David Shirinyan

David Shirinyan


Full-time Professor, Psychology Department

Primary Area: Psychopathology and Behavioral Neuroscience

I feel very much at home amongst my wonderful Santa Monica College students because I share a life and education history like many of them. My family moved from Yerevan, Armenia to Southern California when I was 8 years old. I attended LAUSD schools throughout 3-12th grade and started my higher education at a local community college (Los Angeles Valley College - though I also took a class at SMC). I quickly began to focus in on psychology as my major in part because of my experiences as an immigrant to this very different country. My time in community college allowed me to transfer to UCLA where I received my B.A. (in Psychology). I began to specialize in brain imaging, working with various faculty members from the Psychology department and the UCLA Brain Imaging Center. I also spent my UCLA years learning and participating in autism research and treatment and was fortunate enough to learn Applied Behavioral Analysis intervention from Dr. Ivar Lovaas and his Institute for Early Intervention in autism. After receiving my BA, I took one year off during which I worked in two psychology labs as a research associate. I was then admitted to UCLA’s Psychology Ph.D. program where I specialized in psychopathology and behavioral neuroscience and earned my M.A. and Ph.D. During my time in graduate school, I received a Eugene Cota Robles Foundation fellowship (first 3 years) and a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) individual pre-doctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) fellowship (last 3 years). In graduate school, I specialized in psychotic disorders and cognitive and behavioral neuroscience.

After receiving my Ph.D., I spent 3 years working as a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA’s Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART); 1 year as a National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) institutional postdoctoral NRSA fellow, and 2 years as an NIMH individual postdoctoral NRSA fellow. My work focused on genetic and neuroimaging research into the causes of autism. I am now proud to be at SMC as a full-time faculty member where I teach primarily Psychology 2 and Psychology 1. I have taught at various Cal State and UC schools and SMC and its students are by far my favorite students to work with. I hope you can use me as a role model, or at least as a proof of concept, and know that if you work hard, you can accomplish any of your goals.