Meet Our Staff
'Sharleen Professional'
'Sharleen Action'

Sharleen O'Brien

PsyD, Lic. Psychologist, 20314

Sharleen O'Brien is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of health promotion programs & strategies to improve student success at UCSB. She earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 2003 from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and has expertise in the areas of health psychology, mindfulness meditation, sleep health, and psychological well-being. Dr. O’Brien maintains her license of 13 years as a psychologist in the state of California (Psy20314) but, in recent years, was inspired to shift her focus from clinical practice to supporting health from a broader perspective. She is passionate about designing programs to foster habits, knowledge, and an environment that supports the health & well-being of students at UCSB and in the community.

Mallory Professional
Mallory Action

Mallory Russell

Mallory Russell is a Health Educator with the Department of Health and Wellness. She teaches cooking series and workshops that focus on food, nutrition, and basic skills. With a background in landscape architecture, she always found herself drawn to food and has worked in a variety of culinary worlds: educational farms, commercial kitchens, school gardens, catering, health clinics, and teaching pop-up cooking and nutrition classes. These experiences drove home the power of food to shape our environment, our identity, our communities, and our health. 

Jo Professional
Jo Action

Joanna Hill


Joanna Hill is originally from “the” Valley (San Fernando). She started as a student in The Department of Health & Wellness in 1996. She was a Relationships Peer, summer theater actor and instructional assistant before she earned her BA in Sociology in 1997. She has worked for the UCSB Arts Library, UCSB Alumni Association, and with autistic men at the Devereux Foundation. Joanna’s staff career in Health & Wellness began in 2001 as advisor for the Sexual Health Peers and the Relationships Peers. Over the years, she has trained students, staff, and faculty on all areas of Health & Wellness, her favorites being body image and meditation. Joanna currently oversees Health & Wellness Internships, the Advocate Program, and the eating disorder prevention/body image program. Joanna enjoys exploring Santa Barbara with her family, their 2 cats and sweet dog, Maisy.

Lorie Professional
Lorie Action

Lorie Morris

Financial Management, Meditation

Lorie Jean Morris grew up in Utah but moved to Santa Barbara to enjoy a more temperate climate! She received her B.A. in Psychology from CSUCI. Lorie is the Office Manager for the Health & Wellness Programs. Coming from a background in banking, customer service and accounts payable, Lorie makes sure the Health & Wellness staff and interns have the resources they need to successfully put on workshops, events, classes and activities. Her favorite quarterly event to be involved in is UCSB Dog Therapy Day. When she’s not helping interns with events, Lorie is out taking photos or Photoshop classes. You can find her on Sundays down at the Cabrillo Art Walk selling her photography.

Jacquie Professional
'Jacquie Action'

Jacqueline Ovalle

Food, Nutrition, and Basic Skills

Jacqueline Ovalle was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in Riverside County. Her passion for health, food science and nutrition led her to Davis, CA where she received her B.S. in Clinical Nutrition from UC Davis and certification as a National Food Protection Manager. At UC Davis, Jacqueline served as a Resident Advisor for UC Davis Student Housing and conducted research for the Department of Nutrition, as well as a Dietetic Technician at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital where she applied her expertise in clinical dietetics and food safety management. Her previous work includes Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at the California Department of Public Health, Kaiser Permanente, Camp Kaiser, and Winters Healthcare Foundation. Jacqueline enjoys spending time at the beach with her loved ones, trying new food recipes, traveling with her spouse, and an occasional competitive match of air hockey.

Jason Professional
Jason Action

Jason Stone

Sexual Health & Relationships, Graduate Students, Health Informatics

Jason Stone, a Santa Barbara native, has always been passionate for people, health, and wellness. This led him to receive his BA in Sociology with a minor in Exercise Science and a Master of Science in Health Promotion & Physiology with an emphasis in Wellness. With a love of helping people thrive, he holds credentials as NASM CPT, NSCA CSCS, and NASE CSES. He is also a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist, and a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist. He currently serves as staff advisor for UC Santa Barbara’s Active Minds chapter, and is a certified mindfulness meditation teacher specializing in queer and trans meditation groups. He is a fitness and wellness fanatic and you will probably see him either at the gym, or cooking up healthful, nourishing meals in his spare time. As a lover of innovation, design, and organization, Jason also engages in hobbies like music composition, interior design, and event planning.

Maka Professional
Maka Action

Michael "Maka" Takahara

Marketing, Positive Psych

Michael Kenji Takahara was raised in Monterey Park and received his B.A. in Psychology from UCSB in 1993. He worked at UCSB Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Services as an assistant resident director before joining Health & Wellness in 1996. Michael is passionate about Health & Wellness because “it allows me to give back to the community that made me who I am. I love helping students develop meaning in their lives, building their skills, strengthen their positive relationships, achieve their goals, and increase their positive emotions.” He thinks it is funny that he stars in a weekly web series, Mondays with Maka. In addition to enjoying his family, Michael volunteers his time with Catholic Engaged Encounter, enjoys comic book geek culture, plays guitar, and enjoys the ocean and clouds everyday.

Emily Professional
Emily Action

Emily Teter

Sleep, Meditation, Stress Reduction, Alcohol & Drugs

Emily Teter grew up in Carpinteria, California and received her Bachelors from UCLA, studying both Anthropology and Film. She worked with various student organizations as an undergrad including The Watts Tutorial Program, where she was a tutor and student mentor. One of her favorite experiences in college was studying abroad in Rome, Italy.  She has completed two Mindfulness Meditation teacher training programs, one with The Center for Koru Mindfulness and one developed specifically for the Department of Health & Wellness. Emily is passionate about helping students discover their own innate ability to be mindful and aware while cultivating tools towards self-compassion and resiliency. 

Food, Nutrition, Basic Needs and Health Equity Interns

Anahi Salas Profile


Pronouns: (she/her/hers)

Major: Sociology B.A.

Role: Health Promotion Lead, specializing in Food, Nutrition, and Basic Skills

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I loved what Health & Wellness stands for and how they always try their best to serve those students that may need the extra resources. I always strive to promote diversity and tolerance of all people and this internship has given me all the resources I could need to do just that.


Jasmine Bio Picture


Pronouns: She/her/hers

Major: Biopsychology

Role: Health Promotion Intern, specializing in Food, Nutrition, and Basic Skills

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I wanted to be a Health and Wellness intern because I had gone to the events put on by the department and really enjoyed them. Through this internship, I am able to help with the creation and execution of events similar to those that helped me throughout my college career. I feel that Health and Wellness is an essential part of UCSB and provides resources that can’t be found anywhere else to help students succeed in college and beyond.

Marketing and Communications Interns



Pronouns: (she/her/hers)

Major:  Marketing & Communication Lead Intern

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I wanted to be a H&W intern because I wanted to help promote an organization that cares about the student body’s wellbeing. Health & Wellness facilitates the success of the students at UCSB and it’s an environment where I can learn from others and use those skills to promote that mission.

Amy Bio Picture


Pronouns: She/her/hers

Major: Bio-Anthropology

Role: Health Promotion Intern, Specializing in Graphic Design

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I wanted to be a Health & Wellness intern because of the events that this organization displayed in the past. Through this internship, I am able to help others promote their event and this organization not only has programs focused on positive psychology, but it is implemented in the workplace and that is something I value very much. I feel that Health & Wellness is an essential part of the student body and this is the place where I know I can learn and grow.

Physical Health Interns

Valerie Htun


Pronouns: (she/her/hers)

Major: Pharmacology

Role: Health Promotion Lead, specializing in Physical Health

Why did you want to be a H&W Intern?
I’m proud to say that my organic relationship with H&W as an advocate during my second year has led me to where I am today. I fell in love with the impact that H&W has on our campus community by providing a plethora of resources, from mental wellbeing tools to educating students on sexual health, and even addressing food insecurity. I wanted to become an intern for the Department of H&W because I have the tenacity to spark change by improving the lives of our Gaucho community through helping students succeed physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Em Bio Picture


Pronouns: She/her/hers

Major: Cell Developmental Biology B.S, Spanish Minor, Health & Wellness Certification

Role: Health Promotion Intern

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I discovered Health & Wellness when I was a freshman and was immediately drawn in by the comprehensive approach taken when presenting health topics. I love being part of a community that truly cares about all aspects of student wellness. This internship has provided me with the opportunities and resources to promote healthy lifestyle choices and connect with other people passionate about health promotion and wellness. Most of all, I enjoy being able to participate in positively impacting the lives of students on campus and in the local community.

Mindfulness, Sleep Health, and Social Emotional Health Interns

Stella Rufeisen Biopic


Pronouns: (she/her/hers)

Major: Psychology and Brain Sciences

Role: Health Promotion Lead, specializing in Social and Emotional Health

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I love working for Health & Wellness because everyday I get to work on projects that give students the resources they need to pave the path towards happiness and health in their day to day lives. I feel extremely lucky that I am able to work in this department with such a supportive and caring team of students and staff. 

Genesis Bio Picture


Pronouns: She/her/hers

Major: Psychological Brain Science

Role: Health and Wellness Emotion and Social Health Intern

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I wanted to be a H&W intern because it’s important to me to know I’m working for a department on campus that truly cares for its students. I am especially invested in doing outreach to those who are on their journey towards being their happiest and healthiest self.

Self Care, Eating Disorder Prevention and Body Image Interns

Jamileth Bio Picture


Pronouns: She/her/ella

Role: Health Promotion Lead

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I wanted to be a H&W intern because I wanted to help promote an organization that cares about the student body’s wellbeing. Health & Wellness facilitates the success of the students at UCSB and it’s an environment where I can learn from others and use those skills to promote that mission.

Micaela Bio Picture


Pronouns: She/her/hers

Major: Sociology

Role: Health Promotion Intern, Specializing in Body Image Awareness and Eating Disorder Prevention

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

My experience with H&W started naturally when I joined a few different H&W events over the pandemic. I wanted to become an intern for the Department of H&W because I instantly fell in love with the amazing people and community, the emphasis on well-being, belonging, and kindness, and the different tools and resources they provide to help students flourish. I am so elated to be a part of Health and Wellness!

Odin Bio Picture


Pronouns: He/him/his

Major: Biochemistry

Role: Health Promotion Intern, Specializing in Male Eating Disorders and Body Image

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I joined the Health and Wellness team to gain experience in the field of public health and to learn more about topics that I am very passionate about. I hope to open up an outlet and increase awareness for men’s physical and mental wellbeing. Myself being personally affected by the outcomes brought about by eating disorders, I would like to expand my knowledge regarding this topic as a form of personal growth.

Data Management Interns

Yvonne Bio Picture


Pronouns: She/her/hers

Major: Sociology and Statistics & Data Science

Role: Health Promotion Intern, Specializing in Data Science

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I love what H&W stands for. As a student who wants to constantly feel like I am in a safe, healthy environment, I found myself strongly appreciating the department’s mission. Through this internship, I hope to make a difference in helping students – and the overall community – feel accepted and create a balanced lifestyle.

Sarah Bio Picture


Pronouns: She/her/hers

Major: Statistics & Data Science and Economics

Role: Statistician Intern specializing in Sleep Challenge Data

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I love that Health & Wellness is trying to create a healthy, safe space on campus where students can feel supported and heard. As a student it can be really hard to remember to make time for yourself and I appreciate that Health & Wellness reinforces that not only is it ok to do that but it’s essential for overall wellness and performance. Through my internship, I’ve had the opportunity to flex my analytical skills and work with data that’s relevant to my life which has been really exciting.

Online Programs and Website Management Interns

Julian Bio Picture


Pronouns: He/him/his

Major: Computer Science

Role: Web Development Intern

Why did you want to be a H&W intern?

I wanted to be a H&W intern because I wanted to contribute to a department that specializes in something that I prioritize heavily. Sleep and wellness in general is something that’s personally super important to me and I wanted the opportunity to help spread that throughout UCSB.