About Our Teachers

Our wonderful Mindful USC teachers are selected based on their years of study, depth of personal practice and training, and embodiment of mindfulness in everyday life.

Allyson Pimentel, Ed.D.
Co-Director of Mindful USC

Allyson Pimentel (she/her) is a psychologist and long-time insight meditation practitioner and teacher who works at the intersections of mindfulness, mental health, education, and social justice. Allyson has been teaching mindfulness in university, medical, secular and spiritual settings, as well as in private clinical psychology practice for nearly twenty years. Formerly, she was the training director of the Mind-Body Psychiatry Clinic at NYU-Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, Associate Director of UCLA Campus & Student Resilience, and Program Director of Mindful UCLA.

Dr. Pimentel holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University. She has completed numerous professional mindfulness training programs in the Vipassana/Insight meditation tradition and also is a registered yoga teacher.

In addition to her work with Mindful USC, Dr. Pimentel teaches at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) and at Insight LA, where she serves on the Board of Directors. She loves sharing the practice of mindfulness meditation as a tool for transformation, connection, well-being, wisdom, and individual and collective liberation.

Mark Miller, Psy.D., MPH, CMT-P
Co-Director of Mindful USC

Mark Miller is the coordinator of Mindful USC and a clinical psychologist who earned his doctorate in psychology at Pepperdine University. Dr. Miller worked at the USC Student Counseling Services for three years prior to his work with Mindful USC. He has been a meditator in the health care industry for over 25 years and is interested in integrating psychology and mindfulness practices.
Dr. Miller regularly teaches classes in the basics of mindfulness and Mindful Self-Compassion to help USC community members build skills to manage strong emotions and recurrent thoughts while being compassionate towards themselves and others.

Rev. Jim Burklo

Rev. Jim Burklo is the retired Senior Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at USC, and founded the Contemplative Pedagogy Faculty Interest Group at USC. He has practiced and taught mindfulness meditation for over 40 years. He was a co-founder of Mindful USC and has taught Mindfulness Lab courses since its beginning. He taught public policy at the USC School of Social Work for a decade. An ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, he is the author of seven published books on progressive Christianity. His weekly blog on spirituality, “Musings,” has a global readership. He is the Executive Director of ProgressiveChristiansUniting.org and is an honorary advisor and frequent content contributor for ProgressiveChristianity.org.

Nico Cary

Nico Cary (he/him) is a dharma and medicine path practitioner, mindfulness teacher, writer and interdisciplinary artist. He received his BA from UC Berkeley’s Interdisciplinary Studies Field School, specializing in cognitive linguistics. He is currently a Garrison Institute Fellow, and his multimedia installations on collective grieving processes have been featured at the Smithsonian and can now be seen as a part of The Healing Project at Yerba Center for the Arts in San Francisco. While engaged in a deeply fulfilling artistic career, Nico also proudly serves as a mindfulness facilitator for InsightLA and a teacher at Mindful USC. He is interested in the many different vocabularies of healing and the holding capacity of mindfulness, particularly as it relates to embodied activism and creative ecosystems.

Angelike Dexter

Angelike Dexter loves sharing mindfulness, compassion, and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) with students of all ages in the Los Angeles area and now, on Zoom, around the world. Trained by Susan Kaiser Greenland (author of “The Mindful Child” and “Mindful Games”) in 2013 and a long-time member of the Inner Kids teacher group, Angelike teaches mindful and compassionate awareness to children, parents, teachers, and families through public and private schools as well as other community organizations. Angelike is a Certified Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) teacher (trained in and teaching MSC since 2015) and a graduate of the inaugural MSC for teens, “Making Friends With Yourself (MFY)” teacher training in 2016, and regularly teaches series of or skills from both courses, including through Mindful USC, the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion’s Circles of Practice, and through Insight LA, where she graduated from Insight LA’s Third Facilitators Training in 2018. Angelike has trained extensively in trauma-informed mindfulness practices and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, in particular in relation to holding mindfulness/compassion group spaces. A former attorney, Angelike continually delights in her current life as a mindfulness and compassion teacher!

JoAnna Hardy

JoAnna Hardy is an insight meditation (Vipassanā) practitioner and teacher; she is on faculty at the University of Southern California, a meditation trainer at Apple Fitness+, a founding member of the Meditation Coalition, a teacher’s council member at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, a visiting retreat teacher at Insight Meditation Society, and a collaborator on many online meditation Apps and programs.

Elizabeth Hernandez-Stomp, CPC

Elizabeth Hernandez-Stomp, CPC (she/hers), is a certified mindfulness meditation teacher and facilitator from the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, a graduate of InsightLA’s Facilitator Training Program, and a certified transformational life coach and energy leadership index master practitioner from the iPEC Coaching Institute. In addition, Elizabeth is certified in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, CA. She is also a part of Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner Program and InsightLA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. She has been a dedicated mindfulness meditation practitioner since 2012.

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theater, Communications, and Literature from the University of Sacred Heart, Puerto Rico, and the University of Miami, Florida.

She is committed to sharing the practices of mindfulness meditation, mind-heart practices, compassion, and loving-kindness for those who wish to find refuge, inner peace, and happiness in their lives. Currently, she is offering Mindfulness Meditation sitting groups in Spanish and English at InsightLA Meditation Center and the University of Southern California (USC).

For more information, visit www.elizabethstomp.com

Michael Krass

Michael Krass is a writer, teacher, and longtime meditator. As a teacher of Mindful Creativity at the University of Southern California, Michael introduces students, staff, and faculty to the practical uses of mindfulness, the blending of creativity and meditation, and mindful photography. Michael was trained as an actor in New York City and taught the famous Meisner technique in the USA and Europe. His experience includes writing plays, writing and producing films, fiction and poetry. He has also contributed to magazines and websites on mindfulness, mental health, performance, creativity, and meditation and continues to write fiction, poetry, and non-fiction as his primary creative medium. His book, Sitting Through, focuses on using mindfulness and meditation in life’s toughest moments.

Robert Lurye, MEd

Robert Lurye is an artist, educator, and meditation practitioner who loves teaching the ancient wisdom and modern science of mindful living. He is a certified MBSR teacher through Brown University Mindfulness Center and UMass Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness. Robert became a certified Mindfulness facilitator through InsightLA and is also a qualified facilitator for Dr. Judson Brewer’s Mindfulness-Based Behavior Change programs which combine app-based training with in-person facilitated sessions to address unwanted habits from cigarettes to smart phones, emotional eating, and anxiety. He’s a certified RYS 200 yoga instructor and currently studying Buddhist Eco-Chaplaincy at the Sati Center with Gill Fronsdal.
Robert teaches Mindfulness-Based Habit Change: Unwinding Anxiety and Mindful Eating programs, MBSR, Essentials of Mindfulness, Co-Facilitates the LGBTQueer+ Mindfulness group and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery Practice Group. He also leads mindfulness classes and facilitates sitting-groups for Long Beach Mediation and Mindful USC. He has been a computer animation artist since 1985 working in television, research and development and feature film production. He received his Master of Education degree from The Ohio State University and has taught art at Ohio State, Texas A&M, and University of Texas, Austin.

Maureen Shannon-Chapple, M.S.

Maureen Shannon-Chapple, M.S., has been a practitioner of yoga and meditation since her teenage years. Her career as an educator has found its expression in programs that span classroom teaching, parenting courses, community college and university teaching. Nurturing responsive, empathetic community is central to her work. A 2008 graduate of Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leader Training, Maureen has led groups including InsightLA’s Family Program, mindfulness classes, and a weekly community practice group, which currently meets online. Maureen has co-led three iterations of InsightLA’s Facilitator Training Program. She teaches in the Mindful USC program, LMU’s Yoga, Mindfulness and Social Change training and at other community sites. She is also one of the team of teachers anchoring the weekly Mindful of Whiteness: Anit-Racism Practices for White People at InsightLA.

Elliott Law, M.S., CYT

Elliott Law has studied mindfulness since 2011 and maintains a dedicated practice. Elliott supports mindfulness at USC as a Mindful USC teacher and the Associate Director of Fundraising for the USC Center for Mindfulness Science. In 2015, he established the Mindful USC Mindfulness Practice Group in Downtown LA, which he leads weekly. Elliott also regularly presents on mindfulness for Keck Medicine of USC medical students.

Elliott is a graduate of InsightLA’s Mindfulness Facilitator Training program, where he teaches Unwinding Anxiety and Mindful Eating Mindfulness-based Habit Change courses, half-day nature retreats, and co-facilitates the LGBTQ+ Practice Group. Elliott is also a qualified behavior change facilitator through training with Judson Brewer, MD, PhD.  In 2023, he will complete mindful movement specialty teacher training and is a certified yoga instructor.

The sport of tennis is a long-time passion for Elliott. He is a USTA Elite Professional with over 20 years of teaching experience who integrates mind-body practices into lessons.

Elliott loves to connect with nature and wildlife and gets very excited whenever he encounters a bird he has not seen before. He holds an MS in mechanical engineering and works as an associate director with Keck Medicine of USC’s Advancement team.

JD Lloyd

JD Lloyd is a long-time member of the InsightLA Meditation Community, where he received his initial training to facilitate mindfulness classes. He completed additional training at UC San Diego’s Center for Mindfulness to conduct courses in Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), and he has also received specialized education in chaplaincy support, contemplative care and trauma-sensitive mindfulness. JD facilitates mindfulness courses and meditation groups at InsightLA, University of Southern CA, and the Cancer Support Community’s Benjamin Center, and he volunteers to provide mindfulness classes to underserved communities in the Los Angeles area.
JD is particularly drawn to Lovingkindness and Mindful Self-Compassion meditation practices as paths toward self-acceptance and open-hearted connection with others. He appreciates the outdoors and the arts – especially film, photography and poetry. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing and enjoys weaving poetry and storytelling into his teaching.

Amy Spies

Amy Spies is a longtime writer and teacher in film, television, and new media. She has written documentaries, drama, comedy, as well as blogging for the Huffington Post and Los Angeles Review of Books. Amy is finishing her first novel. She is interested in writing about human rights, social justice, and the resilience of diverse individuals globally. She serves on diversity, human rights committees and as a writing awards judge for PEN International Literary Association and the Writers Guild. Amy studied under Trudy Goodman in Los Angeles and is a graduate of the InsightLA MBSR Teacher Training Practicum, as well as the Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training. Amy has attended mindfulness and psychology conferences, including at Harvard Medical School led by Thich Nhat Hanh. Amy graduated from Harvard University, where she studied psychology, literature, and film.