Affiliated graduate students

Jasmine Banegas

Jasmine is a first-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology, on the Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science track. She received her MSW degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work in 2017. She served as a bilingual clinical social worker providing community-based mental health services to Latine/o/a children, youth, and families in the greater Detroit area. Since 2019, Jasmine has worked as an ADAPT intervention coordinator and facilitator with Dr. Abigail Gewirtz’s research and implementation team. During her time with ADAPT, she assisted in the development of the contextual adaptations of ADAPT for first responders and diverse immigrant/refugee populations. Her general research interests focus on child development, family resilience, and cross-cultural psychology in the context of globalization and migration, as well as cultural adaptation of culturally responsive prevention interventions. She is interested in understanding the psychological and ecological impacts of modern globalization and new forms of acculturation on the development and well-being of children, youth, and families that have experienced forced migration.

Lauren Eales

Lauren (she/her) is a fourth-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota. Before attending UMN, she received her B.A. in Economics and Music from UC Berkeley in 2014 and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Psychology from UC Irvine in 2017. She is primarily interested in better understanding the influences of screen media and the larger global media landscape in mental and physical health development. She is also interested in how media and parental media mediation influence healthy and unhealthy White racial identity development. A guiding goal for her current and future research is to better understand how child screen media use contributes to adaptive and maladaptive physical and mental health behaviors in under-resourced and underrepresented communities, especially those that have been historically less represented in clinical psychology and developmental science.

Mirinda Morency

Mirinda Morency (LMSW) is a first-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota. She is primarily interested in the impact of context (family, school, community) on normative and non-normative development among ethnic-racial minority youth and in understanding the determinants of risk and resilience. Mirinda is from Chicago where she received her B.S. in psychology from Loyola University in 2015. She went on to do community-based participatory research (CBPR) in the South and West sides of Chicago through a cross-age peer mentoring program designed to reduce negative outcomes related to violence exposure/engagement and promote positive youth development. Before arriving in Minnesota, Mirinda received her MSW at Columbia University in New York and spent the last few years providing trauma-informed clinical services in the city. Mirinda hopes to translate her research into culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate preventive/interventive work through advocacy, policy, education, and clinical treatment.

Sarah Gillespie

Sarah Gillespie is a third-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology on the Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science track. Before beginning her graduate studies, she worked as a research assistant at the Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. In this role, she used community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods to understand the strengths and challenges of refugee communities who have been affected by conflict, migration, and resettlement stressors. Her current research focuses on ethnic-racial identity development among immigrant and non-immigrant adolescents and factors that promote resilience in the context of globalizing and multicultural societies. She is also interested in digital and school-based interventions to promote mental and physical well-being. Follow these links to read more about her current work on Project UNITE and her published articles.  

H.R. Hodges

H.R. Hodges is a second-year Ph.D. student in clinical and developmental psychology at the Institute for Child Development. Though originally from Florida, she spent her adult life in New Haven, Connecticut where she completed an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree at Yale, both of which focused on post-violence literature and collective resilience practices. Her dual academic pursuits — engaging with culturally diverse narratives in the classroom, while also conducting trauma and mental health intakes through her role as a clinical staff member in a neuroscience research lab — shaped her belief in the primacy of cultural roles and values in shaping effective interventions. She is particularly interested in interventions that bolster locally available resources that already contribute to collective and individual health. In the long term, she hopes to partner with communities of diverse cultural backgrounds to design more effective and culturally appropriate trauma treatments. 

Keira Leneman 

I am a 5th-year Developmental Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota, working primarily with Drs. Dan Berry and Megan Gunnar. My research interests surround stress and the psychophysiology of self-regulation as well as working to integrate key elements of Critical Race Studies. I am interested in how stress (acute and chronic) shapes the autonomic nervous system, HPA axis, and brain and how these changes interact with emotional, behavioral, and physiological regulation. My dissertation work is focused on how physiological stress responses of Liberal, White emerging adults relate to emotion regulation and productive engagement in conversations about racism.

Tori Simenec

Tori Simenec is a second-year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science. Before beginning her graduate studies, she worked as a research assistant in The Gunnar Laboratory for Developmental Psychobiology researching the impact of early adversity on the developing stress response system. Her research interests include cultural adaptation of prevention and intervention programs designed to increase positive outcomes and reduce the risk for psychopathologies in historically underserved populations. Specifically, she is interested in increasing the relevance and engagement of empirical programs for families that experience high levels of stress including forced migration, trauma, or discrimination through cultural adaptation and innovative dissemination strategies to reach communities.