Newsletter Article

Cristian Rivera-Nales Named Chandler Scholar

"Through the knowledge that I have gained from my multi-disciplinary classes at the University of Washington, I've become familiar with the adversities that those from impoverished communities - especially children - face. I want to become a pediatric clinical psychologist to better assist those with mental health problems in these communities."

     - Cristian Rivera-Nales

Aric Chandler and Cristian Rivera-Nales
       Aric Channdler                   Cristian Rivera-Nales

This fall, numerous psychology majors applied to become the 2018-19 Aric Chandler Scholar. Applicants were asked to demonstrate their interest in child or adolescent psychology by outlining their relevant volunteer, research, work, or personal experiences, as well as their educational and career goals. The recipient of this year's $4,000 Aric Chandler Memorial Scholarship is psychology senior Cristian Rivera-Nales.

In 2016, Aric Chandler had been admitted to UW as a transfer student from Bellevue College and was on the way to fulfilling his dream of studying psychology here. Just days after being admitted, that dream was cut short when Aric died unexpectedly from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). What did not die on that day was Aric's passion and commitment to working with adolescents. Aric's parents, David and Kacee Chandler, along with his family members and friends, established an endowment to keep Aric's dream alive by providing support for transfer psychology majors who plan to work with children and adolescents.

Cristian Rivera-Nales transferred to UW from Pierce College in winter of 2018 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in psychology. A member of the rigorous departmental honors program, Cristian works with Psychology Associate Professor Shannon Dorsey. The research he is involved in aims to identify plausible and sustainable implementation practices that assist lay counselors in Kenya in delivering trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy to children who have experienced a traumatic event. "Global mental health is a relatively new field that has focused mostly on the disparities in access to mental health services in developing nations to provide feasible and sustainable services," explains Cristian.

"Because Aric overcame his own difficult struggles with anxiety as a teenager, his passion was helping young people overcome their challenges and fulfill their life's potential," says David Chandler, who continues, "this endowed scholarship will help dozens of psychology students continue Aric's life's work and passion, who will in turn impact the lives of thousands of young people in our lifetimes and beyond." A first-generation college student, Cristian credits the support of his parents, family, and friends with allowing him to be inspired and to pursue his passion for psychology.

Reflecting on being named this year's Aric Chandler Scholar, Cristian notes that the award will assist him in multiple ways. "Not only will this scholarship benefit me financially," says Cristian, "but it will allow me to have additional time to continue my own research project and to become greatly immersed academically."