Dr. Jennifer Tackett
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
Shauna Kushner, M.A.
Shauna is a doctoral candidate in Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto. Using temperament and personality trait frameworks, her research centers on illuminating factors and developmental processes that contribute to maladjustment. More specifically, she is interested in how personality interacts with psychosocial factors, such as stress and social support, to predict the stability of internalizing and externalizing disorders throughout development. Beyond the lab, she enjoys spending time with her Boston Terriers, biking around Toronto, watching terrible movies, and karaoke.
Kathrin Herzhoff, M.A.
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.
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
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.
Kristin is a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. After graduating from Michigan State University with her B.S. in Psychology, she managed two laboratories with research projects focusing on developmental psychopathology, personality assessment, and interpersonal processes. Broadly, she is interested in how relationships and interpersonal interactions in early childhood and adolescence can influence personality development and one’s ability to form close, stable relationships later in life. In her free time, Kristin enjoys weight training, weeknight trivia tournaments, and finding new, unique restaurants in Houston.
Project Coordinators and Team Leaders
Rainey Atkinson - PDAO Study Project Coordinator and Child Tester
Rainey recently graduated from the University of Houston with a B.A. in psychology; she previously earned a B.A. in English with a concentration in linguistics and a minor in philosophy, also from UH. She intends to become a practicing psychological counselor, and her areas of interest include positive psychology, ecological systems theory, cultural and societal influences on the development of psychopathology (especially mood disorders), interpersonal relationships, and gender. When not wrangling online survey software or asking children to define made-up words, she may be found leading a guild in World of Warcraft. A Houston native, Rainey also enjoys swing dancing, arranging flowers, and air conditioning.
Lizbeth Cantu- CPBS Project Coordinator and Child Tester
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
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 and Child Tester
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- Data Manager
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.
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.
Meghlynn is currently a senior at the University of Houston and will graduate with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Anthropology in December 2015. She will then work towards a Ph.D. in either Social or Clinical Psychology. Her favorite areas of interest include cognition, abnormalities, personality, and neuroscience. Apart from Psychology, she enjoys craft food and beverages, studying French, writing, and watching Food Network. In her future, Meghlynn hopes to travel the world and write books.
My name is Arielle Aranzamendez. I was previously a pre-nursing student at the University of St. Thomas and transferred over to the University of Houston in Fall 2013. Currently, I am an undergraduate student at the University of Houston working on a Psychology major and a Human Development and Family Studies minor. I work part-time as an assistant at a Montessori school and have previously volunteered at the daycare the Houston Area’s Women’s Center. After graduation, I would like to pursue a degree in Developmental Psychology and focus my research on the impacts of domestic violence and other traumatic experiences on children. In my free time, I enjoy art, poetry, and studying history.
Luis De la Rosa
My name is Luis De la Rosa and I was born in Durango, Mexico. I graduated from the University of Houston in May with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and minor in Spanish. I am currently a pos-bac student at UH working with the PDAO study and CPBS thin slice study. My research interests are psychopathology, mood disorders (especially depression), emotional facial expressions, behavior, and deception. I am still in the process of choosing where to go to grad school. My main objective will be to be a clinician, but I still have not decided whether to get a master’s in social work or go into a PHD or PSYD program for clinical psychology. In my time off I enjoy listening to music, reading, and working on cars.
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.
I am a senior (undergraduate) student at the University of Houston, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration. Areas of interest include neuroscience, developmental psychopathology, personality types and its effects on behavior. I am glad to have gotten the opportunity to work in Dr. Tackett’s lab to learn more about personality and behavior, and gain clinical as well as research experience. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, sewing, singing, and spending time with family and friends.
Sandra Olmo Ruiperez
My name is Sandra Olmo Ruipérez. I was born in Cuenca, Spain, and I moved to the U.S. a few years ago. I have lived in Houston, Texas, since then. I am an international transfer student. I started off as a Computer Engineering major, but I changed my major to Psychology and followed my vocation. I haven't decided my minor, but I am very interested in sociology. I am very excited about working in the Personality Across Development Lab, it is a wonderful opportunity, I am very grateful. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, cooking and Pilates.
Isael "Izzy" Vanegas
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.