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


Bonnie rose thomson

Bio: Bonnie is a second year Psychology major with minors in Child Development and Music. Her research interests include how to best train therapists to work with LGBTQ+ populations, risk and resiliency factors for substance abuse, and positive psychology. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology and working with underserved populations. Outside of school, she enjoys playing the flute, reading, traveling, musical theatre, and petting cats and dogs. 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Hannah Finn

Hannah is a third year Psychology major scheduled to graduate in December of 2019. She enjoys making a positive impact on the LGBTQ+ community by being apart of the QCARES team. Her other interests include social psychology and industrial organizational psychology. Specifically, she is interested in understanding the underpinnings of human decision making, team decision making, and team success. She plans to pursue a Masters in Applied Psychology after graduating. Outside of her studies, she enjoys traveling, reading, going to concerts, and hiking.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers


Sophia Renteria

Bio: Sophia is a fourth year Psychology major with a Child Development minor. She joined the QCARES team in the Summer of 2018 with a goal of making improvements to mental health services available to LGBTQ+ folx in SLO through informed research. She has been accepted to Teachers College, Columbia University for a MA program in Psychology with a focus in Clinical Psychology. In the future, Sophia plans to apply to doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology to develop therapeutic and community practices that serve at-risk, sexual and gender minority communities to better their lives through healthier therapeutic experiences. 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Hayley Rostek

Bio: Hayley is currently a third year psychology major with a history minor at Cal Poly. Her research interests include internalized stigma, the effects of minority stress on LGBTQ+ populations, as well as abnormal psychology and social psychology in general. She hopes to pursue a clinical or counseling degree in the future. 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


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)

Bailey Arthur (She, Her, Hers)

Andrea Hilbrant (She, Her, Hers)

noemi lopez (she, her, hers)