Dr. Tara Chaplin is an Associate 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.
Stefanie is a sixth-year student in the clinical psychology doctoral program at George Mason University. She is currently on internship at Western Psychiatric Hospital/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Stefanie 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 is focused on understanding the role of emotion regulation, motivation, and loss/reward sensitivity in psychopathology and substance use in adolescents.
Kelsey is a fourth-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.
Rafael E. Hernandez Dubon
Rafael is a second-year student in the Ph.D. clinical psychology program at George Mason. He earned a dual B.S. degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in psychology with a concentration in addiction studies, and philosophy with a concentration in philosophy and science. Previous to Mason, he worked as a research assistant in projects focused on culturally enhancing substance use interventions for Latinx adolescents and young adults. He is interested in Latinx community oriented research, and the impact of sociocultural-spiritual factors in the development of psychopathology, specially substance use and addiction. As well as, culturally enhancing construct measurement, assessment, and interventions. He enjoys hiking, biking, and spending time with family.
Mary Ryan (formerly Mary Fesalbon) is a third-year student in George Mason University’s doctoral program for Clinical. She earned her B.A. in psychology from the Catholic University of America in 2018. After undergrad Mary worked as Research Technician in the Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging at Georgetown University, where she received funding to study violence exposure as it relates to adolescent emotion processing and neurodevelopment. Mary’s research interests have continued in the trajectory of adolescent neurodevelopment. Additionally, she is interested in examining adolescent development as it relates to pubertal timing, parental bond, and media exposure. Outside of the lab, Mary is learning a series of aerial tricks on the flying trapeze.
Mallory A. Kisner
Mallory is a second-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at George Mason University. She received her B.S. in psychology from Colorado State University in 2019. Prior to joining the Youth Emotion Lab, Mallory worked as a research fellow at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), using fMRI to pilot a neurofeedback intervention for craving reduction for individuals with alcohol use disorder. Her research interests revolve around the development of harmful substance use behaviors across the lifespan. She uses developmental theory and neuroimaging techniques to study social and emotional influences on adolescent substance use and has additional interests in the use of mindfulness techniques for both the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.
Alec is the laboratory manager for the Parent-Teen Study II. He holds degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology from George Mason University. He will start his Ph.D. in Pharmacology & Molecular Neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center in the Summer of 2023. He is interested in the molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. He is also interested in Ayahuasca’s chemical structure and influence on the proliferation stage of neurogenesis, and is currently working on an NSF grant to investigate the sub-ventricular zone of Tg2576 mice. On his free time, Alec enjoys working out, eating new food, enjoying nature, and doing research.
Gordon (Max) Kinsey-Kerr
Max is the laboratory manager for the Parenting-Mindfully study II. He graduated in 2021 from George Mason University with a B.S. in Psychology. He has research interests in how mindfulness can reduce the effects of stress, depression, anxiety, and even lead to healthier relationships. He plans to apply for PhD programs in Clinical Psychology in the future. While Max has free time you would likely find him spending time with his loved ones, trying to improve in some way, or playing video games.
Dylan is the assistant laboratory manager for both the Parent-Teen Study II & the Parenting-Mindfully study II. He graduated in Spring of 2022 with a B.S. in Psychology. He hopes to pursue a PsyD in Clinical Psychology. His research interests include stress and anxiety and their long term effects on childhood development. In his free time, he enjoys playing music and watching movies.
Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistants
Autumn graduated with a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience and a minor in Neuroscience. Her research interests include psychophysiology, the use of psychedelics to treat mood and anxiety-related disorders, and how traumatic brain injuries affect cognition and neurodegeneration. Outside of the lab, she enjoys outdoor adventures, playing the piano, and going to the movies!
Ustina graduated with a degree in Neuroscience. Her research interests include family dynamics in relation to anxiety and respiratory diseases. Outside of the lab, she enjoys painting, playing the piano, and biking.
Vivien graduated with a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Psychology from George Mason University. Her research interests in clinical psychology involve mental health interventions, mindfulness, and the effect of learning disabilities on child/adolescent development. Outside of research, she enjoys playing the piano, ice skating, and singing Celtic traditional music.
Mariam graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience from George Mason University. Her research interests include adolescent psychology and mental health disorders. In her free time, Mariam enjoys reading, rock climbing, and taekwondo.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Giselle is a senior undergraduate Psychology student with a concentration in Clinical Psychology and a minor in Data Analysis. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology with research interests including attachment, emotion regulation, interpersonal stress and traumatic stress, and crisis response. She has a passion for working with other LGBTQ individuals by volunteering for the Trevor Project, and enjoys reading, yoga, and spending downtime with her partner and her dog.
Randall is a junior undergrad working towards obtaining his bachelor’s in psychology. While taking classes at GMU he is interested in working with clinical studies that would benefit the African American and LGBtQIA+ community. Outside the lab, he loves to participate in Dungeon and Dragons role-playing games, playing video games, listening to audio books, podcasts, playing collatable card games, and writing his own book.
Rachel is a senior majoring in Psychology. Her research interests include ADHD and Autism in women and minorities and how family function and social support affects the development and treatment of these disorders. In her free time, Rachel enjoys gardening, baking, reading, and spending time with her three parrots.
Evan is a junior pursuing a BS in psychology, and he plans to continue onto graduate school to become a clinical psychologist. He is interested in the biological/genetic predictors of intelligence, and the predictive validity of IQ with regards to life success. He is also interested in social media, video game, and pornography use in adolescents, specifically how and why adolescents use them and how they affect adolescents. Outside of psychology, he does Brazilian jiu-jitsu, play tenor sax in the Mason Jazz Ensemble, read, and watch anime.
Jennifer is a senior pursuing a B.S. in psychology with a concentration in clinical psychology and health psychology at GMU. She plans to pursue a master’s in mental health counseling, interested in providing mental health services to the Spanish-speaking community. Her research interests include risk and resilience factors in Latin youth. Outside the lab, she enjoys spending time with her family and dog, cooking, and watching tv shows.
Emilia is a sophomore working towards getting a B.S. in Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include the effects of trauma and abuse in childhood on adults and criminal psychology. She plans to go to medical school and would like to one day open a private practice in neurology or neuropsychology. Outside of classes, she enjoys riding horses, reading, and spending time her friends and her cats Nugget and Pepper.
Nina is an international senior psychology student at George Mason University with concentrations in clinical and health psychology. She has a previous baccalaureate and master’s degree in English from Copenhagen University, and she hopes to use her mixed educational background in the mission to help children, youth, and young adults lead better lives. Her future career goals encompass pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology and owning a private practice one day. When she is not RBT’ing or campaigning for mental health awareness, you will find her running a trail, tending to her garden, or learning a new craft.
Huda Emaan Naeem
Huda is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a clinical psychology concentration, as well as the accelerated M.A. in Psychology with the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience concentration. After completing her degrees at GMU, she plans to eventually complete a PhD or PsyD in Clinical Psychology. She’s interested in religion and spirituality-integrated clinical techniques, as well as the connection between processes of cognition and neuroscience to frameworks of clinical psychology. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading and writing fiction, baking, and watching movies.
Graduate Student Alumni
Caitlin Turpyn, PhD
Caitlin graduated from the Clinical Psychology program at George Mason University and is completing her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Caitlin received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2011 from 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, PhD
Jenny graduated from the Clinical Psychology program at George Mason University and is completing her post-doctoral fellowship at Brown University. She 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, PhD
Amysue Hansen graduated from the Clinical Psychology Program at George Mason University and is currently employed as a Specialist at McKinsey & Company. Through the Social, Healthcare, and Public Entities practice, she works on engagements in the public, social, and private sectors around behavioral health reform.
Claire Milligan, PhD
Claire graduated from George Mason University with her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2022. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at University of Louisville’s Norton Children’s Hospital providing consultation-liaison services to hospitalized children experiencing psychiatric emergencies and conducting research on parent-child groups for children with chronic illness. Prior to that, she did her predoctoral internship at Denver Health Hospital specializing in working with underserved families affected by substance use, homelessness, parental incarceration, or domestic violence. Broadly, her clinical work focuses on parenting interventions for underserved or historically marginalized families following a biopsychosocial approach. Similarly, her research uses multi-method approaches to understand parenting and child psychological outcomes in diverse or marginalized groups.
Pictured (from left to right): top row: Dr. Tara Chaplin (PI), Claire Niehaus, Robin Semelsberger, Stefanie Goncalves.
Bottom row: Kelsey Mauro, Irene Regalario.
Previous Project Managers:
Alec Gamboa is now in Georgetown University Medical Center’s Pharmacology & Molecular Neuroscience PhD program. He managed the Parent-Teen Study II (2022-2023)
Max Kinsey-Kerr is now in x. He started and managed the Parenting-Mindfully Study II (2022-2023)
Cristopher Lance Hinagpis is now in George Mason University’s Clinical Psychology PhD program studying under Dr. Leah Adams. He managed the Parent-Teen Study II (2020-2022)
Irene Regalario is now in George Mason University’s Clinical Psychology PhD program studying under Dr. Leah Adams. She managed the Parent-Teen Study II. (2018-2020)
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.
Research Lab Alumni