Applied Psychology OPUS

Staff Biographies

Kelsey Block - Editor

Kelsey Block is a senior in the Applied Psychology program at New York University. Over the past academic year, she has spent her time working with at-risk youth as an Intake Counselor at The Door, a youth outreach organization that provides a range of services to adolescents. Kelsey first became interested in working with youth when she taught health classes to 9th grade students in New York City public schools, with Peer Health Exchange. She is also a member of Dr. Elise Cappella’s research team working on two projects. The first is studying the academic and social-emotional outcomes of students transitioning to middle school, and the aspects of school and community that aid in this transition. The second is a mixed-method approach, exploring behavioral and academic engagement of elementary school students in urban schools. Kelsey’s research interests include clinical and counseling psychology.

David Freedman - Editor

David is a Senior and a transfer student in 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. 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. She is currently a member of Dr. Shabnam Javdani’s Skills 4 Life research team.

Samantha Pratt - Executive Director, Editor-in-Training, Junior Staff Writer

Samantha Pratt is a senior in the Applied Psychology department, with a minor in Creative Writing and Urban Education Studies. She is a Teach for America Equity Fellow as well as an interventionist on 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 serves as an advocate for 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. Her research interest in child development and adolescent risk factors was inspired by various internships at the Children’s Aid Society, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center, 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 marketing, social psychology, and early childhood education strategies, particularly those that involve interactive technologies. Amelia is also the Director of Communications at the Lafayette Residence Hall, 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 now in his fourth year at NYU. Since high school in his hometown of Bethesda, Maryland, Emil’s enjoyed Psychology both conceptually and for its applicability; he’s hoping to actualize this towards social justice. He currently works with ASD at the NYU Langone Medical Center’s Child Study Center and is likely joining a research team to further pursue his interests, which include: Positive, Social, Developmental, and Cross-Cultural Psychology, as well as statistics, policy work, and linguistics. While long-term specifics are fluctuating and fluid, his current goals post-graduation include travel, a MAPP, and eventually a PhD program.

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.

Jazmine Russell - Junior Staff Writer

Jazmine Russell is a junior in the Applied Psychology program at NYU. She is a research assistant for Dr. Rose Vukovic on her project which examines different risk factors for children’s math difficulties. Jazmine is currently conducting research on children’s essentialist and implicit theories of intelligence as predictors of math achievement. Other research interests include people’s lay philosophic beliefs and cultural influences in relation to tolerance of uncertainty and psychological resilience. She is currently working on a project to be conducted in Casablanca, Morocco, interviewing people on their lay beliefs about reality and taking portraits that capture their lived experience.

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 has 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 will be pursuing a Master of Education Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Fall of 2014 in hope of becoming a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.  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 writing for OPUS, and a graduating senior in the Department of Applied Psychology. Throughout his studies at NYU, he has explored the areas of both music and psychology, and seeks to fulfill his interest in the two with a career in music therapy. Focusing on children with developmental delays, he hopes to combine the knowledge he has gained in the field of psychology with the universal accessibility of music to help improve the lives of those he will work with.

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 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