a team of MFT graduate students completing their clinical traineeship at Monte Vista High School. I have also been a lecturer in the SDSU Counseling and School Psychology department for the last seven years, teaching in the MFT program and the online-hybrid M.A. in education with a concentration in counseling program.

The MFT program shaped my professional work by incorporating a systemic perspective and an increased awareness about contextual factors in my day to day professional practice.

tri in a blue shirt

Tri Nguyen, Class of 2010

"As a counselor working with military families for the past five years, I enjoy meeting and assisting service members from different parts of the country and the opportunity to travel and work abroad."

I was born in Viet Nam and grew up in San Diego. After graduating from SDSU MFT program, I completed my internships at Community Research Foundation and Union of Pan Asian Community as a bilingual therapist. I obtained MFT licensure in 2014 and began working at the Fleet and Family Support Center at Naval Base San Diego, then at Sasebo Japan, Djibouti (Horn of Africa) and now at NAS Whidbey Island in Washington State. I am completing a PhD in Psychology from the Taos Institute/VUB. Recently, I started an online private practice to offer supervision and therapeutic services to California and Washington State residents.

The MFT program has helped me to see individuals and families beyond the problems that brought them to therapy. The program also widens my perspective on multicultural issues in counseling by incorporating a post-modern, epistemic, narrative and decolonial lens in my practice.