Background

Beginning in the fall of 2018, I began as an assistant professor in developmental psychology at Middle Tennessee State University. I teach coursework in human development, aging, and personality. My research focuses on the fundamental mechanisms underlying cognitive aging, the neural mechanisms underlying age-related differences in affect processing, and understanding the role of the cerebellum in cognitive function through the study of Chiari malformation syndrome.

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from The Ohio State University in 2011 while becoming involved in research focusing on auditory speech perception & psychometric scale construction. I subsequently entered the Adult Development and Aging doctoral program at the University of Akron under the advisement of Dr. Phil Allen. At UA, I engaged in coursework and research with a strong focus on the cognitive and neurophysiological consequences of normal aging. My research interests grew to include the development of human attention & perception, sensory integration, cognitive training, neuroimaging, and neural electrophysiology.

 

Expertise

Cognitive aging - As a part of the my graduate training, I have had coursework in the normative aging of attention, perception, memory, and language systems. This coursework was further supplemented through my work in the UA Cognitive Aging Laboratory that has focused on age group differences in written word recognition, threat perception, and the context integration in working memory. Check out the cognitive aging page for more information on the lab!

Neural electrophysiology - Neural electrophysiology allows for unique insight into neural activity that underlies human performance. At the MT Cognitive Aging Laboratory, we use our EEG system to go beyond traditional behavioral methods and attempt to establish precise time series of neural activity during cognitive processing. My background in EEG research stems from my graduate research at the University of Akron and has focused predominantly on time-domain event-related potentials (ERP). However, recent investigations have expanded upon the traditional ERP method to include frequency domain and time-frequency approaches.

Quantitative analysis - I have received extensive training in univariate and multivariate approaches to data analysis including coursework in ANOVA, hierarchical regression, factor analysis, random effects modeling, and structural equation modeling. I have also developed expertise in the area of nonparametric analysis, including both group comparison and regression techniques, and approaches to quantitative meta-analysis.

Chiari malformation syndrome - Chiari Malformation Syndrome is characterized by a structural deformation of the cerebellum. Individuals with Chiari experience a multitude of symptoms including dizziness, vision problems, headaches, and problems with balance and coordination. My work in Chiari malformation addresses the cognitive deficits that individuals with Chiari may face. Recently, we have expanded our investigation into the potential deficits of Chiari to include functional activity of the brain through EEG and structural damage of neural communication pathways through diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

 

Previous Positions

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Conquer Chiari Research Center, The University of Akron - My work at the CCRC involved examining the structural, cognitive, emotional, and physiological implications of Chiari Malformation Syndrome in an attempt to improve the diagnosis of the condition as well as enhance the lives of those living with CM. My work also involved coordinating with researchers at the University of Akron as well as the Cleveland Clinic and University of Michigan in the areas of mechanical and biomedical engineering, genetics, biology, neuroscience, and medicine to more fully comprehend the etiology and prognosis of CM.

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Doctoral student researcher, Conquer Chiari Research Center, The University of Akron - As a doctoral student, I worked on three projects at the CCRC. The first project resulted in the first published study of the cognitive effects of Chiari Malformation Syndrome  that incorporated empirically validated cognitive measures. The second project, still ongoing, has three primary goals: 1) to identify additional cognitive effects of CM using a standard neuropsychological battery, 2) to explore cognitive and emotional effects of CM using direct measures of neurophysiological functioning using electroencephalography, and 3) to gauge the structural impact of CM on the primary communication pathways of brain using diffusion tensor imaging.

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Lab coordinator and doctoral student researcher, Cognitive Aging Laboratory, The University of Akron - Research primarily focused on identifying cross-sectional age group differences in attention, emotion perception, working memory, & the influence of sensory degradation on cognitive performance utilizing behavioral and electrophysiological indices of performance. I also provided oversight over scheduling and participant enrollment in the cognitive and and EEG branches of the laboratory. 

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Research assistant, Language Perception Laboratory, The Ohio State University - As an undergraduate research assistant at OSU, my work in the lab primarily focused on auditory speech perception under the direction of Dr. Mark Pitt. Further information from the lab's website can be found by clicking on the image above!

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Research assistant, Psychometrics Laboratory, The Ohio State University - My work in the psychometrics focused on psychometric properties related to scale construction & validation under the direction of Dr. Nancy Betz & Dr. Thomas E. Nygren. Additional information about the type of work conducted in the lab can be found at Dr. Betz's website or Dr. Nygren's website.