SEED Lab Members

Principle Investigator

Dr. Jamie Lawler

Dr. Lawler is a clinical and developmental psychologist with expertise in early adversity, parenting, and self-regulation. Her research program is grounded in developmental psychopathology and focuses on the impact of early life stress on the socioemotional development of children. She has a particular interest in the development of self-regulation, parent-child relationship factors that promote resilience, and interventions to support positive development in high-risk children. Her work examines developmental processes at multiple levels of analysis, incorporating bio-markers of stress, dyadic parent-child interactions, and environmental influences on parenting and child development. Her current research projects can be found on the Projects page. Over the last decade, Dr. Lawler has investigated the socioemotional outcomes of early institutionalization, the determinants of parenting, and effects of the child welfare system. She also conducted an intervention study examining the efficacy of executive function training and mindfulness-based interventions on school-aged children’s self-regulation. See the Publications page to read more. Contact Dr. Lawler at [email protected].


Dr. Angela Staples

Dr. Staples is a quantitative developmental psychologist studying development across multiple time scales in early childhood. Her research is grounded in bio-ecological systems theory that emphasis the transactional nature between person, situation, and time. As both sleep and self-regulation develop rapidly from birth to age five, this period poses challenges for studying continuity and change. A single night of poor sleep has consequences for parents and children. For example, the ability of a parent to keep their cool or a child's ability to stay on task. Now, add the development of sleep between age 2 and 4, when kids stop napping, start resisting going to sleep, and may reach out for comfort when awakened in the middle of the night and we have arrived in the neighborhood of Dr. Staples' research area. Specifically, she studies the relation between sleep and parent–child communication. Sleep is measured--for parents and children--with questionnaires, daily sleep diaries, and actigraphy. Parent-child interaction is typically based on video recorded sessions such as free play and toy clean-up carried out in the lab or at their home. Dr. Staples is collaborating on the Development of Self-Regulation Study. For more information, visit her webpage.

Graduate Students

Jerrica Pitzen

Jerrica is a sixth year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program with an emphasis in Developmental Psychopathology at Eastern Michigan University. She has worked in the Parenting Project lab since 2013 and the SEED lab since 2017. Her research interests focus on parental mentalization and its association with factors such as parental trauma and psychopathology on children’s social emotional outcomes. She is also interested in interventions that contribute to improvements in parental mentalization and identifying effective tools for measuring specific types of mentalization, including parental reflective functioning and mind-mindedness. Currently, she is involved with the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting project, where she is working with a larger team to code mind-mindedness through speech samples and videotaped interactions. She is also involved in the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood project. Jerrica received her BA in Psychology from Oakland University in 2012 and her MS in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University in 2015. She will be completing her clinical internship at The Children's Center in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2020-2021.

Kristin Aho

Kristin is a third-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program with an emphasis in Developmental Psychopathology at Eastern Michigan University. Her primary research interests include parental executive function and psychopathology, the development of self-regulation in children, and the effects of adversity and household environment on children and families. In the SEED Lab, Kristin manages the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood project, co-manages the research participant database, and assists with the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting study. She previously earned her BA and MS degrees in Psychology from Oakland University, worked as a crisis counselor for Macomb County, and served as program manager for the Youth Depression and Suicide Prevention Program at the University of Michigan. She will be completing her 2020-2021 external practicum at the inpatient Nyman Family Unit in the Department of Psychiatry at Mott Children’s Hospital, treating children and adolescents.

Amanda Hicks

Amanda Hicks is a second year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Eastern Michigan University under the mentorship of Dr. Angela Staples. She earned her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hartford in 2017. After graduation, she became employed as a Research Specialist Associate in the Child Psychiatry Department at the University of Michigan. Her main interests include the impact of CBT on child and adolescent anxiety disorders as well as the ways both child and maternal stressors/trauma affect children’s development and the parent-child relationship.

Sarah Freeman

Sarah is a first year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program at EMU. She received her BA in German studies from Furman University in 2014, after which she spent a year teaching English in Germany on a Fulbright fellowship. In 2017, Sarah earned her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan. She has experience applying behavior change theory and principles of Motivational Interviewing to develop tailored health interventions and has also worked with the children’s program at SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor, providing trauma-informed care and implementing violence prevention programming. Prior to joining the SEED Lab, Sarah worked for the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry as lead evaluator for the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting study. Her research interests include the effects of early adversity on child development, familial protective and risk factors that promote or hinder resilience, parenting and parent-child relationships, and the development and evaluation of interventions that promote relational health and resilience among vulnerable families. 

Morgan Daugherty

Morgan Daugherty is a third year student in the General Clinical Masters program at Eastern Michigan University and has a BA in Psychology from the University of Louisville. She has aspirations of continuing on to earn her Ph.D and becoming a clinician working with children in at-risk populations. Morgan has a particular interest in adversity and resilience in children and adolescence. She has a specific desire to learn about the effects of adverse childhood experiences how they contribute to later psychopathology, especially in high-risk populations. She is currently working with the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood Study.

Krysten Schultz

Krysten is a first year student in the general clinical master's program at EMU. She graduated from Siena Heights University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, and then completed several psychology courses at EMU at the undergraduate level to prepare for graduate school in clinical psychology. She wants to work with kids who have neurodevelopmental disorders.

Abubakar Isse

Abu is a first year student in the General Clinical Psychology Masters program at EMU. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from EMU in Spring 2020 with a major in psychology and a minor in health administration. He is interested in empathic relationship between students and educators in relation to class performance.


 Sarah Krell

Sarah is a first year student in the General Clinical Psychology Masters program at Eastern Michigan University. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and substance abuse treatment from Central Michigan University in the spring of 2019. After graduating, Sarah took a year off to work as a Peer Support for her local community mental health center. Sarah is interested in researching the effects of adverse childhood experiences and how they contribute to the development of psychopathology or substance use disorders. 


Undergraduate Students and Volunteers

Reyna Lee

Reyna graduated from Eastern Michigan University in April 2020 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Human Biology. She joined SEED lab as an undergraduate in of Summer 2019 and is continuing on after graduation as a post-baccalaureate volunteer. She aspires to pursue her education in Psychology by continuing on to the masters program in Clinical Psychology. Her interests include Developmental Psychology, psychological factors on the immune system, as well as PTSD in female soldiers caring for children.

Salena Napora

Salena is a senior undergraduate at EMU with a psychology major and double minor in sociology and social work. She will be graduating in August 2020. She plans on entering a clinical psychology Ph.D. program with a social psychology focus after she graduates. Some of her interests include childhood development, fringe groups, and recreational therapy techniques.

Izzy Tolsma

Izzy is a senior undergraduate at EMU who is majoring in both psychology and communication; she will graduate Spring 2021. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, she plans on attending graduate school and pursuing a career in I-O psychology. Izzy is interested in how psychological concepts apply to the workplace and how these can be used to increase productivity and employee satisfaction. Izzy joined the SEED lab in the summer of 2019.

Armando Chacon

Armando is an undergraduate planning on graduating in the fall semester of 2020. Majoring in psychology and working toward a second major in neuroscience and planning on going to graduate school for a doctoral program in clinical-psychology. Eventually wanting to specializing in helping patients with trauma-related disorders with an emphasis on PTSD in youth and adolescents.

Abigail Martin

Abigail Martin is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University majoring in Biochemistry and Art with a two-dimensional design concentration. After graduating, she intends to go to medical school and further her education in the field of Psychiatry.

Camille "MiiMii" Roebuck

MiiMii is a senior undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience. MiiMii is a first generation college student and she plans on graduating April 2021. She is interested in child psychology and mental health. MiiMii is assisting with the SEED lab and plans on going to graduate school for neuropsychology.

Clarissa Morgan

Clarissa is an Eastern Michigan University graduate with bachelors in psychology. Currently working as an ABA behavior tech and preparing for graduate school to obtain masters in clinical psychology. Goals to start a private practice working as a clinician for both children and adults. Specific interest in child development, depression and romantic relationships.

Haylee "May" Whitlock

May is a student at Eastern Michigan University majoring in Psychology and Communication, a Community Organizer at Girl Scouts, and a Substitute Teacher for many school districts in Michigan. Haylee is an active community volunteer as a new member of the Junior League of Lansing, an African American Heritage Committee member, a Sexual Assault Prevention & Response representative and victim advocate, and a ChildSafe advocate. She has experience in childcare and preschool education, teaching for classrooms of 20 at a time from newborns to five year old children. She is a mother of two sons, a five and three year old. She also has military experience, a Staff Sergeant, supervising and training a team of five human resources specialists for an 800 member organization. Her interests are in early childhood development, mindfulness and cognitive neuroscience. Her goal is to complete a graduate program in Counseling Psychology.

Marcel Bellamy

Marcel is a senior undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University. He is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Human Biology. Marcel is considered a "first generation" in his immediate family. He has been a Resident Advisor for three years while working with the Disability Resource Center assisting with students who may need accommodations for disabilities and psychological disorders in classes, dining and housing on campus. Marcel now aids the SEED lab as he plans to continue his research and education with a master's and/or Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology Fall 2021.

Lyndsey Peterson

Lyndsey graduated in April 2020 from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Psychology and double minors in Family Sociology and Criminology/Criminal Justice. She is currently volunteering in the SEED Lab and plans to continue her education to earn a master's degree in Clinical Psychology. In the future, she hopes to earn a Ph.D. and become a licensed psychologist to provide therapeutic services to children and adolescents. Her main interests include mental health, child-parent relationships, and at risk youth.

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