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Alumni Spotlight

Sandra Olsen, Ed.S. ’12, Clinician, Support Specialist, FIU Center for Children and Families

Olsen SandySandra is currently a clinician at the FIU Center for Children and Families. She is working on a clinical research trial that evaluates a summer preparatory program for rising sixth and ninth grade students with ADHD to promote healthy transitions to new secondary school environments. Some of her responsibilities include; completing full battery assessments on incoming students, serving as a clinical supervisor for the summer treatment program for adolescents, conducting parent trainings to help manage academic and behavioral concerns in the home setting, and serving as a consultant to provide academic and behavioral support services at schools within MDCPS. She feels fortunate to have found an opportunity where she is utilizing many of the skills she learned in the FIU School Psychology Program. Her tips for incoming School Psychology students: gain as much related experience as possible prior to applying for internship, attend FASP and NASP conferences to learn, present, and network; cherish the friendships you make with fellow students, and don't forget to ENJOY being a graduate student before entering the field as a school psychologist!


Rita Diaz, Ed.S. ’13, Bilingual School Psychologist, Hanford Elementary School District, Hanford, CA

Diaz RitaRita Diaz is a first year School Psychologist in a small district in the Central Valley city of Hanford, California. There are eleven schools in the district and about 5,300 students enrolled. She serves two schools that are K-6 and the 4- 6 grade class at the Community Day School (which is an alternative placement). Assessment is about 60% of the job. Hanford Elementary still uses the discrepancy model in order to discern a learning disability. Their Autism and Emotional Disturbed (EBD) assessments look VERY different than the ones she is used to doing in Florida. They are trained on and give the ADOS-II (which is pretty neat) and they don't use projective techniques for EBD assessments. Outside of assessments, some of her daily or weekly functions as a school psychologist include: providing guidance and counseling to students with IEPs, running social skills groups with high priority students on our campus, creating and helping implement behavior intervention plans as well as collecting documentation and data, and creating achievable behavior goals for students on their IEPs, just to name a few. Rita's first year has been a huge learning curve, but it's been an incredible and exciting journey. If she could give any new students a piece of advice, it would be to not take any class you take in your graduate career for granted. "Although you may think some of the courses you are taking now you will not need, believe me... you may find yourself taking out your Research Methods notes to help you develop a systematic behavior intervention!"


James S. Rosa ’78, Director of Staff, United States Liaison Office

James RosaJames S. Rosa is the Director of Staff, U.S. Embassy, United States Liaison Office (USLO), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He exercises supervisory and managerial responsibilities and represents the USLO to a variety of government agencies, U.S. headquarters and functional area organizations. Rosa was commissioned in the Air Force in 1978 through the University of Miami ROTC program. He has served in a variety of command and personnel-related organizations, including recruiting, contingency operations and personnel readiness, attaché assignments, civilian personnel, and systems acquisition related functional management. He served in three command positions, two joint assignments, and two overseas assignments; was deployed under Operations DESERT STORM and SOUTHERN WATCH; and completed two Pentagon (air staff) tours. He retired from active duty in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and entered civil service in 2003. Rosa was married to Denise A. Rosa for over 31 years.