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Our Core Faculty and Staff

Portrait of Elaine Anderson

Elaine Anderson

Professor Emerita, Family Science
Portrait of Rabiatu Barrie

Rabiatu Barrie

Assistant Professor
Portrait of Andrew Billingsley

Andrew Billingsley

Professor Emeritus, Family Science
Portrait of Bonnie Braun

Bonnie Braun

Professor Emerita, Family Science
Portrait of Norman B. Epstein

Norman B. Epstein

Professor Emeritus, Family Science
Portrait of Mariana K. Falconier

Mariana K. Falconier

Associate Professor, Family Science
Director, Couple and Family Therapy Master's Program

Affiliated Faculty and Joint Appointments

George Askew, Professor of the Practice, Family Science

George L. Askew, MD, FAAP is the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Health, Human Services and Education for Prince George’s County, Maryland. He is responsible for oversight of the county’s Health Department, Department of Family Services, Department of Social Services, and the liaison relationships to the public schools, library system, and community college. He is former Deputy Commissioner of Health in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where he was responsible for overseeing and managing the Division of Family and Child Health. Prior to that, he was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve as the first Chief Medical Officer for the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Askew was born and raised in inner-city Cleveland, Ohio. He earned a BA in Psychology and Social Relations at Harvard University, is a graduate of the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Class of 1992 Epidemic Intelligence Service, also known as the “Disease Detectives.”


Graduate Students

Anna Paden McCormick

Anna Paden McCormick is a doctoral student in Maternal and Child Health. Prior to beginning her PhD, Anna spent 14 years working for mission-driven health and development organizations as a project and research manager, and as a design, monitoring, and evaluation specialist. She has worked to strengthen community, primary and laboratory healthcare systems in more than 25 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Currently Anna is interested in conducting research to explore factors that affect reproductive justice around the globe, including infertility care and treatment in low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC), and the development sector’s role in preventing infertility and providing infertility care in LMIC. She is also interested in exploring women’s pharmaceutical drug use before, during, and after pregnancy and how this impacts maternal health outcomes, child development, and family health. She has global public health related degrees from Georgetown University and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and grew up bi-culturally between the US and UK.

Becky Shasha

Becky Shasha is a Maternal and Child Health doctoral student. Her research interests include family planning and abortion access, use, and decision making among women in Africa. She currently serves as a graduate teaching assistant for the Global Public Health Scholars program. Becky is also a Program Officer at Jhpiego, where she creates data visualization products for Performance Monitoring for Action. Previously, Becky worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs conducting qualitative research on patient-centered care. Becky holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Health, both from the University of Pennsylvania.


Chinedu Obioha is a first-year doctoral student of Maternal and Child Health. She is interested in health determinants, experiences of intimate partner violence and pregnancy outcomes research in underserved populations. She is presently a teaching assistant for Dr. Donney’s Research methods in Family Science class (FMSC 302) and serves as a research assistant for Dr Barrie whose research work centers around gender roles in minority populations. She received her B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the Allied Medical Sciences department of the University of Calabar, Nigeria and an M.Sc. in Environmental Management from Coventry University, UK. Her MPH degree is from Adelphi University’s College of Nursing and Public Health, NY.

Deborah Quint Shelef

Deborah Quint Shelef is a PhD candidate in Maternal and Child Health. Her research focuses on risk and resilience factors for women’s and children’s health, and on strategies to improve health outcomes across the lifespan. Her recent projects have focused on women’s mental health, prenatal and postpartum support, infant mortality, and parental stress. At the University of Maryland, Debbie has taught FMSC 302: Research Methods in Family Science and FMSC 332: Children in Families, and was a teaching assistant for FMSC 310: Maternal, Child and Family Health.Debbie currently works as a public health analyst in the Division of Research at the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Previously, she spent 15 years at Children’s National Hospital as the program director of IMPACT DC (“Improving Pediatric Asthma Care in the District of Columbia”). Debbie studied anthropology at Harvard and received an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Gabriela Barber

Gabriela Barber is a doctoral candidate in Maternal and Child Health whose research is focused on the intersection of reproductive health and decision making and mental health. Gabriela is originally from Central Florida and studied psychology with a minor in neuroscience at Princeton University. She received her Master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy from the University of Maryland. Currently, Gabriela is a teaching assistant for the undergraduate course FMSC 310, Maternal, Child, and Family Health. In addition to her work at the University of Maryland, Gabriela is also a licensed marriage and family therapist who treats individuals, couples, and families in private practice in Bethesda.

Isha Chawla

Isha Chawla began the Family Science Ph.D. Program in Fall 2020. Her primary research interest includes family and personal finance. She received her M.S. in Financial Counseling and Planning from Iowa State University, U.S., in 2020 and an M.B.A in Finance from Bharati Vidyapeeth University, India, in 2016. Before pursuing the Ph.D., Isha worked at The Bank of New York Mellon, a corporate investment banking company, as a Process Associate, and at the IndusInd Bank, a commercial banking company, as a Deputy Manager in Pune, India. Currently, she is a graduate assistant with the financial wellness team, University of Maryland Extension, In addition, she is an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) ® certified by the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE). Recently, she served as an editor for the ACCI’s Consumer Interests Annual, Volume 68, 2022. She may be reached at and LinkedIn.


Janay Johnson is a doctoral student in Maternal and Child Health. Johnson earned her BA in Psychology and Religion from Kalamazoo College and earned her MPH in Maternal and Child Health from the George Washington University School of Public Health. After graduating from undergrad, Johnson worked at the Michigan State University Division of Public Health, helping to lead research projects focused on African American men's mental health and diabetes management. During her master's degree, Johnson worked as a research specialist, conducting numerous projects on international maternal, infant and young child nutrition. She currently serves as a graduate assistant for the Global Public Health Scholars program.


Jessica Moore-Solorzano - Information forthcoming







Jingshuai Du is a PhD candidate in Family Science. Her research focuses on the impact of stressful experiences (e.g. discrimination and intimate partner violence) on mental health and couple relationship with a focus on Asian American populations. She is also interested in neurodiverse couple (where one or both partners are on the autistic spectrum) research and clinical therapy practice. She has been a teaching assistant for FMSC 332 Children in Families, FMSC 302 Research Methods in Family Science, and FMSC 431 Family Crisis. Originally, she is from Northeast of China and got her master’s degree in Social Work at Peking University in 2016. After that, she came to the U.S. and got her master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy at K-State University in 2019. She is also a licensed couple and family therapist in Maryland.

Krystle McConnell

Krystle McConnell is a Maternal and Child Health PhD candidate in the department of Family Science. She is passionate about researching women with substance use disorders and their families. She continues to do research at the Center for Addiction and Pregnancy located in Baltimore, MD, where she has worked since 2012. At UMD she has served as a research assistant on the evaluation team for El Camino, a teen pregnancy prevention program aimed at Latinx youth, and for a project examining Sickle Cell Disease and Trait in partnership with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Maryland Department of Health. She also served as a graduate student ambassador for the School of Public Health. On her non-linear path, she received an A.A. degree in social sciences from Howard Community College, a B.S. degree in English literature from Notre Dame of Maryland University, and an MPH from George Washington University. She currently teaches the undergraduate course FMSC310 Maternal Child and Family Health. Feel free to contact her with questions:

Lindsay Mallick

Lindsay Mallick began her Ph.D. in Maternal and Child Health in 2020. Her research in both international and domestic settings spans equity in, access to, and quality of health care for family planning and perinatal services. Before starting her doctoral program, Ms. Mallick served as a Community Health Agent in the Peace Corps in Mauritania, West Africa, and earned an M.P.H. in International Health and Development from Tulane University. She then fulfilled two ORISE epidemiology fellowships with the United States Air Force and Army and, most recently, was a Lead Research Analyst seconded to The Demographic and Health Surveys Program through Avenir Health. She is currently a TA for FMSC310 Maternal, Child and Family Health and is a student affiliate of the Maryland Population Research Center. Follow her on Twitter @marmelinz.

Martha Yumiseva-Lackenbacher

Martha Yumiseva-Lackenbacher is originally from Quito - Ecuador. She is currently a PhD candidate in Family Science at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health. She earned her M.S.Ed. in Human Development at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and her B.S. in Education and Psychology at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. She is a passionate researcher, investigating family practices and dynamics in the context of health as the baseline of children’s optimal cognitive, social, and emotional development. Her main work has focused on Latino families in the US and the implications of immigration on family separation, family reunification, and mental health. Currently, she is part of the following research projects: El Camino, a collaborative sexual health promotion program for Latino youths, the TOGETHER Program, a financial and relationship education program offered to couples in the area, and the Galápagos Education and Research Alliance from the University of Pennsylvania geared toward community science initiatives at the intersection of poverty, ecology, conservation, health inequalities, and educational inequality. In addition, she was recognized as an Outstanding Research Assistant by the Graduate School. Feel free to contact her on Twitter: @titayumiseva and Linkedin: Martha Yumiseva.

Matthew R. Rodriguez

Matthew Rodriguez is a Family Science doctoral candidate who is passionate about researching ethnic minority men and their families. He is a research assistant for the Padres Preparados, Jóvenes Saludables Latinx obesity prevention program and also the Familias Activas study. Matt is also an instructor for the undergraduate family science course, "Modern Families" (FMSC170). Prior to his studies, Matt was a professional web developer and currently uses his coding skills to create mobile health apps. He was recently elected as the Co-Chair of the the National Council on Family Relations' Men in Families focus group. Feel free to contact Matt on ORCID and Twitter @MattR_Rodriguez.

Natasha Williams, Graduate Research Assistant of School of Public Health from the University of Maryland

Natasha Williams is a Chicago-based doctoral candidate in Family Science whose research focuses on the mental health of LGBTQ+ people. Specifically, she explores mental health disparities at the intersection of sexual identity and race as well as factors that influence access to affirming mental health care. Natasha is an investigator in the UMD Prevention Research Center and Dr. Jessica Fish’s SOGI Health Lab. She also works as a Research and Evaluation Associate at Sharp Insight and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Since 2013, she has been the TA or instructor of record for courses in statistics; families, poverty, and affluence; human sexuality; and behavior disorders. She holds an M.S. from Purdue University Northwest and a B.S. from Florida State University. Twitter: @Atakigo


Pond Ezra is a doctoral student in Family Science who’s research focuses on transgender parenting. Specifically, they wish to explore how transgender parents, specifically seahorse dads, navigate parenting roles after birth; in what contexts does gender dysphoria show up in transmasculine parenthood; and what socialization messages are transgender parents sending to their children about gender. Pond is a research assistant in Dr. Jessica Fish’s SOGI health lab, working on multiple projects that investigate socialization messages communicated among heterosexual parents and sexual minority youth. Pond holds a B.A. and M.S. from Texas State University.

Rebecca Foss

Rebecca Foss is a Family Science doctoral student, whose research focuses on mental health and innovative communication and dissemination methods, particularly in the use of online interventions, social media, and transmedia storytelling. Rebecca has nearly two decades of experience in marketing and communications resulting in a working knowledge of multiple media executions and communication delivery methods. She aims to draw from her past experience and present research to transform public health communication using mixed-media methods based on what resonates most with specific populations. Rebecca has been involved in multiple capacities with the TOGETHER Program at UMD, including marketing and recruitment, research, data management, and case management. Feel free to reach out to Rebecca on LinkedIn.

Sahra Ibrahimi

Sahra Ibrahimi is a doctoral candidate in Maternal and Child Health (MCH). Her research focuses on reproductive health. Recently, she received the People's Choice award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for one of her research projects, and she was featured by Washington's Top (WTOP) News. In addition to research, Sahra teaches FMSC110, an undergraduate course on Families and Global Health in the School of Public Health at UMD. She serves as a graduate student ambassador for the School of Public Health and a Graduate Writing Fellow for the UMD Graduate School Writing Center. If you are a Maryland graduate student and need assistance with writing, you can make an appointment here. Sahra also serves as an MCH student representative on the FMSC Graduate Committee, representing students’ perspectives and concerns on academics, leadership, and service programs. Prior to completing her master's in public health, Sahra worked as a Technical Project Officer at Abt Associates on the Health Financing and Governance (HFG) project, a 5-year global contract awarded by USAID and implemented in 40 countries. Sahra was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and came to the U.S. at age 14 for the Seeds of Peace Program in 2009, after which she received a full scholarship to attend the Ethel Walker High School in Simsbury, CT. She graduated from Smith College in Northampton, MA, with a BA in Economics and fulfillment of pre-med requirements in 2017. You can contact her at and learn more about her @ Twitter: @sahra_ibrahimi1

Salwa Shan

Salwa Shan is a doctoral candidate in the Family Science Program with research interests in Muslim Americans' mental health. Having completed her undergraduate and master's degrees at UMD, she is very familiar with the campus and the surrounding area. Her involvement with the Muslim community, experience as a high school teacher, and educational background in Couple and Family Therapy, allowed her to build a strong foundation in mental health and explore meaningful relationships. Her master's thesis focused on Black families and racial socialization. Salwa is very passionate about tying together her clinical and research experience to serve marginalized communities and to increase awareness about mental health and accessibility to mental health services in diverse communities.


Samantha Moran (she/her) is a Doctoral Student in the Family Science program. Broadly, her research interests include the experience of sexual and gender minority youth in the context of the school system, and the importance of creating safer environments, inclusive curricula, and supportive measures that empower teachers and staff to affirm students. Samantha is involved with Dr. Jessica Fish's SOGI Health Research Group and is currently involved in a project assessing the impact of anti-trans legislation, specifically bans on gender affirming medical care, on the mental health of transgender and non-binary youth. Samantha holds an M.S.W from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and a B.S. in Family Science and Sociology from Towson University. She is also a Project Manager in the Psychology Department at UMBC working on maternal and child health research and training. Twitter: @SamanthaMoran__ || email:


Sun Cho is a second-year Ph.D. student in Family Science. Her research focuses on men's health and masculinities in men of color. She is passionate about exploring how the structural inequities shape their masculinities, how masculinities are transmitted from generation to generation in families, how masculinities impact men's health and family relationships, and how masculinities can shift in a positive, healthy way. She has been a teaching assistant for FMSC 190 Man Up! Masculinities, Health, Families, & Inequality and a research assistant for Dr. Kevin Roy. She is originally from Seoul, South Korea. She earned her M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies at Kyunghee University in 2018 and her B.S. in HDFS and Psychology at Duksung Women's University in 2016. After graduating from her master's program, she worked as a research assistant in the family policy research center at Seoul Women's Foundation. She likes hiking, listening to Bossanova, 6-hours driving, and COFFEE.


Zack Berman is a doctoral student in Family Science whose research focuses on the sexual and mental health of individuals and partners. Specifically, his work explores unique clinical considerations for providing efficacious therapy to individuals and partners in non-traditional relationships (e.g. BDSM practitioners), as well as the associations between pornography use and relationship outcomes. Zack is an investigator in Dr. Jessica Fish's SOGI Health Lab. He also provides individual, couple, family, and sex therapy as a Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist with Harmony Holistic in Bethesda, MD. Since 2018, he has been a TA and instructor of record for courses in couple relationships, adult development and aging, and Family Science internship analysis. Zack holds a B.A. and M.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Zeina Alkhalaf

Zeina Alkhalaf is a doctoral candidate in Maternal and Child Health. Her research focuses on diet exposures that cause reproductive health disorders, infertility, and adverse maternal and pregnancy outcomes. More specifically, her research has been focused on vitamin D and risk of mode of delivery, preeclampsia, PMS, and ovarian reserve. Previously, Zeina received the Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) where she was mentored by Dr. Sunni Mumford. Her work focused on research from the Impact of Diet, Exercise, and Lifestyle (IDEAL), Folic Acid and Zinc Supplementation Trial (FAZST), and the Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction Trial (EAGeR) studies and coauthored several manuscripts assessing time to pregnancy, an ovulation, ovarian reserve, and live birth and loss. Zeina received her bachelors in Communication with a minor in Women and Gender Studies, and Masters in Public Health (MPH) from George Mason University (GMU). Zeina is currently working on her dissertation research focused on maternal vitamin D levels and risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes with Dr. Marie Thoma as her Dissertation Chair and Advisor."

Zeinab Azizi

Zeinab Azizi - I’m a first-year Family Science PhD student at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health. I am originally from Tehran, Iran. I received my B.A. in Counseling and Guidance in 2018, and my M.A. in Family counseling in 2022 from the University of Tehran. Having done an externship in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and an internship in a pre-divorce counseling center, I became passionate about researching couples’ relationships through the lens of romantic attachment, particularly in the couples facing adverse circumstances like chronic diseases. My master’s thesis focused on relationship satisfaction, empathy, and forgiveness of couples with cardiovascular disease. Currently, I am part of the TOGETHER program. Feel free to contact me at

Sabrina Alimi is from Gaithersburg, MD. She attended The University of Maryland where she received her Bachelor's degree in Family Science. While working toward her degree, Sabrina also interned at the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, where she assisted faculty in onsite case management. She worked directly with residents of MCCH housing, assisted supervisors with case summaries, as well as organized group-work activities with the residents. Through her internship, she was able to gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of how economic circumstances affect families and how beneficial these programs are to them. Along with interning at MCCH and studying at the University of Maryland, Sabrina also worked as a child caregiver and worked part-time as a restaurant server. Her outside interests include interior decorating, biking, hiking, simulation gaming, and spending time with friends and family.    

Neha Asif is from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a double major in Psychology and Child Learning Development with a minor in Biology. As an undergraduate, she worked with many organizations with a focus on child development. She worked 3 years as a tutor, teaching children from K to 8th grade Math, Reading, and Writing skills and implementing behavioral management programs for children. She also worked in research focusing on couple conflict resolution, which sparked her interest in Couple and Family Therapy. Neha’s research interests include child cognitive and behavioral development, inter-generational relationships within immigrant families, couple conflict management, and parent-child attachment. In her free time, Neha likes to watch movies, read, and play board games with family and friends.    

Naz Aydin is from Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Koc University. As an undergraduate, Naz was interested in research, social justice and child advocacy. Alongside working as a research assistant, she volunteered with the MAYA Foundation, where she worked closely with Syrian refugee children and assisted therapists in group therapy for kids with trauma. Naz also worked as a project team member in child advocacy projects and coordinator of Youth Volunteers Club for YORET Foundation. Most recently, she was the project coordinator of a funded child participation project with high school and middle school students.  Her research interests include primarily working with children and families, trauma, and immigrant populations. Outside of work, Naz is a certified dance instructor. Her hobbies include dancing, watching movies and traveling.    

Sabrina Cermeno is a DC native. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Family Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. During her time as an undergraduate, Sabrina interned at A Wider Circle, where she assisted clients with a variety of adversities by providing need-based items and psychosocial support. She also spent time as a family law research assistant, focusing on the effects of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy on immigrant families. Over the summer, Sabrina interned at The Children’s Inn at NIH where she assisted in operating different therapeutic, recreational, educational programs and activities for families going through treatment. Sabrina’s research interests include parent-child relationships in Hispanic/Latino families as well as mental health issues surrounding immigrant communities in the US. Sabrina’s hobbies include watching documentaries, traveling, dancing with friends, and playing with her dog.    

Regi Corbie is from Baltimore, MD. He graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor’s in Electronic Media & Film. After completing his undergraduate degree, Regi worked as a business development director for an architecture firm. Ardent for a greater purpose, Regi began to think about the ways in which he wanted to impact his community. Motivated by the lack of diverse mental health resources in the area, he co-founded the Pride Center of Maryland’s Coming Out Support Group in Baltimore City— a free, monthly resource for LGBTQIA+ individuals, providing support to those navigating the coming out process. He is also a repeat panelist invited to speak and answer questions, from Graduate students and faculty of the School of Social Work, regarding experiences and areas of improvement for mental healthcare in the LGBTQIA+ community. Regi’s experience running the support group inspired him to become a therapist so he can continue to serve and advocate for individuals and families in underrepresented communities. In his spare time, Regi enjoys cooking, watching films with his wife, and traveling.    

Christopher Erb grew up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and moved to Brunswick County, North Carolina in high school. He attended the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, before receiving a B.A. in Psychology and Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Chris spent some time working in the film industry in Los Angeles, acting as a personal script consultant to an A-list film director. Chris has worked as a certified personal trainer and Precision Nutrition coach before moving back east to become a therapist. His outside interests include strength training, screenwriting, rock climbing, and mindfulness meditation.    

Camila Escamile is from Fairfax, Virginia. She earned her B.S in Psychology from Bowie State University in 2020. As an undergraduate, Camila joined project RISE and conducted research that explored factors that impact college students’ attitudes, beliefs, and experiences related to public speaking. She interned at Bowie State University’s Counseling Service department and became an assistant freshman counselor. Camila enjoyed facilitating freshman interviews that exhibited incoming students’ emotional and physical well beings as they transitioned into college. Her research interest includes machismo and family dynamics in Latinx culture. During her free time, Camila likes to go on long car rides, watch movies, and walk her dog, Peluche.    

Ioanna Galani is originally from Athens, Greece. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Rhetoric. As an undergraduate, she has worked as a research assistant in the Culture Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park where she helped to investigate the impact of perceptions of immigrants, threats, and desire for stronger social norms. She was also a volunteer coach at the Girls on the Run program at the Fallsmead Elementary school in Rockville, Maryland where she was coaching girls from 3rd to 6th grade to prepare them to run a 5k running event. After graduating, Ioanna worked as a Student Services Manager at English Now! and Student Advisor at the Washington Center for International Education where she co-created different mental health programs, including a support group for international students and their families to talk about strategies for managing stressors and insight into the acculturation process. Ioanna’s research interests include couples and families who experience rare diseases, loss/grief, intimate partner violence, couple conflict management, parent-child attachment, and acculturation process stressors. Ioanna enjoys playing volleyball, running, traveling around the world, and hosting social events with friends.

Tamara Hull lives in Silver Spring. Tamara views her participation in the CFT program as an opportunity to experience her fullest potential while being of the greatest service to others. Tamara earned a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Delaware (Newark, Delaware), and her formative professional career was spent in Engineering Research and Development and Sales Account Executive roles for a Fortune 50 company. Tamara has since devoted countless hours working and volunteering in non-profit organizations - including serving as Central Maryland District President of an international women’s organization addressing social justice issues that disproportionately impact women, youth and children; and as the leader for a faith-based group cultivating strong relationships across racial divides. The intersection of personal growth, talent for peer coaching, family leadership roles, witness to the impact family dynamics have on life’s trajectory, and experience with the value of therapy at critical life junctures are factors leading to Tamara’s professional pursuit of her passion to help families thrive. Tamara enjoys singing, photography, Bible study, beach-going and organizing events that create joyful connections among family and friends.

Masha (Maria) Karteshev was born in Russia and moved to Israel at the age of seven. She earned a B.A. in psychology and education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and her Masters in clinical child psychology at The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo. Masha practiced psychology in the Israeli public healthcare system and volunteered as a psychologist with Physicians for Human Rights in Israel helping refugees. She has been involved in research since her days as an undergraduate and her research interests include emotion regulation, attachment, culture and social location. In her free time, she volunteers as an art representative in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C, practicing art through various mediums, enjoys drag art, traveling and wallowing in relaxation.

Samin Panahi is originally from Iran and moved to the U.S. in high school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. As an undergraduate, she was involved in various research projects, with a focus on qualitative research. Most recently, she completed her post-bac fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, where she worked at the Pain and Palliative Care Service. She has been on several research projects and a contributing author on several papers. While there, she shadowed both individual and group sessions with a diverse patient population including seriously ill and individuals with alcoholism. Additionally, she ran supervised mindfulness-related groups for both employees and patients. Her research interests include exploring the trauma of chronic or life-threatening illnesses, its management, and various coping skills. In her free time, she enjoys learning the etymology of words in different languages, reading Dostoevsky’s novels, painting with bright colors, meditating, and playing with her cat. 

Ann Pham graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science in Family Science. As an undergraduate, she interned at the TOGETHER Program, a research project between UMD and VT that provides free workshops to couples focusing on relationships and financial education. After earning her bachelor's, she was employed by Family Services Inc, part of the Sheppard Pratt Health System, and continued on as a case manager with the TOGETHER program. She has helped over 150 couples by providing local resources such as employment opportunities, financial education, and couple’s counseling. She is also a youth leader at her local parish and trains youth to become well-rounded individuals in society through faith-based practices. Her research interest includes the mental health of Asian American adolescents and families. In her free time, Ann enjoys making arts and crafts projects, learning about space exploration, and traveling to eat.

Claudia Roberts is from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a major in Human Development and Family Studies. Claudia was a Ronald E. Mcnair Scholar and conducted research titled Black mother’s Relationships in Coping with Role Strain. She also worked in research pertaining to trauma and resiliency. She took this interest abroad and was granted the opportunity to work with children at The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Most recently, Claudia contributed to the development and opening of a community wellness center through the STEM-Illinois initiative. During her undergraduate career, she worked directly with youth in Chicago Public Schools providing academic support and college application guidance. She also served as a teacher assistant for preschool-age children helping to support child development in the classroom setting. Claudia’s research interests include family relationships, trauma, and resiliency, and the effects of chronic stress on minority groups over the life course. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, making candles, and spending time with her dog.

Salwa Shan was born and raised in Maryland. She graduated with a dual degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in Biology and Secondary Education, along with an Honors Citation upon completion of the Gemstone Program. Throughout her time in college, she participated in a variety of research on campus and at Fort Detrick. After graduating, she served as a High School Science teacher in Prince George's County Public Schools for 3 years. Salwa has been involved in a number of nonprofit and service organizations in her local community and has a passion for mentorship and social justice. Her research interests include adolescents in minority families, immigrant families, resilience in marginalized youth, and adolescent identity formation, especially in Muslim Americans. In her free time, Salwa enjoys painting, running, cooking (and eating) East Asian cuisine, and spending time with her family and friends.

Emely Taveras is from Raleigh, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies and minored in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies. As an undergraduate Emely interned at Act Together- Youth Focus Inc. in Greensboro NC, an emergency housing facility for at-risk youth who have run away, are experiencing a family crisis, and or are victims of abuse or neglect. There Emely provided direct client services to youth in an emergency crisis shelter setting; while also encouraging youth to plan, set, and achieve their personal goals. She also worked as an undergraduate research assistant on research focusing on parenting practices in Latinx families and levels of parental guidance and intrusiveness. Further exploring how parenting practices should be conceptualized and measured in Latinx families in contrast to the majority of findings in the literature that have used parenting dimensions developed using White, middle-class family values. Emely’s current research interests include mental health disparities in minority families, especially in Afro-Latinx communities, intergenerational trauma, and the effects of colorism within BIPOC communities. Outside of school, Emely enjoys going on hikes, exploring new places, trying new foods, painting, and spending time with friends and family. 

Mason Troupe is from Tampa, FL. He earned his bachelor’s degree studying philosophy at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. Some of his areas of interest are somatic psychology, trauma work, holistic medicine, Islamic psychology, and adult ADHD. In his free time, he enjoys traveling abroad, reading the works of Sufis and Platonists, and discussing philosophy. His favorite novel is The Brothers Karamazov.
Alexandra Simione
is originally from Marlboro, New Jersey. She graduated with a Bachelor's and Master of Accountancy from The George Washington University. She worked as an auditor with PwC, where she spent time as a Corporate Responsibility Fellow volunteering with the Capital Area Food Bank, Wreaths Across America and the Red Cross. She looks forward to the new volunteering opportunities at UMD. Alexandra continues to work as a treasurer for a nonprofit organization benefiting undergraduate musicians. Her current CFT research interests include open/polyamorous, LGBTQIA+, and alternative lifestyle couples. Alexandra's hobbies include hosting social events with friends, going to DC area museums, trying new restaurants and reading romance novels.

September Stahly graduated from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD in 2009 where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. September currently coaches couples with a desire to deepen their relationship through the national organization, Couples Coaching Couples. She obtained Level 1 Gottman Couples Therapy Training. Prior to attending UMD, September was a consultant to therapists transitioning from private practice to running a group practice. September’s research interests include families with teens who struggle with eating disorders as well as adoptive families. Inspired by being a yoga instructor, she also has an interest in the mind-body connection. September is an avid reader, though her focus has shifted from philosophers such as Kierkegaard and Kant to the likes of Sarah J Maas. In her free time, she enjoys traveling abroad with her husband, playing with her dogs, and beekeeping.

Katherine Tomlinson (Tee) (she/her/hers) earned undergraduate degrees in Intercultural Studies and Sociology. After graduating, she worked for a few years as a teacher and home visitor in programs focused on strengthening underserved families. Tee currently works as a Research Assistant in the Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention and in the SOGI Health Lab at UMD. Her research interests broadly include family functioning, identity development, poverty and health, and play therapy. Outside of work and school, Tee enjoys reading, textile arts, and all things outdoors.

Amanda Wiggins is from Annapolis, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Intercultural Studies. While there she was involved in multiple research projects in the Child Cognition Lab and the Psychology, Policy and Law Lab, examining risk and protective factors of families that return to the child welfare system. She also interned at the non-profit community centers TRAK: the Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids, and the Divorce Recovery Inc., in Tucson, Arizona. Additionally, she spent a summer working as a research assistant in UMD's Child Stress and Emotions Lab, working on the Preschool Emotions Project (PEP) and the Supporting Parent to Affirm Their Children's Experiences of Sexuality (SPACES) study. Outside of school, Amanda loves cooking, eating, being outdoors, and spending time with friends, family, and her pets.