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Doctoral Students

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Simone Boyd
Second-year Clinical PhD Student

Simone is a second year student in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program at Rutgers University. She graduated with a BA in Psychology and Sociology and an MA in Psychology from Stony Brook University. As a graduate research assistant at SBU, she worked with Dr. Daniel Klein in the Klein Developmental Psychopathology Lab and examined the effect of temperament and peer victimization on adolescent psychopathology. Afterward, she worked as a clinical research assistant at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University Psychiatry with Dr. Mark Zimmerman, investigating treatment outcomes in a partial hospital program. Simone is interested in understanding how self/identity development and social factors are implicated in the generation of self-injurious thoughts/behaviors and aggression. She is also interested in identifying shared causal mechanisms that underlie self-injury and aggression. Simone also enjoys yoga, trying out new recipes, watching Oscar-nominated films, playing video games, and going out to trivia.

Melissa Dreier
Second-year Clinical PhD Student

Missy is a second year Ph.D. student in the Hamilton Lab at Rutgers. She graduated from Harvard University in 2019 and then worked as a research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital. Missy is interested in how adolescents process rewards and the relationship between reward processing and self-injurious behaviors. She is also passionate about maximizing the impact of scientific research and narrowing the research/implementation gap. Outside of lab, Missy enjoys yoga, running, and eating ice cream. Her cat, Fiyero, is thrilled his mom is in a musical-themed lab.

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Maya Dalack
First-year Clinical PhD Student

Maya is a first year PhD student in the Hamilton Lab. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018 and subsequently worked as a clinical research coordinator at Columbia Medical Center. Maya is interested in investigating risk and protective factors for suicide during adolescence and how social media might play a role in both. She is also dedicated to communicating scientific findings in an accessible, helpful way. Maya loves singing, hanging out with her family and friends (especially her two nephews and niece!), reading, exploring new restaurants, and watching good TV.

Post-Baccalaureate Research Coordinator

Saskia Jorgensen
Post- Baccalaureate Research Coordinator

Saskia graduated from the University of Denver in 2021 with a BA in Psychology and minors in Political Science and Business Administration. During her time at DU, Saskia worked with Dr. Kathryn Fox examining self-injurious thoughts and behaviors, particularly in LGBTQ+ and BIPOC adolescent populations. She is generally interested in how social, cultural, and environmental factors impact mental health outcomes, specifically in sexual and gender minority adolescent populations. She is also interested in how media and policy influence these dynamics. Outside of research, Saskia's interests include music, travel, theatre, skiing, animals, cooking, and more. 

Affiliated Graduate Students

Zion Crichlow
Affiliated Graduate Student

Zion Crichlow is currently a student in the Rutgers-Newark psychology M.A. program under the guidance of Dr. Paul Boxer. His master's thesis utilizes data collected by the Department of Veteran Affairs to examine the link between post-traumatic stress disorder and combat soldiers who perpetrated atrocities (i.e., killed others during the Vietnam War). Zion is applying to clinical science doctoral programs with an interest in examining the links between mental health and structural racism.

Adia Moore
Affiliated Graduate Student

Adia has been interested in social justice and psychology ever since her involvement in a social justice program in high school. As a master's student at Columbia University's School of Social Work, she aspires to work with underrepresented minority communities as a clinical social worker (but potentially as a clinical psychologist) to advocate and administer mental health resources and services that are accessible and affordable. In her free time, she enjoys acting, reading, listening to music, and watching new TV shows.

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Jasmine Swanson
Affiliated Graduate Student

Jasmine is a 2nd-year student in the Master of Applied Psychology program at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology within Rutgers University. Her research interests include the prevention of suicidal self-injury and suicidal behaviors in children and adolescents. She also has an interest in increasing access to evidence-based treatments amongst youth from BIPOC communities. Other interests include reading, cooking and watching new shows on Netflix.

Alea Watson
Affiliated Graduate Student

After graduating from Rutgers University- New Brunswick with a Bachelors of Art in Psychology and Criminal Justice in May 2022, Alea enrolled in Teachers College at Columbia University to obtain her Ed.M. in Mental Health Counseling. She is interested in adolescent mental health within minority communities, with a focus on the intersectionality of social factors and how they can affect the onset of disorders within these communities. In addition, Alea is interested in producing and disseminating culturally- relevant mental health resources to communities in need. 

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Undergraduate Research Assistants

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Emely Arizaga
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emely is a junior at Farmingdale State College in New York. She is majoring in Applied Psychology and minoring in Sociology. Along with her studies, she is the Vice President of the Psychology Club, Secretary of the Student Government Association, and soon to be President of the Psi Chi Honor Society at Farmingdale State College. She aspires to become a clinical psychologist and open her own practice. She is passionate about destigmatizing mental health in the Latinx community and advocating for adolescent mental health. During her free time, Emely enjoys kayaking, hiking, and hanging out with her friends.  

Bianca Caproni
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Bianca is a junior at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, majoring in Psychology and Cognitive Science and minoring in Data Science. She is excited by topics at the intersection of psychology and technology. She hopes to go to graduate school to continue exploring where these topics overlap. When she is not in class, she is the President of the Organization of Luso-Americans at Rutgers, a Peer Mentor for the College Support Program, and a Resident Assistant. In her free time, she loves watching movies, hanging out with her dog, getting iced coffee with friends, and listening to podcasts.

Chris Damerau 
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Christopher Damerau is a current senior at Rutgers University studying Cell Biology and Neuroscience. His interests are in the adolescent development of identity through the use of social media. In the future, he hopes to offer mental health services to underserved communities. In his free time, Chris enjoys playing board games and volunteering with the Red Cross.

Sam Gerry
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sam is a junior at Bates College studying Psychology with a minor in Digital & Computational Studies. His research interests include the epidemiology of suicidal/self-injurious behaviors and the importance of science communication to suicide prevention initiatives and campaigns. In the future, Sam looks forward to pursuing a career in suicidology. In his free time, he enjoys reading, listening to music, and spending time with his younger siblings.

Shalini Gossain
Undergraduate Research Assistant 

Shalini is a junior at Rutgers University majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and minoring in Religion. Her research interests include evaluating impacts of social media on adolescent mental health and identifying the potential factors to prevent adolescent suicide. She is also passionate about mental health policy and raising awareness in minority communities. In her free time, Shalini enjoys biking, baking, and yoga.

Jahnia Joseph-Belfon 
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jahnia is a senior at Rutgers University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Digital Communication, Information & Media. She is interested in clinical psychology and she aspires to pursue a career in therapy especially focusing on anxiety disorders and depression. She is currently completing an internship in applied psychology and looking into graduate school. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, and watching shows and movies.

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Nicole Kane
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Nicole is a junior at Rutgers University who is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Entrepreneurship. Her dream is to become CEO of her own therapy practice as either a clinical psychologist or therapist, providing affordable and accessible care. She wants to specialize in treating children and adolescents and expand her practice throughout New Jersey, in hope to save as many lives as possible. Outside of the classroom, Nicole is Social Chair of the Women’s Club Soccer Team, a Resident Assistant, and an Alcohol and Other Drugs Peer Educator with Rutgers Student Health. In her free time, she enjoys music, eating, jogging, and annoying her black lab, Jessa, whenever she is home.

Xinyi Lin
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Xinyi is a senior at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Digital Communication Information and Media. She's interested in developmental psychology, particularly social-emotional development. She enjoys working with youth and wants to promote adolescent mental health as a clinical or school psychologist. Outside the classroom,  she likes watching movies and playing video games with family and friends.

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Randy Luna
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Randy is a junior at Rutgers University-New Brunswick who is majoring in Biology. He finds passion in the biochemical field, and also has deep interest and curiosity in topics related to mental health. He hopes to one day become a physician and provide aid and his services to those who need it the most. In his free time, Randy likes to listen to music, play tennis, read manga, watch TV shows, and most importantly annoy his dog.

Priya Mehta
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Priya is a junior at Rutgers University majoring in Psychology and double minoring in Cognitive Science and Health Administration. She has always been passionate psychology, specifically about how social media and phone usage, more broadly, influence adolescent psychopathology such as depression, anxiety, and suicidality specifically among South Asians. She hopes to become a clinical psychologist to advocate for adolescent mental health. At Rutgers, she gets to fulfill her goal of working with kids as she serves as the co-president of Pilot Me. In her free time, Priya enjoys time out with her friends, binging Netflix, and listening to music.

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Ritika Merai
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ritika is a senior at Rutgers University. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology and Cognitive Science. She is interested in adolescent mental health, specifically social media and self-injury, as well as destigmatizing mental health in minority communities. Along with academics, she is a Peer Mental Health Educator with Rutgers Student Health and used to a Peer Mentor for the Psychology Living-Learning Community on campus. In her free time, she loves drawing and painting, hanging out with her friends, and watching TV shows.

Serena Moghaddas 
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Serena is a senior at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. Her research interests include adolescent mental health, specifically for marginalized communities and intersectional identities, and the psychology of eating disorders. She aspires to receive her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and eventually open her own therapy practice. In her free time, Serena volunteers at The Trevor Project, where she helps to support LGBTQ+ youth. Outside of school, she loves making music, painting, and reading.

Meher Muzaffar
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Meher is a junior at Rutgers University majoring in Psychology and Information Technology. She is passionate about raising awareness about mental health and mental illness, especially amongst BIPOC communities. Along with this, she is also interested in learning about neuroscience, specifically the relationship between human behavior and biology. Outside of academics, she enjoys singing, painting, and journaling for fun!

Nithin Ravikumar
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Nithin is a junior at Rutgers University-New Brunswick studying Biology. His goal is to become a doctor in the US military and help veterans and active duty service members who are struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide. In his free time, Nithin also likes to work out, listen to music, and volunteer.

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Christian Nicolas
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Christian is currently a freshman at Rutgers University, planning on majoring in psychology and possibly double-majoring in CBN. He also interns at the Urban Health Collaborative, a non-profit in New Brunswick that aims to serve the various health needs of the surrounding community. He's also a huge plant fan, with his succulents taking up his desk space. Additionally, one of his biggest passions is fitness, with his favorites being biking and weight training.

Meher Muzaffar
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Meher is a sophomore at Rutgers University-New Brunswick majoring in Psychology and Information Technology and minoring in Biological Sciences. She

Jas Sarna
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jas is a junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology. In addition to being a research assistant, Jas is a Peer Mental Health Educator through Rutgers Student Health. Her research interests include the relationships between social media use and mental health and suicide, specifically examining sex/gender differences. She is also passionate about the ways we can better communicate research findings and information on mental health. In her free time, Jas likes to bake, paint, read, listen to music, and play with animals.

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Athena Thai
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Athena is a sophomore at Rutgers University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Computer Science. She has always been interested in adolescent mental health and mood disorders. Athena aspires to be a clinical psychologist for young adults and to help destigmatize mental health in minority communities. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching new TV shows, and spending time with family and friends.

Anjali Vijan
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Anjali is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and minoring in Health & Society. She has always been interested in the mental health effects of adolescents with disabilities and BIPOC communities. Anjali's future goals involve receiving her doctorate to become a Clinical Psychologist or an Occupational Therapist. In addition to her academic life at Rutgers, she is the secretary of the Psychological Society and the Assistant Director of Community Service for the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA). In her free time, she enjoys trying new vegan spots, thrifting, hiking, music, and journaling.

Lab Alumni

Woanjun Lee, BA
Former Post- Baccalaureate Research Assistant

Sarah Bregna, BA
Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ella Diab, BA
Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ben Mendoza
Former RISE Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant

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