Clinical Psychology Graduate Students

Talissa Dorsaint, BS

Talissa Dorsaint received her BS in Psychology from Rutgers University. As an undergraduate, Talissa researched how effectively school-aged teachers used direct verbal and behavioral cues in a classroom setting with the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Her current research interests are examining the behavioral effects of internalizing disorders in a school setting and their impact on developmental and academic trajectory. Talissa just accepted an externship position at the IIT Student Health and Wellness Center.

Tanya August, MA

Tanya received her BA in Psychology (Applied Track) from University of Illinois at Chicago. She later received her MA in Clinical (Counseling) Psychology at Roosevelt University. While at Roosevelt University, Tanya had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala to take a course in Multicultural Psychotherapy at the Universidad de Guatemala, Solola. While there, she facilitated workshops on self-esteem and self-construct with the native high school students and teachers. Summer 2012, Tanya became a Health Lead Chicago fellow at the La Rabida Children's Hospital. She collaborated with physicians, social workers, and other health providers in the clinics in screening families for psychosocial needs. In addition, she researched and assisted in developing partnerships with a local network community programs and hospital-based resource providers and expanding services to the West side of Chicago. Currently, Tanya's primary research interest is in cognitive development and academic achievement gaps in school-age children. She just accepted an externship position at Thrive Counseling Center.

Taylor Dreher, BS

Taylor Dreher joined the lab in 2010 as an undergraduate at IIT. She continues to be part of the lab after being accepted into IIT's clinical doctoral program in 2012. Her research interests include neurological development in children with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder and how this impacts academic, social, and emotional functioning. Taylor recently accepted an externship position at the Family Counseling Center.

Megan Mims, MA, BCBA

Co-Research Coordinator

Megan Mims received her BS in Psychology from the Illinois Institute of technology in 2007. She obtained a MA degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. There she researched the generalization of variable behavior to novel tasks using a transitional research model. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and currently works as a consultant for children with autism spectrum disorder. Her current research examines the achievement gap across ethnicities and the relationship between cognitive developmental level, intellectual ability, and academic achievement. She returned to IIT in 2011 to obtain her PhD in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing an externship at the Ecker Center for Behavioral Health and will be at the University of Chicago Pediatric Neuropsychology Center next fall.

Ilana Reife, MS

Co-Social Coordinator

Ilana Reife received her BA in Psychology with minors in English and Spanish from Lehigh University. Her current research interests are in understanding problem areas in children and adolescent's psychosocial functioning and how these issues are measured with neuropsychological assessments. She currently works as a pediatric neuropsychology technician. Ilana's externship position while working towards her PhD in Clinical Psychology at IIT, is at the Family Counseling Center. Next year, Ilana will extern at the Family Institute at Northwestern in the Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic.

Ali Stockman, MS

Alexandria Stockman received her BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2004 and MS in Child Development from the Erikson Institute in 2007. Alexandria served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2005-2007 where she worked to open a regional municipal child care and maternal health center with grants from USAID, the European Union and funds from the Guatemalan Government. The center continues to serve at risk families with young children. She also consulted on child development curriculum for the national childcare program. Her research and clinical work are focused on typical and atypical development in infancy and parent-child relationships in the perinatal and birth-to-three period. While preparing her PhD in Clinical Psychology at IIT, Alexandria has held extern positions at John Stroger Jr. Hospital in both child and adult psychiatry, adult neuropsychology and currently in The Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Wellness Clinic.

Christina M. Roberts, MS

Lab Director and Scribe

Christina M. Roberts received a BA in Psychology from Valparaiso University. Christina is primarily interested in pediatric neuropsychology, having held two pediatric neuropsychology externships at both the Alexian Brothers Neurosciences Institute and at North Shore Pediatric Therapy. She has gained therapy experience at the Family Counseling Center and the Midwestern Center for Youth and Families. Christina's research interests lie in assessment of attention and learning disabilities. Christina is currently lab director of Lab 277.

Barry Unis, MS

Co-Social Coordinator

Barry Unis received his BA in Psychology from Westminster College, PA, where he investigated the impact of beginner therapist's self-disclosure on psychotherapeutic outcome. He is currently researching male heterosexual's explicit and implicit attitudes about sexual orientations and whether mindfulness moderates the congruence of these two types of attitudes. Additionally, he has recently started a project on whether parent-report questionnaires or parent interviews better predict an autistic spectrum disorder diagnosis by clinicians. During his student tenure pursuing his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at IIT, Barry has held extern positions at the Family Counseling Center in Joliet, Trinity Services' Autism and Family Resource Center, and Advocate Illinois Masonic's Pediatric Developmental Center.

Kim McCue, MA

Co-Research Coordinator

Kimberly McCue received her BS in Psychology & Biology from Northwestern University. She obtained an MA in Social Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Chicago. Kim researched neural regulation of autonomic systems and the role they play in social interaction at the BrainBody Center at the Illinois Juvenile Research Center. Her current research interests involve studying neurobehavioral regulation and developmental trajectory in early childhood. While preparing her PhD in Clinical Psychology at IIT, Kim has held extern positions at a City of Chicago Community Mental Health Center, University of Chicago Pediatric Neuropsychology Center and The Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Wellness Clinic at Stroger Hospital.

Elliott Hicks, MS

Elliott Hicks received his BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he researched the role of supportive communication in adjustment to treatment for couples coping with a partner with breast cancer. He obtained a MS in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology where he has been researching the role of criticism in couples participating in a cardiovascular risk reduction intervention. His current research includes work at the Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook, Illinois. Here he is researching the relationship between martial adjustment, seasonality, mental and physical health functioning. Further, he is currently working on a validation study for the PROMIS-43 health functioning questionnaire. While preparing his PhD in Clinical Psychology at IIT, Elliott has held extern positions at a City of Chicago Community Mental Health Center, The Family Institute at Northwester University, and Loyola Hospital's Psychosocial Oncology Department.

Rodney Blanco, MS

After graduating from Purdue University with a BA in Political Science, I moved to San Diego to pursue a law degree. After successfully completing my first year, I realized a career in law was not what I wanted for myself. I spent a year in Japan teaching English as a Second Language and it was there where I decided to pursue a career in psychology. I began my studies at Temple University Japan and subsequently moved to Toronto to complete a psychology degree at York University. My research interests at York were primarily in HIV prevention where I collaborated with researchers and local LGBT organizations to write a book on HIV sexual risk behavior. I am currently a fifth year clinical psychology doctoral student at IIT. I began my training at IIT under Dr. Patricia Bach, who is a leading researcher/practitioner in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); however, she left IIT in 2012 to pursue other interests. Due to Dr. Bach leaving IIT, I had the opportunity to choose a different lab to become affiliated with. While my research interests are not necessarily child oriented, Dr. Schleser's (Bob) lab was an obvious fit for me due to the friendly atmosphere, high level of coordination, and Bob's dedication to his students. My current research interests include incorporating a mindfulness intervention into treatment regiments for adults with ADHD and I am in the process of developing an ACT protocol for compulsive gamblers. I have held extern positions at the Family Counseling Center (ACT specific therapy site), the University of Chicago (assessment), and Illinois Masonic Medical Center (general therapy).

Katie Kaszynski, MS

Katie Kaszynski is a 5th year Ph.D. student in Dr. SchleserÍs lab. She is currently completing a Pediatric Psychology externship at the University of Chicago and working part-time as a Pediatric Neuropsychology examiner. Katie recently applied to internship and is patiently awaiting match day! Her current and past research projects include the investigation of temperament, serious disruptive behavior, and executive dysfunction among homeless youth, and the relationship between planning ability and fluency among school-aged children. Before coming to IIT, Katie earned her B.A. in psychology from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. In her free time, Katie enjoys going to concerts, watching live comedy, and cooking.

Jennifer Bailey, MA

Jennifer Bailey received her BA in psychology from the University of North Florida. She obtained her MA in Clinical Adult Psychology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Jennifer has been drawn to research questions that inform her understanding of clients and improve her clinical practice. Her prior research has investigated the influence of payment method on psychologists' diagnostic decisions, as well as implicit and explicit attitudes towards serious mental illness among clinical trainees and professionals. Her doctoral research is a feasibility study of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for the treatment of bipolar disorders. While pursuing her PhD in Clinical Psychology at IIT, Jennifer held extern positions at the Family Counseling Center and Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. She has also been an instructor at Elmhurst College, Dominican University, and IIT and conducts psychological evaluations for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Clay Hinkle, MS

Clay Hinkle is a 5th year Ph.D. student in Dr. Schleser's lab. He is currently on internship at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis and plans to pursue a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology. Past and present research projects include (1) a comparison of neuropsychological profiles of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reading disorder, and comorbid ADHD and reading disorder, (2) an examination of neurocognitive and psychiatric functioning in underserved and homeless youth, and (3) an evaluation of a primary care-based depression prevention intervention for adolescents and emerging adults. Before coming to IIT, Clay obtained his B.S. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his M.A. in special education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. He is a 2005 Teach For America corps alumnus (Los Angeles) and has taught at the high school and middle school levels.

Michael Vernale, MS

Michael Vernale received his BS in Psychology from the University of Arizona and his MS in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). His clinical interests include neuropsychology, gerontology, and systems management. Currently, he is researching the effects of pain and cardiovascular disease on cognition in adults with Sickle Cell Disease. Michael has completed a clinical externship at the Family Counseling Center in Joliet, and advanced neuropsychology practice at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. During his time at IIT Michael also designed and implement an independent living program and a triage program for a long-term care facility located in Chicago. Michael is currently a Captain, serving in the United States Air Force at Joint Base Andrews where he is completing his residency in Clinical Psychology. One of the most rewarding parts of his residency is a mini rotation where Michael greets and assesses the returning wounded warriors aboard a C-17.

Recent Alumni of Lab 277

Crystal Young, PhD

Crystal received her BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan. She received her MS in Clinical Psychology at IIT researching language as a mediator of ethnicity and mathematics in school aged children. Crystal obtained her PhD in Clinical Psychology at IIT in 2012. Her dissertation examined the relationship of executive functioning patterns and academic achievement across DSM-IV subtypes of ADHD. While preparing her dissertation at IIT, Crystal held extern positions at Bobby E. Wright Community Mental Health Center, University of Chicago Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Clinic. She has completed a Clinical Psychology Internship at Childrens Hospital of Michigan. Crystal was awarded a Pediatric Neuropsychology/Rehabilitation Psychology Fellow at the University of Michigan Health System in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Carolyn Giannone, PhD

Dr. Carolyn Giannone received her BA in Psychology from Wagner College in Staten Island, NY. She obtained her MS and Ph.D. in clinical psychology here at IIT and graduated in May 2012. Carolyn researched the academic achievement gap with Dr. Schleser's lab during graduate school, and also did several research posters and projects on patterns of therapy attrition in inner city families at the University of Illinois at Chicago Disruptive Behavior Clinic. Carolyn currently works as a full-time outpatient clinician at Lakeland Mental Health Center in Alexandria, MN. She provides therapy services to children, adolescents, and adults. Areas of interest include anxiety and child development, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and helping people with chemical dependency maintain sobriety. Carolyn also conducts comprehensive psychological evaluations on children, adolescents and adults. In 2013, she will obtain licensure as a clinical psychologist and will begin administering comprehensive autism evaluations.

Stacey Price, PhD

Stacey Filerman received her BA in Psychology & Elementary Education from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests include the relationship between gender and children's perceived competence and social skills and academic achievement. She has also participated in research on the neuropsychological correlates of craniosynostosis through Northwestern University. During her time at IIT, Stacey participated in externships at Trinity Services Family Counseling Center, Alexian Brothers Neurosciences Institute, and the Pediatric Developmental Center at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. She also held a position as a mental health counselor through North Shore University Health Systems. Stacey completed her internship at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Behavioral Health Services. After completing her PhD, she participated in two fellowships focusing on individual and family therapy and neuropsychology. She currently is employed at Tompkins and Associates in Naperville.

Mary Bodzy, PhD

Mary Bodzy received her BA in Studio Art from the University of Georgia in Athens Georgia. She obtained an MA in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago Illinois. Mary's graduate research interests included examining group differences in executive functions in children with mTBI and ADHD. Mary completed externships at Pilsen Little Village Community Mental Health Center in clinical psychology, Children's National Medical Center in pediatric neuropsychology, and Rhode Island Hospital and Bradley Hospital of Rhode Island in Clinical Neuropsychology. Mary completed her Clinical Psychology Internship at Kennedy Kreiger Institute/Johns Hopkins Medical School with a rotation in Neuropsychology. Mary received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from IIT in 2011. Recently, Mary has worked with a Boston Area Neuropsychology group to conduct psychological and neuropsychological evaluations in the charter school system throughout the Boston area.

Alexandra Zagoloff, PhD

Sasha Zagoloff received her BA with a major in Psychology and minor in Art History from Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. Sasha obtained an MS in Clinical Psychology from IIT and a Clinical Psychology PhD with highest honors. Her graduate research work examined the mediating effect of language skill on academic achievement among African American, Caucasian, and Latino 1st through 3rd grade students. While pursuing her PhD at IIT, she held externships at Family Counseling Center, University of Chicago Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic and the Disruptive Behavior Disorders Clinic at the Juvenile Research Center of Illinois. Sasha went on to Internship at the University of Minnesota, Department of Pediatrics and Psychiatry. After Internship, Sasha was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Emory University in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to focus on Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders. Sasha currently holds an academic appointment at University of Minnesota Medical School as Assistant Professor

Undergraduate Members of Lab 277

Catalina Suarez Rivera

Catalina Suarez pursues her BS in Psychology at IIT. She is currently a fourth year and would like to start a doctorate program in Developmental Psychology to explore the cognitive significance of gestures in infants and toddlers. Catalina wrote a grant proposal Tracing the Achievement Gap in Caucasian, African American and Latino infants to examine when does this phenomenon start and then pinpoint the mechanisms behind the different rate of development among ethnicities. Moreover, she was part of the Undergraduate Research Scholar's Program the summer of 2011. She used Jean Piaget's theoretical framework to examine if current math curricula of preschool and elementary schools is appropriate for children's level of cognitive development. This year, Catalina will attend the SRCD and the MPA to present three posters.

Connor Pichett

Connor is in his third year studying undergraduate psychology after a major change from chemical engineering. He participates in the collection and compilation of data for the lab's research. He is currently helping a group prepare a poster on anxiety and quality of life in individuals with ASD for the MPA conference this May.

Ryan Emry

Ryan Emry is a 3rd year student at IIT, he is currently pursuing a B.S. in Psychology. His research interests include issues affecting mentally ill adults in long-term care facilities as well as the educational difficulties faced by children with autism. Last summer Ryan began assisting a graduate student with research pertaining to mentally ill adults. As a result of a related study he attained first authorship on a study titled, Using the Level of Care Utilization System (LOCUS) in Treatment Programming. Ryan will be presenting a poster highlighting this study at the MPA conference in Chicago this spring.

Beatriz Ruiz

Beatriz Ruiz is an Undergraduate Psychology student at Illinois Institute of Technology. She is involved in several organizations such as: Undocumented Students and Allies, Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, and Latinos in Future Education. She volunteers her time at the LaGrange Carousal Shop, a non-profit organization administered by the LaGrange Nurse Health Association, which seeks to raise money to provide healthcare for low-income families. Beatriz is currently working with Graduate Lab members, assisting with data entry and data base management.

Deba Alam

Deba Alam is currently a third year undergraduate student. She transferred to IIT in Fall 2012 from Harold Washington College. She plans to get a bachelor's degree in Psychology and hopes to pursue a career as a corporate attorney in the future. She currently serves as the Public Relations Executive Officer and Graphic Designer for Undocumented Students and Allies here at IIT. Along with being a proactive member of a student club, she also serves as a research assistant for a graduate student who is currently conducting research involving cancer patients. To further expand her research experience, she will soon be joining a faculty professor in research examining counterproductive work behavior at the workplace.

Isabelle Romero

Isabelle Romero is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and is in her first year at IIT and studying Psychology and Business Management. She plans to combine management and industrial organization to work as a manager or work further in the field of industrial organization. Aside from classes she is the newest Vice President of TEDxIIT and a research assistant for Elliot Hicks.