Keith Cowley, President Elect

Keith graduated from the Open University with a psychology (hons) and is now studying an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology at the University of East London. In his dissertation, he has developed a genuine smiling, Positive Psychology intervention.

One of Keith’s key talents is in connecting our Positive Psychology community and his passion project with SIPPA as President Elect is to increase engagement with positive psychology student communities globally, expanding and connecting this amazing field into new regions and continue to grow SIPPA’s global presence and network.

Alireza Memarian, President

Alireza Memarian is the Director and Editor-In-Chief of the European Journal of Psychology & Educational Studies, Positive Psychology section representative for APA’s Counselling division across all Iranian universities and a global representative at International positive education network (IPEN). Alireza is a Ph.D. student working on his positive psychology thesis at Isfahan Azad University to raise and promote Positive Psychology initiatives within and outside of Iran.
He is passionate to promote Positive Psychology and Positive Education among university professors & students as well as to the public. His passion is working with academics to establish Positive Psychology Associations in the Middle East in cooperation with a wide range of psychologists.


Alireza’s knowledge of both eastern and western cultures, business strategy, positive psychology and education spans sixteen years. Working and training with different skills in Canada provided him with the proper tools and insight to organize and connect with students & researchers all over the world, to introduce positive psychology initiatives to them and also to reach his goals at SIPPA and IPPA.


Positive psychotherapy & resiliency studies are two of his favourite subjects for which he is currently working on. Alireza built networks like the “Iran Positive Psychology Network” and tries to gather all students interested in positive psychology and organize them. His activities are not limited to one country. He wants happiness and a good quality of life for everyone, all earth’s citizens.


Alireza Memarian believes that sharing knowledge related to positive psychology and networking with university students all over the world will be one of the most important foundations for SIPPA.


Alireza is passionate about connecting SIPPA to other positive psychology scientific organizations as well as connecting it to international organizations such as UNICEF & UNESCO!


“Think globally and act locally!”

Taylor Damiani, Past President

TaylorTaylor Damiani is a first-year Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  After graduating from Duke University, Taylor was a 6th grade teacher and coach at an inner-city school in Brooklyn, and a therapy intervention co-developer and facilitator for girls in the NYC Juvenile Justice System. As President, Taylor aims to build SIPPA into a “go-to” international community, where students can learn from, collaborate with, and network with other future positive psychology leaders.

Sully Colon, Membership and Recruitment (US) Co-Chair

SullyColon_SIPPASully Colón is a school psychology doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and currently serves as Fundraising Chair for the Graduate Association of School Psychology. Sully completed her B.S. in Elementary Education, M.S. in Mental Health Counseling, and M.S. in School Psychology at NSU. Sully has worked in the field as a bilingual professional for a culturally diverse population including low SES and at risk students in elementary and secondary schools which provided her the experience of observing students succeed in academics despite their adversities thus leading her to develop a passion for Positive Psychology. Her research focuses on developing student’s strengths, and encouraging students to continue to develop their strengths for the purpose of creating resiliency for inevitable challenging learning experiences. Currently, she is researching how School Connectedness contributes to the emotional and academic outcome of students. As the U.S. Membership and Recruitment Chair she aims to increase awareness and membership to the SIPPA.

Erna van der Westhuizen, Membership and Recruitment (internationally) Co-Chair

ErnaVDW_SIPPAErna van der Westhuizen is a second-year student in Positive Psychology (MAPP) at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa. Erna has vast experience and knowledge in social justice and has been working in rural communities across South Africa for many years. Her research interest is in responsible evaluation of social interventions and aims to advocate for the inclusion of wellness measures. As Co-Chair Membership and Recruitment, Erna aims to initiate a South African student group and to network with various student groups around the world to explore networking possibilities.


Sarah Bourdeau, Mentoring Co-Chair

Sarah Bourdeau is a graduate student in industrial and organizational psychology at University of Quebec in Montreal. Her research focuses on motivation and passion for work, social influences and work-life balance. Specifically, her thesis will investigate the role of social norms with regards with the use of work-life policies. Sarah also volunteers for the Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology as student representative, and for Mind Pad, as associate editor.


Sierra Trudel, Mentoring Co-Chair

Sierra Trudel is a School Psychology graduate student at the University of Hartford and currently serves as a research assistant specializing in clinical supervision and assessment of children.  Previously, Sierra worked for a yoga-based company as a regional training specialist in leadership development, powerfully setting goals, living mindfully, and cultivating a culture of integrity. Her goal in school psychology is to promote strengths-based assessment and adapt Quality of Life Therapy for a school setting.  Sierra believes mentorship should be a positive and nurturing experience that encourages growth and change.  Her goal as Mentoring Co-Chair is to create a program that is accessible to all, which promotes diversity and authenticity within the positive psychology community.

Heena Parbhu, Conference & Special Events Co-Chairs

Heena is undertaking a level 2 Counselling Skills qualification and enjoying every minute of it. She completed a BSc in Psychology at Brunel University and is continuing her development and education by completing a vast range of courses. She has worked with Macmillan, within NHS CAMHS and AHM settings and is beginning a new role in Private Mental Health settings. Through her education and roles, she has come to develop a true appreciation for Positive Psychology and its application in the field. Heena is hoping she will be able to raise awareness of IPPA and the benefits of Positive Psychology within the UK.

Alex Landry, Conference & Special Events Co-Chairs

Alex is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As the Conference and Special Events chair, he hopes to integrate positive psychology into the larger academic and mainstream communities. He researches optimal development and teaching of mindfulness interventions and self-regulation strategies at UCSB’s Center for Mindfulness and Human Potential. Alex is particularly interested in how the promise of a positive psychology can be integrated into contemporary pedagogy to enhance wellbeing and fulfilment in future generations.

Arun Gurung, Communication Chair

Arun Gurung is a doctoral candidate in Ajou University in South Korea. He majors in Global Management, an interdisciplinary research major with business, Human Resource, Organizational behaviour and Psychology.

His interest follows Well-being, Compassion, Job Crafting, Mindfulness, Virtuousness in Organization and is currently working on Compassion at work.

His expertise also extends to cross cultural management and aims to promote ‘positive psychology’ across borders specially in work organization.

He hopes to, as a communication chair, bring students, scholars, academics and prominent figures in Positive Psychology closer through SIPPA and IPPA.


To reach him directly email at

Jeremiah Bullock, Past Mentoring Representative

Jeremiah Bullock BioJeremiah studies psychology at Portland State University, works with a suicide intervention nonprofit as a crisis intervention specialist, and volunteers as a mentor for a youth mentorship program in Portland, Oregon. Jeremiah combines a background in technology and an interest in research methodology, particularly focused on flow measurement, flow interventions in educational settings, and experience sampling methods using smartphone technology.