SEED Lab Members


Dr. Jamie Lawler

Dr. Lawler is a clinical and developmental psychologist with expertise in early adversity, parenting, self-regulation, and early childhood socio-emotional health. Her research program is grounded in developmental psychopathology and focuses on the impact of early life stress on the socio-emotional development of children and on interventions to promote resilience. Dr. Lawler has a particular interest in the development of self-regulation, parent-child relationships as protective factors, and interventions to support positive development in high-risk children, including school-based behavioral health interventions. 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] or sign up for an appointment during her office hours.

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. For more information, visit her webpage.

Graduate Students

Kristin Aho

Kristin Aho is a sixth-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.

Amanda Hicks

Amanda Hicks is a fifth 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 fourth 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 third-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.

Maitri Jain

Maitri Jain is a second-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at EMU. She graduated with a BA in Psychology Honours from India (2020), following which she completed a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in 2022. Her research interests lie in understanding the effects of early adversities on children's socio-emotional development, parent-child relationships, psychobiology of stress, and resilience factors for children exposed to early adversities. Maitri has prior experience working with orphaned and institutionalized children in India, and in developmental affective neuroscience and cognitive development.

Emaan Ali

Emaan Ali is a second-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at EMU. She received her BA in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 2019. At Penn State, she worked in the Laboratory for Personality, Psychopathology and Psychotherapy Research, where she conducted clinical assessments and studied Attachment Theory. Her research interests are in parent-child relationships, attachment styles, maladaptive caregiving behaviors, and helping children and families overcome adversity. 

Elizabeth Hamik

Elizabeth is a first-year clinical psychology Ph.D. student at EMU. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with her BA in Psychology and minors in Child, Youth, and Family Studies, as well as Leadership and Communication. After graduation, she worked at Cincinnati Children's Hospital as a Clinical Research Coordinator for both the Center for ADHD as well as the Comprehensive Health Evaluations for Cincinnati Kids (CHECK) Center. Her research interests are in the impact of early childhood adversities and trauma on child and family development and youth and families involved in the child welfare system.

Sneha Kamath

Sneha Kamath is a first-year student in the General Clinical Master’s Program at EMU. She graduated from Bowling Green State University in April 2023 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. During undergrad, Sneha assisted with research in a developmental psychology lab studying early perceptions of food and the relationships between parents’ and children’s eating habits. Sneha’s main research interests include self-regulation behaviors, anxiety, and depression in early childhood. At Eastern Michigan University, Sneha looks forward to continuing her education and working towards her goal of practicing at an in-patient pediatric mental health facility.

Jessica Fagan

Jessica is a first-year Masters student in the General Clinical Psychology program. Prior to this, she attended Pacific Lutheran University in Washington State where she received a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Religious Studies with honors. While attending school she worked as a Certified Behavior Technician as well as a therapy aide in an pediatric occupational, physical, and speech therapy clinic. She is interested in researching environmental and personal factors that mitigate the negative effects of early-life trauma, as well as therapeutic techniques that accomplish the same goal.

Madalyn Mosallam

Madalyn is a first year student in the General Clinical Psychology masters program. She graduated from the University of Michigan Dearborn in 2022 with a Bachelors of Arts with a double major in psychology and criminal justice. During undergrad she was a captain of the UofM Dearborn Women’s soccer team. She also conducted an undergraduate thesis on the effects of PTSD with children in Foster Care. Madalyn's interests include emotion regulation behaviors, PTSD and ACEs in children. 

Shane Rankin

Shane is a second-year Master’s of Clinical Psychology student from Madonna University. In 2022, he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Science from Grand Valley State University (GVSU). While at GVSU, Shane conducted a study examining how anatomical differences affect throwing velocity and accuracy in humans. Recently, Shane was awarded first place at Madonna University’s annual research symposium for his work on evolving public perceptions towards mental health therapy. Upon Graduation, Shane plans to further his education by pursuing a  Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. His research interests include relationship dynamics, interpersonal attachment, and lifespan development.

Lab Manager

Erica Overholt

Erica Overholt recently earned her B.S. in Psychology from EMU with a minor in Sociology. Now that she has completed her undergraduate degree, her focus is gaining work experience while she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Erica has always enjoyed helping people, primarily working with children and adolescents, and is thrilled to be a part of the SEED lab community. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, biking, singing, and spending time with her family.

Undergraduate Students and Volunteers

Antonia Gitau

Antonia is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Biology at Eastern Michigan University. She was enrolled in the Early College Alliance (ECA) program at 14 years old and planned on continuing her education at Eastern. After graduation, Antonia plans on attending medical school and pursuing her career as a Neurosurgeon. Her areas of interest consist of the development, cognitive, molecular, and cellular side of the brain. Outside of school, she enjoys working, volunteering, swimming, and traveling.

Mieke Karth

Mieke Karth is a senior undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University and is an international student from South Africa. She is majoring in a Bachelor of Science in General Psychology and minoring in General Business with plans to graduate in the Spring of 2024. Mieke aims to pursue a Ph.D. in General Clinical Psychology with the aspiration to help as many people as possible of all ages. She has a keen interest in child development with her past experience as an aupair and her general life experience of working with children, allowing her to actively expand her knowledge on the topic within the SEED lab.

Grace Matthews

Grace just graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology, as well as a minor in criminal justice, and is planning to get into the general experimental psychology masters program at Eastern. Eventually, she wants to get her PhD and focus on behavioral research. Since 2018, she has been working with young adults with mental disabilities such as autism and down syndrome. Grace is currently in the process of getting her applied behavioral analysis certificate to assist in psychological testing for children at a psychiatry office.

Olivia Palazzolo

Olivia Palazzolo is a junior undergraduate at Eastern Michigan University. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Social Work. Her research interests include emotional development in children, attachment theory, and the effect parenting styles have on adult romantic relationships. Olivia plans on furthering her education through a graduate’s degree in either clinical or educational psychology. Her goal is to ultimately work with children in either a school or clinical setting. In her free time, Olivia enjoys choir, writing fiction, yoga, and crocheting. 

Jessica Johnson

Jessica Johnson is a junior undergraduate at Eastern Michigan University. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Marketing. Her research interests include developmental, behavioral, and cognitive in the field of psychology. Jessica plans on furthering her education through a graduate degree in biopsychology. In her free time, Jessica enjoys going on hikes, volunteering, traveling, and watching tv shows/movies.

Kulsoom Bashir

Kulsoom is a third-year undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University. Currently, she is majoring in Bachelor of Science in General Psychology. Her career goal is to pursue graduate school and open her own pediatric clinic. In her spare time Kulsoom enjoys painting, swimming, and hanging out with friends.

Shevaun Wacker

Shevaun is in her junior year of undergraduate study at Eastern Michigan University, majoring in Psychology and Philosophy. She plans to pursue her PhD in General Clinical Psychology, and her areas of interest include abnormal psychology, substance use disorders, intergenerational transmission of trauma, and somatic experiencing. She is passionate about working with people experiencing substance use disorders, as well as those who have experienced trauma at various life stages. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones and pets, watching horror films, wandering outdoors, and being actively involved in the local recovery community.

Ashley Boyd

Ashley is a third year undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Family Sociology and plans to pursue a career in School Psychology. Ashley plans to graduate in the spring of 2025 and continue her education in graduate school for School Psychology. She has always been interested in family and child psychology. Outside of school, Ashley is interested in movies, books, being outside, eating good food, and spending time with her friends. Ashley is excited to further her experience in the SEED lab!

Mikiyah Brown

Mikiyah Brown is a third year undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Family Sociology. Mikiyah plans to graduate in April of 2026 where she will continue her studies in graduate school. Her interests have always been focused on early life experiences as well as intergenerational trauma. In her free time she enjoys traveling, makeup, and finding new experiences. 

Skip Section Navigation