About the Center


Dawn-Marie Luna is a graduate student in Aliento's third year cohort class, completing her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy-Latin@ focus. Dawn-Marie also serves as a research assistant to Dr. Miguel Gallardo and Dr. Carrie Castañeda-Sound. She graduated from California State University, Fresno with her Bachelor's Degree in Women’s Studies and Psychology. During her undergraduate career she worked at a high school where she worked closely with learning directors, counselors and teachers to help increase graduation rates through providing students with subsidized employment during implementation of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. She organized and developed a core group of young people to present pre-employment workshops to their fellow peers equipping the youth with the skills needed to succeed in the workforce. Dawn-Marie has experience working with non-profit, and government agencies throughout the Central-San Joaquin Valley implementing Racial and Economic Justice programing for queer youth along with, developing conscious youth leaders. She plans to utilize her bilingual and bicultural skills to increase access to culturally congruent therapy for Latin@ families (specifically LGBTQ families) whose mental health needs are often overlooked and provide psychoeducation to decrease the stigma that has long been associated with mental health treatment within Latin@ community. She is dedicated to being a voice for mental health access, and culturally congruent practices in the Latin@ community. With her personal and educational experiences within the mental health arena, she hopes to use her Master's degree to fill the need for culturally sensitive and competent mental health providers.


Dr. Gallardo and the entire Pepperdine community would like to thank Nahal Kaivan, Michelle Rubio, Cynthia Ruiz and Huna Yim for their commitment in conceptualizing, researching, and developing Aliento. Without their help, Aliento would still be a work in progress. Their commitment to the Latina/o community will serve many students, and the entire university community, for years to come.


Tiffany Wright, MA is the Aliento Program Administrator. In this role she supports current students with academic advising related matters. Additionally, she supports the Program Director with various program development needs. Tiffany holds a Masters in Education from Loyola Marymount University. She has served the Pepperdine GSEP community since 2012 in student services roles. With a passion for student success, she looks forward to progressing students through their graduate degree program and encouraging them to become superior mental health professionals.