The Team

Meet the faces behind the campaign.

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Dr. Luis Manzo

Luis G. Manzo, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist (NY) with over 15 years of experience providing mental health services to young adults. Dr. Manzo has extensive experience working with individuals struggling with substance abuse in both community and college settings. He is currently the Executive Director of Student Wellness and Assessment at St. John’s University in Queens, NY. Dr. Manzo oversees the funding and execution of the mental health focused grant that is responsible for the YouOK campaign and other succesful campus programs at St. John's University.

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Ruth DeRosa

Ruth DeRosa, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has over 20 years experience working within a college and university setting. She provides strong and effective leadership in the development and implementation of evidenced based programs and interventions that address student-related AOD issues, stress reduction initiatives, suicide prevention programming and other wellness education. Ruth worked closely with the media team to facilitate focus groups and outreach events to spread the work of SJUOK? As well as facilitating our Campus Connect, Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention training initiative.

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Aaris Sherin

Aaris is a professor of graphic design at St. John's University, teaching classes including typography, packaging and advanced-level design courses. Her classes include themes of sustainability, entrepenuership, and designing for social good. Aaris supervises the student designers of the YouOK campaign, and has helped launch and run the succesful program since its initial creation in 2015.

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Rebecca Brooker

Rebecca was recruited to join the SJUOK team in Fall of 2015. One of her favorite parts of the campaign was ideating the messages that sheI thought students could relate to, coming from my own college experiences. Rebecca realized how impactful the campaign was when other students would come up to her in person and thank her for the work the team was doing.

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Idalea Cinquemani

Idalea joined SJUOK in 2015 when it first started. She enjoyed helping concept some of the original imagery that was used to reach out to students. Idalea was really excited to help students recognize that their mental health was something that needed to be talked about more.

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Benji Hunt

Benji was a part of the first team to work on the campaign in 2015, during his senior year. At the time, it was just the suicide awareness initiative, and he came up with the name SJUOK. Benji has said the experience on the SJUOK campaign taught him to how create an open dialogue about mental health at a much needed time.

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Michael Lagattuta

Mike was one of the original team members working on the campaign back in 2015. Mike worked on a lot of different aspects of the campaign, but his two favorites are creating the characters, and designing a custom typeface. He says the campaign is a success because it started an important conversation that helped address stigmas and misconceptions people have about mental health.

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Kayana Ternize

Kayana joined SJUOK in January of 2017, and one of her favorite aspects of this campaign is creating the iMessage stickers. She feels that being able to give the characters of SJUOK more life, and allowing them to partake in various situations has been really fun. Kayana believes that the campaign has been quite successful by allowing students of the university to express how they feel in less complicated or aggressive terms.

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Elizabeth Koehler

Liz joined the SJUOK team in Spring 2016. She enjoyed working on the Angel Devil Poster Series, which integrated illustrations and photography to discuss difficult and complex situations. She loves the the SJUOK Campaign (even though she’s a little biased) because it encourages students to reach out to others, not to be afraid to ask for help when needed, and to have conversations about mental illness and suicide prevention.

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Steven Verdile

Steven joined the team in November of 2017, and helped with the creation of the YouOK website. He thinks the campaign has done a great job in making difficult topics more light and approachable.