Newsletter Article

Psychology Names Three Chandler Scholars

This fall, a large number of psychology majors applied to become a 2023-24 Aric Chandler Memorial 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. Thanks to the generosity of the Chandler family, friends, and other donors, we were able to name three scholars this year, each receiving a financial award of $3,500. The recipients of this year's Aric Chandler Memorial Scholarship are seniors Mariana Lemos and Mya Leonhard and junior Charlie Stebbins.

In 2016, Aric Chandler had been admitted to the UW as a transfer student from Bellevue College and was on the way to fulfilling his dream of studying psychology. 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.

Mya Leonhard transferred to UW from Highline College, where she held multiple student leadership roles. She was president of the Just a SEC: Social Equity Club, worked in Highline’s Inter-Cultural Center as a Peer Facilitator, served as student body president, and was highly involved with the Communities for Our Colleges Coalition. As a result of her leadership roles, she received a Martin Achievement Scholarship to transfer to UW.

While at UW, Mya participated in an internship program at Sound Health, working as a clinical case management intern to help serve children and adolescents who have both a mental health diagnosis and intellectual/developmental disability. She recently began a research assistant position with the RISE Mental Health Lab.  This lab focuses on how to best implement research findings in clinical practices that serve youth in low-resource areas. “Throughout my life, I’ve witnessed mental health struggles in my community and how they deeply affect families,” says Mya. Her desire to acquire the skills necessary to support those in need led Mya to study psychology at UW.

Reflecting on what the Aric Chandler Scholarship means to her, Mya says, “I’m deeply honored to have been selected as one of three scholars this year to help Aric’s dreams continue on. I will be sure to make the foundation and scholarship committee proud as I continue to grow further in serving children and adolescents in a psychological setting!”

After Mya earns a BA in psychology, she hopes to transition from her internship role at Sound Health to work full-time in a community mental health setting where she will serve youth, before transitioning to graduate school. Upon completion of graduate studies, she plans to continue serving children and adolescents in mental health treatment settings.

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Charlie Stebbins arrived at UW this fall quarter from Seattle Central and Bellevue Colleges, having previously studied at Missouri State University. Charlie reflected on how he came to study psychology, writing, “I’ve been involved in acting and theater since I was a kid, and creating characters probably developed the basis to what eventually lead to me loving my psychology classes at Seattle Central.” He notes that this interest, combined with a passion for helping those struggling to overcome trauma, made psychology the perfect choice.

Charlie is the first person to be named an Aric Chandler Scholar during their junior year at UW. As a new UW student and psychology major, he has enjoyed many opportunities to get involved with different communities on campus--in particular, the PSYCH 299 class for first-quarter transfer students planning to major in psychology. “The class has been a great welcome to the UW psychology community and has helped make UW feel like home,” says Charlie.

Thinking about what the Aric Chandler Scholarship means to him, Charlie says, “Receiving this scholarship has made it so much clearer that I have chosen the right path for me and has made me feel confident that I can succeed in pursing my goals.” Charlie's post-graduate plans are to pursue a master’s degree in either social work or adolescent psychology… hopefully right here at UW!

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Originally from Brazil, Mariana Lemos transferred to UW from Green River College and is pursuing majors in psychology and Law, Societies & Justice. “I am passionate about studying human relationships, development, and education, which is why I enjoy the field of social psychology,” says Mariana of her decision to pursue this major.

In particular, Mariana is keenly interested in the relationship between psychology and education within the K-12 system, where she has extensive experience working and volunteering. She notes the importance of social-emotional learning for children and teens, and that basic resources from a young age are indispensable for students’ behavioral and academic success.

With respect to the Aric Chandler Scholarship, Mariana notes that, “Aric’s passion for young people’s mental health is very much aligned with my career goals and [how] I want to devote my time.” She explains that the scholarship has given her the confidence that she is indeed following the right path.

A highlight of her UW experience so far has been Mariana’s participation in the PSYCH 299 class for first-quarter transfer students – first as a student herself, and this year as a peer leader and mentor for the incoming cohort. She will also embark on a study abroad program in Ireland and Italy in the near future. Following graduation this June, Mariana plans to continue her work in the K-12 system, prior to entering a master's program in school psychology or social work.