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Team

We are a group who likes to meet up for pancakes...
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CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCHERS

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Ryan Sunda

Ryan is a third year school psychology PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He completed his undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular biology from Harvard College and previously worked as a middle school science teacher in Greensboro, North Carolina. His research interests include the mentorship of beginning and lateral entry teachers, the implementation of school-wide antiracism programming for educators, and strategies to address the disproportionate discipline of students based on race.

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Andrea Molina Palacios

Andrea is a third year School Psychology PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She completed her Master's in School Psychology at UMass Boston. In Venezuela she received her bachelor's in clinical psychology and worked in schools supporting students' social emotional wellbeing. As a practitioner, she is interested in promoting equitable bilingual assessments for English Learners as part of the special education eligibility process. Her research interests are focused on progress monitoring mindfulness-based interventions in schools. 

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Emily Romero

Emily is a second year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from Fordham University. She has a long history of community-engaged research and service with the youth population in the Bronx, with a focus on adolescence. She is interested in continuing to work closely with historically disadvantaged youth, in order to help establish equitable resources to better their mental well-being and educational success. More specifically, her interests include 1) implementation and evaluation of community-based interventions to help support traditionally marginalized students; 2) the relationship between educators and family members supporting students; and 3) social, cognitive, and structural predictors of resilience amongst youth facing chronic adversity.

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Diana Laenen

Diana is a second year school psychology doctoral student in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.  She completed her BA in Psychology at Boston University, and previously worked at the BU Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders contributing to clinical and research activities. Her research interests include multi-tiered intervention for emotional challenges in schools and school-based parent coaching initiatives.

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Julia Kausel

Julia is a second year School Psychology PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology at University of Delaware working in the Attachment and BioBehavioral Catch-Up  Lab as an fMRI and Autonomic Nervous System Technician. Her research interests include strengthening student resilience, despite social-ecological factors, through school responses to at-risk youth in the form of culturally-informed prevention and intervention practices. 

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Elisa Cabral

Elisa is a first-year School Psychology Ph.D. student at UMass Boston. She presently holds a B.A. in Child Development from Tufts University and later received an M.S. in Critical Ethnic and Community Studies at UMass Boston while working as a therapeutic mentor. Her research interests include culturally-appropriate assessments and healing modalities that promote healthy development and support learning outcomes of African diasporic youth.

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Rayaan Ali

Rayaan is a first year School Psychology PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her BS in Psychology with a minor in Family, Youth and Community Sciences at the University of Florida. Her research interests include elevating the voices and social-emotional lives of marginalized youth through community-engaged participatory research.

LAB ALUMNI

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Staci Ballard, M.Ed.

Staci is a fifth year doctoral student, completing her APA-approved predoctoral internship at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in New Jersey. Dr. Stacy Bender is her advisor and dissertation chair.

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Patrick Robinson-Link, M.A.

Patrick is fourth year doctoral student, completing his predoctoral internship at the Home for Little Wanderers in Boston, MA. Dr. Fallon is his advisor and dissertation chair.

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Maggie Veiga, Ph.D.

Dr. Veiga completed her APA-approved pre-doctoral internship at May Institute, Inc. in Randolph, MA. She is now an Assistant Professor at Bridgewater State University. She defended her dissertation in the Spring of 2022 and graduated from UMB in the Summer of 2023. Dr. Fallon was her advisor and dissertation chair.

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Annisha Susilo, Ph.D.

Dr. Susilo completed her APA-approved pre-doctoral internship at Santa Barbara - Psychology Internship Consortium (SB-PIC) in California. She defended her dissertation in the Spring of 2022 and graduated in Summer 2023. Her doctoral advisor was Dr. Mel Collier-Meek.

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Sadie Cathcart, Ph.D. 

Dr. Cathcart just completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital. She is starting as a transplant psychologist at Columbia University's Irving Medical Center. She was a pre-doctoral intern at Mailman Center for Child Development at University of Miami, an APA-approved site. She defended her dissertation and graduated from UMB in the Summer of 2022. Dr. Fallon was her advisor and dissertation chair.

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Tamara Lawson, Ph.D. 

Dr. Lawson is an Assistant Professor in School Psychology at University of Arizona. She completed her APA-approved pre-doctoral internship at Illinois School Psychology Internship Consortium (ISPIC). She defended her dissertation in the Fall of 2021 and graduated from UMB in the Summer of 2022. Dr. Fallon was her advisor and dissertation chair.

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Jessica Janze, Ph.D. 

Dr. Janze is Clinical Psychology Fellow with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She completed her APA-approved pre-doctoral internship at Huntsman Mental Health Institute at University of Utah. She defended her dissertation and graduated from UMB in the Summer of 2022. Dr. Fallon was her dissertation chair.

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Talia Berkman, M.Ed.

Talia is a 5th year doctoral student at UMB working on the BIRCh Project with faculty at University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston. Her doctoral advisor is Dr. Melissa Pearrow.

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Emily DeFouw, Ph.D.

Dr. DeFouw is an Assistant Professor in the School Psychology program at University of Southern Mississippi. She completed her APA-approved pre-doctoral internship at Munroe-Meyer Institute before completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Intervention Research in Schools at Ohio University. She defended her dissertation in 2019 and graduated from UMB in the Summer of 2020 with Dr. Mel Collier-Meek as her advisor.

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Marlana Barrasso, Ph.D.

Dr. Barrasso is a school psychologist with the Chelmsford Public Schools in Chelmsford, MA. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) in New York. She defended her dissertation in 2020 and graduated from UMB in the Summer of 2021.Dr. Fallon was her advisor and dissertation chair.

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Kathryn Kurtz, Ph.D.

Dr. Kurtz is the Project Director of the BIRCh Project with University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston. She completed her APA-approved pre-doctoral internship at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in Pennsylvania. She defended her dissertation in 2020 and graduated from UMB in the Summer of 2021. Her doctoral advisor was Dr. Melissa Pearrow.

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