Current Students

I value mentoring. Because I wouldn't be where I am today without mentors who invested in me when I was a student. I hope to pay that forward to my students.

I primarily mentor grad students who are completing the School Psychology PhD Program here at USU. There are currently 7 PhD students in my lab:

  1. Stephanie Vinal (6th year)
  2. Caleb Farley (5th year)
  3. Kris Franzmann (5th year)
  4. Jiin Yang (4th year)
  5. Mary Phan (4th year)
  6. Ashley Taylor (2nd year)
  7. Katie Reiter-Lavery (1st year)
Lab dinner on 10-21-23. L to R: Katie, Mary, Ash, Steph, Caleb, Kris, Sean, & me.

Our extended lab family includes 6 PhD alums whom I mentored once upon a time. You can learn more about these folks on my "Past Students" page.

If you found this page because you're applying to grad school and might be interested in joining my lab as a PhD student, please check out my "Prospective PhD Students" page prior to reaching out to me or my grad students. I provide a Q&A on that page that will likely answer most of the questions you have about me, my lab, and our PhD program.
If you found this page because you're looking for an undergrad research assistant opportunity here at USU, check out my "Undergrad RAs" page

PhD Student Bios

Stephanie Vinal is a 6th year student, currently on predoctoral internship at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute in Salt Lake City, UT. She's interested in assessing social-emotional learning and therapeutic interventions for emotional and behavioral problems. Prior to USU, Steph completed an undergrad degree at Roanke College, worked as a high school special education teacher in Massachusetts, and earned a master’s degree from Boston University in curriculum and teaching. She enjoys traveling, watching movies, cooking for friends, and hiking with her Golden-doodle pup, Piper.

Caleb Farley is a 5th year student. He's interested in mindfulness, mindful self-compassion, psychological flexibility, and how these behaviors influence mental health outcomes in school and family contexts. Prior to USU, Caleb studied psychology at Brigham Young University and volunteered internationally. He is also a concert pianist and private instructor of piano and cello. In his free time, Caleb enjoys hiking, skiing, reading, and practicing yoga.

Kris Franzmann is a 5th year student. He is broadly interested in behavior analysis and its application to clinically relevant problems. Prior to USU, Kris completed his undergrad studies at Oklahoma State University where he worked as as RA in the psychobiology lab. Post-graduation, he worked as a special education teaching assistant in a program for youth with behavioral challenges and served on PBIS and leadership teams. Kris enjoys spending free time with his wife and dog, reading, weightlifting, and watching TV.

Show Up for Teachers conference in SLC on 07-12-22. Left to right: Mary, Kris, & me.

Mary Phan is a 4th year student. She is is interested in implementing mindfulness-based interventions with underserved youth in public schools as well as promoting racial equity through policy changes. Prior to USU, she received her BA in psychology at Temple University. She also worked as a clinical research coordinator at UPenn and was the director at a psychiatrist’s office. Her interest in research began when she interned at Temple University’s Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, in which she continued her interest by interning at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Mary enjoys the outdoors, playing video games, reading, and watching anime. You can find her on Twitter @marylyndphan and learn more at her professional website.

Nai-Jiin Yang is a 4th year student. She's broadly interested in the identification of individual- and system-level determinants that affect and promote the integration of mental health services within schools. Prior to USU, Jiin completed an undergraduate degree in educational psychology and counseling at National Taiwan Normal University, worked as a middle school guidance teacher, earned an EdS degree in school psychology from the University of Iowa, and worked as a school psychologist for several years. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters.

Ashley Taylor is a 2nd year student. She is interested in understanding the effects of post-traumatic stress on academic functioning among adolescents. She aims to apply her research to the improvement of trauma-informed school frameworks. Ashley completed her undergraduate degree here at USU and spent time reinforcing DBT techniques with adolescents in a residential treatment program. In her free time, Ashley enjoys a good psychological thriller, playing the piano, and spending time outdoors.

Katie Reiter-Lavery is a 1st year student. They are interested in enhancing mental health and well-being for youth through evidence-based interventions, with a particular focus on the LGBTQ+ community and underserved communities more broadly. Katie received their BA in psychology from UNC, where they conducted a senior honors thesis exploring the role of social support in mitigating the impact of racial discrimination on mental distress. Prior to USU, they worked for non-profit organizations in Philadelphia, most notably with the LifeSet program, which supports young adults in transition from systems of care. This hands-on experience informed their commitment to making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth. An East Coast native now embracing mountain life at USU, Katie enjoys nurturing their creative side, with projects like knitting and painting often strewn about the house.