People

Faculty

Dr. Jennifer Tackett

JLT

Dr. Tackett completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with minors in statistics, behavior genetics, and personality at the University of Minnesota. She is a graduate of the Texas Academy of Math and Science and of Texas A&M University. Prior to coming to UH, she completed her clinical internship at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center and was a tenured member of the faculty at the University of Toronto. Her research is grounded in an interest of the many personality characteristics that exist early in life and their influence on behavioral development. The list of things she enjoys is long, including (but not limited to) her family, camping, jazz music, West Texas, reading fiction, frozen pizza, Texas wildflowers, and her Crock-Pot

Graduate Research Assistants

Kathrin Herzhoff, M.A.

Kathrin Herzhoff

Kat is a doctoral student in clinical psychology under the supervision of Dr. Tackett. Her primary research interest lies in the development of a personality construct called Openness-to-Experience and its effect on behavioral competencies and problems in childhood and adolescence. Kat’s secondary research interest lies in assessment issues regarding personality and behavioral problems in childhood. She joined the Tackett Lab as an undergraduate RA in Toronto in January 2008 and currently helps manage our lab in Houston. When Kat is not working, she enjoys exploring the world--most recently Texas--with "deals of the days" by going on horseback, helicopter, or roller-coaster rides with her friends and family

Kathleen Reardon, M.A.

Kathleen Reardon

I am a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 with a B.S. in psychology. After graduation, I worked as a research assistant for the Pitt Parents and Children Laboratory. My interests include studying the development of antisocial behaviors and severe conduct problems from a developmental psychopathology perspective. When I’m not working, I love spending time with my dog Tilly, and cooking or trying new restaurants!

Avante Smack, M.A

Avante Smack

I am a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program under the supervision of Dr. Tackett. I graduated from Spelman College in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology. After graduation, I worked at Covenant Community Inc. a residential life stabilization program in Atlanta, Georgia. My interests include understanding how culture influences the development of psychopathology in internalizing and externalizing disorders. When I am not working, I enjoy listening to music, spending time with friends and family, and cooking.

Project Coordinators and Team Leaders 

Lizbeth Cantu- CPBS Project Coordinator & Child Tester

Lizbeth

I am an undergraduate student at the University of Houston, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Italian. I wish to go to graduate school for Clinical Psychology, and some of my interests include psychopathology, personality, and the influence of cultures in psychology. I enjoy watching movies, shows like Criminal Minds, and relaxing in long car trips.

Allison Engstrom - Project F.A.D Project Coordinator 

Allison

My name is Allison and I was born and raised in Galveston, Texas. I am a Senior at UH and will be receiving my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies in the Summer or Fall of 2014. After graduation, I intend to earn a Master's degree in Social Work or Clinical Psychology, pursuing a PhD soon after that. I hope to work in a high school or middleschool setting as a Psychologist or a counselor for a period of time during my career, later opening a private practice for adolescents as my experience grows. I am fascinated by the teenage mind and would like to discover new and more efficient ways for parents and teachers to communicate and guide teens through the critical and sensitive periods of development that they encounter. I am honored with the opportunity to work in the Personality Across Development lab will be benefited with the experience I need to fulfill my dreams.

Tanveer Otal- Texas Twin Project Project Coordinator, PDAO Project Coordinator, Risky Business Project Coordinator & Child Tester

Tanveer

Tanveer Otal was born and raised in Houston, Texas from parents of Indian descent. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Houston. Tanveer is a junior working towards completing her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Health. Upon graduation, her goal is to continue on to graduate school to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Tanveer’s areas of research interest include: emotional self-regulation, maladaption, and addiction. Outside of schoolwork she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, yoga, dancing, shopping, and playing with her kitten, Billy. Tanveer is very passionate about the study of psychology and is super excited to be a part of this lab.

Raquel Lara- CPBS Data Manager, Risky Business Project Coordinator & Child Tester

Raquel

My name is Raquel Lara and I am currently a Junior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. I started out as a double major in Journalism and Psychology at New York University. I transferred to the University of Houston my sophomore year and decided to focus on my main interest—psychology. I am so glad that I made the decision to be a part of such a great University. After I graduate, I plan on continuing my education to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology. I am extremely excited to be working with the Personality Across Development Lab, as I think it's a great opportunity to learn more about Clinical Psychology and hone in on my field of interest. Outside of academics, I enjoy spending time with family, watching movies, and baking.

Research Assistants

Suad Abdelaziz

Suad

My name is Suad Abdelaziz and I am a pre-medical junior at the University of Houston majoring in psychology and minoring in biology. I was born in Blacksburg, West Virginia and moved to Houston, Texas when I was five. However, I also lived in Saudi Arabia during the end of my middle school and throughout my high school years when my father got a job there. I learned a lot about different cultures and ideas while living abroad which I believe has really benefitted my understanding of the world. After coming back to Houston I was diagnosed with Lymphoma, therefore I started and completed my freshman year of college while battling cancer. I entered remission in February 2013 and am very grateful to have been able to live a normal life during and after my diagnoses. 

Vannessa Garcia

Vannessa

My name is Vannessa Garcia. I earned an Associate’s Degree from Houston Community College in summer 2014. I am continuing my studies at the University of Houston since fall 2014, where I am currently a junior working on a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. I will be earning my bachelor’s degree in December 2016, and am planning to continue my education in grad school for Psychology. I will be focusing on counselling, because I enjoy working with people of all ages. In my spare time, I enjoy watching television shows that pertain to the human brain, reading, and working with children during Sunday nursery at a Catholic school.

Melanie Gomez

Melanie

My name is Melanie Gomez; I was born and raised in La Porte, TX. I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Houston majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biology. Upon graduation, I hope to attend graduate school and receive my PhD in clinical neuropsychology. My interests in psychology center on neuropsychology, neurodegenerative diseases and cognition; mainly in how the brain directly affects behavior. In addition to school, I work at UTHSC Child Development Center where I care for children. Due to my experience working with children, I hope to one day become a clinical pediatric neuropsychologist. I am grateful to be working in the Personality Across Development lab as this opportunity will give me experience in research working with children and personalities that will further prepare me for graduate school.  When I am not studying or working, I enjoy spending time outdoors with friends and my puppy Paul, traveling and watching movies.

Barbara Gracia

Barbara

My name is Barbara “Barbie” Gracia and I am a senior majoring in Psychology while minoring in Sociology here at the University of Houston. Transferring to U of H six months ago has been one of the best decisions I have made throughout my undergraduate studies and I wish to graduate in the Fall term of 2015. My main interests within this field would have to be social, clinical, and industrial organizational psychology. Once I receive my BA in Psychology, I plan to attend graduate school to narrow my focus in either IO or Clinical psych and attain my goal of having a PhD. I am grateful to have the opportunity to experience new things about the research aspect to Clinical Psychology as being an undergraduate research assistant for the Personality Across Development lab.

Laura Lynch

Laura

Hi, my name is Laura Lynch, and I am a senior in the Psychology department and will be getting my bachelors degree, with a business minor, in December 2014. After which, I plan to continue my education in graduate school for Psychology, I am undecided in which field I would like to focus. I am very excited to be a part of the Personality Across Development Lab as I hope it will help me decide which field I would like to study in graduate school, and will allow me experience in this career field. I am currently a part time preschool teacher and a nanny. In my spare time, I love to volunteer at the Humane Society, go camping, and spend time with my friends and family.

Cristina Martinez

Laura

Hello, my name is Cristina Martinez. I was born and raised here in Houston, Texas and I am currently a junior at the University of Houston. I am working on getting a B.A. in Psychology with a Sociology minor. After graduating I would like to go to graduate school but I am undecided on what field I would like to focus on. My interests include personality development, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work in the Personality Across Development Lab. In my free time I enjoy reading, baking, and spending time with friends and family.

Kaye Nantah

Kaye

My name is Kaye Nantah and I am a Senior at the University of Houston. I aim to earn degrees in both Psychology and Sociology via UH’s double degree opportunity. I am very interested in the impact of biculturalism on personality and cognitive styles. Part of my curiosity stems from being the child of Nigerian immigrants. I have spent most of my life here in Houston. Beyond the realm of psychology, some of my interests include music, concert going, films, conventions, and culinary adventures.

JoAnn Sanchez 

JoAnn

JoAnn is a senior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in psychology as well as communication sciences and disorders with a minor in Spanish. Some of her research interests include personality disorders, gender dysphoria, and depression among adolescents. JoAnn hopes to work with LGBT and Hispanic youth to promote psychological and emotional well-being. In the future, she plans to earn a Ph.D. in clinical or developmental psychology.

Isael "Izzy" Vanegas

Izzy

Hello, my name is Isael “Izzy” Vanegas and I’m currently a junior at the University of Houston. I’m majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Development and Family Studies. Upon graduating in December 2015, my plan is to continue on to graduate school focusing in either Clinical or Counseling Psychology. As of right now, my main interests include at-risk youth/adolescents and psychopathology, personality, and anxiety disorders. I hope to one day be able to work with troubled teenagers. When I’m not working or busy with school work, I enjoy trying new restaurants, craft beverages, reading, and being surrounded by friends and family. 

Katerina Vengoechea

Katerina

My name is Katerina Vengoechea and I am currently a junior at the University of Houston majoring in Psychology and double minoring in Human Development and Family Studies and Business Foundations. I was born in Houston, Texas and have Colombian parents. My areas of interest are child and adolescent psychopathology, family relations, cross-cultural differences in personality, and neuroscience. In my spare time, apart from reading what is going on in the field of Psychology, I enjoy hanging out with my Yorkie named Louis, spending time with my family and friends, binge watching Netflix, and I also enjoy yoga. 

Megan Whelen

Megan

My name is Megan Whelen and I'm a junior undergraduate student at the University of Houston. I'm planning to get a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in English. In addition, when I graduate in 2016 I'd like to go to graduate school for Clinical Psychology. Working at the Personality Across Development Lab will be a great way to gain research experience and possibly narrow down my interests within the field of Clinical Psychology. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching movies, and spending time with friends and family.