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Catherine Abrahamson

I am a August 2016 graduate of the program. Prior to attending UH, I received my bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College. I then taught history in Virginia for three years. Wanting to combine my interests in education and psychology, I obtained my master’s degree in school psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. For my LSSP license, I completed practicums in NYC and my internship with Ft. Worth Independent School District (ISD). I am currently completing my APA-accredited internship at Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. I have previously completed practicums at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, University of Houston Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital, and MHMRA. My research interests include children with chronic health conditions, early intervention, parent knowledge of child development, and developmental assessment with children born preterm. I have participated in research labs at the University of Houston and the University of Texas Health Science Center. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about my experience as a student in the program.

Manju Elizabeth Alexander (Eliza)

I am a fourth year doctoral student in the School Psychology Program. My pre-doctoral educational training and professional experience have both been in India. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology (Counseling and Psychotherapy). Following my Master’s I worked for 5 years as a School Counselor.

I have completed school psychology practicum at Deer Park Independent School District. Currently my practicum is at Psychological Services, Houston Independent School District. My research interests include Multicultural School Psychology, as well as training and supervision in School Psychology. Post completion of doctoral training, I would like to be a part of shaping policy, training and practice that promotes competent delivery of educational and psychological services to culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.

Elizabeth Allain

I am currently a 5th year graduate student in the program. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of New Orleans and a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Loyola University in New Orleans. I have experience working as a Psychometrician and Therapist in clinical and rehabilitation settings. I am currently an advanced practicum student in the Child Neuropsychology Program at Texas Children’s Hospital in which I am receiving training in comprehensive neuropsychological child and adolescent assessment. Formerly, I completed practicums at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and Katy Independent School District. For the past two years, I have been involved in a double-blind randomized control trial in a study investigating mental and behavioral health problems that are common among children born preterm and their mothers. My main research interests include pediatric school psychology and studying the interaction effects among neurodevelopmental disorders of children born preterm, maternal psychological well-being, and child outcomes. Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions about the program!

Jacqueline Anderson

I am a third year student in the UH School Psychology program. I have my Master’s degree in Psychology from Cal State University, Fullerton. I am completing my practicum rotation in Texas Children’s Hospital Adolescent Medicine. Previously completed a school based practicum at Galena Park ISD. I am the research coordinator for Dr. Gonzalez’s lab. I am currently working on my dissertation: Evaluation of a School-based Mentoring Program from a Dual Factor Model of Mental Health Perspective. My primary research interests are well-being, quantitative methods, positive psychology, child development, motivational interviewing, and program development and evaluation. In the future, I would like to work in academia, conduct research, and consult for program evaluations. Outside of my academic interests, I like to work out and cook. Also, I love trying new things and being outdoors. From my experience so far at UH, I would have to say I love the different opportunities available to us and that everyone is willing to help.

Sonia Babu

I am a fifth year in the School Psychology PhD Program at the University of Houston. I received a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston with a minor in Chemistry. My research interests revolve around children who are gifted and talented. I am specifically interested in how different cultures perceive giftedness, how giftedness is manifested across ethnic groups, and cultural perceptions of giftedness translates to the school system and nomination process for gifted education. I have been at the University of Houston since undergrad. Therefore, I feel like I know the campus like the back of my hand. Please don't hesitate to ask me directions or where the good study spots are. I enjoy arts and crafts and spending time with my cohort and family.

Amy Barton

Hello! I am a second year doctoral student in the School Psychology program. I graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana with a B.S in Brain and Behavioral Sciences with minors in Human Development and Family Studies and Religious Studies in May of 2016. I'm currently working on my candidacy on executive functioning and school readiness in children born very preterm. In the future, I hope to explore executive functioning difficulties in children with other medical and developmental conditions. For my school psychology practicum, I'm in Katy ISD, working with the Developmental Assessment Team. My advisor is Dr. Milena Keller-Margulis; I also work with Dr. Mire in *sparc and with Dr. Dempsey at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. After graduation, I hope to stay in academia and continue my line of research on executive functioning and how we can foster these cognitive processes in all children. In my free time I enjoy singing and playing piano and snuggling with my cat and dog. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have (

Katherine Bergez

I am a third year in the School Psychology program. I grew up in Houston and earned my B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Urban Education from Santa Clara University in Northern California. My research interests broadly surround autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities- I have too many specific interests to list out here! Right now, I am working on my candidacy project investigating the psychometric properties and clinical utility of written expression curriculum based measurement, a specific type of academic skills measurement, for children with executive functioning challenges- such as those with ASD, ADHD, SLD, and other neurodevelopmental conditions. I am also examining the mediating role of executive functioning on written expression performance. Through this project, we are integrating the work of my advisor, Dr. Mire, our lab, the School Psychology Autism Research Collaboration (*SPARC), and the work of Dr. Keller-Margulis, who researches academic skills measurement. I am currently completing my LSSP (Licensed Specialist in School Psychology) internship in Sheldon ISD, and last year I completed my school psychology practicum rotation in Katy ISD. I have grown my skills in assessment, consultation, intervention, and crisis response through these school-based experiences. I have been actively involved with *SPARC since joining the program, and have been a core part of several projects. I am collaborating on multiple papers and conference presentations, have been on a manuscript published in a peer-reviewed journal, and have presented at state and national conferences, such as TASP, NASP, and APA. I love our program- my advisor, lab, site supervisors, and peers have helped me to reach so many of my goals. In my free time, I enjoy coffee, brunch, Netflix, and reading for pleasure. Please reach out and contact me with any questions!

Christie Brewton

My name is Christie Brewton and I am currently a sixth year student on internship at Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD). Before I started the program, I worked for three years as a research coordinator for the Simons Simplex Collection project, a nationwide genetic study for families with autism; I was also a student ABA therapist for two years. While at UH, I have completed my school practicum with Katy ISD and my first advanced practicum with MHMRA - autism and ID services unit. Currently, I am at the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD). While a majority of my experiences so far has been with youth and adults with ASD, I have recently developed an interest in working with youth with other serious psychological issues as well. I hope to develop that interest and gain experience with that population at HCJPD this year and I am simultaneously maintaining my interest in working with families with ASD through involvement with the *Sparc (School Psychology Autism Research Collaboration) research team led by Dr. Sarah Mire. My conference experience includes attending and presenting at local, national, and international conferences (i.e., TASP, NASP, APA, IMFAR) and I would strongly suggest to new students to attend and present as often as you can. Please feel free to contact me ( for ANY reason :) Wishing everyone well this year!

Nayoung Choi

Hello! I am part of the 2017 cohort in the UH School Psychology program. I received my B.A. in English education from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea and M.A. in Second Language Studies from University of Hawaii at Manoa. Before joining this program, I worked as an English language teacher for five a half years both in Korea and the United States. Working with students has been one of the most fulfilling life experiences and I would like to continue to develop my abilities to better serve them as a school psychologist. I particularly feel passionate about the topics surrounding bilingualism such as a role of second language learning and usage in the development of the social, emotional and academic skills of children. After completing my doctorate program, I would like to seek a university position that will enable me to combine a researching and teaching career with advising school programs. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, exploring local places, and watching movies. I can be reached at

Becca Clayton

My name is Becca Clayton, and I am a third year student in the School Psychology Ph.D. Program. I am a native Houstonian, and I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Sociology and a minor in Psychology. My clinical and research interests involve improving the social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of underserved children and adolescents. Specifically, I am interested in evidence-based interventions and factors associated with promoting positive social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes in this population. I am currently completing my LSSP Internship in an elementary school in Deer Park ISD, and I previously completed my School Psychology Practicum in a high school in Katy ISD. At the University of Houston, I am the lead research assistant for the Academic Mentoring Program for Education and Development (AMPED) lab, and I coordinate and run a mentoring program focused on promoting academic, social, and behavioral wellness for middle school students. Additionally, I work on a number of projects in Dr. Gonzalez’s Project WORLD lab including coding intervention videos, entering data, and preparing manuscripts and presentations. My candidacy focuses on examining the relationship between social skills, attention, and emergent vocabulary skills in preschool Latino English language learners. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and taking advantage of all of the opportunities and experiences Houston has to offer. Please feel free to email me at if you have any questions about the program!

Allison Dovi

Hello everyone! My name is Allison Dovi and I am a fifth year student in UH's School Psychology Doctoral Program. Although, I graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Psychology and Anthropology, I am originally from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. My current advanced practicum placement is at Houston Independent School District, where I primarily provide crisis intervention services. This training opportunity rounds out my clinical experience in my previous practicum rotations at a community-based inpatient psychiatric center (Harris County Psychiatric Center), a juvenile detention center (Harris County Juvenile Detention Center), and Galena Park ISD. I am currently in the process of collecting my dissertation data, which explores how framing may influence parents' acceptability of off-label second-generation antipsychotics in treating pediatric ADHD, and applying for my pre-doctoral internship. After graduation, I hope to primarily serve adolescents within an inpatient or juvenile detention setting. If any prospective students have questions about the program, please feel free to contact me! My email address is

Gulden Esat

Selam! I am part of the 2017 cohort, feeling very enthusiastic I must say. My endeavor of psychology started at Bosphorus University in Istanbul which is my hometown. After I had received my masters from UMASS, I worked two years in Iowa public schools as a school psychologist. Following our relocation back to Istanbul, I ran a private practice business doing assessment, counseling and coaching for children and their families. Helping children along with raising two boys led me to be interested in researching the topic of well-being. I am grateful for being able to continue this pursuit at UH, that I had started at Marmara University three years ago. I would like to concentrate my studies in the areas of mindfulness, spirituality and personal peace of students of all ages. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to connect.

Erin Faith

I am a fifth year student in the School Psychology program at the University of Houston. I am originally from Houston and have lived here for most of my life. Before arriving at U of H, I graduated from Texas A&M University, with a B.S. in Psychology. Currently, I am completing my LSSP internship at the University of Houston Charter School. My responsibilities include conducting psychological evaluations, individual and group counseling, and consultation with parents and teachers. Previously, I have completed practicum placements in a variety of settings including a speech clinic, a primary care center, an alternative school, a juvenile detention center, and a summer treatment program. My current research projects focus on Curriculum Based Measurement in writing and the assessment of early literacy skills and behavior. Prevention and early intervention of academic and behavioral problems in early childhood is a particular research interest of mine. I love being a part of the program here at the University of Houston because there are so many different opportunities and experiences available. Please contact me if you have any questions about the program. I would be happy to help!

Victoria Faulkner

I graduated from the School Psychology program in May 2015 and I am currently completing my post-doctoral internship at Deer Park ISD.  I am thankful for the opportunity I had to advance my education and professional experience while attending the University of Houston School Psychology doctoral program.

Rachel Fein

Hello! I am a fifth year student in the program, and I am currently completing my pre-doctoral internship at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Hospital. Before coming to the University of Houston, I graduated from UT at Austin with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology as well as a Master's degree in Education focusing on autism and developmental disabilities. I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and my research interests broadly surround autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and parent training. I am currently working on a number of projects and papers through Dr. Mire's School Psychology Autism Research Collaborative lab involving parenting stress and behavioral treatment for children with ASD. Also, I defended my dissertation in May 2016 where I investigated the influence of child and parent factors on the parenting behaviors of mothers and fathers of children with ASD. My participation in various research projects has afforded me the opportunity to present as part of a symposium and several posters at conferences including APA, APS, NASP, TPA, and the GSO Research Symposium. In addition to my research experiences at UH, I have gained diverse clinical experiences through my graduate assistantship with the Autism Clinic at DePelchin Children's Center, my research assistantship through the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities as well my practicum rotations. I have completed rotations at the University of Texas Health Science Center, the Disruptive Behavior Disorders clinic at Texas Children's Hospital and Katy Independent School District. When I am not being a graduate student, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and binge-watching shows on Netflix! If you are a prospective student, please feel free to email me!

Whitney Gealy

I am currently completing my pre-doctoral internship in Autism/Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at the University of Miami's Mailman Center for Child Development. I completed practicum rotations at the Disruptive Behavior Disorders Clinic at Texas Children's Hospital, the Harris Center working with individuals across the lifespan with ASD and/or ID, and Deer Park ISD. I also spent a summer in Miami providing intensive behavioral and social intervention to children and parents as part of Florida International University's Summer Treatment Program for children with ADHD. For my assistantship, I worked at UH's Counseling Center providing individual/group therapy and assessment services. Prior to starting at UH, I received my master's degree in counseling, with a focus on marriage and family therapy. Clinically, I am interested in assessment and treatment of individuals with ASD, ADHD, and disruptive behavior disorders and their families, including parent training approaches. My dissertation focused on students' perceptions of training within their doctoral programs, identifying predictors of student success. I value the training and learning experiences from UH that enable me to be a well-rounded clinician.

Erika Gonzalez Flynn

My name is Erika Gonzalez Flynn and I am a 5th year student. I am currently in advanced practicum at Texas Children's Hospital's Disruptive Behavior Disorders program. Previously, I was in a school practicum at Katy ISD and an advanced practicum at the University of Texas Health Science Center. My research interests are broad, however, my candidacy focused on parenting strategies used for preschool children with Disruptive Behavior Disorders. I have published in the field of Health Psychology, specifically looking at body image perceptions in adolescent Hispanic females and their mothers. I have a background in math and enjoy applying this knowledge to the statistical side of research. I'm a native Houstonian who enjoys yoga and living a healthy lifestyle. My favorite vegan restaurants are Radical Eats and Peppertree! I have an extremely supportive husband and delicious baby girl who are my everything. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the program.

Stacey Grebe

Hello everyone! I am Stacey Grebe, a first year student in the University of Houston’s School Psychology Doctoral Program. Before coming to UH I completed my B.S. in Special Education at Texas A&M University and my Ed.S. in School Psychology at Baylor University. I completed my School Psychology internship in the Houston area. My research interests revolve around children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and behavior management across the school and home setting. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, cooking, working out and exploring the local community. Please feel free to contact me at

Rose Heilman

Hello! My name is Rose Heilman, and I'm a first year student in the UH School Psychology program. I received my B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Sociology from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi. My research interests are the gender differences in parenting and their relation to early childhood emotional and academic outcomes. I am especially interested in how gender/sex relates to same-sex families, and if this has any impact on early academic achievement. I plan on pursuing a research-oriented career track after my time at UH, although I also plan to run a small private practice on the side. Ideally, I'd like to find myself in an environment conducive to a healthy balance between research and practice. In my free time, I read, play video games, and remind myself that I should be writing. I'm also a strong advocate for LGBT rights.

Karrie Hilliard

Hello! My name is Karrie Hilliard and I’m a fourth-year student in the program. For this year’s practicum, I am focusing on behavior consultation at two different sites: the University Speech, Language & Hearing Clinic and the Houston Independent School District (HISD) Crisis Intervention Department. Previously, I completed a practicum with Deer Park Independent School District, where I worked in an elementary school and neighboring middle school, and also completed district-level consultation project evaluating methods used for identifying students eligible for special education due to specific learning disabilities. Since my first year, I have worked on a multi-year study identifying predictors of success in algebra with Dr. Tammy Tolar. My own research is on the identification of reading difficulties among young English Language Learners. This interest arose out of my time as a bilingual kindergarten teacher in HISD, which is where I spent my Teach For America corps commitment. Later, I went on to work for Teach For America, helping to manage the arrival and training of new TFA teachers in Houston, and then joined the Human Resources team at HISD, developing strategies to improve the training and retention of top teachers in underperforming schools. I grew up in Arizona and went to college at Claremont McKenna College in southern California but got to Texas as soon as I could! My husband is a native Houstonian and we have a one-year-old son.

Rainey Hughes

Hi! My name is Rainey Hughes and I am a second year in the School Psychology program. I attended the University of South Carolina and earned my BA in Experimental Psychology. My primary research interests are individuals and families affected by ASD, treatment considerations for individuals with ASD, and early identification/intervention of ASD. This year I will complete my school psychology practicum in Katy ISD. I also work with Dr. Goin-Kochel at Texas Children's Hospital Autism Center on a research study aimed to enroll individuals with ASD and their family members into the largest autism-genetics database in North America. Additionally, I work within Dr. Gonzalez's lab as a secondary research interest, which is focused on early childhood/language development. I have collaborated on several *sparc presentations/publications and maintain an active research assistantship with Dr. Mire. In my free time I enjoy running, watching Netflix, and hanging out with my friends and cat. Feel free to contact me with any questions,

Georgette Richardson

Greetings! My name is Georgette Richardson, and I entered the program Fall 2014. Previously conferred a Master's in Clinical Psychology at The University of Texas at Tyler. Spring 2016, I was selected as the inaugural UH COE Holmes Scholar; a program that aims to develop diverse candidates with interests in higher education leadership or the professoriate. As a UH COE Holmes Scholar, I partner with community members to increase access to evidence-based interventions and practices to those with the greatest need. Since my first year, I have been apart of several research projects which have either led to presentations at major conferences or publications many with my academic advisor and research mentor Dr. Jorge Gonzalez. One invaluable skill set I have acquired and will continue to gain experience in is program evaluation. I have been apart of two program evaluation teams where we conducted a needs-based assessment and the other assessed fidelity of a school-based intervention. My clinical interests include integrated behavioral health direct service delivery and consultation implementation with at-risk populations. My research interests include caregiver beliefs about their young child's language development, home linguistic environment, and early language and literacy skill development. I enjoy spending time with family, my two dogs, Cooper and Biggie Smalls, and watching superhero action movies. I look forward to speaking with you about the professional field of psychology especially how training as a school psychologist equips you with a unique and invaluable skill set. Contact me at

Lindsey Landry

Hello! My name is Lindsey Landry, and I am first year student in the program. I graduated from the Ogden Honors College at Louisiana State University in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies. During my undergrad career, I spent most of my time serving in leadership roles across campus and volunteering throughout the Baton Rouge community. My research project at LSU investigated the parental behaviors of adolescent mothers that could possibly influence the development of children born to adolescent mothers. My primary research interest relates to the developmental and academic outcomes among at-risk children. In my free time, I love to hang out with family and friends, shop, watch movies, and go to yoga classes!

Hannah Samaha

My name is Hannah Samaha and I am a fourth year in the program. I am from Louisiana and started this program in 2013 after graduating from LSU with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. I am currently completing an Advance Practicum at The Monarch School. I am currently conducting full assessments and re-evaluations at the Monarch Diagnostic Clinic. I also provide treatment to adolescents in the school, primarily developing and implementing behavioral intervention plans. Last year, I completed an Advance Practicum at Houston Independent School District. I had great experiences conducting individual intervention, group intervention, crisis intervention, and school-wide crisis intervention. I completed my School Psychology Practicum in Katy ISD. In Katy, I conducted psychological assessment and intervention with adolescents. My research interests focus on school consultation and utilizing technology for consultation. I will begin collecting data for my dissertation soon, which will examine the effectiveness and usability of behavioral consultation through videoconferencing. I also work with Dr. Reitzel in the Health Program on projects related to health disparities in minority populations. In the future, I would like to practice in the schools. I would like to eventually open a private practice and work primarily with adolescents. Feel free to email me at

Ashlie Llorens

I am a recent program graduate. I completed my internship at the APA-approved Nebraska Internship Consortium in Professional Psychology, in the Behavioral Pediatrics and Integrated Care Track at the Munroe Meyer Institute in Omaha. Since beginning my graduate education at UH, I have completed practica in a variety of settings: LoneStar LEND Program at The Children's Learning Institute, Summer Treatment Program for ADHD at The Center for Children and Families at Florida International University, HealthBridge Children's Hospital, Katy ISD, Simons Variation in Individuals Project at Texas Children's Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine, and Deer Park ISD. My research interests primarily revolve around Autism Spectrum Disorders and cultural perspectives, which was the primary focus of my dissertation project (African American Parents' Beliefs about Autism Spectrum Disorders). I have been able to work with faculty both at UH and in the surrounding community, and have 5 peer reviewed publications and multiple conference presentations, with the majority being at national and international conferences. I enjoy talking about my graduate career path and can be reached by email at:

Jamie Manis

My name is Jamie Manis, and I am a second-year doctoral student in the UH School Psychology program. I am a native Houstonian and am very happy to be living in Houston again. Before coming to UH, I attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Child Development. My interests are in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. Specifically, I am interested in early diagnosis and intervention and working with parents and teachers of young children with ASD. I am currently a member of the UH*sparc (school psychology autism research collaboration) team, and have had the opportunity to be a part of projects involving training clinicians working with children with ASD. Additionally, I am interested in early childhood and working with preschool-age children and their teachers, and I am involved with the Project World lab where I code behavioral observations of preschool teachers implementing a shared book reading intervention. I am completing my practicum in Galena Park ISD this year. In my experience, the UH School Psychology program has had no shortage of great opportunities and experiences! In my spare time I love to enjoy all the sights, food, and events that Houston has to offer. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

Shannon McKee

I am a third year student in the program. Before starting the doctoral program at UH, I completed my B.A. in psychology at Harding University and my M.A. and Ed.S. in school psychology at Middle Tennessee State University. During my MA/EdS program, I worked on a statewide grant assessing an at-rick preschool population for school readiness, and I also served as a consultant for several counties on the implementation of positive behavioral supports through a statewide PBS grant. I worked as a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) in a school district in the Fort Worth area after graduating. My research interests revolve around children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the family system. I am currently working on several projects as part of UH*sparc (school psychology autism research collaboration) and have enjoyed presenting research at a variety of conferences this past year, such as NASP and IMFAR. I have also gotten the opportunity to work on studies at The Autism Center involving regression in ASD. I am currently at an advanced practicum placement at UTHealth in the High Risk Childrens Clinic providing developmental assessments and outpatient therapy to children and adolescents with complex medical issues and at Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital participating on the Chronic and Palliative Services team and serving patients and families in the NICU and PICU. I also have a wonderful husband and two amazing kids, so my time spent out of school is occupied by my family. :) Feel free to contact me with any questions at

Brittany McLelland

I am a fifth year student in the program and am originally from Plano, TX, attending high school in Flower Mound, near Dallas. At Tarleton State University, I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in philosophy. My research interests are a product of the two years I spent working at Erath County Juvenile Probation: 1st time offender programs, substance abuse prevention, self-esteem measures, and gang intervention. My passion in life is to help the kids who are past the point of being at-risk (i.e., already have criminal records, already failing in school). One day, I would like to work as a school psychologist in a juvenile detention facility, boot camp, or other placement for juvenile offenders. I also have a passion for Equine Therapy and would love the opportunity to study its effects on juvenile offenders’ success in school.

Morgan McNeel

Hi! My name is Morgan McNeel, and I am a first year student in the UH School Psychology program. I grew up in Tampa, Florida, but have been in Houston since 2011. I graduated from Rice University in May of 2015 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. Following graduation, I worked as a research assistant and clinic coordinator at UT Health Science Center's Developmental Neuropsychology Clinic, with children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. I am thrilled to continue working with this population during my time at UH with Dr. Mire and the UH*sparc team. My current research interests include systemic approaches to autism intervention–what impacts treatment choices and outcomes and how that knowledge can be used to develop more integrated, effective, and affordable treatment options. Please feel free to contact me with any questions (!

Allison Meinert

Hi friends! I am a second year in the School Psychology program here at UH. I graduated from Clemson University with a BA in psychology and minor in education. I am excited to be a part of the UH*sparc team that does autism research under Dr. Mire. My research interests involve psychotropic medication use for children with ASD and prescriber decision-making. I am also interested in pediatrician-psychologist collaboration and currently volunteer at Texas Children’s Hospital to explore this interest. I am also doing school psychology practicum this year in Galena Park ISD. In my free time, I love exploring Houston and spending time with my dog, Hallie. Please feel free to contact me at

Kerri Nowell

Hi there! I am a recent graduate from the doctoral program in school psychology. Prior to enrolling in the PhD program at UH, I worked as a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology in the public schools and was the site supervisor for a North American Autism Spectrum Disorder genetic research study. My research interests focus broadly on youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and their families. I am particularly interested in using evidence based assessment to inform epidemiological research and to facilitate implementation of effective interventions in individuals with ASD. My doctoral level clinical training has included practica at Texas Children’s Hospital in the Autism Clinic; the Department of Genetics, and the Disruptive Behavior Clinic, and at MHMRA where I worked with youth and young adults with IDD. I am currently completing my internship within the Nebraska Internship Consortium in Professional Psychology where I am placed at the Center for Autism Spectum Disorder at Munroe Meyer Institute. At my site, I am doing two 6 month rotations. The first rotation is in the Pediatric Feeding Program and the second is in the Severe Behavior Program. During my time at UH, I’ve presented at national and international conferences and have several publications in peer reviewed journals. I'd be happy to share more details about my experience or answer any questions about the School Psychology program at UH!

Sarah Ochs

Hello! I am a sixth year student in the UofH School Psychology doctoral program currently on internship. Before entering the program, I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY. I am in the middle of my fourth practicum experience. My first was a School Psychology practicum at a smaller, suburban district where I primarily completed evaluations, provided counseling services, and lead behavioral consultation cases. Next, I moved on to a very different school setting. Through Psychological Services at Houston ISD, I was involved in crisis intervention including suicide risk assessments, self-injurious behavior, and severe internalizing disorders, as well as leading individual and group counseling cases. During my third practicum, I gained more experience in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders and accompanying medical conditions in the Adolescent Medicine department at Texas Children’s Hospital. Currently, I am completing an assessment practicum at Krist Samaritan Center. My research interests are broadly centered on the school system, specifically Multi-tiered System of Supports and the utility of universal screeners, as well as other systems-level interventions such as PBIS. The program has enhanced my ability to conduct meaningful research by providing valuable connections in local schools and supportive, knowledgeable faculty in my area of interest, specifically my advisor Dr. Keller-Margulis. In the future, I hope to work in academia and serve as a consultant to the schools. Outside of psychology, I enjoy all things family and fitness. I am very interested in speaking with potential applicants and I hope that you feel free to reach out to me by email.

Anita Payan

I am a recent program graduate and am currently a Postdoctoral Psychology Fellow in Houston ISD providing a range of psychological services. I was drawn to UH because of the tremendous variety of clinical experiences. I completed advanced practica rotations in Houston ISD, Texas Children’s Hospital- Adolescent Medicine, and UT Health Department of Psychiatry- Developmental Neuropsychology Clinic, and I completed my APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship in the Houston ISD Psychological Services Department. In my time spent at UH, I have also enjoyed working closely with faculty members, co-authored articles published in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at both the state and national levels. In collaboration with my advisor, Dr. Keller-Margulis, part of my candidacy research project was published in School Psychology Quarterly. I greatly appreciate the warm weather that Houston has to offer and love to spend my free time exploring the diversity within Houston.

Madeline Racine

Hello! I'm Madeline and I am a fifth-year student. Prior to entering the program, I received a B.A. in psychology from Texas A&M University. My interests primarily surround early identification and family-centered interventions for ASD, ADHD, disruptive behaviors and other early childhood concerns, such as sleep disturbances, toileting, and feeding difficulties. I very much enjoying working with young children and their families to provide evidence-based assessment and intervention, including parent management training and behavioral focused interventions. Throughout my training, I have completed practicum placements at Sheldon ISD, The University Speech & Language Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital Brief Behavioral Intervention Program, The Center for Children and Women, and UT Health Science Center. I am involved in various research projects within Dr. Mire’s UH*sparc team, including a project at UH Clear Lake’s Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities which examines stress and perceptions in parents of children with ASD and problem behaviors. I am also currently working on my dissertation titled “Identifying Early Concerns about Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Influence of Ethnicity In Primary Care Decision-Making”. Please feel free to contact me at

Natalie Raff

My name is Natalie and I am a member of the 2011 cohort! I am originally from Oklahoma City, but came to UH after completing my B.A. in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. I have had great clinical training as part of my practica here in Houston.  So far I have completed practica at Sheldon Independent School District, MHMRA of Harris County and the C.L.A.S.S. Clinic (Changing Lives Through Autism Spectrum Services) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.  Currently, I am at HealthBridge Children's Hospital. My research interests are related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), specifically comorbid emotional and behavioral problems in individuals with ASD and parenting stress and coping.  I am currently working on several projects as part of the UH*sparc (UH school psychology autism research collaboration) and have enjoyed presenting research at a variety of conferences including APA, NASP, and IMFAR.  I recently proposed my dissertation which examines parent perceptions and parenting stress in parents of adolescents with ASD.

Ashley McDonald Ramclam

Greetings! My name is Ashley and I am currently in my first year in the UH School Psychology program.I am originally from Mexico, MO. I completed my B.A. in Psychology and Ed.S in School Psychology, all at the University of Missouri (Go Tigers!). I completed my school psychology/LSSP internship in the Houston area and continued with the district as an LSSP for three additional years working at two elementary schools and a high school. My primary responsibilities while working for the school district were emotional/behavioral assessment, In-Home/Parent/Community based Training assessments, providing psychological and counseling services, and consultation with teachers and staff regarding behavioral interventions. My research interests include yoga and mindfulness in schools, home-school collaboration and parent training, as well as various aspects of disproportionality in special education. Outside of school I enjoy teaching Jazzercise, traveling, and volunteering with the children's ministry at my church. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the program, school psychology, or Houston! My email address is

Erin Reid

My name is Erin Reid, and I am a second year in the School Psychology PhD Program. I am originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but have happily called Houston my hometown for the past three years. I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Music as well as a minor in French. Upon graduating, I joined the 2011 Teach For America corps and taught middle school special education at a KIPP charter school in Central City New Orleans. I then moved to Houston where I taught sixth grade literature at the Briarwood School, a private school for children with learning differences. At the University of Houston, I have continued my pursuit to equip students with disabilities with the tools that they need to be successful students and thriving members of society. In Dr. Keller-Margulis' lab (, I study early writing and behavior screening for academic and behavioral risk. With the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities (, I study how factors such as cognitive profiles and executive functions impact response to intensive reading intervention. Outside of school, I enjoy going to the theater, picnicking at Miller Outdoor Theater, trying new restaurants, and practicing yoga. Please contact me with any questions you may have about our program at

Syed Rizvi

Hey, my name is Syed Rizvi and I am a first year in the UH School Psychology program. I am from NYC and am a first generation college graduate, I received my Bachelors of Science in Psych. from University of Houston with honors (cum laude). I have worked in a few labs researching a variety of topics from the casual effects of sleep deprivation on children's emotions to the effects of prejudice through media. I am interested in the areas of spirituality, mindfulness, compassion, and seek to work with the Muslim community in Houston to better understand a correlation between specific religious practices and better life achievement (school grades, happiness, etc.) In my free time I enjoy outdoor activities, writing, watching films and working out. You can email me at

Patrick Sajovec

I am a third year student in the doctoral program here at UH. Prior to coming to Houston, I received my BS in Psychology from the University of South Carolina. While at USC I ran an after-school program for children with ADHD and behavior problems. My first summer in Houston, I worked at a summer camp at DePelchin Children's Center in Houston on a math program using Khan Academy to try to reduce summer learning loss. These past three years I have been evaluating yoga programs in HISD, KIPP Houston, and YES Prep. Last year, I completed my school practicum rotation in Deer Park ISD where I completed comprehensive evaluations for special education identification and placement. This year I am completing my LSSP internship in Galena Park ISD where I continue to complete evaluations, as well as conduct individual and group therapy and assist in the implementation of Response to Intervention at an elementary school. Please contact me if you have any questions!

Kimberly Smoots

Hello, my name is Kimberly Smoots and I am a first generation college graduate. I am from El Paso, TX but I received my BA in Psychology from Texas A&M in Corpus Christi. I am passionate and motivated to work with children with behavioral, emotional and mental disorders. I also hope to work with disadvantaged and Spanish speaking children. Some of my research interests are mindfulness in schools and homes, parent-training, and the effects of implicit bias on practitioners . In my free time I enjoy singing, dancing, reading, spending time with my family and friends, and working out (when I can).

If you have any questions about the application process or the program you can email me at

Allyson Tagliarina

I am currently completing my predoctoral internship. Last year, I was at the Monarch school for an advanced practicum rotation. In the past for my Advanced Practicum experience I have been in Katy ISD completing my LSSP Internship; at the University Speech Language and Hearing Clinic (USLHC); the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, formerly known as Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County (MHMRA) in the IDD/STARS rotation working primarily in Coffeehouse, a drop-in social skills program for adults with ADHD; and I have completed two summers with the Summer Treatment Program (STP) which is a summer program for children with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and other disruptive behaviors. Also, for my School Psychology practicum I was in Sheldon ISD. My research interests are in Motivational Interviewing, physical fitness, ASD, early intervention, and parent perception. Over the years in the program I have presented at many different conferences such as the ABCT, International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), Texas Association of School Psychology (TASP), and the American Psychological Association (APA). Before coming to the University of Houston I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Ursuline College located in Pepper Pike, Ohio. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me:

Dieu Truong

Hi everyone! My name is Dieu Truong and I am a first year student in the UH School Psychology program. I completed my undergraduate study in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Houston. I also obtained a Master’s degree in Psychology (Counseling) from Houston Baptist University. My research interests focus on understanding family, community, and cultural factors that are contributing to ASD treatment choices and outcome. Prior to my acceptance to the program, I completed a one-year LEND Fellowship focusing on issues relating to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and developmental disabilities from a multidisciplinary approach, a practicum at the Disability Office at Houston Community College as a disability counselor, and an externship as a research assistant at the UT Health Science Center Department of Psychiatry – Developmental Neuropsychology Clinic. I also worked at the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD as a service coordinator. Currently, my research interest primarily focuses on understanding the impact of Autism Spectrum Disorders from a system-based perspective. I chose to pursue my doctoral studies with our program because I enjoy the diversity and the many great opportunities and experiences available through the university and the city of Houston. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions:

Lena Twitchell-Heyne

I am a third year student in the program and was born and have lived most of my life in Houston, Texas.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston Honors College where I received my B.S. in psychology. My research experience includes working in the Pediatric Psychopharmacology team looking at prenatal, perinatal and pediatric use of psychotropics.  I recently presented a poster on FDA psychotropic drug safety communications at the 2014 Convention of the American Psychological Association along with Dr. Kubiszyn and Dr. Mire.  I am also involved in Dr. Smith’s Yoga Research lab where I am interested in looking at educational outcomes of regular yoga practice for children and adolescents. After graduation I hope to work in a medical or academic setting where I can pursue a career in research. I enjoy spending my free time traveling, practicing hot yoga, and reading science fiction novels. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail:

Katherine Zopatti

Hi! My name is Katherine Zopatti and I am a first year in the program. I am a San Diego, California native and graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Psychology in 2016. During my time at 'SC and after graduation, I worked as a learning specialist, an early elementary teacher, and volunteered to tutor struggling readers in community elementary schools. I also served as a Research Assistant to Dr. David Schwartz's Adolescent Development lab where I studied peer victimization in high schools. All of these experiences sparked strong research interests in early elementary readiness. I'm particularly interested in Kindergarten risers, early foundational literacy, and the impact of early education on longterm academic success. I am looking forward to working with Dr. Keller-Margulis this year on these topics. In my free time you can find me hiking, picking up stamps on my passport, and tackling dessert recipes.