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Current Graduate Students

Lauren E. Altenburger, B.S., 2012, Human Development and Family Science with Honors, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan. Interests: social-emotional development in early childhood, infant-father attachment, influence of family processes on child adjustment, observational & measurement, transition to parenthood, coparenting. Email:

David D. Bowers, B.A., 1985, English Literature, University of the South. M.Div., 1989, Theology, Nashotah House Seminary. M.B.A., 2013 Western Governors University, Strategy and Leadership. M.A., Marriage and Family Therapy, specialization in Chemical Dependency Counseling. Advisor: Suzanne Bartle-Haring. Interests: What might a therapy session look like with Žižek as therapist? client? Given Althusser’s concerns regarding both the academy and the family, (how) can relationally oriented therapy result in something other than docile bodies? How might Lacan’s insights into the inter-psychically constructed unconscious (among other things) prove helpful to therapy within a family systems paradigm? Where might queer and feminist gender theory find application in the therapy room for those who don’t identify as queer or feminist? Is theory an effective technique? Email:

Barbara Boyd, B.A., 1974, Geology, Capital University; M.B.A., 1999, Leadership, Franklin University; pursuing Ph.D. within Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Xin Feng. Interests: Human development within a K-12 environment; early warning indicators for dropout, early warning indicators for risk, longitudinal and profile-based methods. Email:

Brittany Brakenhoff, B.S., 2011, Family Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; M.S., 2011, Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Natasha Slesnick. Email:

Rachel R Brown, B.S., 2013, Family, Consumer, and Human Development, Utah State University Uintah Basin Regional Campus. Advisor: Claire Kamp Dush. Interests: romantic relationships throughout the life course, the development of intimate relationships in youth, Family Life Education. Email:

Jasmin Carmona, B.A., 2008, Psychology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.S., 2013, Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Natasha Slesnick, Ph.D. Interests: substance use within a family context; childhood abuse; intimate partner violence; street victimization; homeless youth; substance using mothers and their children. Email:

Megan Ferriby, B.S., 2013, Psychology, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Suzanne Bartle-Haring, co-advisor: Keeley Pratt. Interests: Individual and family functioning over normative and non-normative transitions and how marriage and family therapists can intervene to build upon strengths and minimize stressors of the family. With Dr. Bartle-Haring, exploring family support during normative transitions such as emerging adulthood. With Dr. Pratt, understanding how marriage and family therapists can improve health and relational outcomes for bariatric patients. Email:

Diandra R. Gordon, B.A., 2011, Psychology, Hampton University. Advisor: Dr. Claire Kamp Dush, PhD. Interests: intimate partner violence; under-represented populations; the African Diaspora; bridging the gap between research and the community; applied research; early and middle childhood experiences. Email:

Ashley A. Hicks, B.S., 2009, Sociology and Spanish, The Ohio State University, M.S. 2011 Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University.
Advisor: Anastasia Snyder. Interests: adolescent development in context, specifically how family, school, and community experiences impact adolescent development; the impact of trauma on adolescent and family development; the influence of mental health on adolescent and family well-being; awareness, access, and utilization of mental health services by marginalized and underserved populations, including low income and ethnic minorities. Email:

Eugene A. Holowacz, B.S., 2008, Biochemistry, Psychology, Theatre Arts, Stony Brook University; M.S., 2011, Marriage and Family Therapy, Seton Hall University. Advisor: Suzanne Bartle-Haring. Email:

Emma Hooper, B.S., 2009, Psychology and Cultural Studies, Chatham University, M.S., 2013, Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Xin Feng. Interests: early childhood emotional and behavioral development; child emotion socialization and maternal influences, including mental health and intervention development; family and intimate relationship functioning, including promoting healthy relationships through couple and family therapy; relational processes. Email:

Letitia E. Kotila, B.A., 2008, Women's Studies/History Minor, The Ohio State University, M.S., 2011, Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University. Advisors. Claire Kamp Dush and Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan. Interests: parental involvement, coparenting, and couple relationships as determinants and barriers to healthy individual and family development among families living in at-risk and advantaged contexts; unmarried parenthood; union formation; family demography; quantitative research methods. Email:

Seulki Sue Ku, B.A., 2007, Consumer Science and Human Development/Psychology, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea, M.A., 2010, Interdisciplinary Programs in Child Development and Intervention, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea. Advisor: Xin Feng. Interests: interplay between parenting and children’s temperament in the development of executive function and emotion regulation of preschoolers. Email:

Sarah N. Lang, B.S., 2001, Psychology with Honors, The Ohio State University, M.S., 2004, Human Ecology with specialization in Early Childhood Development and Education, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan. Interests: infant and toddler social-emotional development; attachment; coparenting; cocaring; family systems; parenting; early childhood care and education; childcare for low-income families; parent-teacher relationships; teacher-child relationships in early care contexts; center-based childcare; family (home-based) childcare; guidance for young children; community building in early childhood education; graduate student service. Email:

Jin-kyung Lee, B.A., 2006, Consumer and Child Studies (specific: Child and Family Studies), Seoul National University (with an honor of summa cum laude), M.A., 2009, Child Development and Family Studies (specific: Family Studies), Seoul National University. Advisor: Cynthia K. Buettner. Interests: Understanding how family contexts affect children's social-emotional development; finding environmental protective factors which can buffer children at risk from their familial disadvantaged experiences; studying how to build our child care environment to become more supportive to enhance children's resilience and social adjustment. Email:

Aaron Murnan, B.A, 2013, Psychology, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Natasha Slesnick. Interests: Substance Abuse Treatment and Intervention with women involved in sex work. Email:

Elizabeth Palmer, PhD Student, B.A., 2011, Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies minor, Elon University, M.S., 2013, Marriage and Family Therapy, Thomas Jefferson University . Advisor: Keeley Pratt, PhD. Interests: At-risk populations; children ages 2-10 years; disengaged parents; intervention development; play therapy; filial therapy; sibling subsystem; family therapy; human sexuality; sex therapy. Email:

Sujata Ponappa, B.A., 1993, English, Madras Christian College; B.S., 2011, Human Ecology, The Ohio State University; M.S., 2012, Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Dr. Suzanne Bartle-Haring. Interests: Family systems; Bowen theory; contextual theory; structural theory; parent-adolescent relationships; sibling relationships; differentiation in the couple relationship. Email:

Sara Sandberg-Thoma, B.A., 2009, Psychology, University of Minnesota, M.S., 2012, Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Claire Kamp Dush. Interests: adolescent and emerging adult development; understanding the link between mental health and romantic relationships, including romantic unions and casual relationships; union formation and dissolution; family demography; longitudinal methods. Email:

Tracy Settle, B.S., 2005, Art Education, Miami University, M.A., 2006, Art Education, Miami University. Advisor: Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan. Email:

Samuel Shannon, B.S.,2007, Psychology, Brigham Young University, M.S., Human Development and Family Science, 2012, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Suzanne Bartle-Haring. Interests: development of romantic relationships, therapist development, the use of theory as a tool for change in the context of therapy, relational ethics and perceived fairness in couple relationships, intergenerational effects of romantic relationships, couples and family therapy, dyadic methods. E-mail:

Laura A. Walaszek, B.A., 2008, Public Administration, Miami University, M.A., 2010, Education, Marian University. Advisor: Cynthia K. Buettner. Interests: college student development; young adult development; evidence-based practice; college student success programs; understanding malleable factors that influence young women’s drinking behaviors; higher education program evaluation; service learning. Email:

Nicole L. Walton, LISW-S, Clinical Social Work (MSW), The Ohio State University, 2005; Doctoral Student, Human Development and Family Studies, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Keeley J. Pratt. Interests: Family-based child health interventions involving multiple disciplines (including Medical Social Work and Child Protective Services); medical neglect; collaborative practices between healthcare providers/institutions and child protective services/agencies for medical neglect in childhood obesity cases; treatment compliance and health outcomes. Email:

Qiong Wu, B.S., 2012, Psychology, Peking University, Beijing, China. Advisor: Xin Feng. Interests: child socioemotional development, including emotion and regulation, behavior problems, shyness and early indicators of psychopathologies; emotion socialization in family contexts; family interactions and relationships, especially parent-child relationships and attachment; parental depression, stress and anxiety; dyadic and sequential analysis; longitudinal methods. Email: