Lab Members

Current Graduate Students



Fifth Year Graduate Student, Doctoral Candidate

Emma is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Department at George Mason University working with Dr. Christy Esposito-Smythers. She graduated from New York University in May of 2014 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and minors in Child & Adolescent Mental Health and in Music. She spent the two years prior to entering the program as a Research Associate at The Center for Implementation and Dissemination of Evidence-based Practices in States (IDEAS Center) at the NYU Child Study Center.

Her research interests include:

  • high-risk behaviors in the adolescent population, primarily in suicidality
  • mental health service use by children and families
  • implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practices
  • integrated mental health services (e.g. pediatric medical/hospital settings

Links: Email | CV | Website


Anna Defayette, M.A.

Anna Defayette

Fifth Year Graduate Student, Doctoral Candidate

Anna is a fifth-year student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program. She received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Multicultural Studies from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY in 2013. Anna worked as the Project Coordinator on an NIMH-funded randomized control trial of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for depressive symptoms in adolescent girls with and without histories of maltreatment at the Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester. Presently, she studies under the mentorship of Dr. Christianne Esposito-Smythers and serves as a graduate research assistant for the Fairfax Consortium for Evidence-Based Practice. Anna's dissertation research is supported by the American Psychological Foundation/Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology Graduate Student Research Scholarship and the Mamie Phipps Clark Diversity Research Grant through Psi Chi. 

Her research interests include:

  • development of methods to earlier identify and intervene with adolescents at risk for engaging in suicidal behaviors
  • investigation of suicidal thoughts and behaviors during acute periods of increased stress
  • improving the understanding of the manner in which various components of the biological stress response system influence the association between social-contextual stressors and subsequent adolescent suicidal behaviors

Links: Email | CV | Website


Robert Lopez, M.A.


Fourth Year Graduate Student

In 2014, Robert received a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Psychology and minor in History of Science from Harvard University. While at Harvard, Robert volunteered in the Laboratory for Clinical and Developmental Research on studies that examined risk factors for suicide. After graduating, Robert became a case manager at Tropical Texas Behavioral Health, where he provided psychoeducation and crisis management services to low-income clients diagnosed with mood or psychotic-spectrum disorders. In 2015, he transitioned into a research assistant position on three, NIMH-funded studies investigating suicide risk in the Psychosocial Research Department at Butler Hospital and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His current research is focused on understanding the social deterrents and determinants of suicide, particularly in at-risk populations (e.g., adolescents and the LGBTQ+ community).

Links: Email | CV |Website


Katherine Maultsby, B.S.


First Year Graduate Student 

Katherine is a first-year student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program working with Dr. Christy Esposito-Smythers. In 2018, she received a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Psychology with a minor in Hispanic Studies from Davidson College in North Carolina. She then worked as an Intramural Research Training Award fellow with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, examining mental health and health risk behaviors among adolescents. Her research interests include depression and suicidality among at-risk adolescents and development and implementation of evidence-based interventions. 


Research Assistants


Abigail Wojcik

Neuroscience major, minor in Psychology

Autumn Jones

Psychology major, concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience

Justine Lee

Psychology major

Sophia Zmorzenski

Psychology major, double concentration in Clinical Psychology and Developmental Psychology 


Past Graduate Students

Current: Post-Doctoral Fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychology, Cherokee Health Systems

Current: Staff Psychologist, Virginia Tech Counseling Center  

Adam Miller, Ph.D.

Current: Research Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Karen Schaefer, Ph.D.

Current: U.S. Air Force Staff Psychologist (Research/Clinical)

Julie Weismoore, Ph.D.

Current: VA Staff Psychologist/Medical School Instructor

Alexandra Perloe, Ph.D.

Current: Pediatric Psychologist in the Eating Disorders Program and the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Laura Martinson, Ph.D.

Current: Psychologist, Private Practice


Past Post-Doctoral Fellows

Current: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Northeastern University

Current: Associate Professor, Psychology Department, Suffolk University 

Jennifer Wolff, Ph.D.

Current: Associate Professor, Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Staff Psychologist, Rhode Island Hospital and Bradley Hospital

Current: Director, Research & Program Evaluation, Defense Suicide Prevention Office