Primary Investigator

Natalie Russo, PhD.

Montreal, Canada. 

Dr. Natalie Russo is interested in the manner in which typically developing children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) process and integrate sensory information from one or more sensory modalities. Dr. Russo’s research interests focus on understanding of neurophysiology of sensory processing and multisensory integration among persons with ASD. She explores these research questions through the use of behavioral and electrophysiological measurements within the context of developmental psychopathology, using strength based approach to data interpretation and research design. Dr Russo has recently received a research grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health that allows her to continue exploring these interests.

Dr. Russo is currently an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University.  She completed her graduate degree at McGill University, and completed her predoctoral clinical internship at the TEACCH center for autism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical School. She completed postdoctoral fellowship at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, City College of New York, and at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 

Dr. Russo will be accepting students for Fall 2018.

For Dr. Russo's CV, Click here.

Graduate Students

Elizabeth McKernan, MS

Rye, New York.

Elizabeth is a third-year graduate student in the School Psychology PhD program at Syracuse University.  Her research interests include the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders, as well as the development of social skills in individuals with ASD. Elizabeth graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and human services. Prior to joining the CARE Lab, Elizabeth completed a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Portland, Maine, where she worked at a nonprofit organization serving teens and young adults with developmental disabilities.

In her free time, she enjoys running, reading, and spending as much time outdoors as she possibly can.

Justin Kopec

South Hadley, MA

Justin is a third-year graduate student in the School Psychology Ph.D. program at Syracuse University. His research interests include sensory processing in individuals with Autism Spectrum disorder, and he has a particular interest in the experience of music for those on the spectrum. Prior to joining the lab, Justin worked for 2 years as a Research Technician in the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Lab at Northeastern University, where he studied physiological components of emotional experience under Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett. Justin earned his BA in Psychology from UMass Lowell. As an undergraduate, he worked as a Research Assistant in the Laboratory for Autism Spectrum Disorders under Dr. Ashleigh Hillier.

Justin is also a musician and has published an album on iTunes!

Ellie Kaplan

Bucks County, PA
Ellie is a second-year graduate student in the School Psychology program at SU. She completed her undergrad degree in Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University and has previously worked in developmental psychology labs at JHU, Harvard and UC Berkeley. Her research interests include ways in which differences lower level sensory processing in ASD might underlie social difficulties later development and more effective ways to translate research into practice in schools.
Ellie loves visiting state and national parks, cooking, and checking out the many breweries in upstate New York!

Emily Koelmel

Emily is a first-year doctoral student in the School Psychology discipline. She completed her Bachelor’s in Psychology at the College of Wooster. She is interested in combining her background in conducting behavioral therapy for autism, with her experience with mindfulness research practices at the University of Washington. Her ultimate goal is to develop new mindfulness based interventions for children with special needs and empirically test them using EEGs. When not in the lab, Emily can be found climbing, hiking, traveling, and cooking.

Lab Manager

Alyssa Prawl, BA.

Syracuse, New York.

Alyssa graduated from Syracuse University in May of 2016 after majoring in Psychology and Forensic Science. She spends most of her time boxing, reading, or catching up on her favorite TV shows! Alyssa plans to attend graduate school for social work and marriage and family therapy come fall 2018.

She really enjoys reading, yoga, snowmobiling in the winter, and hiking in the summer and fall.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Joeann Salvati

Queens, New York.

Jo is a senior studying psychology and forensic science. She's interested in child psychology and plans on attending graduate school and eventually obtaining her Ph.D. She also works with Literacy Corps as a tutor for elementary school students in the Syracuse City School District.

Her favorite things to do are writing poetry, baking sweets, and exploring the city. 

Shealyn O'Halloran

Le Roy, New York

Shealyn is a senior double majoring in psychology and mathematics. After graduation, Shealyn plans on applying to MSW/JD programs and eventually pursuing a career in child advocacy.  In addition to being an undergraduate research assistant, Shealyn is also a member of the Syracuse University Marching Band, the Sour Sitrus Society, and Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Band Sorority. 

When she’s not in lab, class, or cheering on Syracuse, Shealyn loves spending time with friends, reading, or watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.

Emma Smith

Forestville, New York
Emma is a senior at Cazenovia College studying Psychology and Inclusive Early Childhood Education. She has a wide variety of interests including social psychology, political psychology, and psychology's influence on educational practices.  Emma plans to eventually attend graduate school and find a career that meshes all of her interests in away that can positively impact society.  
Besides school, she enjoys all the little things in life, such as small towns, coffee shops, hikes, books and photographs.

Casey Bell

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Casey is a senior studying biology and psychology. He is interested in psychiatry and plans on attending medical school and eventually obtaining his MD. He works for several psychology labs at Syracuse University and is a member of a co-ed national service fraternity that gives a helping hand to the Syracuse community.
His favorite things to do are to go on hikes, ski, and attend the basketball & football games for SU.

Ying Wu

Guangdong, China

Ying is a junior studying psychology and neuroscience. She is interested in clinical psychology and plans on attending graduate school and eventually obtain her PhD. She is also working for food services and recreation services in SU.

Her favorite things to do are traveling, cooking, reading, and exploring all kinds of new stuffs.

Elizabeth Bryant

Boston, MA

Elizabeth is a sophomore studying psychology, forensic science, and education. She's interested in working with military families and plans on going to graduate school for a PhD in clinical psychology. She loves teaching toddler swim lessons in the summer and works as a tutor throughout the school year in Syracuse.

Her favorite things to do are to cook, spend time outside, and play with animals.

Samar Al-Any

Syracuse, New York

Samar is a junior at the college of Art and Sciences with a major in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Science. She plans on attending dental school and obtaining a DDS with a specialization in pediatrics. Samar loves working with children of all ages because she finds it interesting how each age group reacts to situations differently. She is the Vice President of the Arab Student Association and on weekends she works at a dental office within the Syracuse community. Samar is interested in traveling and learning more about other cultures.

Samar enjoys watching Turkish shows, listening to music and dancing.  

CARE Lab Alumni

Click HERE to see our CARE Lab Alumni page