Anil Chacko, PhD

Anil Chacko is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. (2006) in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed his clinical internship at the Institute for Juvenile Research, Department of Psychiatry, the University of Illinois at Chicago and then a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. His research interests focus primarily on the development of effective, engaging, and efficient prevention, intervention and service delivery models for youth at-risk for or affected with Disruptive Behavior Disorders.



MiAmor Aguirresaenz graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Psychology. She has worked for the last eight years with the Department of Children and Families (Devereux Florida) as a facilitator of parenting classes and visitation supervisor for court-mandated parents accused of child abuse and/or neglect. She has conducted research at DePaul University as part of the Summer Research Opportunities Program and the McNair Scholars Program on the relationship between stressful life events and depression among Latino youth. She is beginning her first year in the MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness at NYU – Steinhardt. Her research interests include mental health outcomes and interventions for at-risk minority low-income youth and their families, parental interventions, and increasing access to mental health services. MiAmor intends to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. 


Oriana Barone is currently a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Her research and clinical interests include clinical psychology, psychopathology, and developmental psychology. Her experiences working with children with emotional and behavioral disorders allowed her to develop a passion for clinical psychology. Outside of NYU, Oriana is a volunteer crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line. Oriana hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a specialization in child and adolescent psychology.


Nina A. Bigio is currently a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Psychology. She is interested in how nature and nurture can affect learning perspectives, self-control, emotional, and social intelligence. She spent two years in a Youth Movement implementing educational games for 7-11 years old children and learned how valuable it is to find ways to bring out their individual spark. Nina aspires to work as a neuropsychologist to help people reveal their potential and adapt to everyday challenges. She is excited to join the FACES community, and learn a lot from everyone.


Madhavi Challa is currently a freshman at NYU pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Her interests include mental health, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, and psychopathology. Her experiences with her peers in high school allowed her to discover a passion for child and adolescent mental health and clinical work. Outside of the classroom, Madhavi enjoys creative expression through dance as well as participating in a collegiate A Cappella group. In looking forward to her professional career, Madhavi hopes to work with children and adolescents as a therapist.


Alyssa Chimiklis
Alyssa Chimiklis is an Advanced Clinical Psychology doctoral student enrolled in the Queens College Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research and clinical interests include developing effective interventions for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with a particular focus on identifying neurocognitive factors that may influence the development of ADHD and co-occurring learning difficulties. For her dissertation, she is investigating the treatment effects of a novel computerized neurocognitive training program in children with ADHD and reading difficulties. Alyssa is also interested in exploring how mindfulness/yoga interventions influence higher order executive functions, as well as academic outcomes. This year she is overseeing a pilot study examining the efficacy of a mindfulness/yoga program in children with increased levels of inattention and emotion dysregulation. She earned her B.S. in Communication from Boston University and her M.A. in Psychology from Queens College.


Tori Dahl Tori Dahl is a second-year doctoral student under the mentorship of Anil Chacko, Ph.D., in the Counseling Psychology Program in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University. Throughout her professional career, Tori has committed her efforts to working with at-risk children and adolescents from high-poverty communities. In particular, her year serving with City Year, an AmeriCorps program, and being a teaching assistant in Cornell's Prisoner Education Program have informed her research interests, which include: mindfulness-based interventions for children with behavioral problems (ADHD, ODD,CD, etc.), cognitive behavioral therapy, the juvenile justice system, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Her 2016-2017 externship placement is at Harlem Children's Zone, where she conducts neuropsychological assessments and co-facilitates psychotherapy groups for community youth. Tori received her B.A. in Psychology and Near Eastern Sciences from Cornell University, where she conducted psychology research under Steve Ceci, Ph.D., in his Child Witness and Cognition Lab in the Department of Human Development.


Tiffany Davis is currently a junior at NYU pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Psychology. Her research interests include child developmental psychology, educational psychology, and mental health. She has been eager to work with kids since she was a teaching assistant in high school. Since then, she has worked as a research assistant in multiple labs, one of which dealt with kids who were diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome. She has also worked as an intake counselor at a youth developmental agency in New York City. Tiffany later hopes to pursue a Clinical Psychology and is interested in the prevention of mental disorders. 


Rhonda Donoho, M.A., is a doctoral fellow whose research focuses on improving mental health services and outreach in urban minority environments. Her current research in the FACES lab will explore how low-income urban family characteristics and typologies affect treatment outcomes for children with behavior disorders. Aside from her research, Rhonda enjoys clinical practice and neuropsychological testing. Her counseling placements include Pace University, New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Hospital, and Mt. Sinai Hospital. Rhonda earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan and her M.A in psychology in education from Teachers College, Columbia University


Noureen Faliksher, is currently a sophomore at NYU in the applied psychology program. Her research interests include developing methods to keep low-income and minority students in school, understanding what makes an ideal student and how ideal students can be made, and implementing growth mindsets in children from a very young age. She is also interested in developing techniques or interventions that can aid children with behavioral disorders and their families at school, work, and home. Noureen would also like to understand how mindfulness plays into success in the academic and the career world. After she graduates, Noureen would like to obtain a degree in either educational psychology or child psychology. When Noureen is not in the lab, she enjoys watching shows and movies on Netflix, creatively writing, and spending time with her friends and family. She is looking forward to working with everyone in the FACES lab.


Irene Fosu is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology. For the past three years, she has served as an executive board member on the Applied Psychology Undergraduate (APUG) Club at NYU Steinhardt — a club which provides students with social, educational, and community service opportunities to help expand upon their knowledge and interest in psychology. Outside of NYU, Irene mentors elementary school-aged children in her community. Her research interests include interventions for youth and their families affected by emotional and disruptive behavior disorders. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and specialize in child psychology.


Annlady Jorge is currently a senior in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development pursuing her B.S. in Applied Psychology. Her clinical and research interests involve children with ADHD and other disruptive behavior and anxiety disorders. She has explored these domains in a clinical setting at the NYU Child Study Center, NYU SPK and as a current undergraduate intern at KPCPC, under the supervision of Dr. Steven Kurtz in addition to joining the FACES Lab. Annlady is interested in pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology with a child emphasis.


Michael Levy, M.A. is a doctoral fellow in the Counseling Psychology Program under the mentorship of Dr. Anil Chacko. His research is focused on working with children and families who are navigating externalizing and internalizing disorders and the various factors that may impact treatment outcomes in this population. He recently worked for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University assessing children in schools serving low-income families. Michael also worked for several years as an early childhood educator and has completed several research projects at the New York University Child Study Center. In addition to working with the pediatric population, Michael has also worked extensively with adolescents and young adults. Michael served as the Project Director of an NIH-funded longitudinal cohort study examining syndemic production among sexual minority emergent adults at the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) and has conducted research on various aspects of mental health, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors in this group under the mentorship of Dr. Perry Halkitis. Michael has had several leadership roles in higher education positions, serving as the Columbia University Teachers College Clinical Psychology Masters Program Ambassador from 2012-2014 as well as the Center Coordinator for the New School-Beth Israel Center for Clinical Training and Research. Michael obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from New York University, graduating cum laude and as a University Honors Scholar. He later received his Master's degree from Columbia’s Teachers College in Clinical Psychology. View Michael's CV


Gabi MacNaughton is a rising senior at NYU, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Psychology in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Both her research and clinical interests focus on children and adolescents with anxiety disorders and disruptive behavior disorders, as well as children with ASD. She has explored these areas of interest through her time spent as a classroom volunteer in a residential mental health facility for children and adolescents, through her position as a job and social skills coach for teens with autism, as well as through her internship at KPCPC, which was completed under the supervision of Dr. Steven Kurtz. She has now joined the FACES lab to continue her exploration. Gabi plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and would like to work with children and adolescents in a clinical setting.  


Sarah Peralta is currently a second-year graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness in NYU’s Applied Psychology Department. She aspires to work in a field specifically catering towards adolescent trauma. Sarah has had prior experience working in voluntary runaway shelters for at-risk youth as well as working in an outpatient substance abuse clinic. She is currently completing her internship at the Bereavement Center of Westchester where it provides specialized grief support services to children from the ages of 5 to 17 years old. Her research interests include mental health outcomes and preventive services for at-risk children and adolescents. Sarah intends to pursue a doctorate in Counseling Psychology.


Amrita Ramakrishnan is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at New York University, under the mentorship of Dr. Anil Chacko. Her research interests are primarily in the area of childhood externalizing disorders (ADHD, CD, ODD) and developing interventions/treatments focused on impulsive behaviors. Before NYU, Amrita worked as a post-baccalaureate research associate at the Yale Child Study Center focused on the neural correlates of decision making in children and adolescents with anxiety and depression. She later worked as a Study Coordinator for the ADHD and neuroimaging program at the UC Davis MIND Institute. Amrita obtained her bachelor's degree in Psychology at Stony Brook University, with departmental honors.


Suni Shah is currently a sophomore undergraduate student in the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology with a minor in American Sign Language. She is particularly passionate about the field of child and adolescent mental health and hopes to one day become a clinical psychologist. Suni has traveled extensively around the globe and has volunteered in several programs to educate and counsel young children. She is also a Senior Health Educator for NYU Peer Health Exchange, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower young students to make informed decisions about their physical and mental health. She is interested in further studying emotional and behavioral disorders in children either in a hospital or school setting.

Jamie Tan is a senior at NYU, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology and a minor in Chemistry. Her clinical and research interests are primarily concerned with neurodevelopmental and neurocognitive disorders, and exploring treatments outside of medicine, specifically examining the role of Occupational therapy and other holistic approaches for improving health and social outcomes in patients. Her past experiences include volunteering at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, interning at the Administration for Children's Services, and more recently, working as a Community Habilitation provider. She hopes to one day become an Occupational therapist and conduct research to support evidence-based practices within her profession.


(Maria) Michelle Vardanian is a doctoral student under the mentorship of Anil Chacko, PhD, in the Counseling Psychology Program in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Her research interests are primarily in the area of evidence-based practice and minority mental health disparities; especially the stigmatization of mental illness within minority cultures as well as various attitudes/behaviors towards seeking mental health services by minority families. Prior to NYU, Michelle worked as a research associate for The Center for Implementation-Dissemination of Evidence-Based Practices among States (IDEAS Center) at the NYU Child Study Center, where she coordinated and managed the evidence-based training known as the Managing and Adapting Practices (MAP) Program in New York State. During her time there, she assessed the adaptations implemented to the training that may have improved retention rates for participation, and presented her findings at the ABCT Convention in New York in 2016, and later developed the findings into a peer-reviewed article as lead author. Michelle graduated summa cum laude and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from New York University’s College of Arts and Science. In the future, she hopes to develop culturally sensitive evidence-based interventions that will improve attitudes and behaviors towards seeking mental health services as well as improve the quality of evidence-based services available to minority communities.


Elysha Clark Whitney is a junior in New York University's Applied Psychology undergraduate program, with a minor in history. Her primary areas of interest are the cognitive and social-emotional development of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has had the opportunity to work with children on the Autism spectrum through volunteering at LearningSpring School and an internship conducting ABA therapy at the Manhattan Children's Center. Elysha also works with preschoolers from families of low socioeconomic status, as part of her work with the NYU L-FELD research team.


Rachel Wong is currently a junior at Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development majoring in Applied Psychology with a minor in global public health. She currently works as a suicide crisis counselor and also assists in providing resources to suicide survivors in the ER. Her current research and career interests are in youth and adolescent psychopathology. In the future she wants to pursue a masters and Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a focus in trauma and its impact on externalizing behaviors in youth. She hopes to create more dialogue and awareness among adolescents about mental health and self care, especially in Asian communities.