Stanford Living Education Instructors
Angela Amarillas - Instructor
Angela is committed to the development of happy, healthy, and high-achieving humans in thriving communities. Her career as a wellness educator started at Stanford when she was an undergrad (Human Biology, ‘97) when she got to build the first few iterations of the residential peer health education before going back to grad school (Graduate School of Education - Social Sciences in Education, ‘01). After spending many years advising the California Department of Education on best practices in health education and school climate, she is thrilled to be back in higher education as the Associate Director of Stanford’s financial wellness program called Mind Over Money, equipping students with knowledge and skills, mindsets and habits to flourish financially. View Stanford CAP profile.
anthony lising antonio, Ph.D. - Instructor
anthony lising antonio is Associate Professor of Education and Associate Director of the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research. Antonio’s research focuses on American higher education, particularly in the areas of stratification and postsecondary access, racial diversity and its impact on students and institutions, student friendship networks, and student development. Most recently, he was selected to the inaugural cohort of the Spencer Foundation Mid-Career Fellows Program. Among his current projects are studies of engineering education and career persistence and college-going culture in schools.
Alison Ash, Ph.D. – Instructor
Alison Ash is a trauma-informed intimacy coach and educator and the founder of TurnON.love. As a sociologist, Aly has a comprehensive understanding of the complex societal challenges that often lead to unsatisfying and disempowering relational experiences. she also draws on her extensive training in the Hakomi method of psychotherapy as well as Somatica model of sex and intimacy coaching to support others to radically explore and courageously express themselves. In addition to teaching at Stanford, Aly offers more than thirty different workshops, courses, and retreats to individuals and businesses through TurnON.love. She also offers individuals and couples coaching to give others the tools they need to have the quality of connection they desire. In her free time, she enjoys being in nature, tending to her garden, and traveling. Aly has a BA in Sociology and English from The University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University.
Cari Costanzo, Ph.D. – Instructor
Cari Costanzo is a Cultural Anthropologist who helps individuals unfold their stories. Integrating her work as an ethnographer and an Academic Director, Cari designs Body Map workshops that combine cultural awareness with artistic and contemplative practices to encourage the reframing and reclaiming of embodied experiences, enabling participants to both reflect upon and creatively share their life stories. Cari’s research, writing, and teaching focus on ritual, embodiment, and identity formation in contemporary society, looking closely at the cultural construction of race, class, gender, and sexuality. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in India, Hawaii, and on the Stanford campus. Cari is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, as well as the Thinking Matters and LifeWorks Programs at Stanford University. She has also taught undergraduate and graduate students in the d.school’s Life Design Lab, served on the launch team of the Stanford Resilience Project, and is a founding member of Gender Inclusive Stanford. Cari is a recipient of the Centennial Teaching Award for outstanding pedagogical innovations in the classroom. From 2010-2015 Cari served as a Resident Fellow, living in an all-freshman dormitory with her two children, where she blended formal and informal learning to facilitate intellectual curiosity and personal growth among the 99 residents of Twain Hall. Cari earned a BA in Comparative Literature from USC, an MA in the MAPSS Program at the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Stanford University. View Stanford CAP profile.
Maija Cruz - Instructor
Through a variety of roles, Maija has worked at Stanford since graduating (‘12, Psychology), and now coaches both graduate and undergraduate students through the Well-Being at Stanford team. Her work is focused on supporting students affiliated with the Community Centers and Ethnic Theme Houses. Through every role, Maija has remained energized around supporting and improving the student experience at Stanford. As a FLI and non-traditional student, Maija often felt ‘othered’ in many spaces, so she is thrilled to serve students who might be feeling that, too. She’s especially passionate about decolonizing and indigenizing processes and spaces to be more inclusive to a broader student need. As Lecturer, Maija is proud to have co-created Wellness 141: Flourishing While BIPOC: Reclaiming Our Ways of Wellness, an independently funded course created to meet the emotional and unique intellectual needs of BIPOC students. Aside from coaching and teaching, Maija runs her own private coaching practice and frequently shares her expertise through workshops and speaking engagements.
Robert Cusick – Instructor
Robert trained at Stanford University School of Medicine in the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE). He is a Stanford Lecturer & Certified Sr. Stanford CCT™ (Compassion Cultivation Training) Instructor and teaches at Stanford University, UCSF, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and in multiple other venues. As a long- time meditator and former monk, Robert ordained in Burma under the renowned meditation master, Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, and studied with him from 2003 - 2012. He has studied in the Soto Zen tradition, in the Ridhwan School’s Diamond approach with A. H. Almaas (Hameed Ali), and in the Insight Meditation tradition with Gil Fronsdal PhD, Jack Kornfield PhD, and others. He provides grief counseling and bereavement support for adults and children at Kara kara-grief.org in Palo Alto.
Dr. Amina Darwish - Instructor
Dr. Amina Darwish is an Associate Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life and Advisor for Muslim Life. She previously served as the first full time Muslim Life Coordinator at Columbia University. Dr. Darwish has a decade of professional experience working with Muslim and Interfaith communities. Dr. Darwish brings a unique blend of understanding the different cultures within the Muslim community while staying grounded in traditional Islamic scholarship. She earned a Ph.D. in Chemical engineering before switching careers to follow her true passion for community building.
Dustin DiPerna - Instructor
Dustin DiPerna currently serves as adjunct professor at Stanford University where he teaches classes on meditation, human flourishing, and purpose finding. Dustin spent 20 years studying with American philosopher Ken Wilber and is considered an expert in Integral Theory. He is a senior teacher of Tibetan meditation practices and studied with his main meditation teacher, Daniel P. Brown, for 16 years. Dustin teaches regularly in the US, Europe, Australia, and China. Through his writing, teaching, and entrepreneurship, Dustin helps people find happier and more fulfilling ways of being in the world. His books include Streams of Wisdom, Evolution's Ally, and Purpose Rising, among others.
Marissa Floro, Ph.D. - Instructor
Marissa joined Stanford’s campus as the Gender & Sexual Identities Postdoctoral Fellow at CAPS and has stayed on through the Weiland Health Initiative, serving queer, trans, and non-binary students through clinical and advocacy services. Marissa has focused her research, clinical, and teaching work on intersections of identity, especially race, attraction, and gender. Marissa has taught at multiple institutions and currently teaches at Stanford’s School of Medicine and University of San Francisco. Though primarily teaching and training future clinicians about social justice and liberation, clinical skills, and issues of sex, sexuality, and gender, Marissa hopes to extend this knowledge in order to empower Stanford students to better understand, explore, and connect with themselves and others.
BJ Fogg, Ph.D. - Instructor
Dr. BJ Fogg founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University, where he directs research and innovation. In addition, he teaches industry innovators how to use his models and methods in Behavior Design. The purpose of his research and teaching is to help millions of people improve their lives. At Stanford, BJ was an appointed Lecturer and Consulting Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, where he taught classes from 1997 - 2014. He has also been a Lecturer and Social Science Research Scholar at the Graduate School of Education from 2001 to the present. BJ wrote a seminal book, Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do, about how computers can be designed to influence attitudes and behaviors. That book, together with his early innovations, inspired an annual global academic conference on the topic. Heralded as a thought leader in helping people use mobile for good, BJ first focused his efforts on health behaviors. From 2007 to 2012, BJ annually brought together academics, government agencies, mobile vendors, and private sector health organizations for conferences and workshops to share insights, resources, and best practices. He is the co-editor of Mobile Persuasion: 20 Perspectives on the Future of Behavior Change. Fortune Magazine named BJ a “New Guru You Should Know” for his insights about mobile and social networks. BJ is the New York Times bestselling author of Tiny Habits.
Diane Friedlaender, Ph.D. - Associate Director of SLED, Program Head of LEAD and Pedagogy and Research
Diane Friedlaender is Associate Director of SLED. She heads the Leadership and Social Change (LEAD) program and supports SLED’s commitment to holistic and integrative pedagogy and formative research. Diane is committed to infusing humanity into our educational systems and explores holistic ways to support students’ development across social-emotional, creative, spiritual, physical and cognitive dimensions. As the head of the LEAD program, Diane is committed to supporting students’ introspection and self knowledge as a crucial component of their leadership development, so they can bring themselves with authenticity to any leadership role. At Stanford since 2004, Diane previously led qualitative case study education research at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), documenting educational change processes and highlighting the kinds of educational spaces in which students, particularly low-income, and students of color flourish. She also has years of experience documented the power of arts integration as a tool for social justice in schools that serve low-income communities of color. As part of her commitment to holistic educational experiences, Diane co-created and led an elementary school mindfulness program and helped found a K-8 school. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from UC San Diego, and a Ph.D. in education policy from UCLA.
Laurie Friedman – Instructor
Laurie has over 25 years’ experience in emergency management and currently serves as the Stanford University Deputy Emergency Manager. Her interest in disaster response, preparedness education and hazard mitigation began during a Presidential Management Internship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In her career, she has responded to major disasters and led preparedness, planning and education programs for federal and local emergency response and public health agencies. She understands people genuinely want to help in emergencies, and that skills training goes a long way to build the confidence needed. For this reason, Laurie has adapted the FEMA Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) national curriculum for Stanford students who wish to train and then serve on the Stanford CERT team. Laurie holds an MS from the University of Oregon and a BS from UC Davis. In her free time, you can probably find her riding at the Stanford Red Barn Equestrian Center.
Brianna Griffin - Instructor
Bri re-joined the Stanford community in 2019 as a Well-Being Coach for Undergraduate students with Well-Being at Stanford. She has been teaching people of all ages since her years as an undergraduate at Stanford. Most recently, Bri instructed a Stanford class on Peer Support, focusing on how to support friends and family using well-being coaching techniques. She grew up in Texas and came to Stanford for her undergraduate studies in Science, Technology, and Society. In her free time, Bri enjoys spending time outside with friends, hiking, and trying out new food spots.
Colleen Hallagan Preuninger - Instructor
The Rev. Dr. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger serves as Associate Dean and Director of Student Engagement in the Office for Religious & Spiritual Life. She is passionate about exploring the intersections of life, love, and deeply held values in both curricular and co-curricular settings. In her role at Stanford as Associate Dean, Chaplain, and Instructor she journeys with students of all, and no, religious and spiritual traditions as they explore life’s most pressing questions. She loves to feed people, belly laugh, and watch Miyazaki movies. Her pockets are always full of stones and shells. She is most herself when she is traveling. She holds a B.A. in German Language and Literature from Hamilton College, Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary.
Helen H. Hsu, Psy.D. - Instructor
Helen is Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Director of Outreach and a lecturer at Stanford University. She is President-elect of the American Psychological Association Div. 45 (Society for the Study of Race, Culture and Ethnicity) a past president of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA). Helen is a bi-cultural and bi-lingual clinician, whose career has focused on intersectional diverse communities, mentorship of emerging leaders, culturally responsive mental health practices, and grief work. Inspired by students and the Stanford Grief Gathering team, she created the “Art of Grief Course” She also co-teaches Asian American Psychological Perspectives on Wellness winter quarter. Helen relies on outdoor time, activism with like minded folks, great books and good eats for self-preservation. She will happily provide plant cuttings and snacks to all who may want them.
Caitlin Krause - Instructor
Caitlin Krause is an experience designer, author and keynote speaker fostering metaverse fluency. Founder of the XR studio and consultancy MindWise, her thought leadership thrives at the intersection of technology, innovation, and wellbeing. She teaches about digital wellbeing and flourishing in a tech-rich environment at Stanford University. In 2021 she authored the book Designing Wonder: Leading Transformative Experiences in XR. Caitlin has advised global organizations including Google, Meta, LinkedIn, Oracle, TED, Evernote, ETH, and the U.S. State Department. She has created and run numerous collaborative experiences in social XR, fusing presence, storytelling, meditation, and emotional intelligence. She is a writer and designer for digital therapeutic applications that incorporate haptics and biofeedback. She holds an MFA from Lesley University and a BA from Duke University. After two decades of leadership experience, she wrote Mindful By Design (Corwin Press, 2019) helping individuals and teams navigate complexity and change in the future of work, prioritizing mindful wellbeing, design, and imagination.
Bryan Lian - Instructor
Bryan is fascinated by experiential nutrition therapies, healthcare quality improvement, and body empowerment, liberation, and justice. Since 2011, Bryan has specialized in eating disorders and behavioral health. He attended Rutgers University (‘10),UCSF (‘17). He did his clinical training at two Harvard teaching hospitals, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital for dietetics and adolescent health respectively. He currently serves as a dietitian/nutritionist at Stanford’s Vaden Health Services, a member of the Well-Being team, and a private practitioner.
Christy Matta, M.A. - Instructor
Christy is the clinical services training manager for Stanford’s Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing. Prior to coming to Stanford she worked in community mental health developing, implementing and providing clinical supervision and direction for innovative programming for youth and adults at the local level in regions of the U.S. and Canada. She is the author of “The Stress Response: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Free You from Needless Anxiety, Worry, Anger, and Other Symptoms of Stress” is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). As an instructor, Christy has taught Stress Less, Sleep Better and been a co-lecturer for Topics in Neurodiversity: Introduction and Advocacy. In her spare time, she loves reading, traveling (when possible), and always needs a creative outlet, which most recently is abstract, layered, acrylic painting.
Sarah Meyer Tapia, Ph.D. - Interim Director of SLED, Program Head of Wellness Education
Sarah Meyer Tapia is Interim Director of Stanford Living Education and Program Head of the Wellness Education academic program for students. She creates classrooms, communities, and environments that support both high achievement and holistic well-being. At Stanford since 2013 she’s worked in both employee and student wellness teaching stress-management, behavior change, meditation and mindfulness to students, faculty, and staff. Sarah earned her graduate degree in Counseling and Health Psychology from Santa Clara University where she received the Research Excellence Grant for her work teaching mindfulness. She earned her doctorate in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology. Sarah believes our best work (and our best living!) comes from exploring our curiosity and expressing ourselves authentically.
Meag-gan O'Reilly, Ph.D. – Instructor
Dr. Meag-gan (she/her) is a licensed Psychologist, self-worth expert, DEI Consultant, and the co-founder of Inherent Value Psychology INC. She obtained her Post-Doctoral Fellowship from Stanford where she served as a Staff Psychologist and Coordinator of Outreach Equity and Inclusion for six years. As a Lecturer in the Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Meag-gan taught Wellness 110: The Science of Motivation and Procrastination, a course that reached max enrollment each quarter. Dr. Meag-gan co-created and teaches Wellness 141: Thriving While BIPOC: Reclaiming Our Ways of Wellness, an independently funded course created to meet the emotional and unique intellectual needs of Black, Indigenous, and other students of color.
Gigi Otálvaro, Ph.D. – Associate Director of SLED, Program Head of LifeWorks
Gigi Otálvaro is an educator, artist-scholar, writer, and psychogeographer. As Associate Director of SLED, she leads the LifeWorks Program for Integrative Learning. Her research and pedagogical interests include the intersection of creative practice and contemplative practice, women of color feminisms, queer of color critique, erotic art and performance, art and activism, as well as embodied and creative healing modalities such as qigong and laughter yoga. She holds a Ph.D. in Theater & Performance Studies with a minor in Art History from Stanford University, an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts, and a B.A. in Hybridity and Performance from Brown University. Her current book project, Erotic Resistance: the Struggle for the Soul of San Francisco, is based on her doctoral dissertation Erotic Resistance: Performance, Art, and Activism in San Francisco Strip Clubs (1960s-2010s) and will be published by University of California Press in spring of 2024. Other publications have appeared in Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, Open Space, Art Practical, Performance Research, and the Routledge Companion to Decolonizing Art History (forthcoming). For a partial list of other publications and awards, please visit her Stanford CAP profile.
Katia Sol, Ph.D. - Instructor
Katia Sol, Ph.D. teaches contemplation and leadership through an ecological lens, guiding students in inner and outer growth through connection with the natural world. Katia’s love for Stanford dates back to her days as an undergrad (BA, Latin American Studies) and coterm student (MA, Education), from which she has fond memories of singing with Talisman A Cappella, living in the co-ops Columbae and Synergy, and dancing salsa on the Bolivar House lawn. Katia’s background spans 25 years as a scholar-practitioner in the fields of Comparative, International, and Development Education, Cross-Cultural Dialogue, and Transformative Global Leadership. She has lived and worked around the world, including with many Indigenous communities, and founded her own leadership development, coaching and consulting practice over a decade ago. Katia returned to Stanford in 2021 as a Sloan Fellow (MSx) at the Graduate School of Business, where she obtained her Master’s of Science in Management. She also holds her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in Leadership, Higher and Adult Education.
T.L. Steinwert - Instructor
Tiffany Steinwert, Ph.D. became Dean for Religious & Spiritual Life at Stanford University in February of 2019. Dean Steinwert nurtures religious, spiritual, moral, and ethical education for students, staff, and faculty. She aims to build relationships amidst difference and to cultivate healthy contemplative practices for the transformation of self and world. Trained as a practical theologian, her scholarly work explores chaplaincy in higher education, emerging pedagogies for inter-religious education, and contemplative studies. Prior to her roles in higher education, Steinwert served as an ordained elder in the New England Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, as a national organizer for diverse social justice organizations, and as an instructor at Boston University, Harvard Kennedy School, and Brite Divinity School leading courses in theology, community organizing, and leadership. Steinwert holds a B.A. degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Williams College, a Master of Divinity degree from Boston University School of Theology, and a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Boston University.
Rebecca Schisler - Instructor
A devoted mindfulness practitioner and educator, Rebecca Schisler serves as a core faculty member at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She is also on the faculty of Or HaLev Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation, and has taught classes and retreats with Awakened Heart Project, Orot, Wilderness Torah, Pardes, and Mindful Life Project. She was previously the Director of Student Health & Well-being at Stanford University's Hillel, and co-authored the Mahloket Matters Schools Curriculum with the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators. A student rabbi at ALEPH, Rebecca is passionate about integrating ancestral wisdom traditions with innovative approaches to personal and collective healing and liberation. Rebecca is also an artist and maintains a painting practice in her home studio. Learn more at www.rebeccaschisler.com, and check out Rebecca's art at imaginalstudio.art.
Julia Shepherd Tang - Instructor
Julia’s passion is to help students flourish through holistic practices that kindle their creativity, enthusiasm and purpose. Previously, as a research health science specialist, she investigated the effects of a breath-based meditation technique on Veterans with PTSD at the Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Palo Alto. She currently teaches Wellness 132: Breathwork for Wellbeing, a course which combines meditative practice with activities that inspire connection and purpose. Julia received her meditation teacher certification 2001 and her Masters of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2003.
Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper - Instructor
Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper is an Associate Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life and Campus Rabbi in the university’s Office for Religious and Spiritual Life. A graduate of Stanford University (’98), she earned a B.A. in History, graduating with Honors in Jewish Studies and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 2005. She is passionate about exploring the intersection of faith and justice and creating inclusive communities of belonging that foster spiritual wellness.
Andrew Todhunter - Instructor
Andrew Todhunter is an award-winning writer and lecturer at Stanford University, where he teaches writing, interdisciplinary creativity and contemplative practice. He is the co-founder of two programs at Stanford—The Senior Reflection, a creative capstone program in Biology, and the LifeWorks Program in Integrative Learning. He has offered courses or workshops in collaboration with the Stanford Storytelling Project, Honors in the Arts, the Program in Writing and Rhetoric and other programs. His book A Meal Observed won the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction. He is also the author of Dangerous Games and the San Francisco Chronicle best seller Fall of the Phantom Lord. A longtime practitioner of meditation and Aikido, he often integrates these practices and wilderness experience into his courses at Stanford.
Jonah Willihnganz, Ph.D. – Instructor
Jonah Willihnganz is the Bruce Braden Lecturer of Narrative Studies and director of The Stanford Storytelling Project, an arts program that explores how narrative practices can help deepen natural human capacities such as courage, empathy, and gratitude. His main research interests have been in the fields of narratology and psychology and he has published fiction, essays, and articles on American literature. He teaches courses in creative writing, American literature, media studies, and critical theory, and collaborates extensively across disciplines to explore how story craft and practices can be used to create personal and social change. A long-time meditator and student of Aikido, he incorporates their practices of attention and intention into many of his courses. He received a bachelor's degree in political economy from Georgetown University, an MFA in creative writing from Hollins University, and a PhD in English from Brown. View Stanford CAP Profile.
Donnovan Yisrael - Instructor
Through his work, Donnovan helps answer the question, “Why do people do risky things?” That is, he helps people understand how culture/society/institutions affect our health decision-making (and ultimately our health) and what we can do about it. More recently, Donnovan has integrated the tenets of emotional intelligence and positive psychology into his work with students to with the intention of adding meaning and happiness to their healthiness. Donnovan was trained as a grief educator and volunteer with Kara in Palo Alto and has a passion for teaching people about the skill of grieving everything from disappointment to death. He received his MA in Sociology and BA in Psychology from Stanford University. View Stanford CAP profile.