Elizabeth “Lizzie” Aviv

PhD student at the University of Southern California

Lizzie started the Clinical Science doctoral program at USC in 2020. Her current research interests include how the transition to parenthood affects couples’ relationship dynamics, both behaviorally and physiologically. Her interests stem from her prior research experiences studying the transition to motherhood through a developmental lens with Dr. Aurelie Athan at Columbia University, as well as studying the relationship between parenting dynamics and toxic stress in infancy with Dr. Miguelina German at Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx.

Emily Campi

PhD student at the University of Southern California

Emily completed her MA in occupational therapy and began her doctoral work in occupational science at USC in 2019. She works in the innovations in neurodevelopmental sensory processing research (insp!re) lab, where her work focuses on parent responsiveness to sensory regulatory cues in infants at elevated likelihood of developing autism spectrum disorder. Emily hopes to expand this work to examine parent responsiveness in young mothers with a history of child welfare involvement in order to better support their emerging parenting skills.

Sofia Cardenas

PhD student at the University of Southern California

In her research, Sofi uses interdisciplinary methodologies to assess the intersection of biological and social processes impacting parent caregiving behaviors. Sofi’s research follows two lines of inquiry. In one line of inquiry, she uses neuroimaging and hormonal assays to clarify neurocognitive and endocrine processes supporting caregiving, with a focus on fatherhood. In Sofi’s second line of inquiry, she uses self-report measures, sleep actigraphy, and neuroimaging to assess how socially modifiable health behaviors (e.g., accessing paid family leave following the birth of a child, sleep quality) relate to parent caregiving behavior.

LaToya Council

PhD student at the University of Southern California

LaToya Council is a Black Feminist Scholar Activist, and an expert on work-family conflict and its intersection with health and wellbeing for Black American middle and upper-middle-class individuals. LaToya’s dissertation titled, “Her Work, His Work, Their Work: Time and Self-Care in Black Middle-Class Couples” interrogates how Black middle and upper-middle-class couples manage work and family demands with individual self-care practices. In 2017, LaToya co-founded her company, CLC Collective LLC where she currently serves as the Chief Academic Officer. The mission of CLC Collective is to create awareness and action around issues regarding diversity and inclusion for children through the incorporation of intersectionality. CLC wrote their first children’s book IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All, which was published by Dottir Press in 2019. LaToya says, “intersectionality and the power of love frames how I view the world and my place within it.”

Alexis Hernandez

PhD student at the University of Southern California

Alexis is working with Dr. Santiago Morales. She is interested in examining risk factors in early childhood in relation to the development of psychopathology. Specifically, examining emotion regulation, parenting, and genetic biomarkers as predictors for psychopathology. Her interests stem from prior research experiences as an undergraduate at Purdue University studying frontal-alpha asymmetry and approach motivation in mother-infant dyads with Dr. Dan Foti, and her master’s work in the Children and Families Lab at Western Kentucky University with Dr. Diane Lickenbrock. Her thesis examined the interactions of parent psychopathology and parental resources on infant affect regulation with mothers and fathers.

Jude Paul Matias Dizon

Provost Fellow and doctoral candidate in Urban Education Policy at the Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

Jude Paul’s research examines how students of color and their families navigate policing and racism in educational settings.

Narcis Marshall

Doctoral Candidate in the Clinical program at USC

Narcis started the Clinical Science doctoral program at USC in 2017. Her current research interests are focused on examining how neural correlates underpinning transitions to fatherhood map onto dimensions of parenting to influence child outcome. After graduating from UCLA, Narcis worked as a research coordinator on NICDH and NIH-funded research projects in Detroit, MI. Much of Narcis’s past research centered around the neurodevelopment of children in high-risk contexts and how childhood adversity shapes brain and behavior. Projects involved work with fetal fMRI, virtual reality paradigms, and various psychophysiological recor

Susanna Mage

PhD candidate at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

Susana (Suzy) came to USC after working in New York City for the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry for several years. Her previous educational background was in Environmental Science (receiving a Masters from Brown University ‘2012 & BS from University of Delaware ‘2010). Suzy’s current research interests stem from her more experience in being her father’s caregiver, which has led her to interest to pursue a career focusing on how to best provide caregiver support and in influencing social policy for the elderly. Suzy’s mission in research is in focusing on family caregiving to advance policies supporting caregivers and their families. She is also interested in long term services and supports, both in management and policy of, and how it relates to the future of healthcare in the United States. Suzy works under the direction of Dr. Kate Wilber in the Secure Old Age Lab at USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

Alyssa Morris

Doctoral Candidate in the Clinical program at USC

Her research interests revolve around how perinatal and early-life risk and protective factors impact child development. She is interested in understanding both biological and environmental contributions to development, including the role of genetics, parental stress, and parent-child bonding. Recently, Alyssa launched a project (USC CHIRP Study) looking at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on prenatal parental mental health and later infant development. Prior to her work at USC, Alyssa conducted research at the Institue of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School.

Christine Naya

Predoctoral Student in Health Behavior Research at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine’s Department of Preventive Medicine

Christine received her BS in Psychobiology and Applied Developmental Psychology at UCLA and MPH in Maternal and Child Health at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on improving pregnancy and infant health through the combination of epidemiology and mobile health technology. She is especially interested in the application of ecological momentary assessment methodology to elucidate psychobiological, behavioral, and social correlates of prenatal health outcomes. Christine was recently awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award and currently works as a predoctoral fellow for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Her doctoral dissertation examines the relationship and underlying mechanisms between prenatal sleep health and gestational weight gain.

Blanca Ramirez

PhD candidate at the University of Southern California

Her dissertation explores the broader consequences of the deportation regime including questions of legitimacy, organizational landscape, and lawyering practices. She has previously published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Violence Against Women, and Latino Policy. Funders for Blanca’s research include the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation Fellowship, and the Latino Center for Leadership Development. She earned her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Psychology at California State University, Fullerton in May 2016.

Marcelo Rosales

PhD student in Biokinesiology doctoral program at USC

Marcelo Rosales started the Biokinesiology doctoral program at USC in 2018. His current research is interested in how infants at elevated risk of autism spectrum disorder learn motor skills. Specifically, he is using head-mounted eye tracking measures in combination with wearable sensors in order to assess contingency learning of a motor paradigm. His interest stems from his research experiences in the Motor Development Lab at California State University, Northridge with Dr. Rosa Angluo-Barroso and his master’s work in the Infant Neuromotor Control Lab at the University of Southern California with Dr. Beth Smith.

Karina Santellano

PhD student in Sociology at USC

Broadly, Karina’s dissertation aims to empirically and theoretically advance the relationship between capitalism and race and ethnicity by examining how Latinos themselves are using ethnicity in creative business ventures, specifically coffee shops, that re-shape ethnicity itself, attract customers, and transform surrounding neighborhoods. An important part of this work is understanding how Latinx business owners and their families are navigating the economic and social impacts of COVID-19. See Karina’s work in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Sociological Perspectives, California Journal of Politics and Policy, Inside Higher Ed, the USC Equity Research Center Center’s Immigrant Integration Wire Blog, and Duke University’s The Chronicle.

Amber Lynn Scott

Doctoral Candidate at Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Amber specializes in organizational communication, group communication and high reliability organizations (HROs). Her passion for HROs is driven by her previous career experience as an active-duty Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Navy. Her most recent work focuses on U.S. military personnel and military families; she is especially interested in interpersonal communication and small-group dynamics as they operate within military communities. Amber Lynn developed her passion for understanding how relationships and team communication unfold during high-risk operations while serving as the Public Affairs and Safety Officer for the world-renowned Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron. Amber Lynn transitioned from active duty to the U.S. Navy Reserves in 2018 before pursuing a PhD in Communication at USC. Amber Lynn currently holds a M.A. in Communication from University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in English and Writing from Southern Oregon University.

Elisa Shimada

PhD student in USC’s Sociology Department

Elisha specializes in family sociology, social inequality, and the sociology of gender. Her current project explores how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting romantic relationships and dating. In 2018, she received her B.A. from USC in Sociology and Social Science/Psychology. Elisa is passionate about teaching and advocacy for undergraduates at USC: she serves on USC Sociology’s Teaching Subcommittee and USC’s VOICE program, which educates undergraduates about relationships and sexual violence.

Julia Stal

PhD candidate in Preventive Medicine (Health Behavior Research) at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine’s Department of Preventive Medicine

Through her research, Julia hopes to improve cancer care delivery and subsequently health outcomes for young patients, particularly those traditionally underrepresented in cancer research. She has published on several cancer survivorship domains including quality of life, disparities, and fertility discussion, among others. Julia‘s dissertation is using population-based data from the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program (LA-CSP) to explore fertility discussion, fertility preservation, family planning, and reproductive concerns among AYA cancer survivors. She is also leading a qualitative study to explore barriers and facilitators to delivering guideline-concordant fertility discussions among multidisciplinary cancer care providers (funded by the CCF). Broadly, these findings will identify where intervention is needed and will delineate which intervenable factors should be targeted to improve patient care.

Zsófia A. Szojka

Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the USC Child Interviewing Lab

Her PhD research investigated the narrative coherence and credibility of children’s testimony elicited in multiple interviews. Zsófia’s current research interests include children’s concept of their own body, and the extent to which victims of child abuse provide elaborated accounts of their experiences in forensic interviews. Besides her work at the Child Interviewing Lab, Zsófia is also involved in research at the Lighthouse and Haven, an Investigative Interview Service in the United Kingdom designed on the basis of the Nordic Barnahus model.

Shirlene Wang

PhD student in Health Behavior Research at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine’s Department of Preventive Medicine

After receiving her B.A in Psychology and Medicine, Health, and Society from Vanderbilt University, she has been conducting research testing approaches to improving diet and increasing physical activity using wearable devices and apps. Her research focuses on increasing engagement and improving the quality of data collected using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) under the guidance of mentor Dr. Genevieve Dunton.

Elayne Zhou

PhD student in Clinical Science at the University of Southern California 

Her goal is to increase the accessibility of mental health care for traditionally underserved communities and reduce racial/ethnic mental health disparities. To that end, she takes a multi-systemic approach to understanding risk and protective factors associated with mental health and well-being outcomes in racial and ethnic minoritized youth, including racial stress and trauma, cultural strengths, and family/community functioning. With this understanding, she aims to develop, disseminate, and implement strengths-based interventions in accessible settings for youth and families of color. Above all, Elayne believes deeply in partnering with marginalized groups to conduct equitable science that centers their lived experiences.