Meet Our Staff


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'Sharleen Action'

Sharleen O'Brien

Associate Dean & Director of Health & Wellness

Associate Dean & Director of Health & Wellness | 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.

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Mallory Russell

Health Education Generalist

Health Education Generalist | Food, Nutrition & Basic Skills

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. 

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Joanna Hill


Health Education Specialist | Stress Reduction, Eating Disorders, Body Image

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.

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Lorie Morris

Office Manager

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.

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Michael "Maka" Takahara

Health Education Specialist

Health Education Specialist | Marketing, Positive Psychology

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.

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Emily Teter

Health Education Specialist

Health Education Specialist | Sleep & Meditation

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. 

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Braeden Bailey | he/him/his

Community Engagement & Data Analyst

Braeden Bailey was raised in Fresno, California and graduated from UCSB in 2022, receiving a B.S. in both Data Science and Psychology. At Health & Wellness, he provides insights into student life and events through data analysis, allowing for better focus on how to improve student well being. Braeden was drawn to this position at Health & Wellness because he is passionate about working with data and is excited by the opportunity to be a part of the UCSB community again. Braeden also enjoys constantly picking up new hobbies; most recently crocheting, gardening, and arcade stick building.


Megan Schmidt

Culinary Health Educator

Culinary Health Educator | Food Nutrition & Basic Skills

Megan Schmidt is a Culinary Health Educator with the Department of Health and Wellness. She teaches pop-up workshops and classes focused on food, nutrition and basic skills. Her culinary background as a personal chef, organic farmer and health educator in Santa Barbara County inspires her facilitation of student and community education in cooking, basic skills, nutrition, and food systems. She has certificates in Herbalism & Nutrition, Permaculture Design and Yoga Teacher Training. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies at UCSB, and as a student in Blue Horizons her team's environmental documentary was selected to premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In her free time she enjoys being in the ocean, spinning pottery on the wheel, and adventuring outdoors.

Food, Nutrition, Basic Needs and Health Equity Interns


Stephanie | she/her/hers

Food, Nutrition, Basic Skills and Health Equity Intern

Major: Biochemistry

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

Being a H&W intern allows me to be at the forefront of promoting the holistic wellness of my peers. I can help ensure all members of UCSB, in particular marginalized and underrepresented communities, feel seen and secure when it comes to their relationship with food and nutrition. 



Daniella | she/her/hers

Food, Nutrition and Basic Skills Intern

Major: Sociology, Applied Psychology Minor

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

I wanted to become a Health and Wellness intern because I am passionate about mental health and the different ways people can care for themselves. I would love to incorporate my culture more at UCSB and I feel that one of the ways I can do this is through food.


Eloise | she/her/hers

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

Major: Global Studies

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

The availability and accessibility of all things food and nutrition are the passions I bring into my position here at Health and Wellness. The department facilitates an environment of equity and creative collaboration, where passion projects take center stage - the dream workspace if you will. H&W allows us interns to learn the ins and outs of office etiquette, and when combined with the FNBS branch, my personal interests have a place to play - which is what brought me to this position in the first place!


Tait | she/her/hers

Food, Nutrition, Basic Skills and Health Equity Intern

Major: Psychological and Brain Sciences

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

I joined the Health & Wellness team because I want to help students understand the importance of prioritizing their mental and physical health above all else. I am a strong believer that people cannot, and will not, perform to the best of their abilities if they are not secure in their personal health and wellbeing. Here at Health & Wellness I am excited to be a part of the team providing information, resources, and support to students so they can show up as their best self both in and outside of the classroom.

Marketing and Communications Interns


Rachel | she/her/hers

Marketing and Communication Lead Intern

Major:  Communication and Political Science

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.


Melissa | she/her/hers

Marketing Intern & Graphic Design Emphasis

Major: Communication

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

I joined Health and Wellness because I wanted to help provide the resources UCSB has to offer for students, and to promote that. As a Marketing intern here, I am able to help and advertise our special events that all have the goal of enhancing our wellbeing. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that our mental and physical health is so important to be taken care of.

Physical Health Interns


Natalie | she/her/hers

Stress Management and Self Care Intern

Major: Sociology

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

All the Health & Wellness programs I’ve been involved in have left me feeling uplifted and more connected to both myself and the campus community. I am so excited to be part of such an inspiring community that values authenticity, vulnerability, and wellbeing above all else, and I can’t wait to extend our resources to other students to help them live their best lives at UCSB.


Anna | she/her/hers

Health Promotion Intern, specializing in Physical Health

Major: Biological Sciences

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

During my time at UCSB, I have discovered a passion for health education that working at Health and Wellness lets me nurture. Working at Health and Wellness offers me the opportunity to truly give back to my on campus community and improve the daily lives of all of our students. Physical health is particularly exciting to me because it hosts such a wide variety of topics, including sexual health, relationships, and public health issues such as COVID, which I can’t wait to explore!

Mindfulness, Sleep Health, and Social Emotional Health Interns


Emily | she/her/Ella

Wellness Center Lead focusing on equity in mental health

Major: Psychological & Brain Sciences

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

I love experiencing the impact H&W has on our Gaucho Community. I wanted to become an intern with H&W because of the continuous empowerment they provide, allowing me to have an outlet for my passion and dedication to ensure and create an inclusive and equitable environment for all students to thrive in throughout their time at UCSB. I want to focus on advocating and creating programs to support our underrepresented minority student population as they continue to flourish physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Belinda | she/her/hers

International Student Support

Major: Psychological and Brain Sciences

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

I wanted to be a H&W intern because I wanted to become the resources for my peers to help them obtain a better school- life balance. With my emphasis on international students' support, I want to engage the minority populations on campus to an organization that promotes wellbeing and a place that can make them feel like  home away from home.


Sophia | she/her/hers

Sleep Health Intern

Major: Writing & Literature/ Psychological & Brain Sciences

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

As someone who has struggled to prioritize my own sleep, I have learned the importance of promoting positive sleep habits, especially to college students. Prioritizing sleep can benefit overall mental and physical health, academic performance, and even interpersonal relationships. I wanted to work as a Health & Wellness intern to educate students about sleep health and to emphasize techniques that can be used to promote sleep. The sleep challenge, a seven day research study, aims to educate students about many aspects of sleep. For example, sleep may be influenced by external activities, such as eating, physical activity, and alcohol consumption. Working on the sleep challenge allows me to see in real time how sleep education can change the way students understand and restructure their own sleep habits.



Jonny | he/him/his

Meditation Intern

Major: Biopsychology 

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

I have a strong passion to help others in the many ways that people can improve their health and wellness, but I specialize in social and emotional health with meditation and I hope to incorporate this specialty into therapy after I graduate. I get a chance to help people in all of these domains on a large yet personal scale as a H&W intern.


Arsalan | he/him/his

Wellness Center Lead focusing on mental health equity

Major: Biological Sciences, B.S

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

Being part of H&W means being part of a close-knit community that works together to empower our campus and create more engaging resources. In particular, I wanted to be more hands-on in coordinating events and advocating for more opportunities in the realm of mental health equity. I strive to make programs that are accessible to people of all backgrounds, specially those that are often marginizlied and underserved. My goal is to make UCSB a place where everyone’s wellbeing is considered and we make strong efforts to make a kinder, healthier and more supportive community.

Self Care, Eating Disorder Prevention and Body Image Interns


Clare | she/her/hers

Eating Disorder Prevention and Body Image Intern

Major: Biopsychology, Sociocultural Linguistics Minor 

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

To me, Health and Wellness is a community endeavor, something that is both created from within and maintained through our social connection to others. I wanted to make sure that the integrated wellness that so many seek to find in college is accessible, shared, and supported. I am honored and so excited to be a part of such a genuine and welcoming space that allows for individuals to have agency in their own well-being and to continue to cultivate it here at UCSB.



Jacob | he/him/his

Men’s Body Image and Eating Disorder Prevention Intern

Major: CCS Writing and Literature

Why did you want to become and H&W intern?

I pursued this internship not just because I am at my happiest when I am helping others but, also, because I am a person who has suffered with issues pertaining to body image myself. I am especially interested in contributing to the development of Health & Wellness’s Men’s Body Image and Eating Disorder Prevention program because disordered eating and poor body image are often overlooked issues which Men can face. 


Data Management Interns


Krish | he/him/his

Data Science Intern

Major: Computer Science

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

I wanted to be an H&W intern because I really enjoyed how welcoming all of their events and their center was. Being able to be part of this organization will help me give back to others and impact them in the same way I felt before I became an intern.


Online Programs and Website Management Interns


Doris | she/her/hers

Web Development Intern

Major: Computer Science

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

I was interested in the Health and Wellness Department because I appreciated how much they cared about the wellbeing of their students. Upon joining the team, this idea was reinforced by how welcoming and kindhearted everyone in the department is.