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Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology

Clinical Students

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Nikki Arola

Activity Matters Lab (Bohnert)
Nikki’s research has focused broadly on contextual factors, particularly organized activity involvement, that buffer negative adjustment and promote positive health and mental health outcomes in youth. Her previous research has examined how aspects of organized activity involvement impact adjustment and developmental outcomes among a variety of populations, including urban youth, adolescents, emerging adults, high functioning youth with autism, and affluent youth, and how factors like executive functions, grit, and risk-status alter these links. Currently, she is examining neighborhood, parent, and peer characteristics as predictors of and mechanisms of organized activity involvement among urban adolescents.

 

Emma-Lorraine Bart-Plange

PACCT Lab (Gaylord-Harden)
Emma-Lorraine is interested in understanding how immigrant youth and families cope with stress. Within the PACCT lab, Emma-Lorraine's research has focused primarily on stressors affecting low-income, ethnic minority youth and understanding risk and protective factors of mental health outcomes. Her master's thesis focuses on understanding the relationship between acculturative stress and mental health outcomes of African immigrant and refugee adolescents.

 

Carolyn Bates

Activity Matters Lab (Bohnert)
Carolyn is interested in studying psychological and physical factors that influence health behaviors, particularly in relation to obesity risk among youth. Within the Activity Matters Lab, she is investigating particular risk factors associated with summertime weight gain in a community sample of low-income urban girls. Her thesis is titled, ʺSummertime Sleep and BMI in Urban Minority Girls: Relations to Physical Activity and Executive Functions.ʺ

 

Colleen Bechtel

CHATS Lab (Holmbeck)
Colleen is interested in factors that influence the quality of life of children with chronic illnesses and their families. Specifically, she is interested in the relationship between parent quality of life and child quality of life. She is also interested in how children with chronic illnesses manage everyday health behaviors, such as eating and exercise. As part of the CHATS lab, Colleen plans to examine these behaviors in youth with spina bifida.

 

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Kelly Brandstatt Polnaszek

CAN Lab (Silton)
Kelly is interested in studying the interaction between
cognitive, affective, and behavioral neural systems, as well as studying effective interventions for at-risk clinical populations. Specifically, she is interested in looking at how brain organization influences executive function in
neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as individuals suffering from different constructs of pain. She plans to use  Electroencephalogram (EEG) and a variety of computer-based tests to examine the differences in resting state asymmetry and globalization in individuals diagnosed with depression and to study the construct of psychological pain through the CAN Lab.

 

Stephanie Brewer

CASA Lab (Santiago)
Stephanie is interested in understanding how family processes affect children's mental health throughout development, especially for underserved children and families. In the CASA Lab, she studies the stress and coping of low-income Latino families and children through a longitudinal research study. Her dissertation research focuses on the development of anxiety in these children through measurements of hair cortisol and attentional bias to threat.

 

Kimberly Burdette

Activity Matters Lab (Bohnert)
Kim is interested in factors that promote physical and mental well-being among adolescent girls, particularly healthy weight, weight-related health behaviors, and aspects of self-concept. Her previous research examined links between self-objectification, self-worth, and body image in low-income urban girls. For her next project she is focused on using social networks to improve obesity-related health behaviors among low-income urban girls.

 

Amanda Burnside

PACCT Lab (Gaylord-Harden)
Amanda is interested in studying how trauma, grief reactions, and exposure to community violence impact mental health in underserved youth. Through working in the PACCT lab she plans to examine how adaptive coping strategies may serve as protective factors against maladaptive outcomes in order to inform interventions.

 

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Kyle Deane

Risk and Resilience Lab (Richards)
Kyle is interested in trauma, exposure to violence, family functioning, and other mechanisms that underlie certain mental and physical health outcomes among underserved populations, including immigrant, refugee, and minority groups. As a part of the Risk and Resilience Lab, Kyle has focused on the effect of exposure to violence and family functioning on externalizing and internalizing outcomes among youth from urban, low-income environments.

 

Katie Dorociak

PIER Lab (Rupert)
Katie is interested in studying professional psychologists' burnout, well-being, and self-care. As part of the PIER lab, she plans to investigate work-related demands and self-care strategies across the professional lifespan. Her thesis involves the initial development and validation of a self-care scale for professional psychologists.

 

Anne Fuller

PACE Lab (Leon)
Anne’s research has focused primarily on youth in the child welfare system. Her interests include familial and relational influences on child and adolescent mental health and evaluation of intervention programs. Her dissertation will examine self-concept as a mediator of the influence of social support on well-being and competence among youth in child welfare.

 

Amy Heard

Activity Matters Lab (Bohnert)
Amy's primary research interests focus on the etiology, prevention, and treatment of childhood obesity and disordered eating. She is also interested in the role of executive functioning on eating behaviors, and plans to examine the role that self-regulation plays on food decisions. Through her work in the Activity Matters Lab, Amy hopes to investigate the role of obesity in an urban, community-based sample.

 

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Christina Holbein

CHATS Lab (Holmbeck)
Tina is interested in psychosocial functioning and friendship development in youth with chronic illnesses. She is also interested in intervention research, especially regarding effectiveness of mHealth (text messaging, smartphone apps, social media platforms) interventions. Her work in the CHATS lab has generally focused on measure development, observational research methods, and social competence in youth with spina bifida. She has also been involved in an on-going study of a camp-based intervention targeting independence and social skills in individuals with spina bifida.

 

Grace Jhe Bai

PACE Lab (Leon)
Grace is interested in examining the influence of psychosocial risk and protective factors on the trajectory of mental health problems among youth with a history of trauma or maltreatment. Through working in the PACE Lab, her research has focused on child-, parent-, and community-level risk and protective factors in youth in the child welfare system. Her thesis is titled, “The Protective Effect of Kinship Support on the Adjustment of Youth in Foster Care.”

 

Lorri Kais

CAN Lab (Silton)
Lorri is interested in the cognitive and behavioral functioning of children with neurodevelopmental disorders as well as their typically developing peers. Her previous research has focused on children with Neurofibromatosis-1, Williams Syndrome, and pediatric brain tumor populations. Lorri has previously trained in fMRI neuroimaging techniques and is currently broadening her research approach through training in EEG and ERP methodologies in the CAN Lab. Her thesis is entitled, ʺNeural Correlates of Inhibitory Function Following the Implicit Processing of Emotional Faces.ʺ

 

Alexandra Kirsch

IMPACT Lab (Conley)
Alex is interested in the impact of gender and sexuality on psychopathology, including body image, disordered eating, stress, and coping. Her previous research examined topics such as the relation of coping to body dissatisfaction and disordered eating, the impact of gender and sexual orientation on psychosocial adjustment in college students, the role of activity involvement on psychosocial health, and meta-analyses examining the effectiveness of prevention programs, including universal, at-risk, and tech-based programs, in improving mental health. Alex is currently working on her dissertation which will review the effectiveness of treatment programs for adolescent disordered eating.

 

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Catherine Lee

CAN Lab (Silton)
Catherine's interests have primarily been in psychopathology, and are transitioning to clinical neuropsychology. Her dissertation project expands upon her thesis, combining depression research with neuropsychological and neuroimaging foci. The study uses electroencelphalogram (EEG) techniques to explore the neural correlates of executive dysfunction in depression, particularly as it relates to the ability to effectively cope with stress.

 

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Jackie Lennon

CHATS Lab (Holmbeck)
Jackie is interested in psychosocial functioning and family functioning in youth with chronic health conditions and their families.  Through working in the CHATS Lab, she has examined these factors in individuals with spina bifida.  Her research has also focused on ethnic, cultural, and neuropsychological factors related to this population. Her thesis is titled, “Latino Youth with Spina Bifida: Psychosocial functioning, family functioning, and acculturation.ʺ

 

Dorothy McLeod

Activity Matters Lab (Bohnert)
Dorothy's interests lie in the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, particularly within urban, low-income populations, and through community-based approaches. As part of the Activity Matters Lab, she hopes to identify and examine the psychological correlates of youth obesity as a means to achieve these solutions.

 

Caitlin Murray

CHATS Lab (Holmbeck)
Caitlin is interested in pain perception, sleep, and quality of life in youth with physical disabilities and chronic illnesses. Caitlin's dissertation research will focus on the impact of sleep-wake disturbances on pain and other neuropsychosocial factors in adolescents with spina bifida.

 

Alisha Oscharoff Miller

PIER Lab (Rupert)
Alisha's primary research interests focus on emotional exhaustion and client depersonalization among professional psychologists. Additionally, she is interested in women's unique experiences in the work place. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation, which is investigating a theory driven, comprehensive model of burnout among psychologists.

 

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Cynthia Pierre

PACCT Lab (Gaylord-Harden)
Cynthia's research interests focus on stressors commonly faced by low-income African American youth. Her previous research examined a specificity model of stress, coping, and mental health outcomes, where it was predicted that different types of stress (e.g., uncontrollable, chronic) had a differential impact on coping and outcomes. She is currently examining the impact of exposure to community violence on mental health outcomes in her dissertation work, and she hopes to better understand the benefits and limitations of support-seeking as a coping strategy in ethnic minority youth.

 

Alexandra Psihogios

CHATS Lab (Holmbeck)
Alexandra is interested in studying the development of healthcare behaviors in adolescents with chronic health conditions. In the CHATS lab, she is currently completing her doctoral dissertation on predictors of medical adherence and independence in youth with spina bifida. Alexandra hopes to become a pediatric psychologist in a hospital setting where she can continue her clinical and research work with pediatric patients. In the future, she hopes to develop family-based interventions that promote medical adherence among children with chronic health conditions.

 

Dakari Quimby

Risk and Resilience Lab (Richards)
Dakari is interested in implementing interventions targeting youth and families from marginalized urban environments that capitalize on strengths within the community. He considers this a particularly necessary approach as disadvantaged groups have historically only received attention for the problems in their communities at the expense of examining existing factors that may promote resilience. Currently working with Dr. Maryse Richards in the Risk and Resilience Lab, Dakari's work has focused on designing and implementing a cross-age peer mentoring program to empower Black and Latino youth residing in several of Chicago's low-income, high violence neighborhoods.

 

Anna Maria Ros

CASA Lab (Santiago)
Anna is interested in mental health outcomes and interventions for low-income Latino youth. In the CASA lab, she is currently working on a study examining the outcomes of a skill building program for children who have been exposed to trauma. Anna also works on the family coping study, which examines the role of coping in families facing immigration and acculturation stress. She hopes to investigate the impact of parent psychopathology on child outcomes for her Master's thesis.

 

Jenna Shapiro

IMPACT Lab (Conley)
Jenna is interested in studying mental health interventions for at-risk late adolescents and emerging adults. As part of the IMPACT lab, she has investigated college student psychosocial functioning and intervention programs targeted for this population. Her thesis examines trajectories of adult identity development among college students and their relationship with positive and negative mental health outcomes.

 

Suzanna So

PACCT Lab (Gaylord-Harden)
Suzanna is interested in the effect of community violence exposure on the mental health needs of low-income, urban minority youth. Within the PACCT Lab, she is examining different protective factors that can be targeted in intervention and policy research in order to better aid these populations. Her thesis is titled ʺExamining the Effects of Coping Strategies Specific to Community Violence Exposure among African American Adolescents.ʺ

 

Stephanie Torres

CASA Lab (Santiago)
Stephanie is interested in the role that cultural and contextual factors have on the mental health of Latino youth and families and how this knowledge can inform the tailoring of evidence-based and culturally appropriate community interventions. In the CASA lab, Stephanie is involved in research which arims to investigate the role of family coping in the face of immigration stress as well as an intervention study which implements and disseminates a skill-building program for young children who have been exposed to trauma. Currently, Stephanie is working on her thesis titled, ʺRisk and Resilience Factors among Low-Income Latino Adolescents: The Impact on Daily Ratings of Mood.ʺ 

 

Evan Zahniser

PIER Lab (Rupert)
Evan is interested in studying emotion regulation and emotional adjustment in young adults and working professionals, particularly men. Evan is currently working on his master's thesis, which will examine the interaction of emotion regulation, gender, and life stress in predicting mental health issues among college students.

 

Arie Zakaryan

Risk and Resilience Lab (Richards)
Arie's research focuses broadly on contextual factors that buffer negative adjustment and promote positive developmental outcomes in adolescents, and specifically considers the challenges faced by minority youth living in low-income urban environments. Additionally, he is interested in the development and evaluation of intervention programs for at-risk youth, with a focus on stress, coping, and positive youth development. Previous research has investigated how executive functions influence the effectiveness of coping on the psychological well-being of middle school African-American youth who live in low-income, high violence urban neighborhoods. Currently, his research examines the influence of different contexts on community violence exposure predicting self-efficacy in Latino-American youth.

Loyola

Psychology Department · 1032 W. Sheridan Road · Chicago, IL 60660
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