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Scientific Minds



Lab Director

Karin grew up in southern Connecticut and attended Yale University where she completed an undergraduate degree in English. From there, she worked for several years for a community health and education agency in NY where she got her first real taste of the field of psychology. In 2001, Karin went to graduate school at Columbia University and worked under the mentorship of George Bonanno, completing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2008. Karin stayed on at Columbia for a two year post-doctoral fellowship, under the mentorship of Geraldine Downey and Eshkol Rafaeli. She has been on the faculty in the Department of Psychological Sciences, as part of the Clinical Psychology Program at Kent State University since 2010. Karin currently lives in Akron, OH with her husband, two daughters and their dogs. 


Team: Our Team




3rd Year Graduate Student

Ben is a third year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program at Kent State University. After graduating from KSU in 2018 with a B.A. in psychology, he continued to work in the Clinical Affective Science Lab as Project Coordinator of an NIMH-funded study aimed at modeling risk for psychopathology in individuals recovering from a traumatic injury. After a couple of years working as a research assistant and project coordinator, Ben was excited to continue his research in the Clinical Affective Science Lab as a PhD student. His research interests include basic emotion processes involved in psychopathology, with an emphasis on disgust and its associated disorders (i.e. obsessive-compulsive disorder). He is currently working on projects examining mechanisms for facilitating disgust-related behavioral approach and extinction of learned disgust responses.  


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2nd Year Graduate Student

Brittany is currently a second-year graduate student in Clinical Psychology. She graduated from Ohio State University in 2018 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. After her bachelor’s degree, Brittany received a master's degree in Experimental Psychology at Villanova University where she primarily studied early life stress and sex differences in stress resilience within rodent models. Brittany then worked as a research coordinator at the Cleveland Clinic while working part-time as an adjunct professor. Brittany has always been interested in how experiences throughout the lifespan shape risk and resilience in the development of psychopathology. Her current projects within the lab focus on the role of positive and negative early life experiences in shaping emotional reactivity in adulthood.


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2nd Year Graduate Student

Emily is currently a second year graduate student in Clinical Psychology. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with a B.A. in Psychology in 2019, where she completed a senior honors thesis under Dr. Stefan Schulenberg that examined correlates of posttraumatic stress in a hurricane-exposed community sample. Following graduation, Emily worked as a research assistant at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Institute for Trauma Recovery as part of the AURORA Study. Broadly, her research interests include risk and protective factors in the development of psychopathology after stressful life events–and, in particular, what factors might contribute to greater wellbeing and effective coping. She is also interested in how individual differences in interpretation might impact emotion regulatory processes.


Team: Our Team


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Savanah is the Project Coordinator for the Resilience and Adaptation to Injury (RAI) study. She graduated with her BA in Psychology in May 2021 and became Project Coordinator soon after. During undergrad, she started working at Townhall II Crisis Helpline as a volunteer and she continues her work there but now as a supervisor. Savanah will be applying to social work master's programs this year with hopes of working with victims of crime in the future.



Katie is a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Masters program at Kent State University. She received her B.S in Psychology from Kent State in 2017. She enjoys research based around mood and anxiety disorders.



Matt is a post-baccalaureate research assistant who graduated from Kent State University with a B.S. in Psychology in 2020. His current research interests focus on genetic predispositions/biological behaviors associated with depressive disorders. Matt's future goals focus primarily on clarification between pursuing either Behavioral Neuroscience or Clinical Psychology in possible future graduate school endeavors.

Team: Our Team
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