Summer Volunteers 





Hi, I’m Xiaoying and I’m helping out in the lab during summer after graduation from University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor degree in Psychology with minors in Neuroscience and Chemistry. I hold a strong research interest in clinical interventions for mood disorders and schizophrenia spectrum disorders from late adolescence to early adulthoodI am still exploring through my post-bacc plans and deciding between the track to either clinical psychology or psychiatry. During spare time, I enjoy making coffee at home or visiting coffee shops around Pittsburgh with my friends.

My name is Tiffany Wu and I am a senior at Shady Side Academy. I am interested in studying mental health disorders and developmental psychology, and wish to major in Psychology or Neuroscience next year and become a clinical psychologist in the future. I am currently assisting the Anhedonia study and the Risky Sexual Behavior in Adolescents study in the lab. Some of my hobbies are playing frisbee, singing, and watching movies.

Previous Undergraduates 












 My name is Amanda Makara and I’m a senior neuroscience major. I am currently interested in exploring brain areas associated with self-regulation to further understand impulsivity in different eating disorder sub-types; however, I am also interested in studying the factors affecting the quality of life of those with chronic illness as well as adherence to care in the pediatric population. After graduating, my goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and potentially specialize in family dynamics and/or treatment intervention focusing on children and adolescents. My hobbies outside of lab include running, hanging out with friends, and exploring restaurants and coffee shops in Pittsburgh.

My name is Destynie Harris, and I am a junior Psychology major with minors in Spanish and LGBTQ+ and Critical Sexuality Studies. My favorite pastimes are reading, watching Netflix and Hulu, and trying out different restaurants around Pittsburgh. I am interested in mental health disorders in children and adolescents, specifically mood disorders and substance abuse disorders. After I graduate, I hope to do research or obtain an internship working with urban and LGBTQ+ populations. I also plan to attain a PsyD or PhD in clinical psychology so that I can become a clinical psychologist that specializes in working with urban and LGBTQ+ populations



My name is Kayla Nitka, and I am a senior Psychology major at the University of Pittsburgh with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Some hobbies of mine include: playing field hockey, snowboarding, and eating out a lot. I have particular research interests in mood disorders, such as Major Depressive Disorder and anxiety disorders, in addition to substance use disorders. Specifically, I hold a strong research interest in focusing on LGBTQIA+ populations. In the future, I hope to attain a PsyD in clinical psychology with a focus on these interests, and become a clinical therapist.



My name is Zuhair Al-Bahrani. I am a Sophomore majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology. I love to play soccer, watch The Office, and hang out with friends. Some research interests of mine include the effects of trauma on the brain and the development of the adolescent brain. My future goals include going to medical school and pursuing a speciality in pediatrics, although for now I would be content if I could get through one Organic Chemistry lecture without feeling miserable.


Greetings. My name is Jacob Clarin and I’m a senior at Pitt pursuing a major in neuroscience and minors in chemistry and religious studies. I’m originally from New Jersey and am a lover of music, travel, and learning new languages. In the lab, my research project is focused on suicidal ideation in adolescents and how severity of suicidal thinking relates to the functional connectivity between the nucleus accumbens and cortical areas. After graduation, I intend to apply to Au.D. programs in pursuit of a career in audiology.

Hi, my name is Miranda Whalen, and I am a senior Psychology major at the University of Pittsburgh with a minor in Historical Art and Architecture. I am extremely passionate about mental health in at-risk youth, as well as the impact of grief on normative psychological development in adolescents and children. I plan to continue my studies to receive a Masters Degree in Social Work with a focus in Youth, Adolescents, and Families. In my free time, I love watching the Food Network, petting dogs, doing yoga, and drinking unhealthy amounts of Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee.



My name is Kaitlynn Robinson and I am a senior psychology major at Pitt. Some of my hobbies are running and baking. As far as my research interests, I am interested in anhedonia and depression, particularly in kids and teens. I am also interested in eating disorders and the ways they manifest in different people. In the future, I am pursuing a career in occupational therapy.

My name is Amanda Pavlanszky and I am a senior at the University of Pittsburgh. I am majoring in Psychology and Sociology and plan to go on to graduate school and become a doctor of occupational therapy. I love learning about people and the brain and attempting to understand the complex processes involved in all the things we do. I am especially interested in Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the future, hope to work with individuals with ASD and provide them with the help they need in order to comfortably and happily live their lives. In my spare time, I enjoy practicing yoga and going on hiking adventures with friends.

Hi, my name is Katie McMahon! I am a junior at Pitt with a Psychology major and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies minor. I have worked in three different research labs in my undergraduate career, and I have an interest in health psychology, specifically in eating disorders and how diet effects mental health. Some of my other hobbies include running through Schenley Park, cooking, traveling and writing. I plan on pursing graduate school, and I am looking to gain more experience in both the research and clinical areas of psychology.


Micayla Schmitt: Directed Research Student

Hello my name is Micayla Schmitt and I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh.  I am majoring in Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience.  I plan to attend medical school and hope to become a psychiatrist someday.  I am involved in multiple organizations on campus including Project Sunshine, Delta Delta Delta Sorority, the National Organization of Leadership of Success, and Pitt YA.  I love to read, play intramural soccer, attend plays, explore Pittsburgh, and spend time with friends.  I am excited to be a part of this experience and hope to learn more about anhedonia and research in general.


Kate Gold: Volunteer Researcher 

I am a sophomore Psychology major and Africana Studies minor with an interest in Developmental Psychology. I’m from Brooklyn, New York and here at Pitt, I’m a Resident Assistant, a Freshman Programs Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, and a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority.


 Nina Iradi: Volunteer Researcher 

My name is Nina Iradi and I am a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh planning to major in psychology, with a minor in neuroscience. In addition to volunteering at the Affective Neuroscience and Developmental Psychopathology Laboratory, I am a member of the American Medical Student Association, and a volunteer at both the Pitt Pantry and Family Hospice and Palliative Care of Lawrenceville.


 Kaitlynn Robinson: Volunteer Researcher          


Name: Kaitlynn Robinson

Year: Junior, Psychology Major

Activities: Pitt Club XC, Chaarg

Future: I am still deciding what I want to do, but I am interested in psychology research and Occupational Therapy.


  Katie McMahon: ANBN Volunteer Researcher 

I am a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh and plan to major in psychology with a gender, sexuality, and women’s studies (GSWS) minor. I was recently inducted into Psi Chi, a National Psychology Honors Society, and I am involved in Pitt’s Student Government Board’s Wellness Committee. We focus on mental health and illness and put on events throughout the year to spread knowledge and awareness regarding mental health.

After working on a research team this summer at DePaul University in Chicago, I have been eager to gain more research experience. I worked with SPSS and coded qualitative data and loved learning about how research teams operate in a lab. I have interests in neuroscience and developmental psychology and plan on going to graduate school in psychology after my years here at Pitt.

I have always had a passion for writing and have learned to enjoy editing papers and working on drafts. Due to these interests, I frequently help out my friends with writing and editing advice. In the past, I was a tutor and swim lesson instructor because I have always enjoyed teaching and working with kids. My interest in psychology grew once I began teaching autistic children when I was in high school. I also am fortunate to be able to travel with my family. My mom is a professor and gives speeches around the world, so I have developed a love for experiencing other cultures and have attended many conferences in countries such as Egypt, Peru, Turkey, and Italy.


Brittany Pham: ANBN Volunteer Researcher 

 My name is Brittany and I’m a sophomore at Pitt right now! I plan to major in Molecular Biology and eventually to volunteer and provide health assistance to children in need around the world.

I used to do a lot of MMA, jiu jitsu, Taekwondo, judo, and kickboxing until I got one of my teeth kicked out of my face.