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Graduate Students
Graduate Students
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Sherry Woods, M.S.

​Sherry Woods is a seventh-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, M.S.

Elle Waite is a sixth-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, M.S.

Clara is a fifth-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 dysregulation, impulsivity, and psychophysiological changes within populations who have experienced various forms of trauma.

Master's Thesis: Borderline Personality Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Unique Patterns of Emotion Reactivity and Regulation.

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Dominic Denning

Dom is a second-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a BA in psychology-research and anthropology. Dom completed a post-baccalaureate research coordinator position at University of California San Diego, Eating Disorder Center for Treatment and Research under the mentorship of Dr. Tiffany Brown. His program of research aims to understand the course, phenomenology, treatment, and prevention of BPD, transdiagnostic emotional dysfunction, and self-damaging behaviors (e.g., suicide, NSSI, and disordered eating) in traditionally underrepresented groups (e.g., men and SGM populations).


Elijah Lawrence

​Elijah is a second-year graduate student in Dr. Dixon-Gordon’s lab. He received his Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Before joining this lab, he volunteered as a research assistant for several years in the Health & Human Performance Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. Elijah is interested in researching emotion regulation and coping strategies. He also wants to investigate the various components that make dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) efficient and effective, in order to help close the gap between science and service. 

Staff and Research Assistants
Research Assistants
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Sarah Huffman, B.A.

Study Coordinator

Sarah graduated from Seattle University 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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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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Emily Gaddy

Undergraduate RA and Honors Student

Emily is a sophomore Psychology major pursuing a minor in Biochemistry in the Commonwealth Honors College. She is due to graduate in 2025 and joined the lab Fall 2022. She plans to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology after undergrad with the hopes of entering a career in research.

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Rhea Mukherjee

Undergraduate RA

Rhea is a Junior Psychology major with a double minor in Biology and English and a Certificate in the Study and Practice of Writing (SPOW). She is due to graduate in the Spring of 2024. She joined the lab in the Fall of 2022 and is planning on pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

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Esther Muhlmann

Undergraduate RA and Honors Student

Esther is a junior in the Commonwealth Honors College pursuing a degree in psychology and English and a certificate in Civic Engagement and Public Service. She joined the lab in the Fall of 2022 and is due to graduate in the spring of 2024. After graduating, Esther plans on joining a Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology and hopes to become a psychologist and maybe even teach one day.


Liam Sweeney

Undergraduate RA and Honors Student

Liam is a senior in the Commonwealth Honors College pursuing a bachelor of science in Psychology and Biology on the Neuroscience Track. He joined the lab in Fall of 2023 and is due to graduate in the Spring of 2024. His graduate plans are to join a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology with the end goal of becoming a professor with a focus in developmental PTSD.


Bernice Jafeda Moses-Gadzama

Undergraduate RA

Bernice is an international student from Nigeria pursuing a major in Psychology on the Neuroscience track. She is currently a junior set to graduate in the spring of 2025. She hopes to continue research and gain a Phd in clinical psychology or neuroscience. 


Heeya Ajwani

Undergraduate RA and Honors Student

Heeya is a Sophomore Psychology major at the Commonwealth Honors College. She joined the lab in Spring 2022 through the Research Assistant Mentoring Program (RAMP) and is now a full-time RA. After graduation, she plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

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

Lauren Haliczer, PhD, Fellow, Mass General Hospital

Danielle Hart

Serena In

Colten J. Karnedy, MS, Academic Advisor, George Washington University

Patricia Keeley

Mary Koontz

Brenna Manning

Patrick McGonigal

Meghana Nair

Anne Neary

Marykate Oakley, PhD, Psychologist, Dartmouth College

Harsh Patel

Selime Salim

Rubee Sandhu

Wil Schwartz

Thaine Smith

Cole Stanley

Mackenzie Swenson

Hildy Wen

Nikita Parulkar

Xiara Calderon Santan                                                                                Connor O'Brien

Anika Graf

Aline Castro

Samantha Jaffe

Adam Klem

Athena Sarafoglou

Nadia Palafox

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