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Jason DeFelice

2024 Spotlight Scholar

University of Florida

Jason DeFelice is entering his fifth year of the Clinical and Health Psychology Ph.D. program with a specialization in Neuropsychology at the University of Florida. He collaborates closely with the Southern HIV & Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC) and the Center for Cognitive Aging & Memory (CAM). Broadly, Jason’s research focuses on the intersection among substance use, HIV/AIDS, the gut microbiome, and cognition across aging populations. His aim is to become a scientist-practitioner in clinical neuropsychology, evaluating risks for cognitive dysfunction and engaging in cognitive rehabilitation training programs with diverse patient populations. In his free time, Jason enjoys spending time exploring nature trails as well as the many beaches and springs in Florida with his partner and two dogs.


Emily Matusz

2024 Continuing Scholar

University of Florida

Emily Matusz, a 2023 SNRF scholarship recipient, is entering her fourth year of the Ph.D program in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Neuropsychology at the University of Florida. Emily’s research focuses on the intersection among biomarkers, cardiovascular risk factors, and cognition in Alzheimer’s and related dementias across diverse populations. Over the past year, she has mentored two undergraduate students, co- authored three peer-reviewed publications and five research presentation abstracts, presented her research at two conferences (the Southeastern Neurodegenerative Disease Conference and the International Neuropsychological Society annual meeting), and completed her qualifying examinations. More recently, she successfully proposed her dissertation in April 2024, titled “Deciphering Clinical and Biological Correlates of Cognitive Decline in Older Adults Across Race/Ethnicity.” For her dissertation, she aims to examine how several fundamental components of a dementia workup, including neuropsychological testing, clinical interviews, and the use of novel biomarkers, may differ across racial/ethnic groups. She hopes that her research help improve early detection of atypical cognitive decline and better predict disease progression to allow for earlier treatment planning and improved quality of life for individuals with dementia. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time exploring the outdoors with her dog and going scuba diving in the Florida springs! 

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Carlos Rocha

2024 Continuing Scholar

Danielle Sarah Mahon Memorial Fund

Carlos Albizu University

Carlos Rocha is entering his third year of the Psy.D. program in Clinical Psychology, with a specialty in substance abuse and addictive behaviors, at the Carlos Albizu University. He is currently working in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) providing access to psychotherapy for an underserved population. He is interested in promoting an integrative care approach to increase treatment effectiveness. In 2024, Carlos participated at the annual congress of the schizophrenia international research society, presenting his poster about integrated treatment for individuals with early psychosis and comorbid cannabis use. He is collaborating with psychiatrists and other health professionals to mitigate the damage caused by the increasing substance use epidemic that affects our society. In his free time, Carlos enjoys hiking and exploring nature trails.

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Czarinah Micah Rodriguez

2024 Continuing Scholar

Nova Southeastern University

Czarinah Micah Rodriguez is a clinical neuropsychology trainee on her second year in a doctoral program at NSU. Her current focus revolves around acquiring proficiency in administering neuropsychological assessments to more effectively assess and treat neurological conditions. She started her first clinical practicum, providing therapy services to older individuals and couples at NSU's Psychology Services Center Counseling Center for Older individuals. She will begin her second practicum at NSU's Neuropsychological Assessment Center. With her dedication and commitment to the field, Czarinah is poised to make a significant impact as she continues to advance her knowledge and skills in therapy and clinical neuropsychology.

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