Our Team


Pictured (from left to right): top row: Dr. Tara Chaplin (PI), Claire Niehaus, Robin Semelsberger, Stefanie Goncalves.
Bottom row: Kelsey Mauro, Irene Regalario.

Not pictured: Joe Dinh, Sonakshi Negi, Somi Lee, Jaira Hilbert, Amysue Hansen.


Principal Investigator

Dr. Tara Chaplin is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at George Mason University. She received a Ph.D. in Child-Clinical psychology from Penn State University and completed post-doctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania. Following this, she served as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine until moving to George Mason University in 2013.

Dr. Chaplin’s research interests are in the role of gender and emotion regulation in the development of psychopathology, substance use, and risk behavior in children and adolescents. She is also interested in the role of the family in adolescent development. Related to this, she is currently examining links between parent-teen interactions and adolescent development and is developing a mindfulness intervention for parents of adolescents. Dr. Chaplin’s research incorporates multiple methods to capture emotion regulation, including self-report, observation, physiology, neuroendocrine, and neuroimaging.

Graduate Students


Caitlin Turpyn is a sixth year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at George Mason University and works as a graduate research assistant in the Parent Teen Study. Caitlin received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2011 from the Pennsylvania State University. Before entering GMU’s clinical program, she worked as a project coordinator in the Neuroscience and Education Lab at New York University. Her research interests include adolescent emotion reactivity and regulation in relation to the development of psychopathology.


Jenny Poon, a sixth year doctoral student, received her B.S. in Psychology (Minor: Creative Writing) from Virginia Tech and her M.A. in Experimental Psychology from the College of William & Mary. She is broadly interested in using multiple methods (e.g., self-report, behavioral observation, cortisol, HRV, fMRI) to better elucidate how emotion-related processes (e.g., emotion regulation) impact adolescents’ psychological functioning. Currently, she is interested in examining how early adolescents’ neural responses to positive and negative stimuli are associated with depression, suicidality, NSSI, and other maladaptive behaviors, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.


Amysue Hansen is a sixth year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Department at George Mason University working with Dr. Tara M. Chaplin. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Stony Brook University in 2012. Broadly, her research interests include the biological effects of love and attraction on arousal and regulatory systems in adolescence. She is currently interested in why romantic relationships are associated with heightened risk behavior and the onset of psychopathology. She hopes to explore how neural activation in adolescent romantic relationships is an underlying factor that is facilitating risk behavior and psychopathology in this unique subset of adolescents.


Claire Niehaus is a fourth year doctoral student at George Mason.  She received her B.A. in 2015 from the University of South Carolina.  Before coming to Mason, she worked as a research coordinator for a parenting intervention lab at the University of South Carolina.  Her research interests include parenting, intervention and prevention work, risk and protective factors for harsh parenting, and neural activity as it relates to emotion regulation in parent of adolescents.

Stefanie Gonçalves is a third year student in the clinical psychology doctoral program at George Mason University. She earned her B.S. in psychology from the University of Maryland in 2014. Prior to attending George Mason, Stefanie worked as a faculty research assistant at the Center for Addictions, Personality, and Emotion Research, as well as a rehabilitation counselor at a mental health non-profit. Stefanie’s research interests involve examining the role of emotion on impulse control processes, particularly as they relate to the onset of self-destructive behaviors (i.e. substance use) in adolescents. She is currently the project manager for the Parent Teen Study.

Kelsey Mauro is a second year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at George Mason. In 2016, she received her B.A. from George Washington University, after which she worked as a research fellow at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Kelsey’s research interests include adolescent stress processes and substance abuse, including risk factors for alcohol abuse and cognitive/physiological changes that result from heavy drinking behavior.


Research Assistants



Lance Hinagpis

Lance is a 4th year, who is close to completing a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. He is currently interested in transitional loneliness, reactive depression, social anxiety, stress, and self-perception. Upon graduating in the spring semester, he hopes to take a year off in preparation for an aspiring PhD in Clinical Psychology. Some of his hobbies include re-watching episodes of The Office and Game of Thrones, as well as traveling and working out.






Nadia Roghani

Nadia Roghani is an undergraduate sophomore at George Mason University, studying psychology. She is most interested in marriage and family therapy, as well as research about trauma and refugee experiences. Outside of research, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with  friends.








Grace Maher

Grace is a senior psychology student here at George Mason University. Grace has a passion for clinical research, especially involving the topics of anxiety and depression. When she is not working, Grace enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking or kayaking, and loves creating art.








Karmen Caylor

Karmen Caylor is a post-baccalaureate working in the Youth Emotion Lab. Her research interests include contributing factors to suicidality, the ways parental demographics effect the emotion regulation of their children, and the link between substance use in parents and children. In her free time, Karmen enjoys crafting, outdoor activities, and traveling to new cities.







Robin Semelsberger

Robin Semelsberger graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology, after graduation she worked as an applied behavioral analysis instructor and emergency mental health technician. She has worked as a research assistant in the Youth Emotion’s Lab since August 2017. Ms. Semelsberger will be applying to PhD programs in the fall, her current research interests include substance abuse interventions, health behaviors, and parent-child relationships. In her free time Ms. Semelsberger continues to work on independent research projects and enjoys watching her Law & Order box set.



Christopher Kane

Christopher is a senior at George Mason University pursing a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Psychology. He is interested in the potential of using lucid dreaming as a format of treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as the psychophysiological relationship between trauma, emotions, stress, and behavior. In his spare time he enjoys reading, playing music, and spending time outdoors.




Irene Regalario


Irene is the current project manager for the Parent-Teen study. She graduated from GMU in 2018 with a degree in Psychology with a concentration in Health. Initially in a nursing program, Irene found that her true passion was not only rehabilitating patients, but also caring for their mental and emotional well-being. She previously worked as a researcher in Dr. Todd Kashdan’s Well-Being lab and since then has incorporated her work in well-being with her health interests to pursue a PhD in Health psychology. Her research interests include emotion regulation, anxiety, cardiovascular and hormonal responses to stress, and caretaker stress. Outside of lab, she enjoys music, photography and trying new food.






SoMe Lee

SoMi  is a post-baccalaureate student who recently graduated from George Mason University with a BA in Psychology with a concentration in Developmental Psychology. She plans to continue her education in the future by applying to School Psychlogy programs.  She enjoys traveling and listening to music.






Micaela Selma-Toledo

Micaela is a first-generation Latinx graduate. Upon graduating in December 2018 with a BS in Psychology with a concentration in Developmental Psychology from George Mason University, Micaela began working for the Youth Emotion Lab and as an ABA therapist. Her research interests are Latinx mental health, parent-child relationships, PTSD, and cross-cultural sensitive interventions. Micaela plans to apply to a doctorate program next fall. Her lifetime goals and career aspirations are to create interventions for at-risk Latinx and African American youth, organizing mentoring/personal/professional development programs for Latinx children and women, and creating a parenting program for fathers.





Research Assistant Alumni:

Sonakshi Negi

Sonakshi graduated in the fall of 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology with concentrations in Clinical Psychology and Health Psychology. She hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and research the mechanisms underlying existing treatments to understand how to personalize psychological treatments in adolescents. In doing so, she hopes to better treatment outcomes. She enjoys art and likes to paint in her free time.



Jaira Hilbert

Jaira graduated in the spring of 2019 with a degree in Psychology. She had a concentration in Development and a minor in African & African American Studies. Her research interests center the mental health of minority children and families. After earning her Master’s degree, she hopes to contribute to the field of Community Psychology to help aid in community problem-solving through research and outreach programs. Outside of the lab, Jaira enjoys eating a good meal, watching a good show, and liturgical dancing




Joe Dinh



Joe is a post-baccalaureate working at the Youth Emotion Lab with Dr. Tara Chaplin. He has a bachelors degree in Psychology with a concentration in Development Psychology. Joe plans to apply to a Clinical PhD program in the future. Some of his hobbies include reading and working out.







Previous Project Managers:

Juliana Jacangelo who is now studying for a master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Virginia managed the Parent Teen Study.

Alexandra Martelli who is now in a PhD program for Social Psychology at the Virginia Commonwealth University managed the Parenting Mindfully Study.

Cory Ross, who managed the Parenting Mindfully Study and Parent Teen Study, is now pursuing a PhD in School Psychology at Penn State University.

Fran Faundez Rojas, who managed the Parent Teen Study, will now be working at Wediko Children’s Services Summer Program.