I am currently a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign's Department of Psychology Clinical Community Division. I completed my PhD at the University of Georgi (UGA)a, and prior to this attended the University of Miami and Florida International University. During my time at UGA, I was a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow (2017-2021), a PEO Scholar (2021-2022), and an NIMH R36 recipient(2021-2023).
The overall aims of my research are the following:
Specifically, my goals are to maximize the impact of research aimed at improving mental health outcomes and programs for children and families from understudied, underserved, and underprivileged backgrounds by improving quantification of the complex influence of parenting and family factors on the development of psychopathology.
University of Georgia
Doctor of Philosophy
APA- and PCSAS-Accredited Clinical Psychology Program
Quantitative Methodology in Family Science (QMFS) Certificate Program, Fall 2020
Advisor: Anne E. Shaffer, PhD
University of Georgia
Master of Science in Psychology
University of Miami
Master of Science in Education in Research, Measurement and Evaluation
Advisor: Cengiz Zopluoglu, PhD
Florida International University
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Honors)
Honors: Summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Honors College
Advisor: Jeremy W. Pettit, PhD
Advances in Measurement
Measuring psychological constructs that cannot be directly observed is a challenging process. When they can be observed, measurement is often costly and not realistic in low-income settings. Measuring psychopathology and interpersonal constructs, such as parenting, is critical for clinical settings, and it has been a primary focus of my research. For instance, recently, despite years of use of the Bayley Infant Neurodevelopmental Screener (BINS) in South Africa among HIV-exposed infants, I was the first to replicate the original factor structure of the BINS in this context.1 I also developed a measure to optimize evaluation of the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) program and its effectiveness.2 In the United States, under the mentorship of Dr. Shaffer, I developed a preliminary version of the Regulating Emotions in Parenting Scale (REPS), which has utility promoting greater specificity in parenting interventions.3 I have also collaborated with other researchers on optimizing other measures for use in low-income settings, international contexts, and racially and ethnically diverse samples4:
Psychopathology in Understudied/Vulnerable Groups
Another area of research focus is psychopathology among understudied, underserved, and underprivileged groups, which informs my research on measurement. Under the mentorship of Drs. Anne Shaffer and Deborah Jones, I examined cross-lagged effects between depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence among women living with HIV in South Africa,1 as well as factors associated with suicidal ideation in this group.2 Working with both Drs. Jones and Alcaide, I found that the use of efavirenz, an antiretroviral medication, predicted suicidal ideation in pregnant women living with HIV.3 These findings had important implications for women’s mental health and their infants’ socioemotional development. In the United States, under the mentorship of Drs. Jones and Kumar, I published a manuscript showing an association between child maltreatment and depression, an association that was moderated by levels of social support, which differed by whether the individuals were infected with HIV.4 These projects resulted in the following selected publications:
Predictors of Infant Development and Health
Consistent with my interest on the role of parenting factors that predict infant development and health in at-risk environments, several of my publications have examined the role of perinatal intimate partner violence and perinatal depression on neurodevelopmental outcomes among HIV-exposed children born to women living with HIV in rural South Africa under the direction of Dr. Jones.1,2 I have also collaborated on projects, contributing to the data analysis, that aim to optimize infant health by preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission.3,4 Under the direction of Dr. Alcaide, I examined biological maternal factors that contribute to neurodevelopmental delays among HIV-exposed uninfected infants. In working with Dr. Cook, I learned Bayesian analyses in the process of identifying psychosocial factors predicting nonadherence to infant HIV medication regimen, which increases the risk for infant HIV infection.
Methodological/Mixed Methods Research
have focused on the measurement of family-related constructs to address the increasing need for psychometrically sound measures in parenting. In this process, I have sought several quantitative training opportunities to enhance the psychometric properties of measures in research and clinical settings, particularly those used with vulnerable families. I have also sought extensive training opportunities in qualitative research and mixed methods research, which I plan to use in the proposed project.1-4 As part of my training, I have eagerly sought exposure to different methods, cultural contexts, and worked with understudied, underserved, and underprivileged groups under the mentorship of several accomplished researchers.
My current email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do reach out about joining my lab, please include your CV.
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