Skip to main content

Graduate and Professional Student Well-Being Associates (GAPSWell)



To actively educate UC San Diego students on important issues related to their health and well-being by presenting research based and relevant information that empowers them to comprehensively reflect on their choices and engage in healthy behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions. Our goal is to provide support to students during their journey at UC San Diego, and teach them healthy lifestyle habits that will contribute to student success, life satisfaction and a sense of well-being while at the University and in life beyond college.


The Peer Health Educator Program was established to foster an environment of learning and trust in order to address individual and community responses related to physical, mental, and social well-being issues that students at UC San Diego may experience. By integrating empirically-based, comprehensive findings about holistic health and well-being with open and engaging dialogue, we facilitate the development of strong and cohesive partnerships on campus and in the community. We are committed to a balanced approach that applies best practices in the promotion of a healthy campus and community environment.

Meet Your Graduate and Professional Student Well-Being Associates (GAPSWell)

Haim-Shemer_web.jpgHaim Shemer, PsyD
GAPSWell Program Coordinator
Psychologist / Assistant Director to Outreach, Graduate and Professional Students
California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego

Clinical Interests: Evidence-based treatments for anxiety and sleep problems, adjustment and life transitions, Positive Psychology, stress management, meaning in life and well being, meditation and mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Languages Spoken: English and Hebrew

Affiliations: American Psychological Association 

Lindsay Benster Lindsay-Headshot(she/her/hers)
Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, UC San Diego & San Diego State University, 3rd year

Lindsay grew up on an island outside of Seattle, Washington and moved to San Diego after graduating high school to attend the University of San Diego. She joined the Fall 2021 cohort for the Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at UC San Diego and San Diego State University, where she is now a third year PhD student studying interventions for severe and treatment resistant mental illness. After completing her degree, Lindsay hopes to continue working in the mental health field, with a particular emphasis on disseminating important knowledge through community outreach activities. Through GAPSwell, she hopes to work towards this mission, particularly by promoting mental well-being amongst other students and providing strategies to overcome daily stressors. Outside of school, Lindsay loves running, traveling, reading, and spending any time she can with friends and family.

Ali Punsalan Ali-Headshot(she/her/hers)
Public Health Graduate Program
UC Irvine, BA in Public Health Policy 

Ali grew up in the greater DC Metropolitan area and moved to California to attend undergrad at UC Irvine. In 2022, she earned her BA in Public Health Policy. While in her graduate program, Ali plans to concentrate her studies in Public Mental Health to learn how to develop culturally adaptive programs to assist her Pilipinx community in reshaping how we think of mental health.

As a GAPSWell Associate, Ali hopes to cultivate meaningful connections with her fellow graduate students by creating a safe space for processing and healing. To relieve stress, she enjoys working out, finding the perfect matcha latte, reading fiction books, and going to cupsleeve events for her favorite Kpop groups. 

lucienne-arrigoni_web.jpgLucienne Arrigoni (she/her/hers)
Masters of International Affairs, International Economics, 1st Year
UC San Diego, BA in International Relations

Lucienne split time growing up in the Bay Area and Milan, Italy, where she attributes her initial interest in international affairs. After completing three great years as a student in the Department of Political Science at UC San Diego, Lucienne was accepted to the Global Policy School’s 5 year joint degree program. Graduating in June 2024, Lucienne hopes to work as a trade and sanctions policy consultant, and looks forward to traveling abroad, exploring new cultures, and (hopefully) honing her Spanish language skills. During the Fall 2022 term, she joined GAPSWell to build community with other fellow graduate students on campus, and strongly believes in the power that real, honest conversations can have on people’s mental wellbeing. In her downtime, you might find her running at Scripps beach, cooking for friends, or trying one of San Diego’s many coffee shops.

ro-sandoval_web.jpgRo Sandoval (they/she)
Neurosciences Graduate Program, 2nd year
Washington University in St. Louis, BS in Neuroscience, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Ro was born and raised in Chiquimula, Guatemala but calls Memphis, TN their second home. Having grown up in environments where community is vital, Ro is passionate about sharing the philosophy of love and care as radical practices. With a background in critical gender studies and as a queer student, Ro is dedicated to engaging in topics of mental health through an intersectional lens. In their personal journey, Ro has worked through grief, loneliness, and anxiety and wants to create spaces to honor and explore those topics with others. Outside of graduate school, Ro finds their energy through reading copiously, spending time with nature, creating ceramic sculptures, and practicing yoga.


Anika Sinha (she/her/hers)
MD Candidate, UC San Diego School of Medicine
Stanford University, BA in Human Biology

Originally from the Bay Area, Anika attended Stanford University for undergrad where she studied Human Biology. She was passionate about mental health and eating disorder advocacy, leading several campus initiatives that would later inspire her to join GAPSWell! After college, she spent a year living in San Francisco working at a healthcare consulting company and understanding the business aspects of medicine. Eager to return to a patient-facing role, she came to UC San Diego to start medical school in 2022. Anika remains passionate about student wellness and mental health during graduate school, which can be an isolating time for many. In her free time, she loves playing volleyball and spikeball, exploring coffee shops, and watching San Diego’s lovely sunsets! 

GAPSWell Alumni

Alejandra Chaidez (she/her/hers)
School of Global Policy & Strategy
UC Berkeley, BA in Political Science and Social Welfare

Emily Ho (she/her/hers)
Medical Scientist Training Program
Neurosciences Graduate Program
University of Chicago, BA in Biological Sciences and Psychology

Qihao (Thomas) Liu (he/him/his)
Biological Sciences MS
UC San Diego, BS in Neuroscience and Physiology

Kennedy Middleton (she/her/hers)
Political Science Graduate Program
Spelman College, BA in Political Science
UC San Diego, MA in Political Science

Nina Imani Scott (she/her/hers)
Marine Biology Doctoral Program
University of the Virgin Islands, BS in Marine Biology

Kween Agba (she/her/hers)
Neurosciences Graduate Program
Northeastern University, BS in Behavioral Neuroscience

Jasmin Ashby (They/Them/Theirs or She/Her/Hers)
Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health & Human Longevity Science
UC San Diego, BA in Sociology of Science and Medicine

José Delgado (he/him/his)
Bioengineering Medical Specialization MS
UC Santa Barbara, BS in Biological sciences

Dania Maldonado (she/her/hers)
Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health & Human Longevity Science
UC Irvine School of Medicine
UC Berkeley, BA Social Welfare, minor in Education

Anja Payne (she/her/hers)
Neurosciences Graduate Program
University of Utah, BS in Biomedical Engineering

Alexis Plazola (she/her/hers)
Global Health Graduate Program
UC San Diego, BS Global Health

Anshu Andani (she/her/hers)
Masters of Engineering, Medical Device Engineering
Bioengineering UC San Diego
B.E Biomedical Engineering, BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore, India

Neha Balaji (she/her/hers)
MS Bioengineering
BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore, BE in Biotechnology

Gisselle Santiago (She/her/hers)
Masters of Science, Biology
Biological Sciences Graduate Program
UC San Diego, B.S. in Human Biology and Global Health
BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore, BE in Biotechnology

Summer Zhu (she/her/hers)
Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health & Human Longevity Science
UC Davis, BA in Psychology and Communication

Seraphina Solders (she/her/hers)
Neurosciences Graduate Program
San Diego State University, BA in Biology & Psychology

Aishwarya Balaje
Master's Student, Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering, UC San Diego
BS in Electronics and Communication Engineering

Workshops, Forums and Events

Request a Program

Request a program for your graduate department or organization.

Become a Graduate and Professional Student Well-Being Associate (GAPSWell)

Applications are currently closed, please check back later.