Welcome New Graduate Students 2020-2021

Tue, 2020-08-25

We are proud to introduce our newest graduate students starting this year (2020-2021).

Kyle Barrentine

  • Kyle Barrentine joins the Social area to work with Adrienne Wood.  His research interests include social networks, personality, psychopathology, masculinity and race.  He received his BA degree from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and his hometown is Memphis, TN.  Kyle enjoys Investing (Robinhood), tennis, journaling,reading, hiking, and owls.

Youngjae Cha

  • Youngjae Cha joins the Social area and will work with Shigehiro Oishi.  His research interests are in socioecological psychology, psychologically rich life and exploration.   Youngjae received his BA and MA degrees from Sungkyunkwan University and his hometown is Seoul, Korea.  He enjoys taking short trips to unknown places and initiating anything new with others is also interesting.

Chen Chen

  • Chen Chen joins the Sensory and Systems Neuroscience area to work with JC Cang.  She is very interested in all kinds of behaviors and the neural mechanism underlying.  To be specific, she was focused on dissecting the neural mechanism underlying emotions previously, especially negative emotions, such as upper visual field predator evoked innate fear. And right now, her interests point gets closer to the deeper mechanism underlying variety innate behaviors. She is very curious about how visual information is coded in our brain and how different sensory inputs through cortex modulate Superior Colliculus that output different behaviors. The function of Superior Colliculus is gradually dissected out including attention, innate fear or predator capturing. Acting as multimodal integration and sensorimotor transformation with layer structure, Superior Colliculus shows increase attraction for scientist of the process of visual input, integration of sensory input and developmental significance. Chen received her BS degree from Tongji University and her hometown is China.  She is extremely happy that she finally obtained the chance to be a PhD student in Psychology, even though her undergraduate study majored in biotechnology which she also loves a lot.  Chen likes to read books in different areas of psychology and learn the psychological counselor as her hobbies in recent years, as well as  mindfulness.

Kenn Dela Cruz

  • Kenn Dela Cruz joins the Developmental area to work with Tobias Grossmann.  He is interested in emotions in young children, particularly within infancy and early childhood. Furthermore, he is interested in studying emotion through multiple levels of analyses: within the child (e.g., interplay between social cognitive and emotional processes), on the microsystem level (e.g., socialization of emotion through parent-child interactions), and on the macrosystem level (i.e., values around emotion across different cultural contexts).  Kenn received his BA degree from the University of CA, Los Angeles, his MA degree from the San Francisco State University and his hometown is San Jose, CA. In his free time, Kenn enjoys watching movies and dabbling in photography and graphic design. He also loves to walk and run around the local area, so please feel welcome to say hi whenever you see him wandering around.

Sarah Espinel

  • Sarah Espinel joins the Community area and will work with Lanice Avery.  Her research interests include sexual health and development of women with intersectional identities. She is also interested in the influence of sexually explicit internet materials on women’s sexual self-esteem and sexual well-being.  Sarah received her BA degree from George Washington University and her hometown is New Orleans, LA.  She enjoys boxing, HBO documentaries, Malcom Gladwell’s podcast and books, and doing makeup.

Gabrielle (Gabby) Hunt

  • Gabrielle (Gabby) Hunt joins the Clinical area and will work with Joe Allen.  She is interested in the intricacies of adolescent interpersonal relationships and how they impact mental health and well-being both short-term and long-term. Gabby is especially interested in how quality, quantity and stability of adolescent friendships informs adult romantic relationships.  She received her BS from the University of Virginia and her hometown is Concord, NC.  Thanks to quarantine, she has a newfound passion for cross-stitching! Gabby also enjoys wine-tasting, listening to podcasts, Netflix-bingeing, and occasionally doing some form of physical activity.

Jingrun Lin

  • Jingrun Lin joins the Clinical area and will work with Jim Coan.  She is interested in how target and perceiver-level factors shape emotion regulation in different social contexts.  She received her BA degree from Boston College, and her hometown is Dalian, China.  Jingrun enjoys reading and watching television shows. She recently started cooking (and some baking) because of the pandemic.

Jaclyn (Jackie) Lisnek

  • Jaclyn (Jackie) Lisnek joins the Social area to work with Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi. She is interested in understanding the mechanisms that drive bias and prejudice across a range of contexts including the political sector and the criminal justice system. Moreover, she is interested in lab and field interventions aimed to reduce these biases. For instance, she wants to understand and reduce bias against political candidates to increase gender and racial representation in government, as well as create interventions to improve police/community relations and reduce excessive force by police. Jackie is also interested in progressive social movements and collective action. In particular, she wants to examine what motivates people to engage in advocacy and fight for progressive policies. She received her BA from Indiana University and her hometown is Buffalo Grove, Illinois.  Jackie loves spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys watching standup comedy, listening to The Beatles, and binge watching old episodes of New Girl. 

Robert Michaels

  • Robert Michaels joins the +1 MA program in the Quantitative area to work with Karen Schmidt.  His research interests include quantitative modeling of serious mental illness and cross-disciplinary applications of Al and cognitive models.  Robert received his BS from the University of Virginia and his hometown is Waynesboro, VA.  He enjoys distance running/hiking and he used to play video games professionally!

Sam Powers

  • Sam Powers joins the +1 MA program in the Quantitative area to work with Karen Schmidt.  His research interests include quantification of disparity, data communication, and quantitative research methods for social programs.  Sam received his BA degree from the University of Virginia and his hometown is Herndon, VA.  He loves baking, restoring old furniture, hiking (has hiked parts of the AT and lived in Eastern Africa for a bit where he hiked most of the Virunga Volcanoes), and thinking about using data for social action. Sam has been a long-time volunteer with the ACLU helping think about the role of data in advocacy around decarceration.

Raven Ross

  • Raven Ross joins the Community area and will work with Seanna Leath. Her research interests include race-related beliefs and experiences of African American youth.  She received her BS degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University and her hometown is Richmond, VA.  Raven grew up in a military family, so does not really have a “hometown” in the traditional sense. She moved to Richmond in her senior year of high school and lived there through undergrad. She also completed a one-year internship at Virginia Tech and had the privilege of being a part of multiple major universities in Virginia. Raven is excited to learn more about and explore UVA and Charlottesville!  For fun, she enjoys playing with her cats, spending time with her friends and family, and going on walks.

Emma Toner

  • Emma Toner joins the Clinical area to work with Bethany Teachman.  She is interested in using real-time data collection methods (e.g., passive sensing technology, ecological momentary assessment) to better understand how anxiety and traumatic stress disorders may operate as complex dynamic systems. She also hopes to study mental disorders as they exist within broader socioecological systems and explore how factors both internal and external to the individual mutually reinforce one another to produce a state of disorder. Ultimately, Emma’s goal is to elucidate the complex nature and behavior of psychological symptoms so that we may better understand mental disorders as they are experienced in real life.  She received her BA from Barnard College and her hometown is Belmont, Massachusetts.  Emma likes hiking, camping, and being out in nature! She really enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes, especially with friends. She also likes to spend time reading and listening to podcasts. Emma is really looking forward to moving to Charlottesville, meeting everyone, and getting started!

Noelle Ware

  • Noelle Ware joins the Community area to work with Seanna Leath.  Her first research interest is to study the best ways to foster resilience and positive racial identity in Black girls in the education system. Secondly, she wants to examine how this resilience carries over into Black womanhood and utilize that knowledge to provide resources for Black women and girls early on in their development.  Noelle received her BS degree from Hollins University, a Master’s Level Degree from the University of Virginia and her hometown is Goochland, VA.  Noelle is autistic and thus is passionate about the intersections of ability and race in various societal institutions. One of her interests is in reptiles and she owns a Blue-Tongued Skink that is a little over one year old. Noelle also enjoys learning about technology and coding, and she is currently working on developing video games in her free time. 

Ramona Weber

  • Ramona Weber joins the Clinical area and will work with Eric Turkheimer. In a future professorial career, she hopes to focus her research on how environmental factors, including the nuclear family, the academic setting, and SES, can influence child development both behaviorally and physiologically.  Ramona received her BA from Dickinson College, completed a masters in human development with a minor in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and her hometown is Boston/Cincinnati.  She loves reading, working out, watching sports, painting, singing, playing the piano, and spending time with her friends and family. Ramona is very much looking forward to joining UVa this Fall! She is hoping to be able to attend some UVa athletic events during her time in the program.

Emma Whelan

  • Emma Whelan joins the Sensory and Systems Neuroscience area and will work with Jess Connelly.  Her research interests are in genetics-epigenetics and their involvement in neurobiology/neurocircuitry.  She is also interested in neurodegenerative diseases and previously worked on Huntington’s disease.  Emma received her BS degree from the University College Dublin and her hometown is Dublin, Ireland where she was born and raised.  She is a member of the Ireland Women’s National Lacrosse team and competed at the World Championships in 2017 and hopes to play again in 2021.  She recently adopted a dog, Snoopy – they love to hike, bike, and paddleboard.

Samuel Wilkinson

  • Samuel Wilkinson joins the +1 MA program in Quantitative to work with Karen Schmidt.  He received his BA degree from the University of Virginia.

Cabell Williams

  • Cabell Williams joins the Cognitive area to work with Jamie Morris.  She is interested in studying how infants develop social cognitive processes. Specifically, she would like to study the oxytocin receptor gene methylation pre-birth, if and how it changes due to environmental influences post-birth, and its effects on social development throughout the first year of life.  Cabell received her BS degree from George Mason University, MS degree from the University of Virginia and her hometown is Charlottesville, VA.  She enjoys reading, knitting, cooking, baking, and taking walks with her dog.