Sarah H. Alexander, M.Ed.
Assistant Director, Accessibility Services
After completing her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Riverside, Sarah entered the world of education and began teaching high school for five years. Sarah completed her Master’s of Education in Educational Counseling program through USC Rossier’s School of Education in 2019 where she developed a passion for student affairs. Within her program, she served as Vice President of Administrative Affairs for the 2018-2019 Students of Higher Educational Counseling (SHiEC) executive board. As an advocate for education, she is enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue supporting students as they continue their educational careers. Sarah joined the OSAS staff in Fall 2019 and provides direct support to a caseload of students. Sarah hopes to help all students gain skills to achieve their personal, professional and academic goals.
One of Sarah’s favorite quotes:
“For what it’s worth... it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
Patti Alaniz-Roux, M.Ed.
Lead Specialist, Testing Services
Patti began her career with OSAS as an Exam Assistant while completing her Master’s in Education from USC’s Rossier School of Education. Shortly after graduating in May 2017, she took on the role of Testing Services Specialist for OSAS. In addition to overseeing a caseload of OSAS students, Patti’s role also includes day-to-day management of the OSAS Testing Center and related services. She enjoys working closely with students and assisting them in their academic, professional, and personal development while attending USC.
One of Patti’s favorite quotes:
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein
Asher Baca, B.A., SSTC
Lead Specialist, Clinical & Professional Programs
Asher studied English at California State University Fullerton, then utilized that degree to teach abroad for a year in Japan. After returning, he earned his single subject teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach and expects to complete a Master’s program at USC. Asher’s experience in education ranges through all levels including K-12, community college, and four year institutions. His interests include educational access for marginalized populations, foundational educational skills attainment and their impact on student success, and organizational change. As OSAS Notetaking Services Specialist, he oversees all notetaking related accommodations, including peer notetaking and all technology based options, and also provides direct support to a caseload of students.
One of Asher’s favorite quotes:
“Things are only impossible until they are not.” – Jean-Luc Picard
OSAS Administrative Assistant
Lanett worked at USC Widney Alumni House before coming to Office of Student Accessibility Services in 2017. She is the front line contact for students, families and campus partners providing general guidance regarding OSAS registrations process and policies. She also enjoys music and attending U2 concerts.
One of Lanett’s favorite quotes:
“Make your mind over and make a difference in the lives of others.”
Testing Services Assistant
Celeste started her career in disability services at Cypress College as a student worker in their Disability Support Services office. She continued her disability-related work at California State University (CSUF) as a Testing Student Assistant and received her B.S. in Human Services. Celeste has a passion for accessibility. She hopes to continue her education and earn a master’s degree in the near future. As a Testing Assistant for OSAS, Celeste carries out the day-to-day operations and quality assurance for the Center, including direct involvement in monitoring academic integrity standards.
One of Celeste’s favorite quotes:
“It always seems impossible until its done” – Nelson Mandela
Maria Fontana, M.A., CRC
Maria earned a B.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Wayne State University, and a M.A in Rehabilitation Counseling from Michigan State University. Maria is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. She joined the OSAS team in June 2021. Some of Maria's key interests include executive functioning skills, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and working with first-generation college students. As a Disability Specialist, Maria provides direct support to a caseload of OSAS students.
One of Maria’s favorite quotes:
“Being human is not hard because you're doing it wrong, it's hard because you're doing it right." - Glennon Doyle, Untamed
Erica Hallebo, M.S.
Testing Services Assistant
Erica earned her B.A in Psychology from the University of Southern California and a M.S in Education with a focus in child and adolescent psychology from the University of Edinburgh. While studying her Masters, Erica completed her research on neurodivergent representation on academic websites. Erica joined OSAS in August 2021 and is excited to be a part of the Trojan family once again. Erica’s goals are to continue advocating for neurodiversity in education and increase social awareness on campus and off.
One of Erica’s favorite quotes:
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases." - Carl Jung
Tracy Jalaba, OTD, OTR/L
Senior Disability Specialist
Tracy Jalaba received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Biology from UC Davis before moving to Los Angeles to earn her master’s and doctorate degrees in occupational therapy from USC. As a disability specialist, Dr. Jalaba utilizes her occupational therapy lens at OSAS to inform her approach to case management, consultation, and program development. In addition to her work at OSAS, she serves as a clinical faculty member at USC’s Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice where she specializes in working with students as well as individuals with Autism spectrum or mental health diagnoses.
One of Tracy’s favorite quotes:
“Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” –Tina Fey
Debbie Jih, Ed.D, LMFT
Debbie first started her career in disability services as a graduate advisor while working on her MA in Marriage & Family Therapy from USC’s Rossier School of Education. She left USC to pursue a mental health profession specializing in individual, group and family therapy. In addition to clinical service experience, Debbie conducted agency-wide trainings and assisted with process improvement and with developing policies and procedures. In June of 2015, Debbie returned full-time to USC’s OSAS office. She currently oversees many of OSAS' student service processes, outreach and educational events, and also manages a dedicated caseload of students.
One of Debbie’s favorite quotes:
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Kim Nguyen, MSW, LCSW
Assistant Director, Clinical & Professional Programs
Kim is a licensed clinical social worker who’s been working in the field of education since 2011. Kim served as a school counselor for nearly 6 years providing individual and group therapeutic services to students with special needs. She has always had a passion supporting students with their long-term educational goals. That led to Kim pursuing student disability services in higher education for 2 years before joining OSAS. Kim currently manages a OSAS caseload with an emphasis in coordinating accommodations for students in clinical and professional placements.
One of Kim's favorite quotes:
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” –Brene Brown
Bethrese Padini, OTD, OTR/L
Lead Specialist, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services
Bethrese earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in occupational therapy from USC. Passionate about serving students in higher education, she initially joined OSAS as an occupational therapy doctoral resident. She now serves as the Lead Specialist for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services as well as the Program Coordinator for the OSAS Balancing LIFE Peer Mentorship Program. Catch her trying to bring dying plants to life and hanging out with other people's dogs.
One of Bethrese's favorite quotes:
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – Iain S. Thomas
Mauricio graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2013, where he got his BA in Politics. Mauricio started as a student worker for the Disability Resource Center. After graduating, he accepted a staff role at the DRC as the Alternate Media Production Manager. After 7 years, Mauricio now works at OSAS as the Services Assistant where he provides support for any Assistive Technology requests.
One of Mauricio's favorite quotes:
“Learning never exhausts the mind” – Leonardo Da Vinci
Ayda Shahi, MSW
Center Director, Testing Services
As the Center Director, Ayda oversees accommodated testing at the OSAS Testing Center and provides direct support to a caseload of OSAS students. Prior to working at USC, Ayda served as an academic advisor, as well as a social worker in the New York City public school system. Her experience includes working with K-12, at-risk youth, and individuals with mental health conditions. Ayda is passionate about working with students in higher education, providing support and resources so every student can succeed.
One of Ayda’s favorite quotes:
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
Madison Shaw, M.A., M.Ed.
Assistant Director, Policy, Programming & Evaluation
Madison joined the OSAS staff as a Graduate Advisor in 2017 and transitioned to the role of Disability Specialist in July 2018. She earned an M.Ed in Educational Counseling from the USC Rossier School of Education and an M.A. in Psychology from Touro University. Some of Madison’s key interests include student mental health and well-being, and the retention and persistence of students with disabilities. Madison is passionate about serving students in higher education and hopes to earn a Psy. D in the future. As a Disability Specialist, Madison provides direct support to a caseload of OSAS students, and assists with student service processes, outreach and educational events.
One of Madison’s favorite quotes:
“Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” —William Ellery Channing
Aly Thach, M.Ed.
Notetaking Services Specialist
Aly began her educational career at Mount San Antonio College and earned her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Education Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her M.Ed. in Educational Counseling from USC’s Rossier School of Education and joined OSAS in the Fall of 2021. Aly has always been passionate about educational equity and student affairs. As the Notetaking Services Specialist, Aly oversees all notetaking related accommodations and also manages a caseload of students.
One of Aly's favorite quotes:
"Thankful for another day, another chance” — Unknown
Victoria Vu, M.S.
After receiving her B.A. in Liberal Studies from UC Riverside, Victoria took her time to explore the world of education. She started her professional journey in the K-12 system and ECE Special Education. Her passions for accessible education, holistic development, and inclusivity lead her to earn a M.S. in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University. One day, Victoria would love to obtain a doctorate degree in hopes to bring more awareness in mental health for underrepresented students. Victoria began her career with OSAS as a Testing Services Assistant in 2019. She is currently a Disability Specialist who provides direct support to a caseload of OSAS students.
One of Victoria’s favorite quotes:
"We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." – Sirius Black (J.K. Rowling)