Graduate Students
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Sherry Woods, M.S.

​Sherry Woods is a fourth-year graduate student in Dr. Dixon-Gordon’s lab. Before joining CASL, Sherry received her MS at Western Kentucky University and her BA at Pepperdine University; she also spent 2 years working in the Mechanisms of Affect Dysregulation Lab at Temple University. Sherry’s research mainly focuses on maladaptive emotion regulation mechanisms, particularly nonsuicidal self-injury, and the factors that promote and maintain the cessation of these behaviors.

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Elle Waite

Elle Waite is a third-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at UMass Amherst, working with Dr. Dixon-Gordon. Before joining the lab, she received her BA in psychology and women’s studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she worked as a research assistant for several labs researching borderline personality disorder and dialectical behavior therapy. She is interested in borderline personality disorder and suicidality, particularly among adolescent populations. Currently, her research is focused on deficits in social learning among people with borderline personality disorder.

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Clara DeFontes

Clara is a third-year graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. She graduated from
the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Psychology. Prior to
graduate school, Clara completed a post-baccalaureate at Yale University and the West Haven VA,
studying fear learning, emotion regulation, and the efficacy of clinical drug and psychotherapy trials in
populations with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Her interests broadly include the intersection of
emotion dysfunction, impulsivity, and psychophysiological changes within populations with Borderline
Personality Disorder (BPD) and PTSD. Her current research is focused on the concordance between
physiological and self-report indices of emotion regulation across populations with BPD and PTSD.

Staff and Research Assistants
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Sarah Huffman

Study Coordinator

Sarah graduated from Seattle University in 2017 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in English. Post graduation, she worked for a Seattle-based mental health clinic and coordinated their DBT program. In 2021, Sarah moved to Massachusetts to join Dr. Dixon-Gordon's lab as the study coordinator. Sarah hopes to eventually pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is particularly interested in developing more accessible and equitable interventions for emotion dysregulation and high-risk behaviors.

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Nadia Palafox

Undergraduate RA

Nadia Palafox is a junior psychology and sociology double major at UMass Amherst, due to graduate in the spring of 2023. They joined the lab in the summer of 2020 and are looking to get their Masters of Social Work before gaining experience and entering a doctoral program.

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Xiara Calderon Santana

Undergraduate RA and Honors Student

Xiara is a Junior Psychology major in the Commonwealth Honors College, due to graduate in the Spring of 2023. She is also pursuing a Sociology minor and Criminal Justice certificate. She joined the lab in the fall of 2021 and is planning on obtaining a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

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Ani Graf

Undergraduate RA

Ani is a psychology and law, jurisprudence, and social thought major at Amherst College, due to graduate in 2024. She joined the lab in Fall 2021. She is interested in attending graduate school for psychology in order to pursue a career in academic research.

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Lindsey Wyner

Undergraduate RA and Honors Student

Lindsey is a sophomore in the Honors College double majoring in psychology and biology on the neuroscience and pre-med tracks. She joined CASL in the Fall of 2021 and has found a love for research through her time in the lab so far. She plans to pursue a career in the medical field while hopefully conducting research as well.

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Connor O'Brien

Undergraduate RA

Connor graduated UMass, Amherst in December 2021 with his B.S. in psychology and a minor in economics.  He joined the lab in Fall 2021, and plans to continue his work at the lab during an interim period before pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.  He is currently working towards a career in research with special interest in risk-taking behaviors and BPD features.

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Adam Klem

Undergraduate RA

Adam is a junior Psychology major, due to graduate in spring 2023. He is hoping to pursue graduate school for Clinical Psychology, and is interested in a career in psychotherapy for depression,PTSD and addiction.

Lab Alumni

Caroline Ball

Greg Barysky

Ilhan Braxton

Tyler Carey

Brianna Cast-Clifton

Claire Chang

Grace Cho

Jenna Comer 

Carolyn Cole

Lindsey Conkey

Elizabeth Eberlin

Ruby Ferro

Nathan Fitzgerald 

Kristina Fushi

Olivia Gebsky

Lauren Harnedy

Danielle Hart

Serena In

Colten J. Karnedy

Patricia Keeley

Mary Koontz

Brenna Manning

Patrick McGonigal

Meghana Nair

Anne Neary

Marykate Oakley

Harsh Patel

Selime Salim

Rubee Sandhu

Wil Schwartz

Thaine Smith

Cole Stanley

Mackenzie Swenson

Hildy Wen