Collins Mbachu is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biophysics and a minor in Mathematics. He is interested in either Biomedical Engineering or Medical Research as a future career. Upon graduation he hopes to either get a Masters in Engineering or apply to Medical School. Collins has been highly involved in YMCA projects dealing with underprivileged youths and has always been interested in causes aimed at researching marginalized groups and finding ways to change the current financial system. Reasons for joining the lab include gaining hands on experience in lab work and real-world experience in the field.
Dhara Puvar was an undergraduate at Loyola University Chicago, pursuing her bachelor's degree in Psychology with minors in Bioethics and Spanish Literature. Within the Risk and Resilience Research Lab, she has helped implement the Mentoring Project in Englewood schools through intervention programming and data collection. Her research interests include mental health disparities, coping, and resilience among vulnerable populations, especially adolescents and members of immigrant and refugee communities. In addition, during her undergraduate career Dhara spent five months in South Asia with the School of International Training (SIT), conducting independent research on the various risk factors for suicide among female migrant workers in Nepal. She aspires to enter a doctoral program in clinical psychology.
Taylor Perri is an undergraduate student currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Following her bachelor’s degree, Taylor plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, ideally working with at-risk, delinquent juveniles. As working in juvenile delinquent centers is a potential career path for Taylor, she hopes to address issues that arise in low-income and at-risk neighborhoods through the mentoring project. She believes that the mentoring project will showcase her interests in helping children whose lack of social support is unable to foster their resilience.
Gavin Crowell is a recent graduate from Knox College, where he received a BA in Psychology, with minors in neuroscience and journalism. At Knox, he conducted an independent honors project focusing on the efficacy of nature based therapy on the negative, cognitive, and stress-related symptoms in schizophrenia.He expects to continue his education in a doctorate program in clinical psychology, but intends to get real-world research experience before applying. He is interested in studying the mental health of low-income residents within the inner city, and hopes ultimately to understand both the cyclic relationship between poverty and mental illness (such that concentrated urban poverty cultivates mental illness, while the resulting mental illness reinforces poverty) as well as the structural programs that serve as reinforcers of this relationship towardsdisadvantaged populations.
Victoria G. Smith Ellison is a Chicago native and was raised in Bronzeville. She is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in social work at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She received her B.A. in Educational Studies from Trinity College (Hartford, CT) in 2015. Her research interests include critical race theory, black feminism, urban education, and community engagement. Victoria is an artist at heart, life-long learner, black history enthusiast, and aspiring yogi. #blackgirlmagic
Jason Pica II is pursing a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science with minors in 1) Psychology of Crime and Justice and 2) Criminal Justice and Criminology. Jason aspires to obtain a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.). Beyond this, in pursuit of education, he aspires to obtain a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.), a Master of Laws in Family Law or Criminal Law (LL.M.) and eventually a Ph.D in a related field. Jason’s future work as an attorney will provide him with the opportunity to be an advocate for children in situations where their voices are often silenced by focusing his practice on juvenile criminal defense and child and family law. Additionally, Jason is a Provost Fellow researching the relationship between future expectations and beliefs about aggression in African American youth in urban, low-income communities, and was humbled to receive the Outstanding Loyola Research Award. His research interests include examining the cycle of poverty in relation to crime with an emphasis on how education can improve the quality of life for low-income populations and identifying how future expectations are able to moderate the various stressors in the daily lives of urban, low-income African American youth. In regards to the Mentoring Program, he has been involved in both field and clerical work. Jason enjoys being a pianist, singing, fishing, and volunteering with the Miss America Organization.
Margot Le Neveu is a medical student at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. In 2014, she received her B.S. in Human Science with a minor in Philosophy & Bioethics from the School of Nursing & Health Studies at Georgetown University. While in Washington, DC, she developed an interest in public health and became deeply involved with a harm reduction organization, supporting the health of local sex workers and injection drug users. In partnership with this organization, she designed her senior capstone research project to better understand the impact of gentrification on perceptions of health and safety among vulnerable populations. Her research interests include the intersection of poverty and health as it relates to health outcomes, mental health stability, health disparities, and barriers to accessing care. At Dartmouth, she has continued to work with at-risk populations as a leader of a local LGBTQ teen group and the CARE Project working with people enrolled in the Grafton County Drug Court. As a physician, she hopes to work with low-income families, providing holistic, compassionate care to underserved communities in both an urban and rural setting.
Candice Richardson is a recent graduate at Loyola University with a B.S. in Psychology. She expects to continue her education in a doctorate program in Clinical Psychology. As a member of the Risk and Resilience Lab, she is excited to work on the Mentoring Project and believes it will be a huge asset to the community. As a south Chicago native, Candice sees this lab as an opportunity to share personal experiences and be a resource to those in the Englewood community. Furthermore, she has worked as a tutor and mentor with African refugee children at Circesteem. Her research interests includes working with at-risk children, understanding resiliency in underserved communities and the psychological effects and coping skills in adolescents. In her leisure time, Candice enjoys singing, dancing, attending church, and spending time with family.
Keenen Stevenson received a Master of Social Work in May 2016, specializing in Mental Health. He received his B.S. in Recreation and Sport Management with concentrations in Non-profit Management, Fundraising, and Youth Leadership from Indiana State University in Terre Haute in 2008. While attending Indiana State he worked as a lab assistant implementing inclusive recreation programs for children and adults with disabilities. Currently, his research interests are examining educational disparities in low-income communities, exploring how community violence impact emotional development, and the impact of environmental stressors on health and mental health. Keenen intends to enroll in a doctoral program and will pursue a career in research. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, and watching documentaries.
Cordelia Grimes graduated in May 2016 from Loyola University Chicago’s Master of Social Work program, specializing in Mental Health with a sub-specialization in Inter-professional Practice with At-Risk Youth. She received her B.A. in Psychology from DePaul University in Chicago in 2010, where she completed an Honor’s Thesis and presented her research at a couple of conferences. Currently, her research interests involve examining sources of resiliency for adolescents, particularly in those that have experienced complex trauma in disadvantaged populations. She is working on a Participatory Action Research project that aims to help empower and give a voice to youth that are exposed to community violence through their voluntary submissions of their own writing, poetry, art, music, or spoken word to a website. Alongside her work in the research lab, Cordelia is the Clinical Social Work Intern in the Empowering Counseling Program, where she provides counseling services to youth participating in the cross-age mentoring program. She also enjoys working as the Charity Race Team Coordinator for a nonprofit called “Girls in the Game”. In her spare time, she enjoys (yes, enjoys) training for marathons, playing with her dog, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Arie Zakaryan graduated in May 2016 with a PhD in child and adolescent clinical psychology and has accepted a post-doctoral fellowship in California. He received his B.A. in Literature from Harvard University in 2007. Following graduation, Arie spent two and a half years working as a research assistant and research coordinator in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, FL. As a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago (LUC), Arie has completed a therapy practicum at the LUC’s Wellness Center, and is currently an extern at University of Chicago’s Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic. Arie recently joined the Risk and Resilience Lab in May 2012 and is also a member of the Department’s Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (CAN) Laboratory. So far his work has focused on looking at how executive functions influence the effectiveness of coping on the psychological well-being of middle school minority youth who live in low-income, high violence urban neighborhoods. His research interests include the development and evaluation of intervention programs for at-risk youth, with a focus on stress, coping, and the related cognitive and neural correlates.
Dante Violette is an undergraduate student currently attaining a bachelors in Psychology with a minor in communication. After graduation, he hopes to enter a Masters level social work program to eventually become a licensed practitioner to open a private practice. His research interest are gender studies, focusing on confrontation of sexist humor in social interactions, and more recently the risk and resilience lab with Dr. Maryse Richards. In his free time, Dante is involved in numerous student activities including being the photographer for Loyola’s student government.
Nicole Woodcox Bolden is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a Masters of Social Work with a specialization in school social work. She received a dual degree B.A in Sociology and Communications from Illinois College in 2006. After graduating, Nicole spent 2 ½ years in the Philippines with the U.S Peace Corps as a volunteer in a children’s home for children with imprisoned parents and also as a life skills educator for survivors of Human Trafficking. After returning to the U.S, she spent 3 ½ years working with victims and survivors of Human Trafficking. Her current research interests are on trauma, empowerment, and resilience in youth and families. In the Risk and Resilience lab, she is helping to implement the cross age peer mentoring project on the Southside of Chicago. In her spare time, Nicole is a birth and postpartum doula, enjoys spending time with her family, and cooking.
Lauren Davis is a PhD candidate in the school of social work at Loyola University Chicago. She received her B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from DePaul University in 2013 and her MSW from Loyola University Chicago in 2015. Following graduation, she began studying social work specializing in mental health. Lauren’s fieldwork has been in Chicago’s disadvantaged and impoverished South Side communities working specifically with low-income adolescents combating community violence and lack of mental health resources. She was an instructor for “Stand Up, Help Out”, the first known sexual health and romantic relationship education program created by African American youth for African American youth. She also served as a therapist for Empowering Counseling Program, a school based counseling service that provides therapy services to youth who otherwise may not receive mental health care. Joining the Risk and Resilience Lab in August of 2014, Lauren focused on developing and teaching a mentoring curriculum for a cross-age peer-mentoring program for African American and Latino youth in addition to providing counseling services to members of the program. Lauren’s research interests include work with disadvantaged youth, school-based mental health services, play therapy, and complex trauma.
Jolai Michel is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology-Sociology and minors in both Theology and Leadership. During her junior and senior year of high school, her research interests were focused on physical chemistry. Currently, in her second year at Loyola University Chicago, her research interests are geared toward psychology. Her involvement with Dr. Richards and in her lab began in January of 2015. She was involved in both field and clerical work relating to the Mentoring Program. The motivation from Jolai's involvement in the lab stems from her passion for marginalized groups, including, but not limited to, Black lives. From her involvement, she wanted to gaining hands-on experience and a more developed understanding of real-world psychological applications.
Michaela Mozley received her B.S. in Psychology in 2015. In the Risk and Resilience Research Lab, she was involved in the process and transcription of focus groups involving middle school and high school students living in the high-violence community of Little Village in Chicago. Michaela was also a member of Loyola's Social Justice and Intergroup Relations Research Lab, where she worked to run experiments that focus on how people respond to and confront prejudice. She was a member of the McNair Scholars Program and conducted research exploring the different factors that influence how people respond to racism. Michaela plans to continue focusing on race and social justice, and would like to incorporate both psychology and criminal justice into her future career. Michaela would like her future career to focus on African American youth, and she hopes to one day impact the Juvenile Justice system for its betterment. She is currently at the University of Utah getting her PhD in Clinical Psychology.
Jade Kinney graduated in May of 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology. Jade joined the Risk and Resilience Lab Summer 2014 and helped collect data for the Mentoring Project that is being implemented at Imagine Englewood if. Her research interests include studying adolescent youth specifically low-income, urban individuals. Apart from her academic studies, she was a member of the track and field team at Loyola and was also the treasurer of Loyola's Gospel Choir. Jade is currently at Auburn University getting her PhD in Counseling Psychology.
Sotonye Hart studied Psychology and Human Studies at Loyola and graduated in May of 2014. In the Risk and Resilience Research Lab, she was involved in the violence intervention program (CEC-CF) focused on decreasing stress and increasing coping in urban minority youth living in the Englewood. She conducted an independent research study focused on the impact that exposure to violence has on the development of fear in African American students. She is member of the McNair Scholars Program and has presented her research at the National McNair Scholars Conference. Her research interests focus on the development of racism-related stressors in at-risk youth and understanding the extent to which negative mood and stress contribute to physical and health outcomes. Sotonye is currently working and plans to continue her education with a doctoral graduate program in Clinical Psychology. Her professional career goal is to work in a hospital setting with trauma patients, and ultimately open a non-profit organization for underprivileged, low-income minority youth
Allison Shimer graduated in May of 2015 with a major in Psychology and minors in Peace Studies and Women’s Studies Gender Studies. She was actively involved in the Risk and Resilience Lab by implementing Dr. Maryse Richard’s Civic Engagement Curriculum to middle schoolers in the Englewood area on the south side of Chicago. She is the co-author on a poster for the Midwestern Psychological Association that focuses on the relationship between extracurricular activity involvement and coping among urban African American youth. She was also a student-athlete for Loyola and enjoys listening to music, reading, traveling, and playing the piano.
Andy Perrotte was an undergraduate student studying Psychology and Peace Studies. His research focused primarily on peace circle strategies and restorative justice. At the end of his sophomore year, he received the Provost Fellowship to clinically study the effectiveness of peace circles in Dr. Maryse Richard’s Civic Engagement Curriculum. He is the co-author on multiple accepted works with the lab surrounding ethnic identity and mental illness to the Midwestern Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, and other various academic conferences. As a panelist in Loyola University Chicago’s Pacem In Terris 50th Anniversary peace conference, Andy gave a speech about the power of peace circles and restorative justice to sustainably resolve conflicts in communities suffering from violence. After graduation, Andy will explore the fields of social justice, psychology, public policy, philosophy, and healing with the intention of bridging those fields at a doctoral graduate school program.
Edna Romero graduated with her PhD in clinical psychology in 2016, specializing in child, adolescent, and family issues. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Purdue University in 2006. Following her undergraduate education, Edna worked for three years at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children's Memorial Hospital) as a research associate and project administrator. Since beginning her graduate career at Loyola University Chicago (LUC), Edna has completed a year-long therapy practicum at LUC's Wellness Center and at Loyola University Medical Center's Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic. She is currently a psychotherapy extern at John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County in the child and adolescent psychiatry clinic. Edna's work in the Risk and Resilience Lab focuses on the impact of neighborhood characteristics on aggression outcomes among youth from urban low-income environments. Additionally, Edna is involved in the development and administration of intervention programs that reduce stress and promote psychological well-being among middle school youth who live in impoverished urban neighborhoods.
Devin Carey received her PhD in child and adolescent clinical psychology in 2015. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Emory University in Atlanta, GA in 2007. Following graduation from Emory, Devin spent two years working as a research assistant at Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Baltimore, MD. As a graduate student at Loyola, Devin has completed externships at the Loyola University Wellness Center, Illinois Masonic Pediatric Developmental Center, Stroger Cook County Hospital, and University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center. Devin's work in the Risk and Resilience Lab has focused on intervention programs that reduce stress and promote psychological well-being among adolescents who live in low-income, high violence urban neighborhoods. Her research interests include the psychopathology of at-risk youth, with a focus on specific factors that predict to adjustment and their implications for intervention programs.
Israel Gross received his B.A. in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University in 2006, and in 2007 he received his M.A. in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. Israel is a former doctoral student at Loyola University Chicago's Clinical Psychology program in the child and adolescent track. Israel's research interests include understanding developmental pathways towards psychopathology and mental well-being among "at-risk" youth, as well as evaluating the efficacy and effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. Israel's master thesis at Loyola focused on investigating the predictors of academic achievement among low-income urban African American youth using an Optimal Data Analysis methodology. Israel completed his dissertation work investigating the role of mental health and social support on disease progression among HIV infected youth.