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
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 Administrator
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, Fullerton as a Testing Student Assistant and received her B.S. in Human Services. Celeste has a passion for accessibility in higher education and is currently pursing her Masters in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs at the USC Rossier School of Education. As a Testing Services Administrator 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
Giselle Cordero, B.A.
Testing Services Assistant
Giselle earned her bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. During her undergraduate career, Giselle worked with various populations until she found her passion in education when she worked with K-12 foster youth in tutoring and college prep. Prior to joining USC, Giselle worked for residential life at UCLA and is interested in pursuing a career in higher education. She is passionate about creating communities in higher education that support all students to achieve their goals during a key time in their personal, professional, and academic lives. As a Testing Services Assistant, Giselle assists in prepping and proctoring exams.
One of Giselle’s favorite quotes:
"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." - Dead Poets Society
Steve Crays, B.S.
After several years in the fields of project management, technology, and operations, Steve began his career in the disability realm with Easterseals Massachusetts as an Assistive Technology Specialist in June 2017. While with Easterseals, Steve found a niche working with diverse, low-income students with disabilities who needed assistive technology to raise them to the same level as their non-disabled peers. Before leaving Easterseals, Steve held the roles of Office Manager, Assistive Technology Regional Center Manager, and Assistive Technology Specialist simultaneously. Steve joined the OSAS team in January 2022 as the Office Manager. Steve’s experience with disability services, project management, technology, operations, and passion for helping college students were the ideal combination for the OSAS Office Manager role.
One of Steve’s favorite quotes:
“If we are in tune, if we are fortified, we can go through the greatest misfortune without being crushed. If we are not in tune and thus unfortified, we are in danger even in the midst of good fortune. There are obstacles in the spiritual path, but they only rise and overcome us when our life is out of rhythm. To remedy this, we must find a proper basis for our actions. When we find this, harmony is restored" - Swami Paramananda
Erica Hällebo, M.S.
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. As the Notetaking Services Specialist, Erica oversees all notetaking related accommodations and also manages a caseload of students.
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
Matt Hertz, M.S.
Matt started his educational career at California State University, Channel Islands, where he received his B.A. in Psychology. He then earned his M.S. in Counseling with emphasis on College Student Personnel at Cal Lutheran University. Matt served as an Office Graduate Assistant at Disability Support Services during his time at CLU. Prior to Matts current role at OSAS, he served as a Career Counselor at California State University, Channel Islands. He is extremely passionate and an advocate for mental health among higher education. As an Accessibility Specialist, Matt’s primary role consist of supporting a caseload of OSAS students. Matt strives to support all students while focusing on aspects of academics, personal goals, and career aspiration.
One of Matt’s favorite quotes:
“Never let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game” – Babe Ruth
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.”
Esther Kim, M.S.Ed
Testing Services Assistant
Esther graduated from UC Irvine where she got her BA in Political Science. After graduating, she began working in DC charter schools while earning her master’s degree at Johns Hopkins. For 5 years, she worked as both a general education teacher and a special education teacher. Esther is passionate about educational equity and is hoping to continue her journey in working with the larger community.
One of Esther’s favorite quotes:
“Education was about the practice of freedom." - bell hooks
Testing Services Assistant
Russell earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles while working as a Student Office Assistant for UCLA’s College Academic Counseling (CAC). At CAC, Russell supported a staff of 13+ counselors, helped counsel students from the College of Letters and Science, and led the revamping for one of CAC’s social media initiatives. As a Testing Services Assistant, he happily continues to serves students and provide administrative support. In the future, Russell would love to work as a high school counselor or at the higher education level.
One of Russell’s favorite quotes:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom" - Anais Nin
Alex Mazzeo, M.Ed
Lead Specialist, Clinical and Professional Programs
Alex began his educational journey at the University of Florida, where he earned his B.S. in Psychology and M.Ed. in Student Personnel in Higher Education. While finishing his master's degree, Alex completed his practicum internship in the Disability Resource Center, directly supporting outreach and student programming efforts to promote disability as a valued aspect of diversity. He went on to serve as an Exam Accommodations Coordinator at UC Santa Cruz, then a Disability Specialist at UCLA. Alex is passionate about student development, educational equity, and social justice, and strives to incorporate these values into his everyday practice.
One of Alex’s favorite quotes:
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." - James Clear
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
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
Sara Sasoones, M.Ed
Sara started her educational journey at California State University, Northridge, where she received her B.A. in Psychology, and later received her Master’s of Education in Educational Counseling through USC’s Rosser School of Education. Sara has worked with a myriad of student populations both at CSUN and at USC, and is excited about the prospect of supporting individual student needs through accessibility services while incorporating intersecting identities.
One of Sara's favorite quotes:
“It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.” - Charlotte Brontë
Darlene earned her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. Prior to joining OSAS, Darlene worked in postsecondary education for 8 years, serving students with disabilities at both public and private institutions. She is passionate about mental health awareness and social justice and continues to advocate for equitable and inclusive environments for students to thrive. As an Accessibility Specialist, Darlene provides support to a caseload of OSAS students.
One of Darlene’s favorite quotes:
“Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it” – Mrs. Incredible
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.
Lead Specialist, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
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 a Lead Specialist, Aly oversees the deaf and hard of hearing service 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)
Testing Services Assistant
Briana received her undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s College of California in Social Psychology. Her time with OSAS began as a Graduate Testing Assistant and she is now in the role of Testing Services Assistant. As a Testing Services Assistant she assists with prepping and proctoring exams. She is currently in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at the Rossier School of Education. In the future she desires to continue advocating for marginalized groups in the mental health field.
One of Briana’s favorite quotes:
"For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?" - bell hooks