Student Profiles

Student Profiles

Amanda Benjamin, 2019 

Amanda graduated from Elon University in 2017 with a BA in Psychology and Public Health. Amanda spent the past two years working at UNC Chapel Hill as a Research Coordinator for the Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab (PI: Dr. Eva Telzer). While at UNC, Amanda led a longitudinal NIDA neuroimaging study exploring adolescent development, family relationships, and substance use. She has worked on a paper exploring alibi believability and juror decision-making, as well as a paper that delved into the relationship between deviant behavior and parent-child relationship quality. While at John Jay, she is interested studying juvenile law and evidence-based policy reform. 

Gayathri Cheran, 2019 

Gayathri graduated cum laude from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.S. in Human Development, and recently received her M.S. in Neuroscience & Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Prior to coming to John Jay, Gayathri worked at the Taub Institute at the Columbia University Medical Center in a lab studying familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), where as research coordinator, she oversaw and managed operations for a longitudinal multi-site international R01-funded study investigating biomarkers and the clinical prodrome of FTLD in families carrying pathogenic gene mutations.  Gayathri's clinical experience includes her time answering crisis calls through the RAFT Crisis hotline of the New River Valley in Virginia, and the Victims Assistance Services helpline in Westchester County, NY. She has also served as a certified Rape Crisis Hospital Advocate, providing in-person advocacy and support at emergency rooms for sexual assault survivors undergoing forensic examination. Gayathri is thrilled to be joining Dr. Widom's lab, studying long-term outcomes associated with childhood abuse and neglect.

Emmanuel Garcia, 2019

Emmanuel (Mani) received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Stony Brook University; a Master of Arts in Psychology from Stony Brook University, and a Master of Philosophy in Psychology from CUNY-Graduate Center. Advised by Dr. Kevin Nadal, Mani is interested in improving access to physical and mental health education, assessment, and interventions for underserved groups—always in close partnership with the communities he serves.  Mani utilizes digital research methods and cognitive-affective-social neuroscience methods heavily to engage in and inform his research and practice. His current goals are: (1) to streamline the dissemination of best practices and resources across cultures using valid, sustainable, and open methods; (2) to creatively use and develop digital tools that help educators, researchers, and practitioners meet their goals faster and better (e.g. accessible smart phone apps, wearable psychophysiology devices); and (3) finally, Mani is passionate about improving statistical and data analysis education for all.

Alexis Hardy, 2019 

Alexis recently graduated with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. She is now a Psychology and Law doctoral candidate at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Her research interest and focus are centered around jury decision making with Dr. Leippe and Dr. Kovera as her mentors.

Throughout her academic career, she has served as a research assistant for Dr. Miller and Dr. Busath at Northern Arizona University. With Dr. Miller, she aided in research studying the relationship between spatial rotation skills and success in tasks given in a virtual reality setting. There she served as Lab Manager and Chief Research Assistant, running daily lab operations and serving as a liaison between primary investigators and other research assistants. With Dr. Busath, she aided in research investigating the relationship between sexual harassment and eating disorders. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, she also volunteered for the Research and Apprenticeship Mentoring Program (R.A.M.P.).  

Catherine Harris, 2019 

Catherine received her B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University in 2012. As an undergraduate, she conducted research on the prevalence of depressive symptoms among HIV-positive crack users. After graduating, Catherine remained in New Orleans for several years, where she worked at an inpatient psychiatric hospital for adults, an inpatient psychiatric hospital for children, and a law firm that represents plaintiffs in cases of Title VII civil rights violations. Catherine has worked in a variety of research capacities at Emory University and on a number of grant-funded research projects related to trauma, PTSD, and substance use among low socioeconomic status, minority populations. Such projects have included research on genetic and trauma-related risk factors for PTSD, group interventions for women with histories of intimate partner violence, and interventions for prescription opioid use among persons living with HIV. Catherine is interested in exploring emotion dysregulation and PTSD symptoms as mechanisms underlying the development of externalizing psychopathology after complex trauma.

Kristin Lynch, 2019

Kristin earned her B.A. in Psychology from College of the Holy Cross in 2015. Her undergraduate research explored the effect of lifetime trauma exposure on the relationship between age and religiosity. She then worked as a clinical research coordinator at a psychiatric drug research site, testing treatments for mood and substance use disorders. In 2018, Kristin earned her M.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University, completing a Master’s thesis on the long-term effects of trauma exposure and resilience on cognitive functioning in adulthood. In her graduate work at John Jay, she plans to continue exploring the relationship between trauma exposure and cognitive functioning, while also examining risk and resiliency factors for well-being in individuals and communities exposed to large-scale traumatic events.

Ella Merriwether, 2019 

Ella is a recent John Jay College graduate, earning her BA in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Gender Studies. While in undergrad, she worked on a variety of research projects ranging from bait questioning to innocent alibis to body-worn cameras. Her thesis focused on how people remember and make judgements about body-worn camera footage when it is ambiguous. She was also an active member of the honors community, serving as Co-President of the Honors Scholars Council and as a Peer Leader.

In her graduate work, Ella will be working with Dr. Kelly McWilliams and Dr. Deryn Strange. Her current interests focus on child temporal sequencing and interviewing and on the viewing of body-worn camera footage. She has also been recently elected as Social Chair for SARMAC’s Student Board, in which she hopes to increase student and young professional involvement. While she loves research, she is equally passionate about teaching and mentoring, and therefore looks forward to building her experience in these areas as well.

Daniel Samost, 2019

Dan is a newly matriculating first year PhD student at John Jay College, who will be working in the Mental Health Recovery Research lab under Dr. Philip Yanos. Dan earned his BA in English and Theater from Dartmouth College in 2014, and earned his MA in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2017. Dan’s MA thesis focused on the phenomena of concealment and disclosure in therapeutic settings among court-involved adolescents. In conjunction with his graduate research and studies, Dan spent the past several working in various clinical roles with justice-involved populations at different non-profits throughout the Bronx. Most recently Dan worked as a Clinical Case Manager for the Bronx CIRT alternative to incarceration diversions program.  His clinical research interests include forensic psychotherapy, community mental health, substance abuse disorders, trauma and emotional dysregulation, and the stigmatization mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Miriam Woodruff, 2019

Miriam received her bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from Seattle University and her masters in Forensic Psychology from the George Washington University. She has worked on empirical research projects related to guilty-plea sentencing in rural Virginia, homicide tracking across Washington state, and juvenile understanding of criminal rights. While in DC, she served in various leadership and research roles at non-profit organizations, including the Polaris Project and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. Just prior to joining the program, Miriam was the Associate Director of the Center for Victim Research project and Manager of Research and Evaluation at the National Center for Victims of Crime. At John Jay, she is working with Dr. Rebecca Weiss to understand how culture impacts the reporting and treatment of trauma, and best practices for implementing trauma-informed care principles in juvenile justice settings.

Ava Zwolinski, 2019

Ava completed her undergraduate degree at McGill University in Montreal where she studied Honors Cognitive Science with a focus on psychology and neuroscience. She completed her thesis in a psychiatry lab researching technological approaches to studying cognitive functioning in rodent models of Alzheimer’s Disease. Ava developed a love for psychology and law through volunteering in a lab investigating lie-telling behaviors in children while at McGill and from studying criminal justice at the University of Amsterdam on exchange. Ava’s current research interests are on the intersection of memory and deception, biases affecting how individuals recall true events versus lies, and how they account for normative forgetting when creating lies about past events. She is also interested in collective memory and public perceptions of memorials and cultural crimes such as looting. Ava is working with Dr. Charles Stone in the Stone Memory Lab at John Jay.  Her other interests include photography, Dutch art and traveling.

Dylan Abrams, 2018

Dylan received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Southern California in 2016. During his time at USC, he worked at the Center for Research on Crime and Social Control and completed a senior thesis investigating the relationship between gang identity, gang-related crime and perceptions of law enforcement. Following graduation, Dylan worked as a clinical research coordinator in the OCD and Related Disorders Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. At John Jay, he is a member of the Sex Offender Research Lab and works under the mentorship of Dr. Cynthia Calkins. Dylan’s primary research interests include coping styles following sexual victimization,  implicit bias in sex offenders, and the impact of sexual victimization on religiosity.


Sydney Baker, 2018

Sydney graduated from The University of Maryland, College Park in 2015 with degrees in Psychology and Criminology/Criminal Justice. Then, she worked as a Social/Clinical Research Assistant at the Biobehavioral Research on Addiction and Emotion Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her main duty was coordinating an NIH-funded study examining the effectiveness of technology-enhanced behavioral activation treatment for substance use. Now, at John Jay, Sydney works with Dr. Emily Haney-Caron and is interested in conducting translational research that has direct implications for public policy reform. She also works with Dr. Diana Falkenbach, where she conducts research examining the relationship between police officers’ psychopathic traits and career success.


Dina Baky, 2018

Dina is an advocate working with survivors of gender-based violence, in particularly adolescent survivors of forced marriage and female genital mutilation / cutting. She has worked on these issues in the United Kingdom at the Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development (FORWARD) and in the United States at the Tahirih Justice Center, where she provided direct social services, delivered technical assistance and training for other professionals, and created resources and best practice guidance. Dina has also worked as a gender-based violence case manager with refugees in her birth country of Egypt and speaks Arabic and French. Dina graduated from John Carroll University in 2009 with a major in Political Science and a self-designed concentration in Political Psychology and completed a masters in Comparative Politics of Nationalism and Ethnicity at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Dina is an incoming first year student working with Dr. Chitra Raghavan.


Alexandra Bonagura, 2018

Alexandra is originally from Philadelphia, PA. She attended the George Washington University from 2012-2015 and the University of Maryland from 2015-2016. She also interned at the APA Office of Violence Prevention in 2014. Alexandra worked as a research assistant on Menhood study for Dr. Bowleg from 2014-2015 and a research therapist for Breathing-based Mindfulness study from 2016-2017. In addition, Alexandra interned at the DC Children's Advocacy Center from 2015-2016, volunteered at the Metropolitan Police Department as a Domestic Violence Liaison from 2017-2018, and worked as an ABA Therapist and Field Assistant from 2015-2018. At John Jay, she has worked in the Sex Offender Research Lab and the Development Through the Life Cycle Lab on issues related to sexual violence. Her current research interests include inappropriate online sexual behaviors, college and juvenile sexual assault, and sexual assault prevention programs.


Braden Campbell, 2018

Braden is 23 years old and studied for four years at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He graduated with a Bachelor of science with a major in Psychology in 2015 and a Bachelor of Arts with first class Honors in Psychology in 2016. Braden took a break from his studies after graduating in 2016 and has been working and travelling for the past year and a half. Beginning this Fall he will be a part of the Law and psychology Doctoral program.


Melanie Fessinger, 2018

Melanie Fessinger is a second-year doctoral student dual-specializing in Psychology and Law & Basic and Applied Social Psychology. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Northridge and her master’s degree in legal studies from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She has experience working in applied settings, including an internship as a courtroom advocate for survivors of domestic violence and an assistantship as an evaluator for programs designed to help maltreated young children. Her research interests focus on interactions between legal professionals and laypeople, with an emphasis on when those interactions lead to waivers of constitutional rights (e.g., plea bargains, Miranda waivers). She has conducted research on a variety of psycholegal topics, including jailhouse informants, child witnesses, problem-solving courts, eyewitness identification, and juror decision making. She has published her work in outlets for both psychology audiences (e.g., Journal of Experimental Criminology) and legal audiences (e.g., The Nebraska Lawyer) and hopes to continue working toward integrating science and practice. 


Jacqueline Katzman, 2018

Jackie graduated from Cornell University in May, 2018 with majors in Psychology and Government. At Cornell, she was involved in multiple psych research groups. She primarily worked as a research assistant in Dr. Ceci's Child Witness and Cognition Lab. Here, she assisted on projects examining attributions of future criminal behavior from photographs of faces, the complexity of a juror's empathy for both defendants and victims, and voire dire in South Carolina capital punishment cases. Jackie was also a member of Dr. Gilovich's Social Psychology laboratory while at Cornell. In the summer of 2017, Jackie interned at DOAR trial strategy firm and conducted research in relation to perceptions of White Collar Crime. In addition to her research experiences, she also has a background in the news media and has worked at the Albuquerque Journal, WVBR FM Radio, and Business Insider.

Gabriela Rico, 2018

Gabriela received her B.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College in 2018. As an undergraduate, Gabriela worked in Dr. Deryn Strange’s memory lab where she developed an interest in the role of memory errors in criminal investigations. She received an award for Best Capstone in Criminal Justice for her research on the impact of inaccurate confessions on source monitoring accuracy. As a second year doctoral student, Gabriela is continuing research on false confessions with her advisor Dr. Saul Kassin, though her research interests broadly include plea bargaining, jailhouse informants, and observers’ evaluations of interrogation videos and practices.

Currently, Gabriela serves as a Diversity Representative for the Psychology Doctoral Student Council.



Gina Sissoko, 2018


Gina is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program. At John Jay, she works with Dr. Kevin Nadal and Dr. Maureen Allwood. Broadly, she is interested in how systemic inequalities interact with race-related stress and trauma and affects mental health in Black communities and criminal justice involved women. Her current research focuses on the experience of colorist microaggressions in Black women. Gina is a graduate of Hunter College where she studied Psychology and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.


Anna Vaynman, 2018

Anna from Barnard College with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2016. For the past two and a half years she has been working as a paralegal in the Financial Frauds Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. Anna is looking forward to the Psychology and Law PhD Program this coming fall. 

Shane Adams, 2017

Shane earned his B.A. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012 and his M.A. in psychology from San Francisco State University in 2017.  His early research investigated the neurotoxicological and cognitive effects of environmental and occupational manganese exposure on residents and welders, respectively, with the U.S. EPA and Purdue University.  Since 2013, Shane has collaborated with the World Trade Center Health Registry (WTCHR) investigating longitudinal psychological sequelae of trauma in those directly exposed to the events of 9/11 (i.e., police, WTC tower survivors).  Broadly, his research includes the investigation of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), symptomatology, resilience, and mental and physical comorbidities of PTSD.  Shane currently works with Dr. Maureen Allwood studying community violence, trauma, and negative outcomes. 

Jacqueline Douglas, 2017

Jacqueline Douglas is a third year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at John Jay College, under the mentorship of Dr. Peggilee Wupperman. Jacqueline received her B.A. in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina and her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychological Science from the University of Maryland. Her research interests lie in the implementation of mindfulness-based treatments for emotional and behavioral dysregulation. Specifically, her current research focuses on the mediating role of emotion dysregulation in the relationship between mindfulness and negative urgency. Through her clinical work, Jacqueline has gained experience treating individuals with a variety of dysregulated emotions and behaviors in community, college, inpatient, and outpatient settings.

Elise Juraschek, 2017 

Elise is a first year at John Jay. She moved from Missoula, Montana where she had attended the University of Montana. She graduated with a second BA in psychology with high honors. She also received a BA in political science from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. While at the University of Montana she worked as research assistant in the sexual violence lab that was involved in the University’s Safe Campus Survey, which was designed to gather information on the status of the campus related to sexual assault. As part of this lab, she presented numerous posters and presentations.

Elise also has worked in several clinical settings. She worked in a therapeutic youth home for teenage boys, worked with parents doing supervised visitation, and a wilderness therapy program. She was also involved with the local domestic violence shelter doing support groups, in person crisis counseling and answering the 24 hour crisis line.  

Jenny "Em" Mitchell, 2017

Jenny “Em” Mitchell received her Bachelors degree from Johns Hopkins University, and her masters in Clinical Psychology from American University. Em’s research focuses on improving domestic violence interventions, particularly how batterer intervention programs can be reformed to be more effective at preventing abuse. Em has aided with a randomized clinical trial for alternative family mediation interventions for those affected by domestic violence, and is currently working with an alternative to incarceration program in New York to evaluate an evidence-based intervention with domestic violence perpetrators. Em is interested in investigating the efficacy and accessibility of mindfulness and third wave therapies for individuals who experience chronic invalidation, psychological abuse, complex trauma, borderline personality disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and related symptoms. Her work has also included projects related to sexual coercion, identity disturbance, difficulties in emotion regulation, trauma coerced attachment, couples’ aggression and emotional functioning, and borderline personality disorder symptomology. Em is passionate about using research and technology to learn how to mitigate the impact of socialized biases in therapy, increase accessibility to evidence-based treatments, and improve therapists’ cultural competence regarding individuals with marginalized identities in clinical treatment.  

Nawal Muradwij, 2017 

Nawal Muradwij received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in creative writing from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. She then graduated with a Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently a third year in the Clinical Psychology PhD student at John Jay working under the advisement of Dr. Maureen Allwood and works in the Child and Adolescent Stress and Trauma Lab (CASTL) conducting diagnostic interviews with a community sample of adolescents and parents. Her research interests include the role meaning making in traumatic exposure and response among adolescents, as well as the use of community-based participatory action research to examine of how culture intersects with trauma and influences our understanding of traumatic response, specifically in the context of war trauma, political violence, and mass displacement in Arab communities in the Levant region (e.g. Lebanon, Syria, Palestine). As a clinician-in-training, she is passionate about delivering culturally sensitive intervention to children and families, and has worked therapeutically with young adults and is currently providing trauma-informed assessment and treatment to children and adolescents at a foster care agency in NYC.  

Anna Stenkamp, 2017

Anna is a third-year PhD student within the Psychology and Law program working under the direction of Dr. Mark Fondacaro and Dr. Charlie Stone. She obtained her BA from the University of Oregon where she studied perceptions of procedural justice of judicial selection methods. Her current research focuses on how free will beliefs affect perceptions of procedural justice of police suspect interactions. This research is funded by The Graduate Center. Her research interests include procedural justice and improving police-community relations. Additionally, Anna was a Summer Research Fellow for the Vera Institute of Justice where she helped to conduct a comparative analysis of police reforms in the United States and the United Kingdom. She is continuing to assist with this project during the school year as well. Anna currently serves as the John Jay College’s Psychology and Law Doctoral Student Council as the Co-Chair.

Therese Todd, 2017

Therese is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program. She graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with latin honors. Therese is broadly interested in mental health disparities in the criminal justice system. Under the mentorship of Dr. Preeti Chauhan, Therese is studying how officer, incident, and individual characteristics impact arrest, involuntary commitment, and referral to services in police encounters with persons in crisis. Relatedly, she is interested in how Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for police officers can promote diversion away from the criminal justice system and toward the mental healthcare system as well as improve safety.

Therese is also examining bias against persons with mental illness in the general public and law enforcement in order to better understand and improve police encounters for this group. This interest inspired her application to the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program for which she was awarded in 2019. Therese was also a Research Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice and contributed to a report on improving responses to suicide and self-harm in jails. Finally, at the Data Collaborative for Justice she is examining factors that contribute to charge reductions in drug offense cases in New York City. Clinically, Therese has worked at Manhattan CRAN and Mt. Sinai’s CBT for Psychosis program. 

Stephanie Cardenas, 2016

Stephanie is a Ph.D. student working with Deryn Strange and Saul Kassin. Previously, she received her B.A. in Psychology and German from Williams College (2014), was a Postbaccalaureate Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, and a research assistant for the Yale Justice Collaboratory where she interviewed criminal justice workers about issues relating to fairness and procedural justice. She has served as the Diversity Chair and Experimental Deputy Co-Chair for the Psychology Doctoral Student Council and as Social Chair for the Society for Research in Memory and Cognition.

Her research focuses on the impact of cognitive and social psychological factors—such as identity, emotions, and morality—on memory, perception, and decision-making along several stages of the criminal justice system, including police-citizen interactions, investigative interviewing, plea bargaining, and criminal trials. Stephanie is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and has had her research funded through the NSF, the American Psychology-Law Society, and CUNY.

Kendra Doychak

Kendra Doychak, 2016


Kendra Doychak is a fourth-year doctoral student of Clinical Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY Grad Center. She earned her BA degree from Ithaca College in 2013 after majoring in Psychology and minoring in Politics and Legal Studies. She earned her MA degree in Forensic Mental Health Counseling from John Jay College in 2016.
Kendra works under the advisement of Dr. Chitra Raghavan, researching gender-based violence, trauma, and interpersonal abuse dynamics. Her dissertation aims to examine sex-trafficker/trafficking-victim relationship dynamics, with specific emphasis on coercion and traumatic attachment. Psychological—as well as broader sociocultural and political—factors inform all research development, design, and interpretation. Clinically, Kendra is interested in psychodynamic therapeutic interventions, as well as trauma-informed psycholegal assessments regarding asylum, battered spouse waivers, T- and U- visas.


Natalie Gordon

Natalie Gordon, 2016

Natalie holds an MA in Psychology (concentration in Psychology and Law) from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Her MA thesis, which was funded by the American Psychology-Law Society, examined the impact of genetic and environmental evidence on mock jurors’ sentencing decisions in a capital trial. In addition to her interest in the impact of genetic evidence on legal decision-makers, she has recently become interested in how different pieces of evidence (e.g., gruesome photographs) can arouse discrete emotions and how those emotions, in turn, differentially affect jurors’ judgments about culpability and punishment. She has also been trained as a restorative justice facilitator and has experience co-facilitating conferences for petty crimes and misdemeanors.

Cody Stitzel, 2016

Cody Stitzel is a fourth-year doctoral student of Clinical Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY Graduate Center. She earned her BA from Indiana University in 2009 after majoring in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She earned her MA degree in Clinical Psychology from Dayton University in 2016.

Cody is studying under the supervision of Dr. Cathy Widom, broadly researching the consequences and causes of child maltreatment, which is a departure from her previous research that examined empathetic response patterns of individuals with primary and secondary psychopathy. Her dissertation aims to examine potential mediating factors that might increase risk of intergenerational transmission of child neglect. Clinically, Cody is interested in providing individualized need-based interventions for persons with severe and persistent mental illness, as well as forensic evaluations centered on diagnostic clarification, violence risk, competencies, and mental state at the time of the offense. Cody currently serves on the John Jay College Psychology Doctoral Student Council as the Student Mentoring Chair and as the American Psychology-Law Society Campus Representative for John Jay. She has taught Undergraduate and Masters level courses on Psychology and Law and Abnormal Psychology. Personally, Cody enjoys spending time with her dog, being outdoors, doing creative arts, and having good conversation, food, and drinks with friends.

Patricia Y Sanchez, 2015

Patty works with Dr. Saul Kassin in the psychology and law Ph.D. program. Her dissertation focuses on the effects of wrongful conviction documentaries on viewer attitudes and legal decision-making. She also does research on plea bargaining and interrogation techniques. Her collective program of research uses social psychological theory to understand how contemporary popular media can drive social change and criminal justice policy reform. In addition to researching this topic scientifically, she has taken a practical approach informing the public by serving as a guest on an episode of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom podcast (S8E8) telling the story of Kenzi Snyder's false confession along with Dr. Kassin. Her research has been funded by the Future Initiatives at the Graduate Center and Professional Staff Congress, CUNY. She obtained her en-route M.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay in 2018 and her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. She has presented her work at annual meetings of the American Psychology-Law Society and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. In her spare time, she is a professional cat sitter and has a feline daughter named Olive. 

Nana Amoh, 2015 

Nana is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology Ph.D. program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She completed her undergraduate career in 2013 at Columbia College, Columbia University where she majored in Psychology and concentrated in English. Nana then earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2015. At John Jay, Nana works under the supervision of her advisor, Dr. Maureen Allwood, in the Child Adolescent Stress and Trauma Laboratory. Nana 's research broadly examines the relationship between violence and trauma exposure and negative psychosocial sequelae among diverse children and adolescents. She is also interested in researching prevention methods that focus on enhancing protective factors among diverse youth exposed to community violence and violence within the home. Nana currently serves on the John Jay College Psychology Doctoral Student Council as the Diversity Committee Representative. She is also the Coordinator of the Diverse Leadership in Education and Academic Pursuit (D-LEAP) Mentorship Program at John Jay College.

Ahmed Enaitalla

Ahmed Enaitalla, 2015

BA, 2015, Psychology & Sociology, Stony Brook University

Ahmed is currently working with Dr. Cathy Spatz Widom. His research interests are in the area of psychopathy, particularly non-criminal psychopathy, and in the identification of protective factors that may help constrain the antisocial tendencies commonly associated with psychopathic traits. Ahmed is also interested in exploring the use of psychology as an investigative tool in the field of law enforcement, particularly for criminal offenses that involve violence. Ahmed was born and raised in NYC and hails from the borough of Queens. He enjoys playing a variety of sports, including boxing, football, and competitive video gaming. He currently serves in the NYPD as an Auxiliary Police Officer and aspires to become a law enforcement agent after completing his degree.

Alexander Jay, 2015 


Alex is a doctoral candidate in his final year of the Psychology and Law PhD program working under the supervision of Dr. Charles Stone and Dr. Margaret Bull-Kovera. He recently obtained his Master of Philosophy degree from The Graduate Center, CUNY, on the potential for biased causal attributions in jurors' decision-making narratives and possible intervention strategies. 
Alex’s research focuses on social psychological, social cognitive, and mnemonic processes in jury decision making. Alex’s dissertation research examines how jurors’ stereotypic pre-conceptions of corporate litigants affects their decision-making in civil trials, and how attorneys might strategically frame their case themes to adjust jurors’ perceptions of stereotyped traits.

Lauren O'Connor, 2015

Lauren is a fifth year clinical psychology doctoral student working with Philip Yanos, PhD. Prior to graduate school, Lauren earned her B.A. in Psychology and Economics from Tufts University (2012) and worked as a research coordinator at McLean Hospital in labs focused on psychosis and trauma. Broadly, Lauren’s research interests include psychological and interpersonal impacts and motivators of oppression. Most specifically, Lauren is interested in experiences of alienation and self-alienation and to date, has predominately explored how these experiences apply to individuals with serious mental illness (SMI). Her dissertation aims to explore how doctoral student’s attitudes toward those with SMI are informed by a lack of understanding (i.e. training factors) and/or a “fear of understanding” (i.e. individual, psychosocial factors). Clinically, Lauren is interested in relational psychodynamic theory and practice, with a particular interest in applications to trauma and work with marginalized groups

Amanda Reed, 2015

Amanda is a student in the clinical psychology doctoral program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Amanda received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wellesley College and a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. During her time in the doctoral program, Amanda has served as the Chair of the American Psychology-Law Society Student Committee. Her research interests include cognitive bias in forensic evaluations and training for professional evaluators. She is currently conducting research on factors affecting completion of a mental health diversion program. 

Amanda Rosinski, 2015

Amanda is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology Ph.D. program hosted at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate Center. In 2013, she graduated with her B.S. in criminal justice from Utica College of Syracuse University. In 2015, she graduated with her M.A. in forensic psychology from John Jay College. As a Ph.D. student, Amanda researches the impact of feigning in mental health diversion settings and the impact of cross-cultural factors in clinical forensic assessment, under the mentorship of Dr. Rebecca Weiss. Amanda has presented her research at several national/international conferences. Amanda maintains clinical forensic interests as well. She is currently a psychology extern at Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, and has previously externed at Metropolitan Correctional Center - New York, Queens TASC/CRAN, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Albert Ellis Institute, and John Jay College Counseling Center. Amanda has previously served as the Clinical Co-Chair, Clinical Deputy Co-Chair, and Diversity Committee Representative on the John Jay College Psychology Doctoral Student Council.

Justin Balash

Justin Balash, 2014

Justin is a doctoral student in The Graduate Center’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Justin graduated summa cum laude with his B.A. in Psychology from the University at Buffalo , where he also minored in Philosophy. He received his M.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College, where he received the Robert S. Morrow Prize. He currently works with Dr. Diana Falkenbach, researching “successful” psychopathy in various non-forensic populations. Justin’s research interests include psychopathy, behavioral ethics, and the relationship between personality and morality. 

Melanie Close, 2014

Melanie received her B.S. in psychology from Fordham University in 2011. Prior to coming to John Jay, she worked in research administration at CUNY and Weill Cornell Medical College. Melanie currently conducts research on the influence of racial bias on jury decision-making with Dr. Margaret Kovera. She also works with Dr. Saul Kassin on research exploring perceptions of non-native English speakers and the use of foreign language interpreters during police interrogations. Melanie is also an adjunct professor at John Jay and works as a research intern for the Innocence Project’s Strategic Litigation Department. 

Joseph Deluca, 2014

BA/MA, 2014, Forensic Psychology, CUNY John Jay College

Joe is doctoral candidate ('20) in The Graduate Center’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has a clinical and research background in working with young people living with, or at risk of developing, psychosis/serious mental illness. He also has an interest in mental health stigma (working with Dr. Phil Yanos) and has partnered with a national mental health non-profit to help develop and test the effectiveness of their stigma reduction program for adolescents.  Joe has also been actively involved with APA's Division 18, Psychologists in Public Service, and Division 53, Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Tanya Erazo

Tanya Erazo, 2014

Tanya is a New York City transplant hailing from the Bay Area in California. She graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a bachelor's degree in law and society. Tanya also received a master's degree in psychology, with an emphasis on mental health and substance abuse counseling, from The New School in New York City and is a New York State Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor in training (CASAC-T). In order to integrate her passions for the legal world and psychology, Tanya has pursued a career in clinical psychology while focusing on social justice issues, aggression/violence, and trauma. Tanya studies microaggressions, microaggressive trauma and health disparities alongside Dr. Kevin Nadal. Although Tanya is most interested in how power dynamics, aggression/violence, trauma, and bias affect police and civilian interactions, she also examines clinical issues through a public health lens (e.g., relationships between trauma, serious mental illness and cardiovascular risk in oppressed groups).

Alexa Hiley

Alexa Hiley, 2014


Alexa is a PhD student in the Experimental Psych & Law program. She graduated in 2012 with a BA in psychology from Bates College, where she did research on how the dynamics of an interview affects the quality of witness's accounts of an event. After college, she spent two years working at the BIDMC Transplant Institute as a clinical RA with the Surgical Outcomes Analysis & Research team. At John Jay, Alexa primarily works with Dr. Steve Penrod, doing research on factors that affect defense attorney decision-making during plea bargaining. She also works with Dr. Margaret Bull Kovera and Dr. Saul Kassin on issues relating to alibi witnesses and forensic confirmation bias, respectively.



Nicole Trauffer, 2014

Nicole is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She completed her undergraduate career in 2013 at Boston College, where she majored in Psychology and Theatre. Nicole then earned her Master’s degree in Psychology with a developmental concentration at Boston College in 2014. At John Jay, Nicole works with her advisor, Dr. Cathy Spatz Widom, in the Development Across the Lifespan Lab. In her research, Nicole examines factors related to female-perpetrated crime. Clinically, Nicole is interested in the treatment and assessment of individuals from forensic populations as well as the treatment of trauma. Nicole currently serves on the John Jay College’s Psychology Doctoral Student Council as the Social Chair. Nicole also serves as the Co-chair of the Partnerships and Awareness Committee on the junior board for the Women's Prison Association. 

Andrew Evelo

Andrew Evelo, 2012

Andrew received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of the South: Sewanee and Master’s degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He studies social cognition and legal decision making with his advisor, Margaret Kovera, and has published research on eyewitness identifications, juror decisions, and perceptions of juvenile offenders. Both the American Psychology-Law Society and Society for Personality and Social Psychology have awarded him presentation funds. In 2011, Evelo received the Lee Becker Award for accomplishment and promise in science.