Avila University

Faculty and Staff

Marcia Smith Pasqualini, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Psychology
Professor of Psychology

Director of Faculty-Student Research

B.S., Tulane University
Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia

Office: Foyle 1008, 816.501.3661

Dr. Pasqualini is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty in Clinical Neuropsychology. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in biological psychology, applied research methods, and emotion. She is also the faculty advisor for Psi Chi/Psychology Club. Dr. Pasqualini runs the Social Neuroscience Laboratory and invites interested Avila undergraduate and graduate students to join. Her current research interests include cognitive and psychophysiological aspects of emotion regulation, bio/neurofeedback, and facial expressions. See her Faculty Spotlight here.

Rhyannon Pioletti

Psychology Office Manager

Office: Foyle 1010, 816.501.3661


Ms. Pioletti provides primary support for the Department of Psychology. She connects faculty, staff, and students and is the person to contact if you would like information about the department.

Amy Bucher, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
B.A., University California Irvine
Ph.D. University of Missouri-Kansas City

Office: Foyle 1022, 816.501.2468

Dr. Bucher is a licensed psychologist who maintains a small private practice working with individuals and couples. She teaches courses related to human relations skills, personality psychology, and theories of counseling and addiction. Dr. Bucher heads the Laboratory for the Study of Language Use and Behavior Change, where she is collaborating with students interested in researching the counseling process and attachment theory.

Shanda Curiel, Psy.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Director of Clinical Education and Training
B.S., University of Texas at San Antonio

M.A., Psy.D., The School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute

Office: Foyle 1016, 816.501.3662

Dr. Curiel is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders in her private practice. As the Clinical Director in Avila's graduate program in counseling psychology, she oversees clinical training and supervision. She teaches Psychology of Gender and clinically oriented courses for undergraduate and graduate students.

Leah K. Gensheimer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Office: Foyle 1024, 816.501.3698


B.A., University of New Haven

M.S., Adelphi University

Ph.D., Michigan State University

Dr. Gensheimer is a Community Psychologist who emphasizes an integrated systems-level, strengths-competencies approach to psychology. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in developmental psychology, orientation to psychology, and undergraduate practicum. Her current interests include enhancement and assessment of student learning, children and youth development, and academic service learning.

Stephen Sirridge, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus

B.A., M.S., Ph.D., University of Kansas


Dr. Sirridge is a Licensed Psychologist, and has been a teacher and psychotherapist for thirty years. He is currently the President of the Kansas City Association of Psychoanalytic Psychology (KCAPP) which is the local chapter of Division 39 Psychoanalysis of APA. He completed a two year advanced training program in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.


Regina Staves, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology

B.A., University of Kansas
M.S., Avila University
Ph.D., Capella University

Office: Foyle 1020, 816.501.3665

Dr. Staves is a mental health counselor specializing in psychological trauma, vicarious trauma, attachment in children and adults, family systems, and ethics. Her interests include child development, specifically emotional and brain development, social issues impacting children and society, and psychopathology. Dr. Staves is active in our community as an advocate to prevent child abuse and neglect and also to support restorative justice throughout our justice system. She currently serves on the board of the Missouri Children's Trust fund, where she is a former board chair. She has worked in residential treatment, psychiatric hospitals, and private practice; and has also mentored adults reentering society post incarceration. Dr. Staves currently teaches undergraduate and graduate classes and facilitates workshops in her areas of expertise.

Jordan Wagge, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology

B.S., Northern Kentucky University

Ph.D., Miami University (Oxford, OH)

Office: Foyle 1021, 816.501.2964



Dr. Wagge teaches courses in cognition, research methods, cultural psychology, drugs and behavior, and general psychology in the undergraduate and graduate programs. Her research interests include visual perception, psychophysical methods, and pedagogy. She runs the Cognition Laboratory and is excited about working with students in a research setting. Dr. Wagge's current research involves examining environmental contributions to shifts in belief as well as the effects of current states and motivations on eating behaviors and choices.

Fred Geer, Ph.D.

B.S.E., M.S., Emporia State University

Ph.D. University of Kansas

Office: 816.501.3669


Dr. Geer is Professor of Education and Psychology at Avila. His specialty area is psycho-educational assessment. See Dr. Geer's Faculty Spotlight here.

Sue Ellen McCalley, Ph.D.
B.S. Northwestern University

M.A. University of Missouri-Kansas City

Ph.D. University of Kansas

Office: 816.501.2433


Dr. McCalley is Professor of Education and Psychology at Avila. See her Faculty Spotlight here.