Doctoral Students

 

Naheed Ahmed is a first year Family Science doctoral student.  She holds a Master's in Applied Bio-cultural Anthropology and a Master's in Public Health from the University of South Florida. She has worked on global health projects for the past 10 years and lived abroad in Tanzania and South Africa. Her research interests include medical anthropology, maternal and child health, and HIV prevention.  In her free time, Naheed enjoys hiking, running, and climbing.

 

Sam Allen though known primarily for his appearance on The Price is Right in 2013, Sam is a second year Family Science doctoral student. He completed his M.S. in Couples and Family Therapy from The University of Maryland, wherein his master's thesis explored the emotional wellbeing of mothers of transgender and gender nonconforming children. Sam's research interests broadly include LGBTQ families of various permutations, particularly those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Outside of school, Sam works part-time in a private practice as a licensed couple and family therapist, and at a prominent cocktail bar in DC. Sam is also a teacher and student of yoga, and enjoys teaching yoga classes throughout the DC metro area. In his spare time, Sam enjoys utilizing his experience in culinary school to cook for himself and loved ones, watching documentaries, and making people laugh.

 

Ryan Blick is a third year Family Science doctoral student from Longmont, Colorado.  He earned his B.S. in Psychology and his M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brigham Young University, and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Before coming to UMD, Ryan worked for seven years in various agencies and in private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist.  Ryan's research interests include fathering and masculinity, including the development, maintenance and transmission of perceived roles and characteristics of fathers in the family.  He enjoys all sports and loves being outdoors; he regularly participates in softball, volleyball, flag football and basketball leagues.  He likes snowboarding in the winter, and hiking and camping in the summer; he also speaks German fluently, and has moderate fluency in Spanish. 

Diana Cassar-Uhl is a third year Maternal and Child Health doctoral student from the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. She graduated from the Ithaca College School of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance, and earned her Master of Public Health in Behavioral Science and Health Promotion from New York Medical College. Diana spent 17 years on active duty as a professional clarinetist in the U.S. Army.  She is a board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and has supported breastfeeding families and the healthcare professionals and volunteers who serve them since 2005. She also worked for a year as a health communications fellow at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Diana is interested in studying the physiology of mothers and babies as they relate to lactation and breastfeeding outcomes. In her free time, Diana enjoys exploring Washington DC, eating out, traveling, and spending time with her husband and three children.

 

Andrew Conway is a first year Family Science doctoral student. He received his Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and completed a post-MSW fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center. Andrew is a Licensed Social Worker and worked as Clinical Faculty at the Yale School of Medicine in the Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services program. Andrew’s research interests include the impact of intergenerational trauma on youth mental health, youth absenteeism, and the interaction of vulnerable families with state systems.

Laura Drew is a second year Maternal and Child Health doctoral student. Prior to living in Maryland, she lived in Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Malawi. She earned her B.S. in Zoology from Miami University. During her undergraduate studies, she served as an International Health Ambassador for the Department of Kinesiology and Health’s study abroad program and attended meetings at the World Health Organization, Doctors without Borders, and International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Laura earned her MPH in Epidemiology and an Interdisciplinary Specialization in Global Health from the Ohio State University. For her practicum, Laura worked at Columbus Public Health for a study that examined a possible biomarker of recent unprotected sexual activity, sexual behaviors, and body image of men who have sex with men. Because of a strong passion to help women and girls with obstetric fistula, Laura dedicated her Culminating Project to this topic and later traveled to work with UNC Project-Malawi at the Freedom from Fistula Foundation’s Fistula Care Clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi. In addition to improving the lives of women who have suffered from an obstetric fistula, Laura’s research interests include the following: reproductive health interventions and education in resource-limited settings, socio-behavioral epidemiology, sexual violence in areas of conflict, gender equality and empowerment of disadvantaged individuals, and community-based health programs in resource-limited settings that focus on maternal and child health. In her free time, Laura enjoys cooking, baking, hiking, traveling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and spending time with family and friends, as well as her two dogs, Dinah and Jasper. An interesting fact one would never know from meeting Laura is she used to be an avid horse rider and competed in equestrian jumping competitions.

Kecia Ellick is a second year Family Science doctoral student. She currently holds a M.S. degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from Clayton State University and dual B.A. degrees in Psychology and Sociology from Georgia State University, with concentrations in community psychology & gender and sexuality, respectively. Kecia was born and raised in Chicago, IL and lived in Atlanta, GA for 15 years prior to relocating to the DMV. Kecia returned to college later in life and was considered a “non-traditional” student. She has 3 adult children who are currently working on their own undergraduate degrees. Kecia’s research interests broadly include the psychosocial development of African-American teen mothers, adolescent parenting, co-parenting relationships between adolescent parents, and the impact of interpersonal relationships on the transition to adulthood. Her master’s thesis focused on post-secondary education attainment for teen mothers. Kecia loves to laugh and will always find a reason to do so. In her free time she loves to sing karaoke! She loves an audience, but one isn’t necessary. If she’s not able to get out to a local karaoke bar, Kecia will fire up her home machine and become a superstar for 3 ½ minutes at a time in the comfort of her own living room. 

Jenifer Fahey Jenifer Fahey is a fifth year Maternal and Child Health doctoral candidate originally from Mexico but now a full-fledged Marylander (via Texas). She earned a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin. Jenifer also earned a M.S. in Public Health at Harvard University and a M.S. in Nursing (Midwifery) from Yale University. She is currently a member of faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore) where she practices as a full-scope  midwife and also works as Director of Maryland Advanced Perinatal Support Services Program, a collaborative program with DHMH and the Johns Hopkins’ Obstetric Department to help provide outreach support to community providers of perinatal care. Jenifer is interested in maternal mortality reduction (through provider training in management of obstetric emergencies); maternal obesity; and the health of women in the first year following childbirth. When she is not catching babies in Baltimore or writing a paper for class, Jenifer is most likely to be watching one of her daughters (11 and 13) playing soccer or enjoying a pint of home-brew with her husband, Sean.

Julie Fife is a second year Maternal and Child Health doctoral candidate from Montana. She earned a B.S. in Health Sciences from Boise State University and a MPH from the University of Montana. Her interest in maternal and child health began during her two-year AmeriCorps service where she worked with school-based family resource centers in Missoula, MT.  Julie most recently worked as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Montana's School of Public Health where she taught courses for master of public health students. Julie was also the Montana Primary Care Office Director for the Montana Department of Health and Human Services where she coordinated the state's health professional shortage area (HPSA) designations data collection and analysis.  She is interested in evaluating the impact of policies on family health. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and four kids exploring the east coast.

 

Jessica Gleason is a first year doctoral student in Maternal and Child Health. Originally from the west coast, Jessica joined the Air Force after earning her B.S. in Microbiology from UC Santa Barbara. After separating from the Air Force and working full-time as a mother and military spouse for several years, she began a new career track by entering the MPH program in Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland. Upon graduation, she received a Dean's Scholar award and was inducted into the Delta Omega public health honor society. Her master's thesis involved collecting primary data to examine associations between PCS moves, continuity of care, and patient satisfaction in military families. In addition to working with military families, she is interested in researching disparities in pregnancy outcomes in minority populations, and has worked with the organization B'More for Healthy Babies to help evaluate programs implemented to improve birth outcomes in these populations in Baltimore. For her master's internship experience, she worked for Johns Hopkins HealthCare, where she analyzed data related to the CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard for the 12 Johns Hopkins entities. In her "free time," Jessica is a Daisy/Brownie Girl Scout troop co-leader for her two daughters (5 and 8), and captive audience, along with her husband, for her 3-year-old son's cuteness/tyranny.

 

Laura Golojuch is a second year Family Science doctoral student from Arlington, Virginia. She graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Psychology and English and Studio Art minors. Laura earned her M.S. in Couple and Family Therapy from the University of Maryland and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her Masters thesis explored the transition to adulthood for socioeconomically disadvantaged young Black men. Laura’s research interests include the unique experiences of Black men in the transition to adulthood, health disparities, integrating services for socioeconomically disadvantaged families, and community engaged research. In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with friends and family, eating, cooking, and practicing yoga.

John Hart is a fifth year Family Science doctoral candidate from Gaithersburg, Maryland. He earned a B.A. in Psychology with Honors from The George Washington University. He also earned a M.S. in Couple and Family Therapy at the University of Maryland. For the last 4 years, John has worked at the Maryland Center for Health Equity as a research assistant providing assistance on community-based research such as the Black Men’s Health study in P.G. County barbershops. John is also a clinical supervisor at the Center for Healthy Families where he provides clinical support and guidance to current CFT students. His research interests include the experiences of mass incarceration on black fatherhood (the focus of his dissertation), the transition into adulthood experiences of young men of color in urban areas, and the acculturative and assimilative processes first-generation immigration young men face. Clinically, John’s interest focuses on the structural interaction patterns in ethnic couples’ relationships and how couples manage conflict during transitions. John loves watching movies (he is a movie buff), working out, playing basketball, hanging out with family and friends, having debates about various topics, keeping up with politics and current events, learning about different cultures through travel or conversation, and pulling pranks. He is also somewhat of a barber - he can cut his own hair and other peoples' hair!

 

Haedong (Shawn) Kim is a second year Family Science doctoral student from Ann Arbor, Michigan and Seoul, South Korea. Most recently, Shawn has completed the Couple and Family Therapy Masters program in this department. Prior to the masters program, he earned his B.A. in Education from Hanyang University at Seoul, South Korea and a Master of Divinity from Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary at Seoul, South Korea. He has worked as a children’s pastor for six and seven year olds and as an English teacher in Korea. Shawn is interested in the racial discrimination experiences of ethnic/racial minorities, especially Asian Americans, and its health implications. In his spare time, Shawn enjoys photography, drawing, basketball, jogging, and playing with his kids.

Anthony Kondracki is a third year Maternal and Child Health doctoral student from Central Florida. He earned his MD at the Jagiellonian University College of Medicine in Krakow, Poland, and his MPH in Global Maternal and Child Health at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, LA. Tony has worked for the Louisiana Department of Public Health, Division of Maternal and Child Health, on research projects on the prevalence of birth defects in the state of LA; he also worked as a house officer at Jagiellonian University Hospitals and Clinics and was a student trainee at the National Institute of Public Health and Hygiene Department of Toxicology and Environmental Epidemiology. His current research interests include reproductive epidemiology and toxicology, environmental exposures and adverse reproductive outcomes, preterm birth and infant mortality prevention, fetal origins of adult disease, health care disparities and cultural competency within MCH populations, and interdisciplinary research and practice. In his free time, Tony enjoys walking and riding his bike, reading, listening to music, cooking, going out with family and friends, traveling, and learning foreign languages. He also enjoys doing pro bono work in the clinics, hospitals and volunteering at any and all community charitable events while reaching out to populations to better understand health conditions, demographics and social issues. 
Yuki Lama is a first year Maternal and Child Health doctoral student. She studied French Cultural Studies and Biology at the University of Connecticut. When her plans to become a physician in France did not come to fruition, she went on to earn her MPH from Claremont Graduate University. For her culminating project, she examined trends of adolescent health, including pregnancy and STI rates, within Riverside County to inform education and intervention efforts aimed at improving health outcomes. Her research interests include adolescent parenting, tobacco cessation, and home visiting. During her free time, she can be found eating donuts or playing with other people's dogs.
Ronneal Matthews is a fifth year Maternal and Child Health doctoral candidate from Oklahoma City, OK. She earned her B.S. in Community Health from the University of Central Oklahoma and her MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She has 11 years of experience in the field of public health. Most of her work has been in chronic disease prevention, sexual and reproductive health and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). She has worked primarily as a Project Manager conducting program planning, implementation, curriculum development and evaluation. Her current clinical and research interests include sexual and reproductive health of African American women and girls with an emphasis on how intergenerational programs and interventions can impact sexual and reproductive health. Ronneal loves singing, cooking, reading novels, writing poetry and short stories (writing a novel is on her bucket list), playing computer games, going to the park with her kids, going to the movies and going to live music events (especially jazz, deep house & soul). She loves reading Young Adult fiction like Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, etc. She has two beautiful girls, Journey (8) and Inaya Freedom (5) and a wonderful husband Joseph who is also in graduate school.    
Jenna Beckwith Messman is a third year Family Science doctoral student from Arlington, VA.  She has served as the Sexual Health Program Coordinator at the University of Maryland Health Center since 2011. She coordinates sexual health education, programming and service needs of the campus community, trains and supervises peer educators, provides individual and/or group consultations, and serves as an active LGBTQ advocate and ally on campus. Jenna has extensive experience establishing sexual wellness and LGBTQ programming and services in both high school and university settings. In addition to her sexual health and sexuality expertise, Jenna has considerable experience in peer education as well as individual and family-focused substance abuse prevention and intervention programs. Prior to her arrival at University of Maryland, she worked in the Health Promotion office at Florida Atlantic University and in the Office of Health Promotion & Wellness at her alma mater, The Pennsylvania State University.  Jenna graduated Phi Beta Kappa from PSU with dual bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Crime, Law & Justice as well as earning a Master's of Education in Secondary School Counseling. Her research interests include resources for adults raising gender nonconforming or transgender children and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health program design and implementation.
Ally Pakstis is a third year Family Science doctoral student from South Jersey. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from Philadelphia University and her M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health from The George Washington University. After college Ally worked with the American Red Cross in the Emergency Services Department as an AmeriCorp member, where she taught community emergency preparedness in Philadelphia and responded to natural/manmade disasters. After graduate school she worked as a social science researcher and concentrated on implementation science (e.g. EBPs, scaling up, readiness), program evaluation, positive youth development, cultural and linguistic competence, and rural behavioral health. As a researcher she provided technical assistance to communities nationwide in child and family mental health, implemented a national evaluation study on mentoring interventions for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and supported the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs for the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Ally's current research interests include the transgenerational effects of histroical trauma on families.  In her free time Ally is typically reading too many books at once, obsessing over her adorable dog Lunabelle, going for a run, kayaking in Georgetown, and/or snacking.
Ashley Pantaleao is a first-year doctoral student in the Family Science program. She graduated with a M.A. in Health Psychology from Central Connecticut State University. Her research interests focus on the dynamic relationship between a parent/caregiver and their child.  Ashley has 5 years of experience working at a children's hospital as a research assistant. Many of Ashley’s research experiences have focused specifically on the parent-child relationship in the context of the child having a chronic illness or other significant health concerns. Ashley enjoys cooking, going to fitness classes, and going on hikes in her spare time. 
Shy Porter is a first-year doctoral student in the Family Science program. She completed the M.S. in Couple and Family Therapy degree from the Department of Family Science in May 2016 and spent the summer of 2016 as an intern at the National Institutes of Health. She has remained involved in research at NIH.
 
Shy's research interests are focused on mating, dating, and relationship formation processes as well as relationship maintenance behaviors across the lifespan. She is also interested in sexual and reproductive health and its impact on couple relationships. Shy is particularly passionate about understanding the nuances of these research topics within ethnic minority communities. Her master's thesis explored the perception of a shortage of "marriageable" African American men among African American women. She plans to continue to hone her interests in couples/marriage research in the coming years.
 
Outside of school, Shy works in private practice as a licensed couple and family therapist in Bethesda, MD. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, reading, exploring new areas, trying new restaurants, and spending quality time with friends.

Deirdre Quinn is a fourth year Family Science doctoral candidate from Washington, DC. She graduated from Georgetown University with a BA in English and minors in French and Government.  She earned an MLitt. in Creative Writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and an MSc. in Gender & Social Policy from the London School of Economics & Political Science, where her thesis focused on the conflict in the United States between religiously-sponsored health systems and the diverse communities they serve.  Most recently Deirdre has worked for an energy consulting firm as a proposal and grant writer; she has previously taught English at the high school and college level and is also a bartender!  Her research interests include reproductive health and family planning program design, implementation, and evaluation; the development of population, family planning and reproductive health policy; the intersection of religion and health; and young women's decision-making during the transition to adulthood.  In her free time, Deirdre loves to read, travel and update her book review blog.

Lauren Ramsey is a third year Maternal and Child Health doctoral student from Detroit, Michigan.  She earned a B.S. in Physiology from Michigan State University and an M.P.H. in Health Behavior and Health Education from University of Michigan School of Public Health. She has previously worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Michigan Program for Research on Black Americans (PRBA) on the TRIAD study (Tracking Risk Identification for Adult Diabetes).  Previously Lauren was the project coordinator for the Witness Project of Detroit, a faith-based breast and cervical cancer education program.  She has also provided education to the community on sexual health, breast cancer, biospecimen collection and health disparities. Lauren also worked with HighScope Educational Research Foundation, in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to gain the necessary skills to assist with program evaluation of community based programs.  I have assisted with the development of a health equity toolkit and mini documentary entitled “Holes in the Mitten” aimed at educating community members and policy makers on racial/ethnic minority health in the state of Michigan. Lauren's research interests include institutional and internalized racism and health, program evaluation of community programs, Community Based Participatory Research, Teenage parenting and racial/ethnic health disparities. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with her 9 year old daughter and their puppy, Gustavo Fring, knitting, and watching reality TV and Netflix.

Allison Schroeder is a fourth year Family Science doctoral candidate and graduate of the CFT masters program from Baltimore, MD. She earned a B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in Philosophy, from the University of Texas at Austin. Allison also earned a masters in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University. She previously worked as the Director of International Partnerships at World Relief, an international relief and development organization. Prior to that position, she conducted workforce development policy research for the Abell Foundation in Baltimore. Allison’s research interests include maternal mental health in contexts of cumulative disadvantage, and the processes by which parental health and child health shape each other over time. She is particularly interested in policy and program interventions that reduce health disparities and support the development of family resilience. In addition to doctoral student and mental health clinician, Allison is also a wife (to Richard, a Canadian who works in the field of international economic development) and mom (to Ian, an energetic and passionate first-grader who is currently an avid fan of Minecraft).

Towanda Street is a third year Family Science doctoral student from Arnold, MD. She earned her B.A. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina and her M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Liberty University. Towanda is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with clinical interests in fostering healthy relationships among married and engaged couples.  She works as a Christian Counselor at the Renaissance Christian Counseling Center in Baltimore, MD and a Crisis and Family Counselor at Greenbelt CARES in Greenbelt, MD.  A retired Naval Officer, Towanda's research interests focus on the impact of frequent deployments on military families and couple relationships.   Her passion is to provide military service members and their families with resources designed to minimize the stressors of military life and improve overall quality of life. In her spare time, Towanda enjoys reading, exercising, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
 

Yassaman Vafai is a fourth year Maternal and Child Health doctoral candidate from Tucson, Arizona. She earned a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona and an M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University. She has recently worked at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as a summer intern; as an independent project consultant at Boston Medical Center; and as a graduate research assistant at Boston University School of Public Health. Her current research interests include the mental and biological development of adolescents; and global health, specifically infectious disease and nutrition.  In her free time, Yassaman enjoys outdoor activities, traveling, and reading poetry. 

Andrew Williams is a fifth year Maternal and Child Health doctoral candidate from Watertown, South Dakota. He earned his B.S. in Mass Communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and his M.P.H. in Community Health at New York University. Andrew previously worked at the North Dakota Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Center at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences where he coordinated screening and research projects in North Dakota, and Brazzaville, Congo. His current research focuses on the relationship between the social environment of neighborhoods and pregnancy outcomes. He recently attended the Environmental Demography Graduate Student Workshop at the University of Colorado, focusing on spatial analysis of poverty, race, and birth outcomes. During his free time, Andrew can be found adventuring with his wife, caring too much about Manchester United, and pretending he knows how to cook.

Jenni Young is a third year Family Science doctoral student and graduate of the CFT masters program from Madison, WI. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and Mandarin Chinese from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Jenni also earned her M.A. in Chinese language and culture from The Ohio State University. She previously worked in Beijing as the Operations Manager at the Care for Children School for Children with Special Needs and the Care for Children Family Therapy Clinic. Prior to that position, she was a research assistant at Beijing Normal University’s Institute of Developmental Psychology. Jenni's research and clinical interests include interracial family relations, cross-cultural communication, and medical family therapy. She is currently in her second year as a pre-doctoral fellow at the Clinical Genetics branch of the National Cancer Institute, NIH. In her spare time, she enjoys playing board games, biking, and being outdoors. 

 

Couple and Family Therapy Students

Rafee Al-Mansur is a second year Couple and Family Therapy masters student from Waldorf, MD. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management at Johns Hopkins University in 2013. As a Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellow, he co-directed a research study on the emergence of African American Muslim communities in Baltimore City, capturing it in a documentary (https://youtu.be/XOaI20E_jyc). After graduation, Rafee co-coordinated an evaluation of a Community Benefits District in Baltimore City under a grant from the Abell Foundation. Apart from academic interests, he loves to launch and manage start-ups and ideas, and typically always has his hands in at least one or three. Rafee also loves listening to people's experiences and helping them find meaning and opportunities in them, no matter the circumstances they find themselves in. He is particularly interested in understanding how people's and society's conception of family changes across history, and as a practicing Muslim, hopes to uncover how this will unfold for the growing multi-cultural body of second-, third-, and fourth-generation Muslim Americans.

 

Taylor Baker is a second year Couple and Family Therapy masters student from Prince George's County, MD. She earned her B.A. in Family Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. Taylor has worked as a teaching assistant at a children's center for seven years and later as an intern with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for one year. Her current research interests include child development within the context of the family.  Taylor is currently serving as a teaching assistant in the University's Psychology undergraduate program.  Taylor previously worked as a research assistant for the Together Project, a joint program between The Univerity of Maryland and Virginia Tech, examining relationship quality and financial stability in low-income couples.  Taylor's hobbies include playing rubgy and biking.  For Taylor, Maryland has always been home.

Asia Ewell is a second year Couple and Family Therapy masters student who earned a B.A. in Psychology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is originally from Danbury, Connecticut and has lived in North Carolina and now Maryland. Asia's most recent work experience has been shadowing at the juvenile courthouse in Connecticut, assisting in research at the Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Office at UNC-CH, and working as a front desk receptionist at the Hilton Hotel in Durham, NC. Her current clinical/research interests involve minority youth affected with HIV/AIDS and/or a study involving psychological trauma and its effect on minority juveniles. Asia's hobbies include cooking, fellowshipping with family and friends, and just traveling and exploring new environments. In her free time, she loves to write poetry and get involved in social justice issues in the area. One interesting fact about Asia is that she likes to play basketball, which probably isn’t evident because of her height. Her ultimate career goals are to work with juveniles and families who have been incarcerated.

Nikki Falay is a second year Couple and Family Therapy masters student from Istanbul, Turkey. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Koc University of Istanbul, Turkey. Nikki has worked for several years at an English summer camp in Istanbul with kids from ages 8 to 14 and has spent time working for the city's jazz festival. Her research interests include human sexuality, polyamory, and kink. Maintaining close friendships is very important to Nikki, so she tries to socialize as much as possible. In her free time, Nikki likes to watch TV series, hike, and practice yoga. One interesting fact about Nikki is that she comes from a Jewish family from Turkey. 

Diamond Greene is a first year Couple and Family Therapy Master’s student from Baltimore, Maryland.  She received her Bachelors of Science in Family Science from the University of Maryland.  During her time as an undergrad, she was a research assistant for the HAIR (Health Advocates in Reach and Research) Project and the Black Families Research Group. Her research interests include child development, parenting in black families, and the impact of incarceration on black families. Her hobbies include cooking, writing, bartending, and spending time with family and friends.

Liza Harbison is a first-year Couple and Family Therapy Masters student originally from Olney, MD. She earned a B.A. in psychology from Oberlin College with a minor in French. Since college, she has served as Creative Communications Manager and teaching assistant at an arts education nonprofit, Senior Project Manager at an education-focused communications agency, and Clinical Mentor for a center that provides mental health services and tutoring to children with behavioral, emotional, and academic issues. Her research and clinical interests include couple communication, depression, anxiety, identity development in minority youth, and animal-assisted therapy. In her free time, Liza enjoys playing with her dog, traveling, cooking vegetarian food, hiking, reading, and photography.

Pam Herrick is a first year Couple and Family Therapy student from Chevy Chase, MD. She earned a B.S. in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. As an undergraduate Pam spent time working as a buyers assistant for Wilson Leathers, as a market researcher for an Oracle software company and as a manager in a small family-owned business. More recently, she has worked in environmental education and volunteer coordination for a local non-profit. Pam is an active volunteer and currently tutors at a local elementary school. Teaching and helping people to uncover their strengths are part of what drew her to Couple and Family Therapy. Pam’s research interests center around adolescent development and the impact of mobile technology on the development of empathy and family systems She spends her free time with her husband, children and beagle, enjoying the world together.

Katie Hippen is a second year Couple and Family Therapy M.S. student from Elkridge, Maryland. She earned her B.S. in Family Science from the University of Maryland at College Park, with minors in Human Development and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies. In college, Katie worked as a research assistant at the Center on Young Adult Health and Development (CYAHD) and as a research coder at the Couples Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP). She was also an administrative assistant at Laurel Fay & Associates, LLC, a couples and family therapy private practice located in Silver Spring, MD. After undergrad, Katie attended Georgia State University (GSU) where she earned her M.A. in Sociology, with a concentration in Family, Health, and Life Course. Her master's thesis was titled, “Attitudes Toward Marriage and Long-term Relationships Across Emerging Adulthood.” Since returning to Maryland, Katie has continued her work with CYAHD as a graduate research assistant and with Laurel Fay & Associates, LLC as an administrative assistant. She is also currently working as a therapist intern at the Center for Healthy Families. Katie’s research and clinical interests include sexuality, LGBT families, aging, divorce, depression, anxiety, and trauma. In her free time, Katie enjoys spending time with friends and family, singing, playing guitar, hiking, jogging, canoeing, eating lots of popcorn, crocheting, drinking wine, reading, and playing with her cat, Divina.

Ellie Khazaee-Torshizi is a second year Couple and Family Therapy masters student.  She earned her B.A. in both Psychology and Sociology from Stony Brook University. During her undergraduate Career, Ellie worked as a teaching assistant for a Social Psychology course and an Introduction to Sociology course. She also completed an internship at The Stony Brook University Child Care Center. Ellie is very interested in cultural differences in family therapy across a variety of countries around the world. She believes understanding these differences will allow for better connection with the diverse individuals and families within the United States. In her free time, Ellie enjoys spending time with family and friends. When she is home, Ellie loves to read and relax the day away.

Natalie Krenz is a first year Couple and Family Therapy Masters student originally from West Chester Pennsylvania. She completed two undergraduate programs at the Towson University, earning a B.S. in Psychology and Family and Human Services with a track in Service to children and youth. During her undergraduate career, Natalie assisted faculty in research that explored gaming and morality. She also interned at the Kennedy Krieger Child and Family Therapy Clinic where she conducted administrative tasks and observed family therapy in action. It was during this experience where Natalie solidified her desire to pursue a future in family therapy. Natalie’s research interests include family roles and military families, specifically those affected with PTSD. In her free time, Natalie enjoys baking, spending time outside, crocheting and attempting to solve Sudoku puzzles.
Naomi LeVine is a first year Couple and Family Therapy student from Seminole, Florida. She graduated from the University of Florida, earning a B.S. in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. During her time as an undergraduate, Naomi interned at a domestic violence outreach center, leading support groups for children and teenagers who were victims of or had been exposed to domestic violence. She also spent four years as a camp counselor, working in both youth and family overnight camp settings. Her current research interests include couple communication, intimate partner violence, sibling relationships, and family resilience. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, singing, playing guitar and ukulele, and spending time with friends and family.
Wilson A. Llerena is a first year Couple and Family Therapy Masters student from Adelphi, MD. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Sociology at Salisbury University in 2014. During his undergraduate career, Wilson volunteered twice a week at the local elementary school tutoring children through his Sociology program, and spent the last 3 years of his undergraduate career mentoring incoming freshman at Salisbury University through the Office of Multicultural Student Services, helping them transition to the college environment. For his dedication to the program, Wilson was awarded The A.K. Talbot Leadership Award for his service to the student body. After graduation, Wilson worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the National Capital Area as the Program Coordinator for Prince George's County, MD for nearly 2 years before leaving to pursue his Masters at UMD. He enjoys singing, playing volleyball, and cheering on his Washington Redskins every Sunday after Church at noon. Growing up right around the corner from campus, Wilson has always wanted to be a Maryland Terrapin, and now his dream has become a reality.
Jordan Madison (GA for the Center of Academic Success and Achievement) is a first year Couple and Family Therapy masters student from Brooklyn, New York.  She received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Spelman College in May 2016.  While at Spelman she was president of a mental health organization called PEPers (Peer Education Programmers), which aimed to reduce the mental health stigma on campus. She was also the community service chair in the campus chapter of her sorority, participated in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Assistant Program, and was a member of Psi Chi International Honors Society and the Honors Program at Spelman. Now at the University of Maryland, she is excited to learn and grow from her training in the Couple and Family Therapy program.  Her clinical interests are in reducing the stigma around mental health in minorities and maintaining healthier couple and family relationships.  Ultimately, she aims to have a private practice dedicated to healing others and building stronger families. She sees family as the foundation, and believes having healthier families would lead to having healthier individuals.  Her hobbies include listening to music, reading, yoga, shopping, spending time with family and friends, knitting and watching movies.
Jasmine Mauss is a first year Couple and Family Therapy student from Thousand Oaks, California. She earned her B.A in psychology from San Diego State University, with minors in Public Health and Counseling and Social Change. In her undergraduate studies, Jasmine worked as a Psychology Peer Advisor where she helped students assess their career goals and plan their future. She also volunteered at a facility called Corner Clubhouse, where she provided services for clients with Axis I mental illness. Over the summer, Jasmine spent her time as a teaching assistant, providing care for children with autism and other mental illnesses. Some of Jasmine’s interests include couple relationships, meditation and mindfulness, as well as substance abuse. Her hobbies include painting, reading, writing, traveling, and yoga

Emma Murray is a second year Couple and Family Therapy masters student from Tinton Falls, New Jersey, located right along the Jersey Shore. She completed two undergraduate programs at the University of Maryland, earning a B.S. in Family Science and Psychology. During her undergraduate career, Emma assisted faculty in research that explored the parenting transitions of veteran mothers who had deployed during the OEF/OIF conflicts, one of the first studies of its kind. She also interned at Safe Shores, The D.C. Children's Advocacy Center where she worked in the family advocacy program assisting the families of victims of child sexual and physical abuse. Emma has a strong interest in attachment theory and hopes to work with families to repair and/or strengthen the parent-child bond. In her free time, Emma likes to paint, ride her bike, write poetry, and eat at cool restaurants in D.C. One fun fact about her is that she was born an aunt! 

Andrew Price is a second year Couple and Family Therapy master's student from New York, NY and Washington, DC. He earned his B.A. from Macalester College, where he majored in Dramatic Arts and minored in Philosophy. He has previously worked in the theater and as a technologist for commercial banks and law firms. Andrew has worked extensively as a hospice volunteer and tutored client students at Green Door/Academy of Hope in Washington, DC.  He is also a certified domestic violence advocate through The DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  Andrew's research interests include co-parenting, non-custodial parenting, blended families, intimate partner violence, and post-incarceration reentry for parents. In his free time, Andrew enjoys camping, orienteering, meditation, dog training, tutoring, and playing guitar and piano.

JaimeLeigh Salazar  is a second year Couple and Family Therapy Masters student from Boca Raton, Florida. She earned her B.S. in Family and Child Sciences with a minor in Psychology from Florida State University. During her time as an undergraduate, Jaimeleigh volunteered with an extensive amount of non-profit organizations, including the Students for America’s Military and the Collegiate Veterans Association. She helped promote collegiality among active military men and women by sending hundreds of care packages to deployed troops. She also helped veteran’s transition from military to student life by hosting events inclusive of military men and women. Jaimeleigh has research interest in military families, specifically the study of mental health in adolescents with deployed parents. On her free time, Jaimeleigh enjoys road and mountain biking, practicing yoga, reading novels, and playing the ukulele.

Liann Seiter is a first year Couple and Family Therapy student from Tempe, Arizona. She earned a B.S. in Marriage, Family, and Human Development and a M.S. in Sociology from Brigham Young University. As an undergrad Liann conducted research in India on arranged marriages; as a master’s student she returned to India to study emerging adulthood. Since graduation she has worked as a researcher and technical assistance provider at American Institutes for Research, a nonprofit behavioral and social science research and evaluation organization in the DC area. Liann has a passion for helping individuals to tune into their own through massage therapy and yoga classes. She has also enjoyed supporting women during labor and delivery as part of her work as a birth doula.

Magdalena Straub Barrientos is a second year Couple and Family Therapy masters student from Santiago, Chile. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. In Chile, Magdalena conducted therapy with teenagers and worked as a research assistant looking at identity development and civic commitments. Her current research interests include relationships between teenagers and their families and identity development. In her free time, Magdalena enjoys reading, traveling, and finding good vegetarian restaurants to eat at. 

Tariiq Omari Walton is a second year Couple and Family Therapy Master’s student from Albany, NY, who is interested in studying the effects of SES on attitudes towards marriage and family planning. He earned his BS from Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania, with a double major in History and Secondary Education, and a minor in Sociology. Tariiq previously worked for the Urban League of Northeastern New York as the director for a vocational-after school-high school program, for the University at Albany as an Assistant Director within the Department of Student Activities, for the Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Education as a high school Social Studies teacher, and in multiple positions within the Division of Student Affairs at Bowie State University. In 2003, Tariiq incorporated his own business, Infinite Possibilities Entertainment, LLC (IPE). Under IPE’s vast umbrella, Tariiq wrote, published, and marketed three novels and a self-help/relationship book, hosted/produced a weekly interpersonal discussion forum for two years at a Mount Rainier, MD café, co-hosted/produced a weekly, four hour long call-in radio talk show for eight years on WOL in Washington, DC, and served as an educational consultant to several non-profit organizations, a university, and an educational evaluation firm. In 2010, he began producing and hosting his own arts and culture-based television talk show, Views & Vibes, on Prince George’s County Community Television (CTV). Tariiq is also a leather artisan, who has sold his creations and books on the weekends at Eastern Market in Washington, DC, since 2006. Tariiq is a workout enthusiast, avid reader, motivational speaker, actor, and semi-chef, who writes obsessively. 

Rolonda Williams is a first year Couple and Family Therapy master's student and graduate assistant from Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her B.S. from Mary Baldwin University in Virginia, where she majored in Psychology with an emphasis in mental health. She's worked previously as a teaching assistant, a library assistant and resident advisor. While volunteering at the local senior center, Rolonda also held leadership positions on campus like African Student Collective, the campus step and dance team captain, Educational Policy Committee, Black Student Alliance, and chairwoman for Minority Clubs United. Additionally, Rolonda was heavily involved in various academic roles, receiving awards/ scholarships such as the Library Research award, C. Perry McNair Study Abroad Scholarship (study abroad trip to Haiti) and earning membership to Alpha Lambda Delta, Who's Who Award, Global Honors Scholar, Psi Chi and Omicron Delta Kappa. Rolonda conducted research on the relationship between racial attitudes and abnormal behavior during her undergraduate years and wants to continue with research involving minority families, immigration and low-income families. In her free time, Rolonda loves to travel, sleep and find new places to dine.