Current Doctoral Students
- Parent-child relationship
- Helicopter parenting
- Transnational research
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
Jeffery grew up in the foothills outside of Sacramento California. He is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Family Science. His research interests currently include Parent-child relationships with an emphasis on helicopter parenting. Jeffery graduated from Utah State University with his MMFT in Marriage and Family Therapy and his B.S. in Psychology. After graduating with his master’s degree Jeffery worked and practiced Marriage and Family therapy in Utah for over 3 years. Jeffery hopes to use his experience in the therapy office to help inform his research ideas and insights. In the future, Jeffery hopes to conduct research, teach and have a small private practice working with families. Jeffery hopes to inspire those he works with through teaching, research and an informed therapeutic approach. Jeffery’s brightest desires are to be a loving and effective father, husband and friend each and every day.
- Family Finances
- Personal Finance
- Socialization Processes
- African American Families
- Minority mental and physical health disparities
Cortnie is Tallahassee, FL native. She is a doctoral student in Human Development and Family Science. Her research interests currently include applied and community-based research focusing on risk and resilience, self-concept, and romantic relationships, with a focus on minority and military populations. Cortnie graduated from the University of Kentucky with her M.S. in Family Science, emphasis Couple and Family Therapy and her B.S. in Psychology from Florida State University. Cortnie is pursuing credentials to become a licensed Marriage and Family therapist in the interest of incorporating her therapeutic skill set into her pursuits as an applied researcher. Cortnie is pursuing a three-dimensional career to include research, psychotherapy, and teaching. It is her goal to conduct grant writing, evaluate current family programs, collaborate on the development of new family programs, provide evidence-based therapeutic interventions, while at the same time demonstrating instructional excellence in the classroom, all in hopes to serve as a role model for minority women and to contribute to the improved human experience of those in her community.
While working on her Master’s degree, Cortnie had the opportunity to serve as a University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Intern for the Military Family Programs. It was during this time that she spent time serving and learning from military families at various military family camps. Additionally, in preparation for her internship, she spent 5 days on a military training base for Kentucky’s Operation Immersion program, simulating the life of a soldier, as an effort to better understand military life and culture.
- Social-Cognitive Theory of Motivation
- Parental Socialization Practices
- Development of Implicit Theories of Intelligence
- Grit and Motivational Frameworks
Kelly is a doctoral student in Human Development and Family Science. Kelly graduated from Georgia Southern University with her B.S. In Child and Family Development, and Florida State University with her M.S. In Child and Family Sciences. Kelly is pursuing a career as a faculty member at a research university. Her research program involves investigating parent’s influence on children’s achievement and performance. Specifically, she wants to investigate how and which parental socialization practices and behaviors influence children’s implicit theories of intelligence, grit, and motivational frameworks.
- Family therapy
- Youth and families
- Couples therapy
- Creative interventions
- Child centered play therapies
Trent is a doctoral student in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is a grateful and proud husband and father. Trent is originally from Utah where he graduated from Utah Valley University with his Bachelors of Science in Behavioral Science. Prior to attending Florida State Trent completed his Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy at Oklahoma State University. Prior to completing his masters degree Trent worked at an adolescent treatment center. Trent’s research interests include families and couples research, and parent child dynamics, specifically for vulnerable populations.
- Daily Interactions
- Parent-Child Relationships
- Daily Stress and Coping
Ashley is a doctoral student in Marriage and Family Therapy, a specialization within Human Development and Family Science. Her research investigates the daily experiences of couples, both heterosexual and same-sex. She is interested in examining daily interactions and mechanisms for coping with stress that is tied to long-term individual and couple outcomes. Some mechanisms in coping with daily stress that Ashley has begun to examine include dyadic coping between partners, religious coping, and self-regulation. She also aims to study the daily spillover of stress from the couple relationship to the parent-child relationship. Through such research, she aims to improve couple and clinician awareness of the daily experiences that chip away at long-term physical and mental health, offering points of intervention to buffer the negative effects of daily stress, including stress from chronic illness. Ashley is pursuing a career as a faculty member at a research university in a Marriage and Family Therapy program. She plans to conduct research that enhances the knowledge of clinicians working with families and couples and improves awareness of the daily interactions that contribute to relationship well-being. Further, she aims to contribute to the training of future MFTs and the enhancement of the field.
Ashley is trained in public speaking and has served as a keynote at events as large as 20,000 people. She also specializes in advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. She enjoys beach trips and Alabama games with her husband, as well as lazy Saturdays cuddling with her dogs (a bossy little dachshund and a giant lovable coonhound).
- Marriage and Family Therapy
- Parent-child Relationships
- Childhood Trauma
- Re-integration into the home after long-term residential treatment
Tatjana is a first year Ph.D. student in the Marriage and Family Therapy doctoral program. Tatjana received her B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech, and received a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy along with certificates in Systemic Multicultural Counseling and Addiction Counseling from Appalachian State University. Tatjana’s research interests primarily focus on the process of re-integration of children and adolescents into the home after long-term residential treatment programs. Additionally, Tatjana is focused on the influence of childhood trauma and parent-child relationships in this re-integration process. In exploring these family systems, Tatjana hopes to increase awareness and improve the systems and resources families have access to when children are re-entering the home in order to decrease recidivism. Tatjana is also a registered intern at the Center for Couple and Family Therapy on Florida State’s campus. Her long term goals are to work in an academic setting, mentor future professionals, and continue to research her desired populations in order to help clinicians apply this knowledge in the therapy room.
Jasmine Ferrill is currently a doctoral student in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Florida State University. Her clinical training began while pursuing her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Northwestern University. At The Family Institute, she saw individuals, couples, and families in both the clinic and the community facing a variety of presenting problems. Jasmine also had the opportunity to facilitate a group for young girls at a local homeless shelter. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Jasmine began practicing as a Multisystemic Therapist serving families involved with the Department of Juvenile Services in the Washington DC Metro Area. Committed to becoming as equipped as possible to serve the community, Jasmine made the decision to continue her education at Florida State University. Here she continues to see clients at The Center for Couple and Family Therapy. In addition to cultivating her clinical skills, Jasmine is interested in conducting research on how perceived discrimination relates to health outcomes in minority populations with a focus on understanding how spirituality and ethnic identity impact this relationship. Jasmine aims to not only contribute to the literature addressing these topics but to also incorporate knowledge obtained from the research into her own practice.
- Physical and mental health outcomes of childhood maltreatment/traumatic stress, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault
- Parental victimization’s influence on children, parenting as protective factor of trauma and parenting of traumatized children
- Emotion regulation and Self-Control
- Attachment Theory and Developmental Psychopathology
- Internal Family Systems Therapy
Mike is a 3rd-year doctoral student in Marriage and Family Therapy. His research is focused on risk factors and physical and mental health outcomes of traumatic stress. Additionally, he researches moderators, or protective factors, in traumatic stress recoveries such as parenting, emotional regulation, and self-control. Mike frequently collaborates with undergraduates, fellow graduate students and FCS and Social Work faculty. After earning his Ph.D., Mike will be applying for a post-doctoral fellowship at the Trauma Center in Boston to work as a clinician and researcher.
- Parent-child relationship
- Fathering processes, father-child relationships, child outcomes
- Risk and protective factors of children raised in single-parent homes
- Minority families
Shar’Dane is a second year doctoral student in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program. Shar’Dane received dual degrees, Masters degree and Education Specialist degree, in Mental Health Counseling from Florida State University. Her program of research involves examining Black fatherhood and father’s role in the Black families. She aspires to add to the literature about Black fathering and involvement, the outcomes of their youth, and mental health of fathers and their children. She would like to use her research to implement fathering programs in underserved communities and assist clinicians in using culturally sensitive interventions when working with diverse families.
Additionally, she hopes to identify risk and protective factors of minority children raised in single-parent homes. Shar’Dane hopes to create programs to inform parents of these risk and protective factors and utilize the programs to implement healthy protective factors so youth maintain optimum well-being. She wants to increase clinician’s awareness of risk and protective factors which could then be translated into therapy sessions. Ultimately, she aims to practice therapy with minority and underserved populations and mentor students at the collegiate level who seek to become future clinicians.
Shar’Dane’s name is her mother’s (Sharon) and father’s (Dane) names put together. She is the first person in her family to pursue a doctoral degree. During her undergraduate career at Clemson University, she played club rugby for the school. She loves to cook, shop, attend sporting events, and participate in community service.
- Close relationships
- Cross-cultural research
Peipei is a second-year doctoral student in Human Development and Family Science. She grew up in Southeast China, Ningbo and Hangzhou, where she completed her M.S. in Psychology from Zhejiang University and her B.S. in Economics from Zhejiang Gongshang University. She is pursuing a career as a family scientist at a research university. She wants to understand how parenting and close relationships allow individuals to thrive in this changing world, and the sociocultural environment intersects with these processes. She wants her research to contribute to the well-being of individuals and families.
Peipei’s eight years working experience as an administrator in Zhejiang University, which connected her to a great number of college and graduate students, has sparked her interest in studying young adult population. In her free time, she enjoys jogging, hiking, cooking, watching movies and spending time with her family.
- Military families
- Family processes
- Vulnerable and at-risk families
Samantha is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Family Science program. Her research interests include interpersonal and family processes within families that experience non-normative stressors. She has specifically studied military families but looks forward to broadening her focus to others as well. Samantha graduated from Florida State University with her B.S. in Sociology and Political Science and her M.S. in Family and Child Sciences. She hopes to continue her research on understanding vulnerable families with the goal of discovering ways that the families can improve the overall well-being of the members and the unit as a whole. Eventually, her goal is to pursue a career as a faculty member at a research institution and use her love of statistics to educate incoming family scholars on research methods and techniques.
- Immigrant families
- Parent / child relationship
- Child education
- Child well-being
- Health disparities in minority and underserved populations
Ebony Iheanacho-Dike is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Florida State University (FSU). This past year Ebony has worked as a Registered Marriage and Family Therapy Intern with the Center for Couple and Family Therapy (CCFT) clinic at FSU where she provided individual, couple, and family therapy services to the surrounding community. Ebony’s work at the CCFT has given her the opportunity to facilitate change with various clinical issues such as depression, substance abuse, secondary-PTSD, domestic violence, anxiety, sexual abuse, grief and loss, self- identity issues, addictions and chronic illness. Ebony also worked with Better Living Solutions to provide intensive outpatient services to clients managing eating disorders, anxiety, depression, addictions, and many other co-occuring disorders related to their mental well-being.
Currently, Ebony is interested in conducting research on immigrant families, parent-child dynamics, child well-being and health disparities in minority and underserved populations. Throughout her career as a researcher and clinician, Ebony hopes to contribute valuable research on how to improve culturally aware mental health services to diverse populations as well as provide effective treatment and prevention methods in her clinical work.
- Positive post-divorce adjustment, particularly for children of divorce
- Self-concept in minorities and how it impacts their life decisions
- Confidence levels in regards to career aspirations and romantic relationships
- Risky sexual behaviors, particularly in college students
- Academic achievement
Lawrence is a doctoral student in Marriage & Family Therapy. One of his research interest includes researching how perceived self-concept in black males influences their academic achievement. Lawrence has been researching how media, communities, and relationships influence the perceived value of black males, however, he is interested in identifying protective factors that help increase higher academic achievement. He is also interested in further researching how social support is associated with confidence levels for children who have been impacted by divorce. He hopes to identify protective factors for black males to increase academic achievement and identify healthier post-divorce adjustment factors for those children impacted by divorce. Lawrence’s research interest focus around self-concept, perceived value and confidence levels. Lastly, Lawrence is interested in further researching Greek fraternal affiliation and risky behaviors. Lawrence is curious if sexual partners are associated with perceived self-concept or if students engage in riskier sexual behavior if they are involved in different social groups. His ultimate goal is to be a mentor to future professionals, research his desired populations, and practice therapy for high conflict households and at-risk populations.
Lawrence is from Dallas, Texas and received his bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lawrence is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated where he is in involved in mentoring at-risk youth. In his free time, Lawrence enjoys traveling internationally. In the past two years, he has visited 7 different countries and plans to continue to actively travel across the world.
- Marriage and family therapy
- Collaborative and integrated care
- Mental and behavioral health
- Clinical training
Matthew is a doctoral student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program. At this time, his research interests include an examination of psychosocial and behavioral processes’ potential relation to the onset and maintenance of acute and chronic illness. Matthew obtained his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) where he contributed to the investigation and implementation of the early identification and treatment of Autism. Recognizing the critical role that the interplay between the social and biological sciences has on health outcomes, Matthew earned a Master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego (USD). Matthew completed his clinical training with the UCSD Family Medicine Collaborative Care Program where he coordinated with an interdisciplinary team of health providers to implement evidenced based practices and behavioral medicine for those facing psychosocial and behavioral challenges.
- How physiology and brain function affect relationships
- Stress and trauma in families
- Parenting interventions
- Process and outcome research
Julia is a doctoral student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program. She completed both her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Brigham Young University. Julia is interested in studying the interplay between biology and psychology and how it affects relationships. She is particularly interested in how past traumas and stress impact parenting, and the effects these have on child behavioral problems. Julia is also a registered intern at the FSU Center for Couple and Family Therapy. Her career goals are to be a professor at a top research university and to promote the growth and prestige of the field of Marriage and Family Therapy.
- Intimate partner violence
- Childhood trauma
- Technology use in close relationships
- Family violence interventions
- Efficacy of marriage and family therapy theories
Morgan is a third year student in the Marriage and Family Therapy Doctoral Program within the Department of Family and Child Sciences. Morgan received her master’s degree from East Carolina University in Marriage and Family Therapy and is now a registered marriage and family therapist intern in Florida. Morgan’s program of research involves aspects of family violence and how members are able to remain resilient to adverse outcomes. She is particularly interested in intimate partner violence and developing effective, therapeutic interventions that reduce recidivism. In exploring the dynamics of family systems where violence exists, she hopes to increase knowledge about important risk and resilience factors but to also help clinicians apply this knowledge in the therapy room. Morgan is also a therapist at the Center for Couples and Family Therapy on Florida State’s campus and is the Secretary for the Tallahassee Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. She enjoys being a therapist and conducting research but is most passionate about mentoring beginning therapists and younger students.
- Couple relationships and conflict resolution styles
- Parent-child relationships
- Couple and family prevention / intervention
I am a fourth year PhD student in the Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) program in the Department of Family and Child Sciences. My research focuses are couple and family relationships, conflict, and child outcomes. I plan to use my research to create and inform prevention and intervention programs to improve the lives of families. My goal is to become an intervention researcher and a university professor to provide mentoring, advising, and teaching to students in higher academia. I am dedicated to helping others, providing opportunities to advance education, research, and careers, and I would like to provide support to those needing mentoring or an advocate to ensure student success at the university level and beyond.
Kasey Longley is PhD student in the Human Development and Family Science program. Her advisor and mentor is Dr. Joseph Grzywacz. She is currently interested in studying health behaviors and exercise motivation among families and those with mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. She has also done work on families with children who have special health care needs. With a varied educational background, she currently holds a Master of Science in Family and Child Sciences and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, both from Florida State University. Between programs she has worked as a paralegal with experience in family law, personal injury, and insurance law. During that time she became a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and a commissioned notary.
- Parent-Adult Child relationships
- Emerging adult
- Emerging adult development
Hayley is a doctoral student in Human Development and Family Science. Her research interests currently include parent-child relationships in the context of emerging adulthood, with a focus on transitions into adulthood and well-being. Hayley graduated from Northern Illinois University with her B.S. in Psychology and from Illinois State University with her M.S. in Psychology: Developmental Sequence. Hayley is pursuing a career as a faculty member at a research university. She aspires to continue pursuing academic research, compose a textbook related to her field, and make a positive impact on her students in the classroom.
- Technology use in romantic relationships
- Intimacy and empathy
- Couples and Sex Therapy
- Medical Family Therapy
Marissa is originally from Liverpool, NY, a town located near Syracuse (Go Orange). She is a first-year doctoral student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program. Marissa graduated from Syracuse University with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She then moved to California to complete her Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy at the University of San Diego. Her research interests include the use of technology in romantic relationships and the association with empathy and intimacy. Marissa’s career goals are to contribute to and build the field through research, clinical work, and educating and supervising future clinicians.
- Social work
- Medical Family Therapy
- Parent-child relationships
- The influence of Marriage and Family Therapy throughout different agencies
- Children’s health
Kinsey is a doctoral student in Marriage and Family Therapy. She pursued her B.A. at Mercer University, double majoring in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies. After graduation, she accepted a Graduate Assistant position and was given the opportunity to complete her Master of Family Therapy degree at Mercer as well. Kinsey has experience working in the department of family and child services and has a passion for the field of social work. In addition to her previous training in this field, she also has extensive experience in the Medical Family Therapy system. Kinsey plans to continue efforts to understand the role and influence of Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) in both the social work and medical systems. Through both aspects of her research, Kinsey plans on finding ways in which MFT’s can broaden their understanding on health, relationships, and wellbeing alongside ways in which this field can positively impact the development of children.
I am interested in researching the parenting practices of those who have an identity within marginalized populations (families of color, LGBTQ+ couples, low socioeconomic status families).
I received my undergraduate education in 2016 from East Carolina University (Greenville, NC) in Family and Community Services with a concentration in Family Studies. In 2018 I graduated with my M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Appalachian State University. While at Appalachian State I also received a certificate in Systemic Multicultural Counseling which allowed me to develop a more comprehensive view of what it means to live in a multicultural society through a systemic lens.
- Marriage and family therapy
- Mindfulness interventions
Kathryn is a second year student in the Marriage and Family Therapy doctoral program. Kathryn received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, and her Master’s and Specialist’s degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the Florida State University. Kathryn’s research interests are primarily focused around building the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions. Additionally, she is interested in implementing mindfulness interventions to increase marital satisfaction. She hopes to increase the awareness of mindfulness, and the many ways that the techniques can be applied to a variety of populations. Currently, Kathryn is an intern at the Center for Couples and Family Therapy.
- New media and technology as contexts of human development
- Interpersonal Development
- Identity and Self-Concept
- Adolescent Development
- Emerging Adult Development
Jessie is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Family Science program. Her advisor and mentor is Dr. Heidi Gazelle. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Central Florida and her Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology at Illinois State University. Her research focuses on investigating new media (e.g. the internet, social media, video games, etc.) and technology (e.g. smart phones, computers, tablets, etc.) as contexts of human development. Specifically, she is interested in studying the impact these contexts have on interpersonal development, identity, and self-concept. Jessie hopes to use her research to informs others about the benefits of new media and technology while cautioning about some of the more adverse effects as well. Her career goals include pursuing academic research as a faculty member, promoting an interest in new media and technology from a psychological perspective, and making a positive impact on her students in the classroom.
- Mental health accessibility for underserved populations
- Intercultural couples and families
- Cultural considerations in clinical settings
Sapna is a doctoral student in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is originally from Austin, TX where she completed her B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences from The University of Texas at Austin. She worked in an administrative role for a therapy non-profit in the Austin area before pursuing her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Abilene Christian University. Sapna’s current research interests revolve around how intercultural couples negotiate cultural differences within their relationships, and culturally sensitive clinical considerations for working with diverse client populations. Sapna is particularly interested in mentoring and providing research-informed clinical training to future generations of marriage and family therapists.
- Dyadic data analysis and longitudinal research
- Cross-cultural couples and families
- Same sex relationship and parenting
- Interpersonal neurobiology
Tom is a registered MFT therapist intern in the State of Florida and a state-approved mediator in the state of Kansas. He works primarily with minority individuals (races, sexual-orientations, social economic status, etc.) and mental health problems (depression, anxiety, trauma, etc.) in his clinical work. His use of therapeutic theories include Satir Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and EMDR Therapy. His goal in therapy is to empower clients to make better life decisions, develop a healthy and resilient sense of self, and forms secure and satisfactory relationships.
His research interests include individual mental illness in couple and family relationships, protective factors that predict healthy relationship outcome, change of brain in relationship, and perception on closeness and belonging in general population. He is interested in interdisciplinary research that integrate different areas of research.
- Emotion Regulation
- Behavioral Development
Jacob is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Family Science program. His advisor and mentor is Dr. Heidi Gazelle. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Sciences at Florida State University. He is currently a research assistant in the Social Development Lab, working on the Youth Wellness Project. His research focuses on making empirical connections between life experiences and an individual’s emotional and behavioral development. He hopes to use this research to make more definitive contributions to the field regarding the origins of human aggression. Jacob believes that conventional emotion regulation is necessary for successfully achieving life milestones. He aims to use his research to understand how individual differences can affect emotional regulation. Jacob plans to pursue academia to combine his passion for research and teaching others, where his appropriate career goal is to be become a professor.
- Romantic relationships
- Family processes
Spencer is a candidate in Marriage and Family Therapy. His research interests currently include romantic relationship quality, the family process between parents and children, and resiliency in romantic and parent-child relationships. Spencer graduated from Western Washington University in Psychology and his M.A. from Pacific Lutheran University in Marriage and Family Therapy. Spencer is pursuing a career as a teacher, researcher, mentor, and clinician. He looks forward to the opportunity to conduct research, teach, mentor and supervise students and clinicians in a training clinic at the university level and to continue his clinical work as a therapist.