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SEED Lab Members

Principle Investigator:

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 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 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.


asDr. Angela 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: 

JP Jerrica Pitzen is a fifth 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. 

  KAKristin Aho is a second 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 the SEED Lab, Kristin manages the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood project and assists with the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting study. Kristin is broadly interested in emotion, self-regulation, internalizing disorders, and relationships. In the future, 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.


Amanda Hicks
 is a first year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Eastern Michigan University who works 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.


tlTiffany Ludkin is a second 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. 



Morgan Daugherty
 is a second 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.


Natasha Bourgoin
is a second year student in the General Clinical Masters program at Eastern Michigan University and has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maine. She aspires to continue on and earn her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology following her completion of the GC program. She is currently involved in the Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood Study with Dr. Lawler and coding for the Parents for Healthy Kids Project with Dr. Heather Janisse. Natasha has a particular interest in working with an adult population suffering from trauma, depression and anxiety and the development of effective interventions. 


Jordan Sieja
is a first-year student and graduate assistant in the General Clinical program here at Eastern Michigan University. She earned her BS in psychology and communication here as well. In the future, she aspires to pursue her Ph.D in a clinical psychology program to work in academia and/or as a practitioner. She is currently involved in various projects in the SEED lab, which include coding mind-mindedness comments for mother and child relationships, examining self-efficacy and parental sensitivity, and a blooming project on the effects of parental adversity. Jordan is particularly interested in adult populations and intervention work for stress and anxiety, mindfulness, and effective treatment outcomes.

Undergraduate Students: 


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.


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.   

Megan McNulty is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry, she plans to graduate Fall of 2019. This is her third 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.


Kristen Dolohanty
is a senior 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. 


Lawrence Parsons
is a senior undergraduate who is planning on graduating in December of 2019 with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. He intends to pursue a master's degree in clinical psychology starting fall of 2020 and hopes to become a limited licensed psychologist to help adolescents struggling with anxiety and depression. He started assisting in the SEED lab in January of 2019. 

Rylee Smith
is a senior undergraduate psychology student with a minor in communications and will be graduating May 2020. She is currently working on the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting Study transcription team and the Self-Regulation Study data entry team.  After graduation she plans to continue on to grad school and pursue a masters degree. She is interested in infant mental health and child psychology and plan to become a infant or child therapist. 


Reyna Lee
is currently a senior at Eastern Michigan University, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Biology. She has joined SEED lab as of Summer 2019 and will be graduating in the Spring of 2020. 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. 


Izzy Tolsma
is a junior 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.


Salena Napora
is currently a senior 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. 


Armando Chacon
is an undergraduate planning on graduating in the fall semester of 2020. He is majoring in psychology and working toward a second major in neuroscience and planning on going to graduate school for a doctorates program in clinical-psychology. He eventually wants to specialize in helping patients with trauma-related disorders with an emphasis on PTSD in youth and adolescents. 

rczRosa Marie Colón-Zayas is a Senior at Eastern Michigan University. She will be graduating by December of 2020 and is continuing her education by pursing her masters degree and eventually a PHD in clinical psychology. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico but has been living in Michigan for 8 years. She has an interest in at risk youth and adolescents. Rosa also has particular interest in how socioeconomic status can impact overall mental health and family well being. She is double majoring in Psychology and sociology with other interests including more personally, mindfulness and positive psychology. She is a new member of the SEED lab as of fall 2019.

kmKyle Mitchell is a Junior at Eastern Michigan, Kyle has worked as a barber for the last 4 years. Being a barber has aided in me developing relationships with clients and being able to give people a safe place to talk about life. I have also used the time to help people who are re joining the community out of rehabs, and jails to look their best, feel better, and give them the confidence to be successful. Returning to school now Kyle is now motivated after graduation to go on to his PhD in clinical psychology. He has a passion for working with adults suffering from addiction, depression, and anxiety. He currently active in the recovery community, and with at risk LGBTQ youth participating in an crisis call center with a local non profit organization. He hopes in the future to be able to participate in research focusing on trauma and how to create interventions in order for people to live normal happy lives. 


Krysten Schultz
 graduated from Siena Heights University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, and she is currently a non-degree student at Eastern Michigan University taking psychology courses at the undergraduate level to prepare for graduate school in clinical psychology. She wants to work with kids who have neurodevelopmental disorders.   


 Martin is a third-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. 


Lab alumni