Past Graduate Students
Stephanie Violante, Ph.D.
Stephanie grew up in Seattle, WA and graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Psychology in 2013. She entered the lab in 2016, received her M.S. from VCU in 2018, and received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from VCU in 2023. She completed her predoctoral internship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Clinically, she is interested in working with youth with anxiety disorders and youth with acute and chronic medical illnesses, as well as clinical supervision. Her research interests include dissemination and implementation, treatment integrity, and program development. She will be completing her postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA with Drs. John Piacentini and Brenda Bursch.
Ruben G. Martinez, Ph.D.
Ruben grew up in Indianapolis, IN, and graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in Psychology in 2011. Ruben graduated from VCU in 2020 with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. He completed his predoctoral internship and NIMH T32 postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. As an Assistant Professor in the Brown Research on Implementation and Dissemination to Guide Evidence Use (BRIDGE) program, his work focuses on getting youth and families timely, effective, and equitable health and mental health care.
Emily Wheat, Ph.D.
Emily grew up in Tuscaloosa, AL, and graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2006 with a B.A. in Psychology. She received a master’s degree in General Psychology from the University of Richmond in 2010 and graduated from VCU in 2017 with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado.
Nadia Islam, Ph.D.
Nadia grew up in Portsmouth, VA, and graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Psychology in 2009 and graduated from VCU in 2017 with a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Her research and clinical interests involve the dissemination and implementation of evidence-informed treatments for youth in community and pediatric care settings. She is currently working at the Pediatric Center in Richmond, VA.
Meghan Smith Lawson, Ph.D.
Meghan grew up in Baltimore, MD, and graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Psychology in 2010 and from VCU in 2017 with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Her research and clinical interests focus on CBT for youth with anxiety, depression, trauma, and autism spectrum disorders. She is currently working at Summit Emotional Health in Richmond, VA.
Lillian M. Christon, Ph.D.
Lily grew up in Maryland and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wake Forest University. She received her master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Richmond and graduated from VCU in 2013 with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and as a Developmental and Clinical Scholar. She is currently a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Bio-Behavioral Medicine, at the Medical University of South Carolina. Her research focuses broadly on identifying factors leading to optimal health, adjustment, treatment, and quality of life for individuals with chronic conditions, as well as the dissemination and implementation of evidence-informed assessments and treatments and family-centered care practices in pediatric, adolescent, and young adult populations. She is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Elizabeth Wheeler, Ph.D.
Beth received her Bachelor's of Arts degree from the College of William and Mary in 2006 and her Master's of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009. She joined the lab in the Fall of 2009 and graduated from VCU with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2012. Currently employed as a forensic evaluator at Central State Hospital, she owns a private practice, Bay Forensic Psychology. Her main research interests involve the integration of forensic and assessment practice.
Past Research Scientists
Kristen Ganger, Ph.D.
Kristen was a research faculty member in the School of Education at VCU and worked as a Project Director for the BEST in CLASS projects from 2017-2022. Kristen is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University.
Maria E. Gyure, M.S.
Maria grew up in southeastern Connecticut and graduated from the University of CT with a B.S. in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences. With both clinical and research interests, she received her Master's degree from VCU in Genetic Counseling in 2007, ultimately working as a Research Coordinator for a bio-behavioral trial focused on improving family communication about breast and colon cancer histories. Maria joined the lab in 2014 and was a research faculty member within the Department of Counseling and Special Education at VCU. As the Project Coordinator for multiple studies involving Dr. McLeod, her research projects included intervention implementation, treatment integrity, and recruitment methodologies. Maria is now the genetic counseling program director at the University of CT.
Past Project Coordinators
Emma Dear, B.S.
Emma grew up in Rochester, New York, and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2021 with a B.S. in Psychology. Her research interests span the implementation of interventions and the development of tools to support youth and families in community-based settings. Emma joined the lab in the fall of 2021, coordinating an IES measurement grant. Emma is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Natalie Vallarta, B.S.
Natalie Vallarta grew up in Southern California and received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2021. Broadly, her research interests include implementing culturally competent and accessible school-based mental health services for Black and brown youth and immigrant families. She joined the lab in the fall of 2021 and primarily supported the BEST in CLASS Elementary project. Natalie is now pursuing her Ph.D. in school psychology at Texas A&M University.
Jean Stouffer, M.Ed.
Jean grew up in Chapel Hill, NC, and graduated from The University of Virginia with an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology in 2021. She is interested in how to support young children in developing executive functioning skills and achieving positive academic and socio-emotional outcomes. Jean joined the lab in the summer of 2022, and she coordinates the STREAMin3 Evaluation project. Jean is now pursuing her Ph.D. in developmental family sciences at Oregon State University.
Danielle Dunn, M.A.
Danielle received her M.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Her research interests center on strategies to increase access and engagement in evidence-informed practices (EBPs), and the implementation and sustainment of EBPs in community settings. Danielle worked as a project coordinator on the NIMH R01 study, Sustaining Evidenced-based Innovations in Schools through Multilevel Implementation Constructs (SEISMIC), from 2021-2022. She is currently in the MSW/Ph.D. social welfare program at UCLA.
Priya Srivastava, B.A.
Priya graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a B.A. in Chemistry and Psychology. She worked as a Project Coordinator for the Treatment Integrity Measure Efficient (TIME) study from 2016-2018. Priya is now pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology.
Ellie Wu, B.A.
Ellie graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology. Her current research interests focus on the development and evaluation of tools that promote the implementation of evidence-informed practices in community settings. Ellie worked as a Project Coordinator of the IES Goal 5 study from 2016-2018. Ellie is now pursing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of South Carolina.