Project Creator 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

Pronouns: They/Their/Theirs 

Senior Lab Manager

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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. As lab manager, Karen oversees all lab assistants and helps to ensure QCARES's operations run smoothly. After pursuing further research, she plans to apply to doctoral programs in Social Neuroscience. 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Junior Lab Manager


Amanda Shrewsbury

Amanda is a fourth year Child Development major studying Psychology with a Spanish minor. 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 include child development, a-typical development and associated mental health outcomes, and the neural and biological underpinnings of the latter. After graduation, she plans to pursue additional research before applying to graduate programs in Clinical Psychology. Outside of school she enjoys hiking, reading, the beach, and dogs!

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Community Outreach Manager

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dYlan landon

Dylan is a Cal Poly Alumni. He graduated in March 2018 with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. His research interests are in wellness and resilience within the LGBTQ+ community with an emphasis on rural and/or homeless populations. He plans to travel while gaining insight and experience into where to channel his ambitions and passions. He hopes to work for an LGBTQ+ non-profit organization when he returns from working abroad in Buenos Aires. 

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Research Assistants 


Andrea Hilbrant




Bailey arthur

Bailey is a third 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


Bryce Grijalva

Bryce is a fourth year Psychology major at Cal Poly. Her research interests include school-based support groups for underrepresented students in K-12 schools and intervention/prevention programs for at-risk youth. After graduation, Bryce will be pursuing an Ed.S degree in School Psychology at Fresno State University. She hopes that the knowledge gained from working on this team will help to inform her work with future LGBTQ+ students as well as aid her ability to asses and make suggestions for school districts’ policies, readiness, and responsiveness to accommodate transgender and gender diverse students.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


emily Markese

Emily is a fourth year Psychology major with a Biology minor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She is interested in social justice and civil rights concerns, in addition to various areas of genetics research, sustainability, and environmental issues. After taking a year to travel, work, and gain experiences, Emily is planning to go to law school and apply her vast interests to implement change in the world. 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Emily Thiebaud

Emily is currently a senior at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is close to graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She transferred to CPSU from Cuesta Community College and has an Associates degree in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. Her research interests mainly center around the issues and concerns of  LGBT and transient communities. Her goal after graduation is to obtain a Master’s degree in Education: Guidance and Counseling, and to eventually work as an academic advisor in higher education.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Emma Wedell

Emma is a fourth year undergraduate Psychology student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. 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

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lucy mcneil

Lucy is a fourth year Psychology major with a minor in music at Cal Poly who is originally from Long Beach, California. Her research interests include multicultural psychology, music psychology, music therapy, and social justice. When she is not in the lab, you can find Lucy listening to music, going to the beach, and biking. 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers



Marcos is a fourth year undergraduate student studying Psychology at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His research interests are understanding and connecting with families and communities, supporting underrepresented groups, and creating more diverse and inclusive environments. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D in School Psychology or Counseling Psychology.

Pronouns: He/Him/His


Nicole Shanley


Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Noemi lopez




Team Alumni


Cory kent

Bio: Cory is an Alumni from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Sara Gutierrez


Pronouns: She/Her/Hers