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SEED Lab Members


Faculty:


jl Dr. Jamie 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 biomarkers 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 recently 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 jlawler1@emich.edu.


Graduate Students: 


JP Jerrica Pitzen is a fourth 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 will also be 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. 


  KAKristin Aho is a first year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program with an emphasis in Developmental Psychopathology at Eastern Michigan University. She 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. In her new role, Kristin will manage the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood project and assist with the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting study. Kristin is broadly interested in emotion, self-regulation, internalizing disorders, and relationships. In the SEED Lab, Kristin would like to explore antecedents of supportive parenting, development of self-regulation and internalizing disorders in children, parental psychopathology, and the impact of parental negative urgency and emotion-related impulsivity on parents’ mentalization and behavior and children’s psychosocial outcomes. She is interested in translational and collaborative research, involving community and government agencies, that improves child and family outcomes.


tlTiffany Ludkin is a first year student in the General Clinical Masters program at Eastern Michigan University and has a BS in Psychology. She plans to pursue a career as a limited licensed practitioner following the Masters program and has aspirations of continuing on to earn her Ph.D. Tiffany has a particular interest in adversity and resilience, and is passionate about working with adult women. Her research motivation comes from a desire to learn about the effects of early adversity, trauma, attachment, and the development of self-regulation and how they contribute to later psychopathology, especially in high-risk populations. Currently, she is coding and transcribing video as a part of the research team working in the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting program, aiding with the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood Study, as well as studying the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) for self-regulation trajectories in maltreated children with Dr. Dean Lauterbach. 

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Scott Tomey is a second year student in the General Clinical Masters program at Eastern Michigan University. He is currently working on the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting Evaluation Study as part of the Mind-Mindedness coding team. He is also involved in the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood project. His career interests involve working with populations suffering from depression, stress, or anxiety. He has experience working with children and his career goals consist of continuing to work with this specific population in the future. He earned his BA from Eastern Michigan University in 2017.

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Jenipher Servin Olivares is first year student in the General Clinical Masters program at Eastern Michigan University. She obtained her BA in psychology from EMU in 2018 and has been involved in the SEED lab since 2017. She is currently involved in the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting Evaluation Study Mind-Mindedness coding and the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood Study. Her future career goal is to become a clinician with a specialization in forensics, and working with children involved with the legal system.

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Morgan Daugherty is a first 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.

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Volunteers: 


tr Tiara Runyon graduated from Eastern Michigan University in April of 2018 with her BS in Psychology. Tiara has a background in volunteer work with an attachment based parenting intervention for foster children in a program called Strong Beginnings. Taking a gap year, Tiara plans to travel to Sri Lanka to teach English and give mental health counseling. She works on the infant mental health home visiting project and the Development of Self Regulation Study. Her future plans include applying to Graduate programs for the Fall of 2019 to earn her MS in Clinical Psychology or Counseling Psychology and become a limited license practitioner and eventually go on to earn her Ph.D., specializing in children and families. Her interests include domestic violence, personality, children who have experienced trauma, and people who deal with illnesses such as anxiety and depression.


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Amanda Hicks graduated from the University of Hartford with a Master’s in Clinical Psychology in May of 2017. She currently works 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. Her goal is to continue on to a doctorate program to earn her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

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Deb Usitalo graduated from Western Michigan University with a BA in Human Resources Management and a minor in Psychology.  This is her first year in the Seed Lab but she has worked with children from preschool through 3rd grade as well as acting as a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader. Her goal is to enter the Graduate Program at Eastern Michigan University in 2019 to earn her MS in Clinical Behavioral Psychology with an emphasis on Child and Adolescent psychopathology.  Her future career goal is to work with children that have developmental disabilities.


 Undergraduate Students: 


sk Stephanie Knight is a current senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Dance. She has been involved with the SEED Lab since Summer 2017. Stephanie’s research interests include Adverse Childhood Experience and childhood trauma. She is currently conducting research for her Honor’s thesis which focuses Adverse Childhood Experiences and risk behaviors in college students. She is also involved in the infant mental health home visiting project and the self-regulation study. Upon graduation in December 2018, Stephanie plans to pursue her Master’s in Social Work with hopes of becoming a children’s therapist.

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Kaitlin Dwyer is a senior undergraduate Psychology student at Eastern Michigan University. She volunteers as an assistant, transcribing and coding for the SEED lab. She also helps collect data as part of the Development of Self-Regulation study. Her main interests include: child mental health, trauma-related disorders, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Her goal is to continue on to Graduate school to earn a MSW and ultimately become a child therapist in a trauma based setting.

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Sierra Powdhar  is a senior here at EMU studying Psychology with a concentration in adolescent mental health. She is double minoring in social work and communications. Sierra is first generation American and first generation to attend a 4-year university. Currently, she is working on transcribing videos for the IMH-HV project, community outreach and home-visiting for the SRS study. She plans to attend graduate school to obtain a MSW, and to then become a clinical mental health specialist for African American children. Sierra is a member of the Honors College and the Sigma Alpha Lamdba Honors Organization.   

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KS Kimberly Solomon is a senior at Eastern Michigan University. She will obtain her B.S. in Psychology as well as her B.A. in Women and Gender Studies in April of 2019, additionally minoring in Biology, and will be pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology the following fall. Kimberly is a member of Psi Chi Honors Society and a McNair Scholar. In Kimberly’s future research, she hopes to continue investigating interpersonal communication, specifically encoding and decoding in clinician-client based relationships to see if subtle differences in nonverbal accuracy can influence the effectiveness of treatment. In exploring this under researched aspect of daily functioning Kimberly hopes to provide better treatment for individuals who seek psychological services.


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Marissa Williams is a senior undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University. She will be receiving her B.S. in Psychology and Mathematics in the Fall 2018. Currently, she is assisting the Sleep and Social Development Lab and the SEED Lab with the Development of Self- Regulation in Early Childhood Study. Her interests include learning, childhood development, and identity development. She plans to attend graduate school to earn her PhD in Quantitative Research Methods.

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Megan McNulty is a current junior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry, she plans to graduate next fall of 2019. This is her first semester in the SEED lab and she is assisting with the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood study. Her interests include science, learning, and childhood development. She plans to attend medical school to become a neonatologist after graduation.

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Karliegh Hassenzahl is a senior undergraduate. Karliegh will earn a BS in biology with a chemistry minor graduating April 2019. This is her first semester in the SEED lab and she is assisting with the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood study. Future plans are medical school pursuing a career in pediatrics. 

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Kristen Dolohanty is a junior undergraduate attending Eastern Michigan University. She is planning on receiving a Bachelor's in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Kristen is currently assisting in the SEED Lab, and plans on during further research in graduate school. 

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Meghan Waggoner is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in psychology and neuroscience with a minor in music. She joined the SEED lab Fall 2018 as a transcriber. Her main interests include behavioral neuroscience, abnormal mental illnesses, and the effects of music on the brain. Her goal is to attend graduate school at University of Michigan for neuroscience and become a professor.

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Ellen Schwander is a senior at Eastern Michigan University graduating in December with a bachelor's in psychology and a minor in human biology. She intends to pursue a master's in occupational therapy. 

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Lab alumni:


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Gloria Romero graduated in 2018 with a M.S. from the General Clinical Psychology program at Eastern Michigan University. Her research interests broadly focus on the intergenerational transmission of trauma, examining the mechanisms through which trauma experienced by caregivers is transmitted from parent to child. Currently, she is exploring how maternal PTSD symptoms experienced during pregnancy impact postnatal perceptions of infant emotions and the parent-child relationship. Gloria went on to attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.


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Cassidy Caldwell graduated in 2018 with a BA from Eastern Michigan University. She was a Psychology major/Social Work minor. This Fall, she will be attending the Michigan School of Professional Psychology to achieve her Masters in Clinical Psychology. Her focus in the lab was coding for shame in mother interviews. Outside of school, she is also a part-time preschool teacher.

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