USF Doctoral Students

  • Melanie Bozzay (

  • Melanie Bozzay is a 5th year doctoral student from Leesburg, VA. She received her B.S. in Psychology from George Mason University in 2013. Following graduation, she worked in Dr. John Riskind's lab examining risk and resilience factors related to suicidality in college students. She also worked in Dr. Christianne Esposito-Smythers' lab on an NIH-funded RCT designed to test a suicide, substance abuse, and HIV/STI prevention program for adolescents in mental health treatment. Her primary research interests include the study of biological, dispositional, and situational vulnerability factors that may promote deficits in cognition, and, in turn, risk of suicidal and/or violent thoughts and behaviors.

  • Bethany Edwards (

  • Bethany Edwards is in her 4th year working with Dr. Verona. She completed her B.A. from Purdue University and previously worked for Dr. Todd Braver at Washington University in St. Louis and Dr. Kent Kiehl at the University of New Mexico. Broadly, her research interests are in gender differences in psychopathy and particularly, in exploring the manner and contexts within which men and women differentially manifest psychopathic traits. Additionally, she is interested in examining the degree to which individual-level features (e.g., psychopathic traits) may be informative in understanding involvement in the provision and consumption of sex work behavior.

  • Amy Hoffmann (

  • Amy Hoffmann is originally from Pittsburgh PA and completed her undergrad at Brandeis University, where she worked in Dr. Ray Knightís Psychopathy and Sexual Aggression Lab. Her primary research interests are in the biological, emotional, cognitive, and social factors associated with sexual coercion perpetration. Particularly, she is interested in differences in risk factors between genders and in understudied populations. She is also interested more broadly in the development and assessment of sexual deviance, and sexual violence prevention.

  • Sean McKinley (

  • Sean McKinley is originally from Philadelphia, PA and received his B.A. in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University in Washington, DC. After his undergraduate career, Sean earned an M.A. in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, where he worked with Dr. Diana Falkenbach on psychopathy/personality research in law enforcement populations. Seanís research interests broadly focus on problems related to law enforcement, including personality traits related to performance, stressors and PTSD, and impacts of community policing on public perceptions of law enforcement. He hopes to explore these dynamics in the diverse Tampa Bay community, and he would ultimately like to build a career as a police psychologist.

  • Julia McDonald (

  • Julia McDonald is from Houston, Texas. She completed her BS at Texas A&M University. She is broadly interested in the relationship between cognition and emotion as it relates to psychopathy and other forms of dysregulated psychopathology. She is particularly interested in the interactions among self-regulation, executive functioning, and emotion in disinhibition. Her current research uses a variety of methodologies (behavior, psychophysiology (EEG/ERP, Startle), and diagnostic interviews) to further elucidate the mechanisms involved in aggressive behavior, externalizing syndromes and disinhibition.

    Illinois Doctoral Students

    • Konrad Bresin (

    • Konrad Bresin is from Fargo, ND. He completed his BS and MS at the North Dakota State University. In the summer of 2017, he will start a pre-doctoral clinical internship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Psychiatry Department. His research focuses on answering the question why people engage in behaviors that may have short-term benefits (e.g. temporary relief from painful emotions) but have long-term negative consequences (e.g., problems in interpersonal relationships, physical health problems). In particular, he is interested in the role that emotions play in the onset and continuance of these behaviors. Konrad uses a mix of laboratory, ecological momentary assessment, and meta-analysis to answer this question. To date, his research has focused on the behaviors of nonsuicidal self-injury, aggression, and substance use.

    • Michael Kruepke (

    • My name is Michael Kruepke and I am working with Dr. Edelyn Verona and Dr. Aron Barbey at the University of Illinois. Originally form West Bend, WI I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology. Since then I have spent time working for Dr. Joseph Newman, Dr. Richard Davidson, and Dr. Michael Koenigs. Broadly, my research interests are the interaction of cognition and emotion in psychopathlogy. More specifically I am interested in externalizing disorders such as psychopathy, BPD, and ASPD. I am also interested in moral judgment and meditation research and look forward to working more in these areas during my time at UIUC.

    Former Graduate Students
    • Brett Murphy (

    • Brett Murphy is from Norman, Oklahoma. He completed his BA at Rice University in 2004. In 2011, he graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a student attorney with the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project. He is especially interested in studying empathy deficits and impulse control deficits. Brett is currently completing his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Emory University

    • Michael Perino (

    • Michael Perino is originally from Long Island, New York. He received his BA in Psychology and History from NYU & his MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His research focuses on how aberrant cognitive, affective, and perceptual processes relate to predatory aggression. More generally, he is interested in how neuroscientific research can help inform clinical diagnosis and treatment. Michael is receiving his doctorate in Developmental Psychology at the University of Illinois.

    • Shabnam Javdani (

    • Shabnam Javdani received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include understanding the development of, and social response to, antisocial behavior across levels of analysis (e.g., individual, community, social) and in gender-specific ways. She is particularly interested in adolescent girls' involvement in the juvenile justice system and the development and consequences of women's use of violence in the context of intimate relationships. Shabnam is now on the faculty at NYU.

    • Naomi Sadeh (

    • Naomi Sadeh is from Minneapolis, MN and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in Psychology. Her research interests involve exploring emotion-cognition interactions in psychopathy, particularly the attentional mechanisms differentially involved in primary and secondary psychopathy. She is also interested in how gene-environment interplay, personality, and gender contribute to the development of psychopathy and other externalizing disorders in youth and adults. Naomi is a research scientist at the Boston VA.

    • Jenessa Sprague

    • Jenessa was born and raised in Miami, FL, where she received a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Criminology from the University of Miami. Her interests lie in the different correlates of dysregulatory syndromes. In particular, she is interested in the brain regions involved in the implementation of emotional reactivity and behavioral inhibition and how the interaction of these neural systems contribute to syndromes like Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). She is also interested in disentangling the sex differences in the development of APD and BPD in order to examine if these syndromes reflect gender-specific manifestations of the same dispositional vulnerability.

    • M. Sima Finy

    • Originally from a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, Sima graduated with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in neuroscience from The Ohio State University in 2007. Her research interests include how genes, hormones, and the environment interact to produce different behaviors, particularly stress-induced aggression.