Psychology Alumni Participant Bios
Read about the 2018 alumni participants’ biographies and work histories.
Anthony (A.J.) Barnold '09
A.J. transitioned directly from his career on the Muhlenberg soccer field to a role on the sideline. His nine seasons as a college soccer coach include stints at Arcadia, Muhlenberg, and Lafayette, leading up to his current role as Performance Analyst at the University of Virginia. He oversees all aspects of analytics for the men’s soccer program – video analysis, opposition scouting, and analysis/visualization of data from match events and physical player tracking (GPS, heart rate, etc.). During his first two years as a coach, A.J. earned a master’s degree in exercise and sport psychology from Temple University. His work in performance analysis serves as a great combination of his background in statistics and research with his coaching experience. A.J. posts samples of his work on Twitter (@ajbarnold) and writes periodically for American Soccer Analysis and his own personal blog.Up.
A.J. will be virtually joining a Psychological Statistics class on Monday, April 9.
Breanne Biondi '13
Breanne graduated from Muhlenberg with a degree in psychology and a minor in public health. She then went to Rutgers School of Public Health, where she concentrated in epidemiology and worked on a cohort project of drug users which begun in the 1980s. Her master’s thesis focused on cancer outcomes in this cohort from NJ. She also worked on a project with methadone treatment programs to see if those in treatment for their opiate addiction were receiving new treatments for Hepatitis C. From there she moved on to Yale, where she currently coordinates a project looking at biological outcomes in persons with and without HIV starting medication assisted therapy for opiate addiction. She recently participated as a Muhlenberg Shadow Program host, and is eager to introduce more students to research and working with persons with addictions.
Breanne will be speaking in Psychopharmacology, sharing her story with Psych interns, and attending the networking lunch on Friday, April 13.
Caitlin Dombkowski '11
Caitlin chose Muhlenberg College because at 18 years old she still didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life and she wanted a liberal arts education where she could have options. Caitlin began as pre-med and switched to psychology and elementary education. She became interested in research and statistics and was a learning assistant for stats and psych stats. After college, she tried special education and regular education before getting a job as a quantitative market research analyst to try her hand at researching packaging designs for companies like PepsiCo and S.C. Johnson, but she missed working with and helping people. Her fiancé (another Muhlenberg grad – they started dating while they were living in Prosser) is a physical therapist and she reached out to the career center so she could shadow other alumni who worked in rehabilitation. After seeing PT, OT, and SLPs at work, she decided to start her journey to become a speech-language pathologist where she could still have a wide array of options to work with newborns, children, adults, and elderly for a variety of disorders in feeding, swallowing, language, memory, cognition, stuttering, voice disorders, and more.
Caitlin will be virtually joining Child Development on Wednesday, April 11.
Miriam Eisenberg Colman '07
Miriam majored in psychology at Muhlenberg and it was there that she experienced her love for the subject and for understanding the psychosocial correlations of obesity and weight-related behaviors like diet and exercise. After she graduated, Miriam worked for two years as a research assistant at UPenn and then got her Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology at GW. She did a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and just started as a Senior Scientist at Fors Marsh Group, using her research and subject-matter expertise to conduct behavioral health research and marketing/communications research for the government.
Miriam will be virtually joining Research Methods on Tuesday, April 10.
Tracy Evian Waasdorp '02
Tracy Evian Waasdorp, PhD, MEd holds a joint appointment as a research scientist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH). Dr. Waasdorp has published on school-based bullying prevention and intervention, forms of aggression, bullying and peer victimization (e.g. relational aggression, cyberbullying, and bystander behaviors), coping with bullying, teachers’ perceptions and responses to bullying, parent-child relationships surrounding peer relationships, school safety and connectedness, and the measurement of school safety and school climate. Many of her publications use complex statistical modeling including hierarchical linear modelling, multilevel mediation modeling with latent variables, factor analyses and testing for measurement invariance, structural equation modeling with latent variables, and mixture modeling. At Muhlenberg, Tracy was a psychology major which provided her the tools necessary to pursue a career which she is very passionate about, designing and testing school-based programming to prevent and reduce bullying.
Tracy will be virtually joining Psychological Statistics on Monday, April 9.
Gina Forchelli '06
Gina is a licensed psychologist who specializes in pediatric neuropsychological and psychological assessment of children and adolescents with learning, emotional, and behavioral concerns at the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) within the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. She completed her bachelor’s in psychology and music at Muhlenberg College. While at Muhlenberg, she took advantage of the diverse opportunities supported in a liberal arts education. She valued her time honing research skills in the psychology department but also enjoyed pursuing her passion for musical performance. After Muhlenberg, she completed her M.Ed. in school psychology at Teachers College Columbia University. Her doctoral studies in school psychology were completed at Temple University. She has completed training across multiple settings including an outpatient trauma-based clinic, residential therapeutic school, and public school settings. Gina has particular interest in facilitating the appropriate evaluation and treatment of adolescents with executive function difficulties that co-occur with a myriad of cognitive and emotional regulatory difficulties.
Gina will be virtually joining Child Development on Wednesday, April 11.
Abigail Gilmore '12
Abigail is a proud Muhlenberg alum from the Class of 2012. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in psychology and Spanish. During her time on campus, she served as a tour guide, an orientation leader, a learning assistant in the Department of Psychology, and an intern in the Office of Admissions. Following her graduation, she worked for one year as an Associate Director of Admissions at Muhlenberg, an exciting position that allowed her to share her passion for the school and the community. At the time, she was also embarking on a journey towards another career goal of hers, becoming an Occupational Therapist. She attended Thomas Jefferson University from 2013 to 2015, where she earned a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy. She has since worked in adult acute care, adult inpatient rehab, pediatric acute care, inpatient rehab, and outpatient settings. She has worked for both Good Shepherd Penn Partners and Nemours AI DuPont Hospital for Children, and has lived in Philadelphia, PA since 2013.
Abigail will be speaking in Development: Inclusion/Exclusion and attending the networking lunch on Thursday, April 12.
Carey Heller '07
Carey is a clinical psychologist with his own practice, The Heller Psychology Group, in Bethesda, Maryland. He specializes in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD/Executive Functioning issues. He works with children, teens, and adults. He loved his experience at Muhlenberg. As a psychology major, Carey conducted psych research and completed an honors thesis. He’s found that having to take courses in a lot of different fields as part of the liberal arts curriculum has really been helpful in his career.
Carey will be virtually joining Learning and Behavior on Thursday, April 12.
Christa Lewis '11
Upon graduation from Muhlenberg, Christa was awarded an IRTA fellowship where she worked in the lab of neuropsychology at the NIMH studying memory formation. Following her fellowship, she went on to obtain her M.A in clinical psychology from Towson University. Christa then worked as both a research coordinator and a mental health therapist at an addiction facility in Baltimore. Additionally, she became an adjunct faculty member at Towson University where she taught abnormal psychology. Since graduation, Christa has been fortunate to have many opportunities to write manuscripts and present posters both nationally and internationally. Most recently, Christa decided to pursue doctoral programs in clinical psychology and after a successful application season, decided to accept an offer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Clinical Psychology program where she is currently enrolled. Christa is researching the bio-psycho-social factors that underlie the development of chronic pain. She is particularly interested in how the experiences of trauma and discrimination influence the perception and neural processing of pain stimuli. Christa is forever thankful for the mentorship she received during her time at Muhlenberg and firmly believes she wouldn’t be where she is today if it were not for the support and encouragement she received!
Christa will be speaking in Multicultural Psych and Psych of Women and attending the networking lunch on Thursday, April 12.
Claire Lonergan '00
Claire’s career as a behavior analyst started at Muhlenberg when she took Dr. Rudski’s Behavioral Psychology class and continued through taking Dr. Rudski’s Experimental Psychology. Her experimental psych class had a behavior focus, and she did her research project working in the rat lab at the brand new Moyer Hall at Muhlenberg. From there, she went on to earn a masters of science in clinical behavioral psychology from Eastern Michigan University. She started her professional career working in an all-girls residential treatment facility in Detroit, Mich., where among other interventions, they used a modified form of Dialectical Behavior Therapy to work with girls who had a history of abuse. She continued working with adolescents in a residential treatment facility at KidsPeace in Orefield when she moved back to Pennsylvania. There she helped to develop a new residential program focusing on helping teenage boys and girls with a range of behavioral disorders, such as Conduct Disorder, ADHD, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Her role at KidsPeace also included being a clinical trainer for a variety of topics including behavior management techniques, crisis de-escalation, and the connections between trauma and conduct disorder. While remaining at KidsPeace, she transferred to the Behavioral Health and Rehabilitative Services department and went back to her Applied Behavior Analysis roots to develop ABA home programming for children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. After almost 10 years, she moved on to the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22, where she currently works. Here, she consults to special education teachers in a variety of K-12 classrooms (Autistic Support, Emotional Support, and Multi-disability Support). She creates data collection tools, analyze data to determine the function of behaviors, write Functional Behavior Assessments, and develop Positive Behavior Support Plans with her recommendations for decreasing behaviors of concern.
Claire will be speaking in Learning and Behavior and attending the networking lunch on Thursday, April 12.
Valerie Lykes '05
Valerie graduated from Muhlenberg College with a dual major in economics and psychology. She made lasting friendships and had many wonderful experiences there. One of her favorite opportunities was the ability to spend a year studying abroad in the Netherlands and Scotland. After college, she worked as an HR executive for Target and a meeting and event planner. She decided she wanted to go back to school so she could teach at a college level, and got accepted into a PhD program in interdisciplinary social psychology. She received her Ph.D. in 2016 from the University of Nevada, Reno and while finishing was hired at J.D. Power to work as a marketing scientist. She is now a senior marketing scientist for the company, focused on research of the future- how we continue doing great research and survey work in a changing environment where response rates are declining and passive/behavioral data and “big data” are increasing in popularity, reducing the perceived necessity of attitude research.?
Valerie will be virtually joining Social Psychology on Monday, April 9.
Rebecca Minor '11
Muhlenberg is where Rebecca’s interest in gender and sexuality began and flourished. As a double major in psychology and theatre, she was able to study identity through a multitude of lenses that continue to inform her practice. She is forever grateful for her professors whom she worked closely with throughout her time at Muhlenberg. After graduation, she worked as a residential counselor at McLean Hospital and as a research assistant and research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital. Rebecca obtained a masters in social work and certificate for the treatment of trauma and dissociation at Boston University in 2015. Since then, she has worked in a variety of settings providing trauma informed care to individuals and couples. She has received postgraduate training in advanced trauma studies, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, sensorimotor affect regulation therapy, and trauma Informed yoga. She currently owns her own practice working as a therapist, providing LGBTQ+ cultural competency training, and teaching trauma informed yoga.
Rebecca will be virtually joining Gender Development on Thursday, April 12.
Ilyse O'Desky '86
Dr. Ilyse O’Desky received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Yeshiva University in 1992. She subsequently worked as a neuropharmacology senior research associate at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic before completing a fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology. Dr. O’Desky is currently director of the Neuropsychological Testing Center and chief of psychology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. She is also a full-time professor at Kean University in New Jersey.
Ilyse will be speaking in Personality Psychology and attending the networking lunch on Wednesday, April 11.
William Osei '10
William graduated from Muhlenberg in 2010 with degrees in psychology and history. Following the advice of his Muhlenberg mentors, he attended University of Pennsylvania graduate school of education where he earned a masters in developmental psychology in 2011. In 2013, he began his doctoral studies at the University of Akron in counseling psychology and will be going to Hofstra University student counseling center for his doctoral Internship. Regarding community mental health, he has worked a wide variety of positions from residential treatment facilities, various psychiatric hospitals, community treatment teams, community mental health centers and college counseling centers. He has also had the great fortune to be on some exciting research teams, such as Dr. Howard Stevensons PLAAY lab and Dr. Amber Hewitts P.R.I.D.E. lab. Currently, he is working on his dissertation which will look at how race and masculinity affect psychological help-seeking in African American men. He is also a research assistant for a Swedish-based company piloting a global youth empowerment program to help teens understand their emotions and reduce suicidal ideation. He enjoyed his time at Muhlenberg and still believe the mentorship he received from the psychology department set him up to be successful.
Will will be speaking in Multicultural Psychology, Psychology of Women, and attending the networking lunch on Thursday, April 12.
Karly Rodriguez '09
At Muhlenberg, Karly studied psychology and was involved in theatre and multicultural life on campus. Throughout her time at Muhlenberg, she participated in research projects and these skills and experiences continue to benefit her work and advocacy for her clients. After graduating from Muhlenberg, she attended NYU’s Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness master’s program and obtained her licensure hours at the counseling center at John Jay College. She’s currently working at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) as a licensed mental health counselor, where she gets to work clinically with student artists. She’s also involved in community organizing in New York, which she incorporates into her work at AMDA.
Karly will be speaking in Abnormal Psychology and attending the networking lunch on Monday, April 9.
Ali Rosenberg '14
During her time at Muhlenberg, Ali discovered a love of psychology and research while working on a research project with Dr. Sinno and Dr. Richmond, which was later published! After graduation, she worked at Mount Sinai Hospital as a research coordinator and later obtained her masters in public health from George Washington University. She currently works on implementing system-wide health initiatives under the guidance of Mount Sinai Health System’s Chief Medical Officer.
Ali will be virtually joining Gender Development on Thursday, April 12.
Mike Schlossberg '05
Mike serves as an elected official for the people of Allentown and South Whitehall Township. As a political science and psychology major, he found that psychology was a PERFECT complement to his chosen field of government. Education and mental health are his two biggest issues, and he’s been very passionate about advocating for the mentally ill, including sharing his own experiences with depression and anxiety as part of a stigma-breaking effort.
Mike will be speaking in Abnormal Psychology and attending the networking lunch on Thursday, April 12.
Ben Solomon '05
Benjamin Solomon, Ph.D. (’05) graduated Muhlenberg with majors in psychology and english and later earned his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Currently, he is a faculty member in the accredited CAS and Psy.D. school psychology training programs at SUNY Albany. He also consults with several schools and agencies across the country in their implementation of academic and behavioral Response-to-Intervention models. Dr. Solomon is an active researcher in the areas of instructional decision-making and academic intervention, primarily with elementary-age students. He is married to Emily Solomon (’05) and is the father of two mini-mules, Maisie and Libbie.
Ben will be speaking in Research Methods and attending the networking lunch on Thursday, April 12.