(Brisky Fellowship shared by two students):Karla Fehr
Ms. Fehr is a doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program at Case. She received her BA in psychology and honors from the University of North Dakota. In 2010, Ms. Fehr received her MA and her master’s thesis, “Pretend Aggression in Play, Aggressive Behavior, and Parenting Style,” is currently under review for publication. Her career goals include working with children and their families in a hospital setting. She plans to continue her research on effective prevention and intervention methods for young children. Ms. Fehr’s dissertation examines the effectiveness of a developmentally appropriate adaptation of cognitive-behavioral therapy in 40 children (ages 4-6 years) with sleep difficulties. The intervention uses pretend play to teach coping skills and is the first empirical examination of the benefits of adding a child component to parent management of sleep problems in young children. The aim of the intervention is to decrease bedtime noncompliance and child distress and increase parental compliance. Ms. Fehr is hopeful that her studies will be fruitful in providing an evidence base for developmentally appropriate prevention or treatment approaches for young children.
Jessica Dillion Hoffman, MA
Ms. Dillion Hoffmann is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology, child and family track working with Dr. Sandra Russ. She received her BA in psychology and sociology from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. In 2010, she received her MA studying the relationship between children’s fantasy play, creativity, and storytelling ability and emotion regulation. Her master’s thesis, “Pretend Play, Creativity and Emotion Regulation in Children” is currently in press with the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts. In the future, Ms. Dillion Hoffmann hopes to conduct clinical work with children and families from under-served populations, and continue researching how children can use pretend play as a forum for building other adaptive skills.
Ms. Dillion Hoffmann’s dissertation is titled, “A Pretend Play Group Intervention for Elementary School Girls”, the study will be conducted through the Center for Research on Girls at Laurel School. The study explores the effects of a 6-session pretend play intervention on students’ creativity, storytelling ability, emotion regulation, and overall well-being in school. For the intervention sessions, students will meet in groups of four to make up fantasy stories and act them out using dolls and other toys, led by Ms. Dillion Hoffmann and a teacher as co-facilitators. The intervention, titled “Creativity Club”, is meant to help children develop imagination, organization of storytelling and emotional expression, all qualities that have been shown to relate to positive affect and creative production in the past. If the intervention is successful, Creativity Club could be more widely used within schools as a preventative or low-level intervention to help elementary school students showing difficulty adjusting in school.
Kelly Christian, MA
Ms. Christian received her BS in human development from Cornell University; she received her M.A. in 2008. Ms. Christian’s clinical and research interests include children's coping with stress, risk and resilience factors affecting the development of child psychopathology, and developing interventions to help children strengthen their play abilities. Her dissertation, Playfulness, Adaptive Behaviors, and Early Play Abilities, will be one of the first studies to explore whether playfulness relates to aspects of temperament, coping, emotion expression, emotion regulation, and actual play processes. Ms. Christian hopes that this study will refine our understanding of the construct of playfulness and contribute to the meaning of playfulness throughout a child’s development. Further, this study is an important step toward increasing our understanding of the predictive role of early play processes in manifesting adaptive behaviors later in childhood. Ms. Christian’s future career goals include working in a clinical or medical setting where she can be involved in therapy, research, and teaching.
Sarah Cain Spannagel, MA
Ms. Cain Spannagel is a child clinical psychology doctoral student at Case Western Reserve University. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan where she completed an honors thesis on the early identification of autism. After graduating, she worked at Michigan for three years as a project coordinator for several research projects focused on the impact of maternal depression. During her time at Case Western, she has worked on several projects related to child development and she is working on a dissertation project focused on service use within families with a child with autism. Additionally, Ms. Cain Spannagel is working on a special issue for the Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy focused on autism. Ms. Cain Spannagel has previously been the student advocacy chair for the Ohio Psychological Association as well as the campus representative for the American Psychological Association Advocacy Team. She teaches at the undergraduate level and does clinical work throughout the community including the Cleveland Clinic. Ms. Cain Spannagel lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Dave, her son Matthew, and her dog Brisco.
(Brisky Fellowship shared by two students):
Tori Sacha Cordiano
A Cleveland native, Ms. Sacha Cordiano received both a BA and MA in psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Her undergraduate thesis, published in Early Childhood Education Journal, examined the relationship, in preschool children, between creative imagery and learning to dance. Her dissertation research,”Construct Validity of the Affect in Play Scale - Brief Rating,” will determine the efficacy of an adapted version of the original Affect in Play Scale (APS) that does not require the use of videotaped observation. Ms. Sacha Cordiano will observe the pretend play of 81 first and second grade students and compare the results with assessments of personality variables such as openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and divergent thinking (an indicator of creativity). If her study confirms the validity of the APS without videotaped observation, she hopes that the adapted scale will begin to be used more widely by clinicians and researchers. After completing her degree, Ms. Sacha Cordiano would like to conduct clinical work with families and children while continuing her research on pretend play.
Annamaria Aguirre McLaughlin
Ms. Aguirre McLaughlin received her BA in psychology and Spanish from Miami University (Ohio) before entering Case Western Reserve's graduate program in clinical psychology, where she received her MA. Her master's thesis,
“Influence of Setting on Academic and Behavioral Performance of Children Diagnosed with ADHD," was published in the journal Advances in ADHD. With a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Ms. Aguirre McLaughlin is investigating whether prenatal cocaine exposure is associated with risk-taking behaviors in early adolescents. Her dissertation, examining a cohort of prenatally cocaine-exposed 12-year olds who have been studied since birth, will compare their behaviors with those of children who were not exposed to cocaine. If she discovers an association between prenatal cocaine exposure and risk-taking behaviors, she hopes that those findings will inform early interventions targeted to a susceptible population. Her career plans include pursuing a clinical research position and teaching at a liberal arts college.
Kristen W. Green
Ms. Green received her BA and MA in school psychology from Trinity University. Her master's thesis was entitled “Cross Generational Sex Differences in IQ.” With her dissertation research, Ms. Green is interested in learning more about the etiology and development of psychopathy and its manifestation in youth. It his her goal to be among the researchers conducting cutting edge research on psychopathy in youth and utilizing research findings to develop and evaluate treatment interventions for troubled youth. Her dissertation seeks to determine whether any one or a combination of three brief measures of psychopathy in youth may be used as a screener for youths high in psychopathic traits. The use of an effective screener would allow for rapid screening on a large number of adolescents, adjudicated or in normal prison populations, selecting those who are high in psychopathy criteria for more intensive evaluation and intervention. She hopes that this research will advance the understanding of the nature of psychopathy in youth, specifically focusing on differentiating primary and secondary psychopathy and applying the findings toward the development of effective interventions for different types of psychopathic youths.
Ms. Shoshana Kahana
Ms. Kahana graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with her bachelor's degree in psychology and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. She received her masters in Clinical Psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Her master's thesis" Manipulation of Maternal Mood & its Effects on Child Ratings is under peer review for publication. Ms. Kahana’s dissertation research focuses on bipolar spectrum disorders in children and adolescents. The focus of her research is to conduct a three-year follow up study of youth who have been diagnosed with SUB in order to determine the clinical course and phenomenology of SUB. After completing her graduate work, Ms. Kahana hopes to pursue a position at an academic medical university and continue to conduct research and engage in clinical work with youth who have mood and anxiety disorders.
Ethan Schafer, MA
Mr. Schafer received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. His master’s thesis evaluated the relationship between interpersonal schemas, empathy, and social behavior with an ethnically diverse sample of 57 boys. He presented his results at two professional conferences. Mr. Schafer's dissertation research investigates the effectiveness of two interventions intended to reduce distress in a sample of pediatric surgical outpatients who have high anxiety. He hopes that the results of this research will help determine if expressing emotions through play or teaching children to relax is more effective in reducing anxiety and improving health, behavior, and emotional functioning over time. Mr. Schafer's career goals include making a significant impact in the lives of the individual children and families he has met. Additionally he hopes to have impacted the field of child clinical/pediatric psychology through the development of treatments that are effective in the real world.
Carla Kmett Danielson
Ms. Kmett Danielson received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ohio University. She received her masters in clinical psychology from the University of Dayton and is a PhD candidate at Case Western Reserve University. Her master’s thesis “Assessment of Children's Social Skills Through Self-Report” has been submitted for publication. Ms. Kmett Danielson's dissertation research will focus on a fundamental question about the nature of depression in children. Whether depression is categorical (where there is a qualitative difference between those children who have depression and those that do not) or whether depression is a continuous phenomenon (where there is only one population with merely varying levels of degree of depression). With her research, she hopes to discover if depression is a dimensional mental illness in children and if so, she will use that information to focus on gaining support for prevention and early intervention. Ms. Kmett Danielson's career goals include gaining an academic position in a research-focused university.
Amy B. GoldsteinMs. Goldstein received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Washington University in St Louis, MO. She received her master's degree from Case Western Reserve University, her master’s thesis "Children's Understanding and Use of Fantasy in Literature" has been submitted for publication. Ms. Goldstein is conducing her dissertation research on the "Effect of Affect in Literature on Children's Emotional Expression in Fantasy". Ms. Goldstein hypothesizes that children incorporate anxious affect into their own fantasy as an attempt to master and regulate their emotion. After completing her dissertation, Ms. Goldstein hopes to work in an academic setting where she can continue to develop her own area of research while instructing others in the field of psychology.