Dayna Cipolla-JettonClinical Psychology, 2011

    Where do you live?

    I just recently moved from Palos Verdes to Manhattan Beach and absolutely love it.

    What brought you to Pacifica?

    I had just received my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy with an emphasis in art therapy from Loyola Marymount University, and knew that I wanted to continue my education and get my doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I felt that if my momentum for learning was halted that life’s distraction might get in the way and my path wouldn’t seem so clear. My parents were actually taking a walk and stumbled upon the gorgeous campus of Pacifica. When they realized they offered programs in psychology, they immediately told me, and I came and visited and felt that it was a perfect fit.

    How has your Pacifica degree served you professionally in your occupation or your vocation?

    For my dissertation I developed a computer program specifically designed to help children with autism improve their social skills and behavioral skills. I was extremely pleased with the results and the positive feedback I received from the children. The children who received the intervention improved in all seven areas of social skills and their problem behaviors decreased in all four areas. Due to the children’s positive response I decided to transform the computer program into two apps — Playing Games is Fun and I am a Nice Person — which [were] available on iTunes. My thoughts were that by converting the computer program to an app would further appeal to kids because of the uniqueness of having an interactive touch screen, since children with autism are so sensory, along with many other features. Without having a dissertation to complete I would have never created these apps, nor would I have been given the opportunity to help children with autism and developmental delays.

    How has your degree served you personally?

    The education given to me by the whole experience of Pacifica has provided me with a new language to understand and express myself in a way and at a depth that I don’t think would have been possible. This is truly a gift and I feel so blessed to have been fortunate enough to take advantage of it because my life will forever be changed for the better.

    What was a particularly meaningful or memorable part of the Pacifica experience for you?

    So many aspects of Pacifica were memorable and meaningful to me but the ones I keep going back to are the moments when you’re in class and the professor is talking and all of a sudden your mind becomes inundated with a zillion different thoughts that take off in every which direction. Thoughts and visions that had never coalesced before. The ability of a professor or anyone to inspire this in someone else is truly magical.

    What is the title of your dissertation?

    The title of my dissertation is An Investigation of the Effects of a Computer-Based Intervention on the Social skills of Children with Autism.

    Would you like to mention any other publications?

    My number one interest, curiosity, and love is my seventeen-month-old son. The world has a whole new meaning for me. Child development fascinates me, always has. I have also always loved art and have a great appreciation for it. An artist is courageous enough to open up their self and share it with others, allowing others to discover things about themselves.

    What are your areas of interest?

    Yes! The iPad app website is called You, Me & Dr. D, and there’s a video of me explaining my work via YouTube.

    “An artist is courageous enough to open up their self and share it with others, allowing others to discover things about themselves. Without having a dissertation to complete I would have never created these apps, nor would I have been given the opportunity to help children with autism and developmental delays.”

    – Dayna Cipolla-Jetton

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