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I am a Developmental Scientist and a licensed Clinical Psychologist dedicated to promoting health and well-being in children, youth, and families. I grew up in a small town in Indiana and am proud to be among the growing ranks of first-generation college graduates.  After obtaining my BA in psychology at Indiana University, I travelled to the desert where I completed my doctorate in clinical psychology under Dr. Laurie Chassin at Arizona State University and then onto Los Angeles to intern in community mental health at Pacific Clinics. I came to North Carolina in 1996 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Carolina Consortium on Human Development before joining the faculty in the Department of Psychology in 1997. Over the past twenty years, I have mentored many undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and junior faculty. My research has long focused on developmental pathways to substance use and disorder, particularly for children of drug-involved parents. Through this work, I have collaborated with quantitative methodologists to apply innovative methods for longitudinal data analysis and integrative data analysis. Most recently, my research has expanded to focus on positive youth development and processes that may promote resilience, most specifically the development of gratitude in children. My work currently focuses on applying findings from developmental science to the creation of programs that support families in raising grateful children and in coping with the challenges of parental drug addiction.  (For publications, you can find me on Research Gate, PubMed Central, or ORCID).


New Website:

Course Offerings Fall 2023: Psychology 471 (Adolescent Development)

and Spring 2024: Psychology 518_H (honors):  Creating Digital Tools for Positive Youth Development – NEW CLASS!

For opportunities in research training, see my website ( We consider clinical and developmental applications for our doctoral program. We especially encourage students of color to contact us about these opportunities.