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Molly Countermine

Molly CountermineMolly is an advanced graduate student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State's University Park campus. She studied at Auburn University for her bachelor's degree in communicative disorders, and West Chester University for her master's degree in the same field. She began teaching infant and child development courses for Penn State in 1998, then began studying for her Ph.D. in 2004. Molly's research interests center around family and child sleep arrangements in infancy and toddlerhood. She is the mother of three children, Lucy, Leo, and Eli with her husband, Rene' Witzke. Molly and Rene' are local musicians in and around State College.

Brian Crosby

Brian CrosbyPost-Doctoral Fellow

Child Study Center

101A – University Support Building 1

University Park, PA 16802


Brian is a post-doctoral fellow whose training is in the area of clinical child psychology. His primary research and clinical interests concern sleep in children. In his research, Brian has explored group differences in sleep patterns and the importance of napping in preschool children. He is currently interested in the influence of sleep on behavior and emotion regulation in young children. Along with his research, Brian has experience in the clinical management of behavioral sleep problems in children.

Stephanie Bekelja

Stephanie BekeljaStephanie serves as Project Coordinator of Project SIESTA’s Hershey site. She graduated from Penn State University with a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, Youth and Family Services. She is currently in the Army National Guard as a 1st LT and recently just took a tour in Iraq. She is deciding whether or not to pursue a career in Nursing or continuing on with a certification in Elementary Education. She is interested in child development and family studies and Health.

Alix Dusel

Alix DuselAlix is a first year graduate student in the Applied Clinical Psychology masters program at Penn State Harrisburg. Her areas of focus are grief, anxiety and trauma and she is most interested in counseling children and war veterans.

Liesbeth Gudde

Liesbeth GuddeLiesbeth finished her Bachelor's degree in child psychology last June at the VU University of Amsterdam. She is here for an internship to gain experience in doing research. Her interests are child development, parenting and attachment. Next September she wants to start a Master's program. In Project SIESTA her main tasks are home-visits, coding and data-entry.

Alexia Hozella

Alexia HozellaAlexia has a B.S in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University, and is in the second year of the Applied Psychological Research program at The Pennsylvania State University (expected to graduate in December 2009). Her interests are in child development, especially social skills interventions such as the Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies (PATHS) model and attachment. She and her husband have one little girl, Micayla, and live in the Harrisburg area.

Bo-Ram Kim

Bo-Ram KimBo is a second-year graduate student in HDFS. Her interests are socioemotional development in early childhood, quality of parent-child relationships, and the constituents of highly effective parenting. Bo would like to study the effects of maternal mental health and emotional tone of parent-child interactions on children’s emotional regulation and socioemotional well being. Currently she is working on two projects—the Minds of Mothers study, and SIESTA.


Gail Mayer

Gail MayerGail is a graduate research assistant for Project SIESTA and a graduate student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State's University Park campus. She studied at University of Florida for her bachelor's degrees in psychology and spanish. Gail's research interests involve parent-child relationships and parents' influence on children's development, particularly socioemotional adjustment in early childhood.

Brandon McDaniel

Brandon McDanielBrandon is a graduate student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. He obtained his Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Family Life from Brigham Young University in 2010. Brandon's research interests include the transition to parenthood, the importance of fathers, and effective parenting strategies. As for personal experience with children and parenting, Brandon and his wife have a beautiful daughter.

Lauren Philbrook

Lauren PhilbrookLauren is a graduate student in the HDFS program at Penn State. She received her B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience from Williams College in 2009. Her interests lie in early childhood development and parenting behaviors. Specifically, she is interested in how early caregiving quality may influence children’s later social, emotional, and physiological development. She also interested in the development and implementation of intervention programs that focus on enhancing the parent-child relationship as a method by which to improve childhood outcomes.

Katie Pollom

Katie PollomKatie has a B.S. in psychology that she earned from Lycoming College. She is currently a graduate student at Penn State University where she is obtaining her M.A. in Applied Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include child development, attachment, stress/trauma and coping, and false memory.

Hye-Young (Grace) Rhee

Hye-Young (Grace) RheeGrace is a graduate student of HDFS at Penn State University. She studied at Seoul National University in South Korea for BA and MA degrees in child development. Her research interests are the influence of parent-child relationships on children's socio-emotional development and how parent-child relationship and parenting behaviors are affected by contextual and individual factors.

Mina Shimizu

Mina ShimizuMina received B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles. She is interested in how parenting practices affect children’s developmental outcomes; in particular, how parenting practices in different sleeping arrangement patterns influence the quality of mother-infant attachment and the child’s later socio-emotional development.

Renee Stewart

Renee StewartRenee graduated cum laude in the spring of 2009 from Wheeling Jesuit University with a Dual degree in Biology and Chemistry. After volunteering for a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless, Renee was interested in finding a research field that combined her scientific background with her passion for direct service to the people in her community.

Corey Whitesell

Corey WhitesellCorey is the Project Coordinator for Project SIESTA’s University Park site and a native of Centre County. She is a recent graduate of Boston University with a Masters in International Educational Development. Corey’s research interests lie in the interaction of culture, adjustment, and early childhood development.