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 socio-emotional 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 socio-emotional 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.  Dr. Staples is collaborating on the Development of Self-Regulation Study. For more information, visit her webpage.

Graduate Students

Kristin Aho

Kristin Aho is a fourth-year doctoral fellow in the Clinical Psychology program, with an emphasis in Developmental Psychopathology. Her primary research interests include executive function and broader self-regulation in parents and children, ecological factors that impact the development of self-regulatory abilities, and antecedents of positive parenting. She also has broad interest in attachment-focused research, stress physiology, parental psychopathology, and maternal healthcare disparities. She hopes to contribute to research that is translational in nature, impacting clinical practice or policy. In the SEED Lab, she has assisted in managing the longitudinal Self-Regulation Study, coding teams, the database for EMU’s Family Participant Pool, and has assisted with the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting program evaluation study. Kristin’s clinical work focuses primarily on children and families. She recently completed an inpatient psychiatry practicum at Mott Children’s Hospital Nyman Family Unit where she worked directly with high-risk children and adolescents. She will complete her 2021-2022 practicum in outpatient psychiatry at the University of Michigan Health System, with split time between the Infant and Early Childhood Clinic and the Perinatal Clinic.

Aidan Schmitt

Aidan is a fourth year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at EMU. She received her pre-doctoral master's degree in the fall of 2019. Her research focuses on socio-emotional development during important developmental periods, especially during childhood and adolescence. Some specific interests include attachment relationships, internalizing psychopathology, and social media use. In the past, Aidan has worked in research and clinical positions at renowned children's hospitals including Children's National in DC, Cincinnati Children's, and Mott Children's in Michigan. 

Amanda Hicks

Amanda Hicks is a third 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 and went on to work at the University of Michigan as a Research Specialist Associate in the Child Psychiatry Research Department. Her main interests include the impact of parental psychopathology and sleep problems on the parent-child relationship and child development. 

Sarah Freeman

Sarah is a second 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 families. 

Centia Thomas

Centia Thomas is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Eastern Michigan University under the mentorship of Dr. Angela Staples. She earned her Bachelor's of Science with a major in Psychology and a minor in Rehabilitation and Human Services at the Pennsylvania State University in 2019 and went on to work as a Project Coordinator in the Emotional Development Lab. Some of her specific research interests include racial health disparities, multicultural competency, and its impact on therapeutic outcomes.


Krysten Schultz

Krysten is a second 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 second 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.


Joely Reznik

Joely is a first-year student in the General Clinical Master's program at Eastern Michigan University. She graduated from Wayne State University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with honors, as well as a minor in gender, sexuality, and women's studies. In her undergrad, she worked in a social psychology lab assisting on studies looking at romantic relationships. She has aspirations of continuing her education to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, focusing on adolescents and at-risk youth. She hopes to work as a clinical psychologist in an inpatient facility for children and adolescents in the future. Joely has a particular research interest in resiliency in children and adolescents.

Bree McGee

Bree is a second year Masters student in the Clinical Behavioral Psychology program at Eastern Michigan University. She graduated with her Bachelors degree in Psychology from Winthrop University (South Carolina) in the spring of 2020. Her research interests primarily revolve around early childhood ADHD and behavioral issues, though she also has interests related to resilience, attachment, social-emotional development, anxiety disorders, and self-regulation skills.


Madison Hannapel

Madison is a first year in the Clinical Psychology Masters program at Eastern Michigan University. She graduated with her Bachelors degree in psychology and neuroscience and a minor in comparative religion from Miami University in the spring of 2021. In undergrad Madison focused on emotion regulation in relation to biomarkers and child outcomes. She aspires to continue her education to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology to advance her study in parent-child relations, emotion regulation, and child outcomes.

Rachael Les

Rachael is a first-year General Clinical Master’s student at EMU and received her BS in Psychology and Spanish from the Honors College at Grand Valley State University. She has a rich background and fascination in childhood trauma and resilience, having assisted in Grand Valley’s Competency to Parent Lab which examined the dose-response relationship between trauma and negative psychosocial outcomes to prevent the intergenerational transmission of trauma. She is also interested in cross-cultural work and has experience in intersectional trauma-informed care, having worked as a Community Advocate for Domestic Violence with Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies, and a mentor for refugee youth with Bethany Christian Services. She intends to pursue doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology while continuing to examine the relationship between early trauma and psychopathology, as well as the value of cultural competence in the promotion of well-being.

Lauren Magreta

Lauren is a first year graduate student at Ball State University studying Applied Behavior Analysis. She graduated from the University of Michigan in summer 2020 with a bachelors in psychology. She currently is a behavior technician and provides therapy for children with autism. Lauren plans to continue her education into clinical psychology doctoral studies after the completion of her masters degree to fulfill her dream of being a child psychologist. Her research interests are rooted in child psychopathology and resilience.


 Undergraduate Students and Volunteers

Haylee "May" Patterson-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.

Michael Said

Michael is a senior at Eastern Michigan University, who is double majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology and plans to graduate in April 2021. He is hoping to go to Medical school but has decided to take a gap year after graduation. He looks to immerse himself in the field of psychological research during his year off. Michael is especially interested in child development and the psychology behind it. He is excited to be apart of the SEED lab and to broaden his experiences working in the lab.  

Morgan Palmer

Morgan is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. She is studying Spanish and Psychology as well as taking on an Honors Thesis for her Senior year. Her research interests include the many realms of psychopathology as well as neuropsychology. She hopes to attend a Clinical Psych PhD program next year. She is also a member of the University of Michigan Figure Skating Club and tutors students in Spanish in her free time!

Josie Uerling

Josie is a third-year undergraduate at Emory University studying Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology and Global Health, Cultures, and Society, and she joined the SEED lab in Spring 2021. After she graduates, Josie plans to pursue her Master's in Public Health and possibly further her neuroscience education. Her research interests are in child and adolescent development, mental health, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Evan Daldin

Evan Daldin is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and Behavioral Biology. After graduation in the spring of 2022, Evan intends on pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, and further specializing in neuropsychology. Evan has done previous research on topics such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Kazia Kelly

Kazia Kelly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in trauma informed therapy. She has over 5 years’ experience within the Community Mental Health System serving as a crisis supervisor as well as provided therapeutic services across the lifespan. She is nationally certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has extensive training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She is interested in being part of ongoing research that supports affirming and intentional early childhood experiences.


Haley East

Haley is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavioral Analysis and minoring in Family Sociology. She plans to gain BCaBA certification after graduating from Eastern Michigan University in Winter 2023. She also intends to continue her education at the Graduate level in order to become either a BCBA or Child Psychologist.


Jordyn Gerwig

Jordyn is a first-generation, second-year student at Eastern Michigan University. She is a Psychology Major with a Family Sociology minor. Her current goal is to graduate in 2024 with Departmental Honors in Psychology. Her study interests are in working with children of all ages, especially in areas of trauma, grief, self-identity, depression, and anxiety. Her long-term goal is to go to graduate school and pursue a career in Clinical Psychology.


Cierra Barrett

Cierra is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in Psychology with a minor in Journalism. She plans on graduating in the Fall of 2022. After graduation, she plans on going to graduate school to become a school counselor for middle school students. Cierra enjoys helping others realize that what they are going through mentally is okay and they can overcome what they are battling. She also enjoys researching how anxiety, depression, and other conditions like OCD, can start at a young age, along with how to help children identify what they may be feeling and how to understand those feelings. She hopes to show children that what they may be experiencing mentally is okay and that they are never alone.


Gabrielle-Gloria N. Bryant

Gabrielle-Gloria is a senior at Eastern Michigan University double majoring in Electronic media Film Studies and Psychology with a minor in Communication. She will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in December of 2021. Post Graduation, Gabrielle plans to attend a graduate program to pursue a career as a therapist to help those who are suffering from mental illness. In the future, Gabrielle-Gloria desires to own a non-profit organization that provides therapy to youth in communities in need.


NaKyah Wooten

NaKyah is a senior graduating in fall 2022. After she gets her bachelors degree, she plans on moving forward to masters and hopefully pursuing her doctorate. Her goal is to open her own practice and be an advocate for the black community in high risk areas or even a school counselor. Children go through so much with no one to talk to and she wants her place to have a sense of safety for them!

Noor Jassim

Noor is an undergraduate student majoring in psychology and sociology at Eastern Michigan University. She is an active volunteer at the animal shelter. Her interests include the psychological effects of mindfulness in everyday life and as treatment for mental illnesses. Other interests include dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) as well as emotional regulation. Her goal is to attend graduate school and hopefully teach psychology at the college level.


Hayley Nur

Hayley is a junior undergraduate student studying psychology. She joined the Early College Alliance (ECA) program at EMU when she was 14 and has been at Eastern since. Her study interests are cognitive, developmental, and forensic psychology. Her plans are to go to graduate school and hopefully pursue her doctorate after. Her long term goals aren’t exact as she is interested in many different aspects of psychology. She hopes to study child development and behavior. She is interested in criminal psychology and studying behavior in that aspect as well. She would love to study behavior in children that lead to criminal behavior. Hayley is excited to work with the SEED lab and she hopes to broaden her experiences with children development and behavior.


Jeffrey Lock

Jeffrey is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Sexuality. He intends to graduate in 2023 with departmental honors in Psychology and then pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology in order to ultimately become a sex therapist. Sexuality is his main interest, but he is also fascinated by psychopathology and child development. In his spare time, he enjoys baking, watercolor painting, and hiking. 


Myranda Ivey

Myranda is a junior here at Eastern. She is a Psychology major with an ABA concentration and minor in Sociology and Criminology. She plans to graduate in April 2023. She is a part of McNair Scholars, EMU Honors College, Psychology Club, and Black Honors Student Organization. She is pursuing to become a therapist for children specifically adolescents and hopes to become an advocate for mental health in the African American community. She is interested in child development and getting better mental health help for African Americans. After undergrad, she plans to obtain a master's in counseling psychology.


Coreena Forstner

Coreena is a junior undergraduate student studying Psychology and Criminology. She intends to graduate in Winter 2023 with University Honors, Departmental Honors in Criminology, and Highest Honors. Her study interests include criminal behavior, homicide, psychopathy, the social and biological risk factors of crime, and antisocial behavioral indicators in adolescence. After graduation, Coreena plans to continue her education in Graduate School and pursue her doctorate. Coreena also works as a Residential Advisor on campus, is the Vice President of student organization, Active Minds, and is the Website and Social Media Coordinator for the Southeast Michigan Criminal Justice Research Project (SMART).

Dora James

Dora James is a senior undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology with plans to graduate in April of 2022. She is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society and spends time volunteering at her local daycare. After graduation, she plans on getting her Ph.D. in an Education related field after taking some time off to work and participate in research. Her research interests include human sexuality as well as childhood development and education. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, cooking, and listening to music. 

Kat Spence

Kat is a junior undergraduate student studying Psychology and minoring in statistics. They work as a Supplemental Instructor for the Holman Success Center and as a Peer Mentor for the College Supports Program. Their study interests include social and behavioral development (especially within the era of COVID-19), general child development, and intergenerational trauma. Kat expects to graduate in the Spring of 2024. They plan to continue onto graduate school to earn their Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with the aspiration to become a pediatric psychologist. They hope to work with children of all ages, specifically with neurodevelopmental disorders, psychopathology, and trauma. Kat is very excited to be a part of the SEED Lab and looks forward to gaining research experience and broadening their knowledge. 


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