Sarah H. Alexander, M.Ed.
After completing her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Riverside, Sarah entered the world of education and began teaching high school for five years. Sarah completed her Master’s of Education in Educational Counseling program through USC Rossier’s School of Education in 2019 where she developed a passion for student affairs. Within her program, she served as Vice President of Administrative Affairs for the 2018-2019 Students of Higher Educational Counseling (SHiEC) executive board. As an advocate for education, she is enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue supporting students as they continue their educational careers. Sarah joined the DSP staff in Fall 2019 and provides direct support to a caseload of students. Sarah hopes to help all students gain skills to achieve their personal, professional and academic goals.
One of Sarah’s favorite quotes:
“For what it’s worth... it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
Patti Alaniz-Roux, M.Ed.
Testing Services Specialist & Disability Specialist
Patti began her career with DSP as an Exam Assistant while completing her Master’s in Education from USC’s Rossier School of Education. Shortly after graduating in May 2017, she took on the role of Testing Services Specialist for DSP. In addition to overseeing a caseload of DSP students, Patti’s role also includes day-to-day management of the DSP Testing Center and related services. She enjoys working closely with students and assisting them in their academic, professional, and personal development while attending USC.
One of Patti’s favorite quotes:
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein
Asher Baca, B.A., SSTC
Notetaking Services Specialist & Disability Specialist
Asher studied English at California State University Fullerton, then utilized that degree to teach abroad for a year in Japan. After returning, he earned his single subject teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach and expects to complete a Master’s program at USC. Asher’s experience in education ranges through all levels including K-12, community college, and four year institutions. His interests include educational access for marginalized populations, foundational educational skills attainment and their impact on student success, and organizational change. As DSP’s Notetaking Services Specialist, he oversees all notetaking related accommodations, including peer notetaking and all technology based options, and also provides direct support to a caseload of students.
One of Asher’s favorite quotes:
“Things are only impossible until they are not.” – Jean-Luc Picard
DSP Administrate Assistant
Lanett worked at USC Widney Alumni House before coming to Disability Services and Programs in 2017. She is the front line contact for students, families and campus partners providing general guidance regarding DSP registrations process and policies. She also enjoys music and attending U2 concerts.
One of Lanett’s favorite quotes:
“Make your mind over and make a difference in the lives of others.”
Testing Services Assistant
Celeste earned her B.S in Human Services from California State University Fullerton. Before attending Cal State Fullerton Celeste began her career in disability services at Cypress College as a student worker for Disability Support Services. After transferring to Cal State Fullerton Celeste continued her with Disability Services and became a Testing Student Assistant. As a Testing Assistant for DSP, Celeste carrying-out the day-to-day operations and quality assurance for the Center, including direct involvement in monitoring academic integrity standards.
One of Celeste’s favorite quotes:
“It always seems impossible until its done” – Nelson Mandela
Jordan Colbert, MMFT
Alternative Text / Assistive Technology Specialist & Disability Specialist
Jordan earned his B.A. in Classical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California. While pursuing his B.A. he worked in collaboration with the UPenn Unit for Experimental Psychiatry and NASA on the HERA project to develop technologies for detecting depression in astronauts through facial recognition technology. While completing his Master’s-level work at USC, Jordan served as a Graduate Assistant for two years within the Disability Services and Programs Office. Following his clinical work performing existential and cognitive behavioral therapy with underserved high school students, he transitioned to the role of Assistive Technology Specialist within the Disability Services and Programs. In this position, he works to provide technological solutions to disability-related learning challenges while also maintaining a caseload as a Disability Specialist.
One of Jordan’s favorite quotes:
“In order to achieve, all you need to do is believe!” - Spongebob Squarepants
Jenn Davenport, Ph.D., M.Ed.
Originally from Dallas, Jenn completed a doctorate in Rehabilitation Education and Research and masters degree in Higher Education from the University of Arkansas before moving to Los Angeles in 2019. Jenn is passionate about advocacy for students with disabilities, and specializes in research of chronic pain. She joined the DSP team in fall of 2019 as a Disability Specialist to provide direct support to an expanding caseload of students at USC.
One of Jenn’s favorite quotes:
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Madison Frisch, M.Ed.
Madison joined the DSP staff as a Graduate Advisor in 2017 and transitioned to the role of Disability Specialist in July 2018. She is actively pursuing her Master’s in Educational Counseling through the USC Rossier School of Education. Some of Madison’s key interests include student mental health and well-being, and the retention and persistence of students with disabilities. Madison is passionate about serving students in higher education and hopes to earn a Psy. D in the future. As a Disability Specialist, Madison provides direct support to a caseload of DSP students.
One of Madison’s favorite quotes:
“Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” —William Ellery Channing
Tracy Jalaba, OTD, OTR/L
Senior Disability Specialist
Tracy Jalaba received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Biology from UC Davis before moving to Los Angeles to earn her master’s and doctorate degrees in occupational therapy from USC. As a disability specialist, Dr. Jalaba utilizes her occupational therapy lens at DSP to inform her approach to case management, consultation, and program development. In addition to her work at DSP, she serves as a clinical faculty member at USC’s Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice where she specializes in working with students as well as individuals with Autism spectrum or mental health diagnoses.
One of Tracy’s favorite quotes:
“Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” –Tina Fey
Debbie Jih, M.A., LMFT
Debbie first started her career in disability services as a graduate advisor while working on her MA in Marriage & Family Therapy from USC’s Rossier School of Education. She left USC to pursue a mental health profession specializing in individual, group and family therapy. In addition to clinical service experience, Debbie conducted agency-wide trainings and assisted with process improvement and with developing policies and procedures. In June of 2015, Debbie returned full-time to USC’s DSP office. She currently oversees many of DSP’s student service processes, outreach and educational events, and also manages a dedicated caseload of students.
One of Debbie’s favorite quotes:
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Kathi Neuenschwander, M.Ed.
Senior Disability Specialist - DHH Services
Kathi has been working with individuals with disabilities in a variety of settings for over 25 years. More specifically, Kathi’s background has primarily been in communicating with and accommodating deaf/hard-of-hearing (DHH) individuals, as well as students who are visually impaired. Kathi is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). She enjoys the field of Disability Services particularly in the areas of transition to and preparing for college, providing awareness to parents, staying current in the field in terms of new technologies for students with sensory disabilities, bringing about awareness of ASL, and literacy with deaf and hard-of-hearing children. As the specialist for accommodating DHH students, Kathi oversees accommodations for students with hearing loss. She also provides consultation and support to the University community regarding accommodations for DHH individuals who are attending special events and other non-classroom settings.
One of Kathi’s favorite quotes:
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’” --Martin Luther King, Jr.
Kim Nguyen, MSW, LCSW
Assistant Director – Clinical & Professional Programs
Kim is a licensed clinical social worker who’s been working in the field of education since 2011. Kim served as a school counselor for nearly 6 years providing individual and group therapeutic services to students with special needs. She has always had a passion supporting students with their long-term educational goals. That led to Kim pursuing student disability services in higher education for 2 years before joining DSP. Kim currently manages a DSP caseload with an emphasis in coordinating accommodations for students in clinical and professional placements.
One of Kim's favorite quotes:
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” –Brene Brown
Susana Pineda, M.Ed.
Testing Services Coordinator
Susana graduated from University of California, Davis in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Education. While at UC Davis, she interned at a two-way bilingual immersion class for third graders where she experienced how to support and adapt to different students’ needs. Susana earned a Master’s of Education in Education Counseling, during which she directly experienced serving students in a higher education setting primarily through her graduate advisor role in DSP, as well as in career guidance counseling. As a Testing Services Coordinator, Susana contributes to the overall Testing Center administrations and effective operations.
One of Susana’s favorite quotes:
“Keep moving forward.” – Walt Disney
Mauricio graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2013, where he got his BA in Politics. Mauricio started as a student worker for the Disability Resource Center. After graduating, he accepted a staff role at the DRC as the Alternate Media Production Manager. After 7 years, Mauricio now works at DSP as the Services Assistant where he provides support for any Assistive Technology requests.
One of Mauricio's favorite quotes:
“Learning never exhausts the mind” – Leonardo Da Vinci
Ayda Shahi, MSW
Associate Director, Accommodated Testing Services
As the Assistant Director, Ayda oversees accommodated testing at the DSP Testing Center and also provides direct support to a caseload of DSP students. Prior to working at USC, Ayda served as an academic advisor, as well as in the field of social work and provided services in residential treatment programs, inpatient facilities, and the New York City public school system. Her experience includes working with K-12, at-risk youth, and individuals with Axis I and Axis II disorders. Ayda is passionate about working with students in higher education, providing support and resources so every student can succeed.
One of Ayda’s favorite quotes:
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
Victoria Vu, M.S.
Testing Services Assistant
After graduating from University of California, Riverside with a B.A. in Liberal Studies, Victoria took her time to explore the world of education. She started her professional journey in the K-12 system and ECE Special Education. Her passions for accessible education, holistic development, and inclusivity lead her to earn a M.S. in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University. One day, Victoria would love to obtain a doctorate degree in hopes to bring more awareness in mental health for underrepresented students. As a Testing Services Assistant, Victoria supports the DSP Testing Center in the day-to-day operations and assists students, faculty, and staff members.
One of Victoria’s favorite quotes:
"We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." – Sirius Black (J.K. Rowling)