Principal Investigator and director


Dr. Jay Bettergarcia, Ph.D.

Jay Bettergarcia is an Assistant Professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Jay's research focuses on LGBTQ+ mental health and wellness, transgender-affirming therapy, and diversity teaching and training. Jay loves working with various collaborators, including professors, staff, students, and community members to create social change with the LGBTQ+ community. 

Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara

M.A. Social Psychology, San Francisco State University  

B.S. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Read more about Dr. Bettergarcia's research and publications on the Cal Poly faculty page here

Click here to view Dr. Bettergarcia’s CV.

Pronouns: They/Their/Theirs 

Lab Manager


Emma Wedell

Emma graduated in Spring 2018 from Cal Poly with her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology. Emma's primary research interests involve the intersections between various internalized stigmas of minority identities and dimensions of psychological health. She is proud to collaborate on research focused on serving the local LGBTQ+ community as a member of the Queer CARES research team.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Lab Manager


Amanda Shrewsbury

Amanda graduated in Spring 2018 from Cal Poly with her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Child Development, with Psychology and Spanish minors. She joined the QCARES team when it first began in the Spring of 2017 and is passionate about using research to make a direct impact in local communities. Outside of the work on this team, her research interests are focused on understanding the cognitive, biological, and environmental underpinnings that contribute to and are associated with child psychopathology. She is currently in the process of applying to Ph.D. programs for Clinical Psychology. Outside of research she enjoys hiking, reading, the beach, and dogs!

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Research Assistants 


Karen Shoriz

Bio: Karen is a Cal Poly Alumni who graduated in June of 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a minor in Women and Gender studies.  After pursuing further research, she plans to apply to doctoral programs in Social Neuroscience. 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Andrea Hilbrant




Bailey arthur

Bailey is a fourth year Psychology major with a Law and Society minor. Her research interests include LGBTQ+ coping strategies and community resilience. After graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a career in clinical psychology and would like to work with underrepresented populations. 

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers


Noemi lopez




sophia renteria




Lab Alumni

Cory kent (She, her, hers)

Sara Gutierrez (She, her, Hers)

Nicole Shanley (she, her, Hers)

Marcos ramirez (he, him, His)

lucy mcneil (She, her, Hers)

Dylan landon (he, him, his)

Emily thiebaud (she, her, hers)

emily markese (She, her, hers)

bryce grijalva (she, her, hers)