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Research Team: Welcome

Principal Investigator

Dr. Katherine Ehrlich

Dr. Katie Ehrlich is the director of the Health and Development Lab and an associate professor in Psychology and at the Center for Family Research. She received her BA in psychology from Washington & Lee University and her PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed postdoctoral research training at Northwestern University before joining UGA in 2016.

Dr. Ehrlich's research takes an interdisciplinary approach to evaluating the ways in which the social world shapes mental and physical health. She is particularly interested in questions about risk and resilience, minority health disparities, and close relationships in adolescence. Her work has been funded by NICHD, NIDA, the NIH Common Fund, the Jacobs Foundation, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

Graduate Students


Julie Brisson

Julie Brisson is a second-year graduate student in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of Georgia. Julie graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2021 with a B.A. in Human Development and Family Sciences and a B.A. in Psychological Sciences.

Julie is interested in risk and resilience in disadvantaged youth, including children who have experienced maltreatment and discrimination. She is interested in how their early-life experiences are associated with mental and physical health across the lifespan, as well as the role psychosocial factors (e.g., child-caregiver relationship, emotion regulation skills) have in buffering negative health outcomes.


Elizabeth Wiggins

Elizabeth Wiggins is a second-year psychology graduate student in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of Georgia from Washington, DC.  She received her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Health Studies from Haverford College in 2021.  


She has held positions at the National Institutes of Health in the Office of Global Research at NIAID and the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at NIA working on projects related to health disparities.  She is interested in examining how social relationships affect health across the lifespan. 



Dee Cole Vodicka

Dee Cole Vodicka is the Project Coordinator for the Health and Development Lab. She received her BA in Sociology from North Park College in Chicago, IL, and her MEd in Special Education from Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.

Dee and her husband John have three adult sons; their family lived and worked with people experiencing homelessness and ran a hospitality house for families of women in prison. After obtaining her master’s degree, she taught in special education settings and worked in teacher education for 19 years. Most recently, she has worked in church administration and at the AU-UGA Medical Partnership in curriculum coordination.


Manuela Celia-Sanchez

Manuela Celia-Sanchez is from Charlotte, NC. She received her B.S in Environmental Biology and Mathematics with honors, from Wingate University in Wingate, NC. Manuela's previous research experience includes working with Dr. Erika Niland (Wingate University), studying the identification and quantification of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) in Megacopta cribraria (kudzu bugs). Kudzu bugs are invasive insects that have become an agricultural pest in Georgia and the Carolinas.

Manuela was awarded the Budd E. and Ethel K. Smith Award for her contribution through leadership of fellow students at Wingate University.

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Anna Langer

Anna Langer is from Rockville, MD. She is currently working on her Master of Social Work Degree at UGA. She received her B.A. in Psychology with honors and minors in Environmental Humanities and Hebrew from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY.


Anna’s previous research experience includes working with Dr. Judith Smetana in the Social Development and Family Processes Lab (University of Rochester), where she completed and defended an honors thesis entitled “‘I felt great sneaking out, but guilty lying about it to my parents’: Expressed emotions in adolescents’ narratives regarding disclosing, concealing and lying to parents”. She also worked with Dr. Laura Elenbaas (University of Rochester) in the Social Cognitive Development Lab, where she focused on children’s beliefs surrounding inequalities between racial groups. While studying abroad, she worked with Dr. Elyakim Kislev (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) to research the application of new technologies to better the lives of individuals experiencing loneliness.

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Daisy Gallegos

Daisy Gallegos received her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia. 


Daisy's previous research experience includes working with Dr. Assaf Oshri (University of Georgia) with the Youth Development Institute. She also worked with Dr. Cindy Suveg (University of Georgia) as the Project Coordinator of the DADS project which collected physiological data and qualitative data on how parents react to their children's stress. She is currently working in the Social Determinants of Child Development lab with Dr. Margaret Caughy (University of Georgia) in coding longitudinal child-parent interactions for joint engagement, respeto (parent calm authority and child affiliative obedience), active direction, and physicality items in a play setting.


Daisy is currently interested in researching the development of disadvantaged youth in Latino populations. She plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Child Life Specialty.


Kristin Rabil

Kristin Rabil is from Northern Virginia and received her B.A. in Psychology with minors in Theology and Spanish from Georgetown University in 2022. She has worked in Dr. Kushlev's Digital Health and Happiness Lab, where she studied digital interactions and well-being in college students throughout the pandemic. Previously, Kristin has worked for the US Youth Ambassadors Program, helping to create and facilitate an online international exchange for high schoolers during the pandemic, supervised the help desk for Three Sigma Software’s Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Program, and coded voice memos for a language and aging project in Germany.

Kristin is excited to engage in research full-time and learn more about the social and contextual determinants of mental and physical health. She hopes to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology in the future.


Oreoluwa Badejoh

Oreoluwa Badejoh is from Snellville, GA. She received her B.S in Psychology with honors and minors in Sociology and Public Health from the University of Georgia


Ore’s previous research experience includes working with Dr. Richard Slatcher in the Close Relationships Lab (University of Georgia). As a research assistant, she coded adolescents’ behaviors, parent-child relationships and overall affect utilizing audio recordings from an Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR). Utilizing work from his Love in The Time of COVID, a collaborative global study, she also did her own independent study looking into how frequent media consumption (due to the pandemic and about the pandemic) could create distress and worry about COVID-19, and also the role of social support played in buffering these effects. This work accumulated into a poster, The Harmful Effect of COVID-19 Information Consumption on Distress and the Buffering Role of Social Support which she presented at the 2022 SPSP Conference in San Francisco.


Cristhian I. Jimenez

Cristhian I. Jimenez is from the Dominican Republic. He received his B. A. in Neuroscience & Behavior and minor in community activism and engagement from Rutgers University, NJ.


Cristhian’s previous research experience involves working with Dr. Vanessa Lobue in the Longitudinal Attention and Temperament Study (L.A.N.T.S.) (Rutgers University) (Penn State), exploring relationships between adults and children’s negative affect. He also worked with Dr. William Kowalczyk (Hartwick College), examining the relationships between binge drinking, school stress, risk behavior, and academic performance. Additionally, he worked with Dr. Heidi Rivera (Hartwick College), assessing links between prenatal stress in mothers and postnatal stress on their offspring.


Cristhian is currently interested in pursuing research regarding developmental youth through longitudinal studies that could help marginalized communities. He also plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in Neuroscience/Psychology.

Undergraduate Research Assistants


Emma Allen

Health Promotion, Minor in Biological and Medical Anthropology (2025)


Marcella Joseph 

Biology and Psychology



Marian Esmeir

Psychology, Minor in Human Development and Family Science (2024)


Celaret Perez

Psychology, Minors in 

Film Studies and Portuguese 



Malori Haley

Health Promotion

and Psychology


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Loren Wray

Biology and Psychology


Lab Alumni

Graduate Students

Sarah Lyle, Ph.D. (2017-2022)

Assistant Professor at Eckerd College

Kelsey Corallo, Ph.D. (2017-2022)

Research Associate II at the Georgia Health Policy Center


Leah Cha (Summer 2021 - Spring 2022)

Sol Moreno (Winter 2020 - Spring 2022)

Jordan Rice (Fall 2021)

Isabel Wasilewski (Fall 2019 - Summer 2021)

Aishat Sadiq (Fall 2019 - Summer 2021)

Anita Minniefield (Spring 2020 - Spring 2021)

Deb Bastien (Spring 2019 - Spring 2020)

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Bronson Lott (Summer 2022 - Fall 2022)

Sheza Merchant (Young Dawgs, 2022)

Tina Aristizabal (Fall 2021 - Spring 2022)

Gabrielle Fontaine (Fall 2021 - Spring 2022)

Amanda Light (Fall 2021 - Spring 2022)

Gabby Ross (Fall 2021 - Spring 2022)

Phuongtin Thi Ta (Fall 2021 - Spring 2022)

Claire Pierce (Summer 2021 - Spring 2022)

Katie Smith (Summer 2021 - Spring 2022)

Isha Naidu (Spring 2021 - Spring 2022)

Tim McCoy (Fall 2020 - Spring 2022)

Morgan Arevalo (Spring 2022)

Julia Eisenberg (Fall 2021)

Sophia Milazzo (Fall 2021)

Isabel Rumsey (Spring 2021)

Jonas Sutphin (Fall 2020 - Spring 2021)

Kayla Tran (Fall 2019 - Spring 2021)
Emma Fairlie (Fall 2019 - Spring 2021)
Ritwika Chakrabarti (Fall 2019 - Spring 2021)
Tose Akinmola (Fall 2019 - Spring 2021)
Madison Rhodes (Fall 2019 - Spring 2021)

Tiffany Adike (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Chinonso Ani (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Colby Cochran (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Morgan Cox (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Iyanu Daomi (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Payton Eason (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Rashidatu "Tope" Olorunsola (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Isis Owusu (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Dalton Sircy (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Josie Guitton (Fall 2018 - Spring 2020)

Connor Lambert (Fall 2018 - Spring 2020)

Alyssa Moffitt (Fall 2018 - Spring 2020)

Yakia Clark (Fall 2019)

Gabrielle "Bria" Hubinger (Fall 2019)

Anna Brachey (Spring 2019 - Fall 2019)

Fiona Cashin (Spring 2019 - Fall 2019)

Rebecca Guerreso (Fall 2018 - Summer 2019)

Santosh Nimkar (Fall 2018 - Summer 2019)

Stephanie Hayes (Spring 2019 - Summer 2019)

Kamsi Ubezonu (Spring 2019)

Sara Atama (Fall 2018 - Spring 2019)

Orobosa Idehen (Fall 2018 - Spring 2019)

Mackenzie "Blue" Harvill (Fall 2017- Spring 2018)

Hope Skypek (Fall 2017 - Spring 2018)

Mary Mitchell Morris (Summer 2017- Spring 2018)

Lauren Geiser (Summer 2017)

Lab Mascots




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