Psychology and Child Development

College of Liberal Arts

Susana A. López


Pronouns: she, her, ella

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

  • Office: 47-21Q
  • Phone: 805-756-6131
  • Email:


Postdoctoral Scholar
Nathanson Family Resilience Center
UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA)
University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)
Kleck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology
University of California, Santa Barbara
Concentration: Counseling
M.S. in Psychology
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
B.A. in Psychology
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo


Courses Taught

  • Psy 372
  • PSY 320
  • PSY 323
  • PSY 555
  • PSY 556
  • PSY 574

Research Interests


As an immigrant who grew up in a low-resource community, I have an interest in studying the psychological processes of acculturation, trauma, resilience, and the utilization of psychological services among marginalized populations. Researching concepts such as resilience means that we also must look at how institutional systems put individuals in vulnerable positions in the first place. Decolonizing psychology not only means doing research but using a model of collaboration with our research participants. Qualitative community-based research allows for those collaborations.

Currently, my research interest continues to be around topics addressing mental health and mental health care disparities of BIPOC vulnerable populations. Specifically, my BEACoN funded qualitative project lasy year titled Teacher’s role in the racial healing of central coast BIPOC students experiencing racism, microaggressions and discrimination, looked at the impact of school oppression, racial discrimination and racial bias on the mental health and academic success of youth. I hope to start some new projects here at Cal Poly where we will explore psychological concepts in the Latinx immigrant population. 


Selected Publications


Pieterse, D., Bo-Kyung, K., Klomhaus, A., Comulada, W., Lopez, S.A. & et al.. (2022). PTSD Among Families of Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth: Relation to Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Problems. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 31.


Milburn, N.G., Cumulada, S.W., Klomhaus, A., Lopez, S.A. & et al. (2020). Reconnecting Homeless Adolescents and Their Families: Correlates of Participation in a Family-Based Intervention. Journal of Prevention Science, 21(8), 1048–1058.


Bath, E., Kim, B. K. E., Milburn, N. G., Lopez, S.A., & Amani, B. (2019). Lessons learned: Challenges and strategies for conducting family-based intervention research in juvenile justice settings. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 58(11).


Milburn, N.G., Beatty, L., & Lopez, S. A. (2019). Understanding, unpacking and eliminating health disparities: A prescription for health equity promotion through behavioral and psychological research – an introduction. Journal of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 25(1), 1-5.


Milburn, N. G., Hamilton, A. B., Lopez, S., & Wyatt, G. E. (2019). Mentoring the next generation of behavioral health scientists to promote health equity. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(3), 369- 377.


Wyatt, G. E., Chin, D., Milburn, N., Hamilton, A., Lopez, S., Kim, A., Stone, J. D., & Belcher, H. M. E. (2019). Mentoring the mentors of students from diverse backgrounds for research. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(3), 321–328.


Milburn, N.G., Stein, J., Lopez, S.A. & et al. (2018). Trauma, family factors and the mental health of homeless adolescents. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma.


Amani, B., Milburn, N. G., Lopez, S.A., Young-Brinn, A., Castro, L., Lee, A., & Bath, E. (2018). Families and the Juvenile Justice System: Considerations for Family-Based Interventions. Family & Community Health, 41(1), 55–63.


Ayala Lopez, S. & Quirk, M.P. (2014). Assets Associated with Well-being among Mexican Immigrants: The Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the Mexican Immigrant Assets Scale. (Dissertation Submitted to PROQUEST dissertation abstract).


Llamas, J., Ayala Lopez, S., & Quirk, M.P. (2014). Listening to our students: Taking a student perspective to examine program effectiveness. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 19, 196-214.


Morgan Consoli, M. L., Lynne, M., Ayala Lopez, S., Gonzales, N., Cabrera, A. P., Llamas, J., & Ortega, S. (2011). Thriving and resilience in the Latino/a population: Intersections and discrepancies. Interamerican Journal of Psychology/Revista InterAmericana de Psicologia, 45(3), 351-362.



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