Lucy Whitmore is the lab manager of the Developing Brains in Context Lab. She recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Cognitive Science. She is interested in how adolescents create flexible behavioral strategies to navigate the world around them, and how these strategies may be affected by social connections and their environment. CV
Theresa Cheng is an ABD doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Oregon. She received her BA in Philosophy and BS in Biology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also holds an EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is primarily interested in understanding how adolescence may be a sensitive period of enhanced plasticity for social learning. This question has led her to examine puberty, stress, and different types of peer interactions in relation to the developing brain. A former middle and high school teacher, she is interested in the implications of developmental science in clinical and educational contexts. Outside of the lab, she enjoys the gorgeous greenery of Oregon and dabbles in cooking, language learning, and modern dance.
Karlena Ochoa is a 4th year PhD student in the developmental psychology program at the University of Oregon. Her research interests broadly focus on children’s social-cognitive development during the preschool years. She is especially interested in children’s moral development. More recently she has examined prosocial behaviors in friendship groups during adolescence. Before coming to University of Oregon, Karlena finished her BA in 2014 and MA at California State University San Marcos.
Akhila Nekkanti came to the Prevention Science doctoral program with a B.S. in Neuroscience and is currently studying under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Skowron in the Family Biobehavioral Health Lab. Her current research examines the impacts of early adversity on children’s executive functioning capacities and resting-state neural activity. Akhila is co-mentored by Dr. Mills on her OSLER TL1 project examining the impacts of an intensive, practice-based intervention (i.e., PCIT) on children’s functional brain organization. Her long-term goal is to delineate the type and extent of environmental enrichment necessary for enhancing lasting change in self-regulatory capacity in children facing early caregiving adversity and trauma.
Victoria Guazzelli Williamson
Victoria is a second-year clinical psychology PhD student interested in social cognitive and brain development across adolescence, with an emphasis on how this development impacts mental health (such as internalizing disorders) and physical health (such as obesity). Victoria takes a mixed methods approach to this research blending experimental with longitudinal and observational work and using tools such as task-based fMRI, clinical interviews, and ecological momentary assessment to form a holistic understanding of this development. Victoria’s most recent work focuses on how adolescents’ views of others interact with their understanding of themselves–and how facets of this cross-talk may relate to risk for internalizing disorders. A long-term goal of her research is to develop interventions and influence policies that equitably promote positive development, wellbeing, and health for all adolescents. CV
Elizabeth McNeilly is a second-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Oregon, focusing on the intersection of adolescent development and internalizing psychopathology. In collaboration with Dr. Mills and researchers at UCLA and UC Berkeley, Elizabeth is currently investigating the role of neural and behavioral reward processes in the association of early puberty and internalizing symptoms in the ABCD Study. Under the supervision of Dr. Mills and Dr. Nick Allen, Elizabeth is also exploring linguistic features in daily digital social communication and the associations with well-being and internalizing symptoms in adolescent girls. An overarching aim of her work is to explore the social, cognitive, and affective processes that undergo immense development in the brain during adolescence, conferring potential risk for internalizing psychopathology, but also an opportunity for targeted intervention and the improvement of adolescents’ well-being.
Clare graduated June of 2020 from the University of Oregon with honors in Psychology, minors in Special Education and Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies. Her research interests include (1) understanding the impact of early life stress on mental health, academic performance, and self-perception and (2) identifying the best ways to support academic competence and confidence in children and adolescents who have experienced adversity, and/or have been diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders or mental illness. Clare’s pronouns are she/her/hers.
Jeya Anandakumar is an undergraduate student at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Jeya and Kate began working together when Kate was a post-doc at OHSU, while Jeya was still in high school. Jeya is majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry with a focus on neuroscience. Her research interest include developmental neuroscience and neurogenetics. In her free time, she enjoys playing the flute and taking dance classes.
Natasha is an undergraduate research assistant in the Developing Brains in Context Lab. She is a senior in the psychology program at the University of Oregon, and is minoring in ethnic studies. Her research interests include developmental psychology, specifically the impact of early childhood adversity on development and mental health in at-risk populations. In her free time, she enjoys riding her bike and doing yoga.