Applied Psychology OPUS

Staff Biographies

Kelsey Block - Editor

Kelsey Block is a Senior studying Applied Psychology at New York University. She spends her time working with adolescents as an intake counselor at The Door, a social services agency that provides services for at-risk youth. Kelsey first became interested in youth when teaching sexual education classes in New York City public schools, with Peer Health Exchange. She is currently a member of Dr. Elise Cappella’s research team, working on a project studying the academic and social-emotional development of students when transitioning to middle school, and which aspects of school and community help adolescents during this transition. Kelsey’s research interests include counseling psychology and clinical psychology.

David Freedman - Editor

David is a Senior and a transfer student entering his second year at NYU. David first became interested in psychology volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician in Brooklyn. He was most attracted to the aspect of comforting patients in crisis. This past summer, David interned as a case manager in a supportive housing organization, during which he had the opportunity to work with individuals struggling with mental illness one on one. During this year, David is working on Dr. Aronson’s research team. David is interested in cross-cultural psychology, addiction psychology, developmental psychology, existential psychology, and psychoanalysis.

Vera Stiefler Johnson - Editor

Vera Stiefler Johnson is a junior in the Applied Psychology program and an internal transfer from CAS Psychology. She currently works as a Team Leader in Americorps’ Jumpstart program, serving underprivileged daycares in the Lower East Side. Having grown up in diverse countries such as Vietnam, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Denmark, and China, she has developed a strong interest in the issues facing women across cultures. She hopes to use an applied psychology foundation to work against human trafficking and gender discrimination, particularly with regard to refugees and victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Samantha Pratt - Executive Director

Samantha Pratt is a junior in the Applied Psychology department, with a double minor in Creative Writing and Global and Urban Education Studies. She is currently a volunteer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as well as a member of Dr. Shabnam Javdani’s research team where she is involved in the R. O. S. E. S project. As a member of the team, she receives training to implement a studied intervention strategy with at risk adolescent girls who have currently or previously been a part of the juvenile justice system. She was previously a part of Dr. Niobe Way’s research team where she worked with qualitative data regarding female adolescents and the impact of various gender norms influenced by parent and peer interactions. She is developing a non-profit that will involve a partnership between the public school system and outside mental health professionals. Her research interest in childhood adversities and adolescent risk factors was inspired by various internships at the Children’s Aid Society, the Gesell Institute of Human Development, and Jumpstart.

Amelia Chu - Layout Director

Amelia is a sophomore in the Applied Psychology Program and is pursuing a minor in Anthropology and Business Studies. She is interested in Social Psychology and Child Psychology. Amelia is also the Layout Editor of Generasian, a student-run Asian-American interest magazine, the Design Office Assistant at NYU CMEP and the Webmaster for the NYU American Red Cross Club.

Emil Hafeez - Public Relations Manager

Emil Hafeez is in his third year at NYU but Spring 2013 is his first semester in the APUG department after transferring from being Undeclared in CAS. He’s hoping to keep gaining experience in research, clinical work, and business. He enjoys Psychology both conceptually and for its applicability, and is interested in realizing his knowledge into societal change. There’s a certain joy in uniting facets of art, science, philosophy, and humanity. While his specific goals are fluctuating and fluid, Positive and Social Psychology seem to be the riverbanks that influence the flow.

Sophie Barnes - Senior Staff Writer

Sophie Barnes is a senior in the Applied Psychology department, with a minor in Spanish. She is a member of Dr. Elise Cappella’s research team and previously worked on the INSIGHTS into Children’s Temperament research team. She is currently a member of Dr. Elise Cappella’s FRIENDS research team, where she is exploring early adolescent cross-race friendships in schools. She is also writing an Honors thesis exploring the role of emotional support in low-income, urban kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Her general research interests include low-income children, education, and the role of different developmental contexts. Sophie hopes to continue her education in the field of psychology.

Emily Gallagher - Senior Staff Writer

Emily Gallagher is a senior in the Applied Psychology Program. In addition to being a staff writer for OPUS she is also the President of the APUG Club. Her interest are working with children with special needs research about school, teacher-student relationships and friendships in classrooms. She is member of Dr. Elise Cappella’s research team and an assistant teacher at Daytime Moon Creations, a non-profit organization providing arts education for children and young adults with special needs.

Donna Poon - Senior Staff Writer

Donna is a senior in the Applied Psychology Program minoring in East Asian Studies. She is interested in Counseling Psychology and Human Development research. Donna is interested in pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and hopes to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Last semester, Donna interned as an Intake Counselor at The Door, a non-profit social services agency that provides services to urban at-risk youth. Currently, she is a member of Dr. Selcuk Sirin’s research team as a research assistant for the NYCASES study. As a research assistant, Donna codes for academic and social engagement themes in transcriptions of one hour-long interviews with urban adolescent youth in New York City high schools. Her independent research project studies the relation between ethnic identity and psychological well-being as well as the role of generational status for Asian American urban high school youth. Donna is also the Senior Adviser for the NYU Chinese Student Society, an Asian interest cultural club and an active brother in Alpha Phi Omega, a coeducational National Service Fraternity.

Tyler Sabourin - Senior Staff Writer

Tyler Sabourin is a Senior Staff Writer for OPUS. He is currently in his senior year in the Applied Psychology department, and is in the process of applying for Master’s programs in Music Therapy. He has maintained interest in music since a young age, and hopes to integrate his knowledge of psychology with his love of music.

Yimkwan Tsang - Senior Staff Writer

Yimkwan Tsang is a senior in the Applied Psychology program with a minor in Web Programming and Applications. She currently interns at PROspect place in Hamilton Madison House, serving mostly Chinese-American participants with mental illness in the Lower East Side. She is on Dr. Selcuk Sirin’s research team, working on the qualitative narrative summary from immigrant-origin adolescents. She is also working on the website for project A.C.E in Dr. Sumie Okazaki’s research team. Her general research interests include clinical psychology and indigenous psychology in Chinese cultures. Upon completing her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a Clinical Psychology degree in Hong Kong