PhD Student Profiles

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Rahmet Akpolat

Rahmet Akpolat

E-mail: rahmet.akpolat@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Turkey
Professional/Research Interests: Parenting, child social-emotional development in family context, dynamics in parent-child interactions and family engagement in early childhood education.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Rahmet received a BS in Early Childhood Education from Middle East Technical University in 2013 and a MA in Human Development and Family Science from the University of Connecticut, Storrs in 2017. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.


Fatin Asnan

Fatin Asnan

E-mail: fatin.asnan@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Professional/Research Interests: Family environment, socialization, and multicultural impacts on youth upbringing; high-impact training programs for youth and emerging adult; nation-wide and international policy implications for youth and young adulthood development; and assessment and/or evaluation tool design and development.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Fatin received a BA in Psychology from the University of Missouri in 2016 and a MEd in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri in 2018. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.


Steven Berkley

Steven Berkley

E-mail: sbq4d@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Professional/Research Interests: African American families and emerging adults, ethnic-racial socialization, collegiate academic and social adjustment outcomes.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Steven received a BS in Economics in 1998 and a MA in Human Development and Family Science in 2012 from the University of Missouri. He is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"I am interested in African-American families, specifically family socialization processes that impact the academic and social adjustment outcomes of emerging adults."


Vida Nana Ama Bonney

Vida Bonney

E-mail: va244@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Tema, Ghana
Professional/Research Interests: Language development and socio-cultural influences on early childhood development.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Vida received a BA in Psychology and Spanish in 2013 from the University of Ghana and a MA in Language Teaching in 2016 from the University of Missouri. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.


Alaysia Brown

Alaysia Brown

E-mail: alaysiambrown@mail.mizzou.edu
Hometown: Fresno, California
Professional/Research Interests: Skin-tone, family dynamics, parenting, romantic relationships.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Alaysia received a BA in Psychology from the University of San Diego in 2016. She is currently working toward a Doctorate in Human Development and Family Science.

"My goal in conducting research is to construct a narrative of the minority experience, particularly from the African-American perspective by examining variables related to identity development, family processes, and relationship formation and function. My research interests also include exploring colorism within the Black community and its influence on self-esteem, belongingness, and romantic relationships in adolescence and young adulthood."


Luis Conejo-Bolanos

Luis Conejo-Bolanos

E-mail: luisconejo-bolanos@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Heredia, Costa Rica
Professional/Research Interests: Temperament, emotional regulation, executive functions, prosocial behavior and aggression in children.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Luis received a BS in Psychology from the University of Costa Rica in 2010 and a MS in Psychological Research from the University of Costa Rica in 2013. He is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"I am very interested in executive functions, emotional development and aggression in children. Once I finish my doctoral studies, my plan is to continue working on these topics to develop a research program aimed at understanding these phenomena based on an empirically-valid and culturally-sensitive perspective. I plan to research not only the negative dimensions of emotionality such as aggression and behavioral problems, but also the socioemotional competence observed in prosocial behaviors, among others."


Logan Dicus

Logan Dicus

E-mail: jldfbg@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Shelley, Idaho
Professional/Research Interests: Prosocial behavior and moral development in children and adolescents as well as cultural and parenting factors.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Logan received a BS in Family Studies from the Brigham Young University in 2017. He is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.


Braquel Egginton

Braquel Egginton

E-mail: bregt3@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Bountiful, Utah
Professional/Research Interests: Divorce and Stepfamilies are my primary focus currently, but I also have an interest in diverse family structures including military, adoptive, and foster families.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Braquel received a BS from Brigham Young University in 2016 and a MS from Brigham Young University in 2018. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.


Madison Memmott-Elison

Madison Memmott-Elison

E-mail: mkegn2@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Bakersfield, California
Professional/Research Interests: Prosocial behavior, self-regulation, culture, and moral development during early to late adolescence.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Madison received a BS in Human Development from Brigham Young University in 2015 and a MS in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from Brigham Young University in 2017. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"I primarily study the development of adolescent self-regulation and prosocial behavior. I also examine how these constructs foster positive development and potentially protect against negative development. My research additionally investigates possible socialization sources of self-regulation and prosocial behavior, including but not limited to parenting, media, and culture."


Allison K. Halt

Allison Halt

E-mail: akh8c8@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Boothwyn, Pennsylvania
Professional/Research Interests: Gerontology, caregiving at end-of-life, death and grief, dementia, influences of diet and stress on cognition and neurodegeneration.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Allison received a BS in Psychology from Washington College in 2016 and a MS in Neuroscience from the University of Missouri in 2018. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"My interest is in health and aging families. Through both personal experience and my work in neuroscience studying dietary influences on the progression of dementia, I became interested in the experiences of caregivers in later life. My work under Dr. Jacquelyn Benson has allowed me to qualitatively explore not only caregiver experiences, but also death, grief, loss, and end-of-life concerns. My research program focuses on caregiver support networks, specifically in relation to caregiver health outcomes and end-of-life caregiving."


Seung-Hee Han

Seung-Hee Han

E-mail: shpbb@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Professional/Research Interests: Speech, communication in early childhood, language development, mathematical thinking, culture and development.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Seung-Hee received a BA in Early Childhood Education from Chung-Ang University in 2001 and a MA in Early Childhood Education in 2004. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"My research interests are focused on the relations of children’s speech, cognition, and social-emotional development. I also have interests in cultural influences on children’s development in various contexts. I hope all experiences in HDFS would enhance my future career goal to become a researcher."


Jihee Im

Jihee Im

E-mail: jibm5@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Professional/Research Interests: Parent-child relationships, parenting, social-emotional development in early childhood, and public policies related to children and families.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Jihee received her BA in Psychology from Sungkyunkwan University in 2008 and a MA in Human Resource Development from Sungyunkwan University in 2011. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"My research interests are parent-child relationships and effects of diverse parenting styles on socio-emotional development in early childhood. Also, I am interested in public polices related to children and public policy assessment."


Samantha Jones

Samantha Jones

E-mail: skjx9b@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina / Cleveland, Ohio
Professional/Research Interests: Latino/a youth development; family relationships; family communication.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Samantha received a BS in Human Services from East Tennessee State University in 2013 and a MA in Human Development and Family Science from Kent State University in 2015. She is currently working towards a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"My research interests focus on the daily experiences of Latino/a youth, such as ethnic-racial discrimination and acculturative stress. I am particularly interested in how these experiences are associated with identity development and youth well-being and am interested in identifying underlying processes that may explain these associations. I am currently involved in several research projects with Dr. Killoren that focus on family influences (e.g., parent-child and sibling relationships; family communication) on youth development. My goal is to establish a career in both teaching and research that highlights the diverse contexts that influence physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development."


Gabrielle Kline

Gabrielle Kline

E-mail: gck539@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Saint Joseph, Missouri
Professional/Research Interests: Culture, family relationships, adolescence and young adulthood
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Gaby received a MS in Human Development and Family Science in 2015. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"The central focus of my research is on sibling and parent-child relationships during adolescence and young adulthood using family systems and cultural-ecological perspectives. Specifically, I examine how cultural values are associated with family relationships and how sibling relationships may be protective relationships within families. I am currently involved in several research projects with Dr. Sarah Killoren that explore family influences (e.g., parent-child and sibling relationships) on adolescent and young adult development. My goal is to establish a research and teaching career within academia that investigates diverse groups of adolescent and young adulthood family relationships and cultural values."


Olivia J. Landon

Olivia J. Landon

E-mail: ojlf39@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Professional/Research Interests: Romantic relationship dissolution; remarriage; and stepfamily relationships.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Olivia received a BS in Human Development and Family Sciences: Lifespan Development from the University of Missouri in 2018. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.


James Larsen

James Larsen

E-mail: jln49@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri
Professional/Research Interests: Early childhood cognition, problem-solving, creativity, school readiness, children's play, and innovative methodology.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

James received a MS in Human Development and Family Science from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2018. He is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences emphasizing in Human Development and Family Science.

"My program of research focuses on how learning environments facilitate cognitive development during early childhood. More specifically, I am interested in how children develop problem solving skills and creativity through meaningful interactions and experiences in both formal and informal educational settings. My goal is to establish a career in academia and to create a strong network of families, teachers, administrators, researchers, and other professionals interested in optimizing early childhood learning opportunities."


Sahitya Maiya

Sahitya Maiya

E-mail: sahitya.maiya@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: India
Professional/Research Interests: Cultural influences on prosocial behavior, moral development, well-being.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Sahitya received a BA in Communication and Media, English, Psychology from Christ University, India in 2014 and a MA in Applied Psychology - Counseling Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India in 2016. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"I am particularly interested in prosocial behavior and moral development in adolescents with respect to parenting and cultural correlates. At Mizzou, I look forward to working with my faculty adviser, Dr. Carlo on research involving prosocial behavior across cultural contexts."


Matthew Ogan

Matthew Ogan

E-mail: maowdk@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Professional/Research Interests: Relationship formation, relationship education, mental health in relationships, effects of parental relationships on child development.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Matthew received a BS in Family & Human Services from John Brown University in 2017. He is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.


Sarah Pierotti

Sarah Pierotti

E-mail: slpfk2@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Butler, Pennsylvania
Professional/Research Interests: Prosocial behavior, parenting, cross-cultural research, Latino cultural values.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Sarah received a BS in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013 and a MS in Early Childhood Development from the University of Missouri in 2016. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"My research interests focus on the multidimensionality of prosocial behavior and correlates of prosocial behavior, such as parenting and cultural variables. I am especially interested in Latino cultural values and how values and prosocial behavior are socialized in the parent-child relationship. I am currently involved with several research projects with my advisor, Dr. Carlo, and also Dr. Killoren that are related to these areas. I have also really valued and enjoyed my opportunities to teach HDFS courses here at the university."


Avelina Rivero

Avelina Rivero

E-mail: art3t@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Peoria, Arizona
Professional/Research Interests: Latino families (i.e., parent-child relationships and sibling relationships), body image, and mental health and well-being in young adult Latino students.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Avelina received a BS in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona in 2019. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.


Steffany Sloan

Steffany Sloan

E-mail: sms5ef@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Professional/Research Interests:
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Steffany received a Master of Education from Rockhurst University. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"My research interests are focused on taking a qualitative approach to studying families in later life. Through my work with Dr. Jacquelyn Benson, I have had the opportunity to study death, grief, and loss, as well as caregiving issues, and romantic relationships in later life. I am also pursuing the exploration of qualitative methods such as photovoice and Community Based Participatory Research, with the interest in generating research that informs programming and practice."


Joelle Smith

Joelle Smith

E-mail: jgsgw6@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Powder Springs, Georgia
Professional/Research Interests: Racial socialization, specifically of biracial children.

Joelle received a BS in Psychology from Berry College in 2017 and a MS in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University in 2019. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.


Nate Stoddard

Nate Stoddard

E-mail: nate.stoddard@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Highland, Utah
Professional/Research Interests: Relationship formation (marriage, remarriage, cohabitation), relationship maintenance (commitment, healthy relationship attitudes), and relationship dissolution (divorce, separation).
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Nate received a BS in Family Science in 2013 and a MS in Marriage, Family, and Human Development 2015, both from Brigham Young University. He is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"Working with Drs. Garneau-Rosner and Ganong, I study family processes within diverse family forms. My research agenda focuses on understanding what it takes for relationships to be healthy across varying levels of family complexity and through various family transitions."


Kevin Stott

Kevin Stott

E-mail: kevinstott@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Huntsville, Alabama
Professional/Research Interests: Gerontology, later-life interpersonal and family relationships, death and grief, and the "baby-boomer generation."
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Kevin received a BS in Family Science in 2013 and a MS in Marriage, Family, and Human Development in 2015 from Brigham Young University. He is currently working toward a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences.

"My research interests are primarily in the field of gerontology, and I currently work with Drs. Benson and Ganong. I am especially interested in later-life couples, their families, and the family processes that change as they chronologically age. Also, I enjoy studying the "baby boomers" as they enter retirement and later life. My professional goal is to become a professor in a Family Science or Gerontology department where I can both teach and conduct research."


Danielle Turley

Danielle Turley

E-mail: danielle.turley@mail.missouri.edu
Hometown: Columbia, Missouri
Professional/Research Interests: School readiness, early childhood transitions, child welfare/foster care experiences, teacher-child relationships.
Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Danielle received a Bachelor's in Social Work and a BS in HDFS from the University of Missouri in 2007. She received a MA in HDFS from the University of Missouri in 2011. She is currently working toward a PhD in Human Development and Family Science.

"My research interests include examining the impact of early childhood (in)stability and major transitions on school readiness. Specifically, I would like to understand what aspects of foster care participation, including the stability of placements and experiences in preschool, have an impact on early elementary outcomes. My goal is to establish a research career in academia while influencing programs and policies to optimize the early experiences and development of one of the most vulnerable populations."