Samantha Corralejo is a California native who is here at Utah State studying as a PDRF in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. She loves cooking, birding, running, music, and has a goal to try the best pizza in every state. Ever since she was a teenager, Samantha enjoyed spending time with children and decided, when she was preparing for college, to study psychology – specifically autism. While working on her master’s degree in California, Samantha also worked as a behavior therapist doing applied behavior analysis therapy with children with autism. During this time she also decided to learn Spanish, opening her services up to populations who otherwise might not be able to receive them.
When Samantha first visited Utah State she says she knew immediately that she wanted to come here for her doctorate degree, particularly to work with her mentor Melanie Domenech Rodriguez. Samantha has worked on several projects since coming to Logan. One project included giving assessments to bilingual children with intellectual disabilities in both English and Spanish to see how they respond in each language. She also headed a project that reached children in elementary schools. The program focused on civility and how to talk about race, religion, body, diversity, and gender roles.
Samantha says she loves teaching and mentoring and that it comes naturally to her. “You’re always teaching when you’re working with kids,” she says. “It just goes with the work you’re doing.” Research is also a passion of hers, and she finds it exciting because she gets to help people. She describes research by saying, “Once you go down the rabbit hole of a topic you’re interested in, the more you’re learning and answering questions about that topic [you love].”
Samantha says her ultimate goal is to make services available to everyone and to help Latino and Rural communities that may not have a Spanish speaking psychologist available to them.
Written by: Sarah Wardle