Stanford Professional Women of Los Angeles

Fellowship Recipient Update

Tara Guarino Fairbanks '12

Member Profile: Tara Guarino Fairbanks

Before joining SPWLA, Tara Guarino Fairbanks was the recipient of the SPWLA Fellowship in the summer of 2012. While studying at Stanford, she had done lay counseling at the Bridge Peer Counseling Center, but was interested in expanding her field work experience at Five Acres. She found out about the SPWLA Fellowship through an on-campus email listserv. For Tara, the fellowship was a perfect match for her aspirations. “The fellowship supported my focused area of interest and the committee shared my vision,” says Tara. Furthermore, SPWLA became more than a networking opportunity; it became a source of mentorship for Tara. “I was encouraged by my experience at the SPWLA brunch,” says Tara.  “The SPWLA members at the brunch were excited about the trajectory of my career, and some even had been involved with Five Acres themselves. My experience from the brunch launched me out to believe in the importance of my work.”

Through the fellowship, Tara was able to fund her internship at Five Acres, which is a child and family services agency in Pasadena that offers mental health services, treatment and education. As a result of her internship, she was able to make connections at Five Acres that would allow her to continue a successful graduate school experience. Last year, she did her clinical practicum placement at Pasadena Mental Health Center (PMHC), a community mental health center that is a program of Five Acres. At PMHC, she was able to utilize therapeutic practices that she is passionate about. “I have seen firsthand that psychotherapy can empower people to wrestle with the destructive elements of their histories and themselves, in order to create new, liberating patterns,” says Tara. Additionally, she was able to utilize her partnership with Five Acres to facilitate a research project between Five Acres and her lab at Fuller. “My research was on how the effectiveness of trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy varies as a function of children’s diagnostic severity,” explains Tara. “This year, I will be presenting this research at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention.”

Tara believes that the SPWLA fellowship played a significant role in her academic career. “I was moved by how it all came together. Five Acres was a gift that has given me invaluable professional contacts, insights and enriching experiences,” says Tara.

Tara Guarino Fairbanks ‘12 is a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. She was born and raised in Pasadena, and graduated from Stanford with a double major in Psychology and English Literature. Amidst graduate school classes, research, and working at her clinical placements, she recently got married!  

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