Meet Our Lab
If you are a current or prospective Avila student in psychology, cognitive science, or a related discipline, we would be happy for you to join us!
Marcia Smith Pasqualini, Ph.D.
I am a Professor of Psychology at Avila University and a licensed clinical neuropsychologist. My research interests broadly encompass emotion, emotion regulation, facial expressions, psychophysiology, and neuropsychology. My research interests broadly encompass emotion, emotion regulation, facial expressions, psychophysiology, and neuropsychology. My publications include work on facial expressions in people with Parkinson’s disease and with Alzheimer’s disease, the development of a coding system for facial movements in chimpanzees (ChimpFACS), assessment of eating disorders (BULIT and BULIT-R), and the use of patient education and cognitive-behavioral therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers.
Bonjour ! My name is Léa, and I’m an international student from France. I’m in Avila’s MS in Psychology/Research, from which I will graduate in May 2022. Before coming to Avila, I was pursuing a MA in Counseling at UMKC but transferred because of my growing interest in research. After I graduate with my MS, I intend to pursue a doctoral program. Though not an exhaustive list, my interests of mine include the study of abnormal behaviors, criminal psychology, and offender profiling.
Hi, I’m Emily and I am a fourth-year student here at Avila. When I came into psychology I wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on. I decided to dip into research to see how I liked it! I’m in the research concentration to hopefully be a little more hands-on and decide if I would like a career around it. I enjoy hanging out with friends, meeting new people, and watching The Office in my free time!
Hey, I’m Dante! I’m getting my MS in Psychology with a focus on research here at Avila. I graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a double major in Psychology and Human Services. After I graduate, I plan to continue with my Ph.D. and hope to become a university professor. When I’m not busy you can find me playing either board games or video games with my friends.
Hello! My name is Sam and I am in Avila’s Counseling Psychology Program, with an emphasis on research. I grew up in the Kansas City area and got my undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Central Missouri. I decided to join the Emotions lab in 2021 because I enjoy the extra opportunity to join in on anyone’s research and I intend to pursue a doctoral program after graduation. On my own, I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, and staying active. I am interested in questions of free will, choice, addiction, and the myriad of ways in which those concepts interact within the legal system.
My name is Iriannys Torres. I am starting my MS in Psychology/ Research at Avila University this semester, and am originally from Venezuela. I got my bachelor’s in psychology in 2016 and moved to the US a year later. After my first thesis was published I knew this was what I’m passionate about, since then I’ve been pursuing my dream of becoming a researcher and I joined the emotions laboratory to continue my growth in the area. I’m interested in exploring topics related to eating disorders, neuropsychology, cognitive processes, and much more.
Hi, I am Rose! I started my first semester of my MS in Counseling Psychology in Fall 2021 with an emphasis in research. I graduated from Truman State University with a BS in exercise science and a double minor in biology and psychology. After graduation from Truman in 2020, I moved to KC and began working as an RBT in a clinic for children with autism. I joined Dr. Pasqualini’s Emotions lab to gain research experience and help others carry out their research. I plan to pursue a doctoral program in neuropsychology/neurophysiology. I’m very interested in topics about the empathetic responses in individuals with autism. I’m also interested in nutritional interventions for individuals with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
Hi, I’m Ciara. I’m currently pursuing my MS in psychology with a research focus. I received my bachelor’s in psychology from Kansas State University. I decided to join Dr. Pasqualini’s emotions lab because of my interest in psychophysiology. After I graduate from Avila, I plan to pursue a doctoral degree in neuropsychology. In my spare time, I like to sew and play with my dog.
Hi, I’m Sydney! I’m getting my MS in Psychology with a research concentration here at Avila. I graduated from UMKC with a B.A. in Chemistry & Psychology as well as a Criminal Justice minor. After receiving my master’s, I plan to attend a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology, however, I am also interested in exploring Forensic Psychology. I previously worked at Rockhill Manor with individuals diagnosed with chronic mental illnesses and in this lab, I hope to explore interests of mine such as cognitive processes surrounding mental health.
Hello, I’m Eleanor! I am in my first semester of Avila’s MS in Psychology program with a focus on research. I graduated from South Dakota State University in 2021 with a BS in Psychology. I decided to join Dr. P’s Emotion Lab to gain valuable, hands-on experience in a lab setting as well as to join a community of like-minded individuals. My research interests are still developing, but currently include topics about self-perception and decision-making intentions. After I graduate from Avila, I plan to pursue a doctoral program. Outside of school, I enjoy hanging out with friends, playing with my cat, and binge-watching Netflix!
Hello, my name is Cody Carmack. I am currently in Avila’s graduate psychology program and am pursuing an M.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in research. I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and am especially passionate about forensic psychology and research involving criminogenic thinking. I was excited to be a part of Dr. Pasqualini’s Emotions Lab because I am interested in the psychophysiology of emotion and was eager to gain research experience. Upon graduation, I plan to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology, and ultimately want my life’s work to be advocating for a rehabilitative alternative to incarceration for individuals who suffer from severe mental illness.
My name is Izzy Watters. I am starting my MS in Psychology with a concentration in research. I completed my undergraduate degree at Drury University, where I double majored in Psychology and Criminology. I am interested in exploring stress, anxiety, and trauma-related topics. After I graduate from Avila, I plan to go into a doctoral program to become a clinical psychologist. I want to help people who have been through traumatic experiences. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and watching movies.
Hello! My name Is Abigail, and I am a second-year student at Avila. I am currently pursuing a major in Psychology with a concentration in research and a minor in English. I joined Emotions Lab in 2022 to get a better feel of research life and hone down on a research topic. I am particularly interested in veterans’ issues, including homelessness, food insecurity, PTSD, and depression. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family, cuddling with my dogs, and getting ice cream!
Brandon graduated with an MS in Psychology/Research in May 2020 from Avila, where he previously completed his BA in Psychology. While at Avila, he studied decision-making, inhibition control, and emotion regulation in aging, in collaboration with researcher Dr. Laura Martin at Hoglund Brain Imaging Center. Brandon is currently continuing his education at Saint Louis University as a member of the Experimental Psychology – Cognitive Neuroscience Ph.D. program.
Michelle graduated from Avila with an MS in Psychology/Research in May 2020. She is currently a student in Mississippi State University’s Ph.D. program in School Psychology, in Starkville, Mississippi.
Lindsay left her 15-year career in the financial services sector to pursue an MS in Psychology at Avila University. She participated in our lab in 2020-21 to gain research experience. Upon graduation, she plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in neuroscience.
Sarai graduated with her BA in Psychology from Avila in May 2021, with both mental health and research concentrations. In her free time, she likes to hang out with her pets, watch Netflix or YouTube, and sleep.
Han is from China and graduated from Avila’s MS Psychology program in August 2020. She was a graphic designer who switched to psychology and joined the Emotions lab in Fall 2019. She’s currently working at a non-profit organization for refugees and loves to do art in her spare time.
Cassie is a student in Avila’s MS in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Counseling at Avila. She participated in our lab in 2010-21 to further her research experience and knowledge beyond what she learned as an undergrad.
Grace graduated from Avila with her BA in Psychology in 2019 and obtained an MSW from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
Sheri graduated from Avila with her MS in Psychology in 2018 and is completing her fourth year in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Kansas City University.
Stephanie graduated from Avila’s MS in Counseling Psychology program in May 2021. She has a BS in Psychology and a minor in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Kansas, where she was a research assistant in Dr. Monica Biernat’s social psychology lab, studying trauma and stress. Stephanie is currently working in a counseling facility, where she was offered employment following her internship.
Yoshi Oba, Ph.D., is a counseling psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia. He completed his doctorate at the University of North Dakota.
Jason Webber is working as a neurodiagnostic technician at KU Medical Center.
Kristen Brown is a research assistant at the Clinical Neurosciences PTSD Research Program at Yale University.
Brianna Dunwoody Kappelman, J.D.
Brianna Dunwoody Kappelman, J.D., completed her law degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is a Tax Research Analyst at The Tax Institute at H&R Block.
Beth Zerr, Ph.D.
Beth Zerr, Ph.D., is a school psychologist in Kansas.
Mallika Chakrabarti, Ph.D.
Mallika Chakrabarti is a Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology at the University of North Dakota.
Sarah Mahtani, Ph.D.
Sarah Mahtani, Ph.D., completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Fuller in Pasadena, California.
Vivian Gleason is a student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Kansas City University.
Morgan Brucks is a research assistant in the Structure and Function Unit of the Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center at the University of Kansas.
Chrissy Arasmith is an adjunct professor at Avila University.
Caitlyn Lester is completing her nursing degree and is a board member at Rended Heart, a non-profit organization empowering survivors of sexual exploitation.
Deannah Herron graduated from Avila University in May 2022.