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Victoria and Brandon hiking in Moab.

I grew up in the Bay Area, and didn’t travel very far for college – having grown up here, why would I want to leave? In high school, I was a dual-sport athlete (tennis and softball), traveled as part of the concert choir, performed in musicals, was the yearbook photographer, had a couple of part-time jobs, and graduated at 16. I attended the University of California, Santa Cruz (go Slugs!), where I found a love of writing, literature, and American Indian Studies. After graduating, I did many, many, many different things before I found my calling in clinical neuropsychology.

Although I managed to do well enough to get into all the UCs and out-of-state schools that I applied to (and eventually go on to graduate school x2), I struggled with poor study habits, poor performance on class exams, and poor standardized test skills. I never seemed to do as well as I “should have.” School had always been relatively easy for me, and I did “well enough” in high school without putting in much effort… so I never developed good study habits. On exams, it wasn’t so much that I didn’t understand the material, but that I would always rush through and make careless errors, especially on standardized tests. Once I was in college, the trend continued, I did “okay” in classes where I had to take multiple-choice exams, and did really well in classes that were writing based. Luckily, my major was all writing based!

It wasn’t until graduate school that I realized my shortcomings were not that I wasn’t capable of understanding the material, but that I never learned how to study properly, or how to take a test properly. Many students have these same issues, especially on multiple choice exams. Test taking is a skill, which is not always innate, and we at Cognitive Advantage can teach those skills to most any student. We believe that with individual test prep, many of the skills and anxieties can be taken care of because of the individualized attention we give to our students.

I obtained my Master of Science in Clinical Psychology and Clinical Gerontology in 2012 and graduated with my PhD in Clinical Psychology with emphasis in Neuropsychology in 2017. I completed my internship at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine and am beginning my residency at the VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System in Hawaii. I am passionate about working with older adults and doing research in this area. My research interests include older adult cognition, neurodegenerative disorders, acquired brain injury and effects of aging on them, and factors contributing to older adult overall well-being.

I am also the matriarch in a family of fish, so Hawaii is the perfect setting for us! Thankfully, I am also a waterperson, having TA’d for SCUBA at UCSC and taught Stand-up Paddleboard lessons in Santa Cruz and Mountain View. We try to go on as many adventures as possible, usually involving the water. I also enjoy reading (I especially love detective fictions), photography, horseback riding, tennis, hiking, camping, traveling, CrossFit/Olympic weightlifting, and just enjoying the amazing environs that we live in… and in case you’re wondering, I’d still rather write a 50 page paper than take a multiple-choice exam, but I’ve also managed to get A’s on almost all of my tests in graduate school.

 

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