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 2017.

For Dr. Russo's CV, Click here.

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Graduate Student

Nicole Shea, MS.

Buffalo, New York.

Nicole Shea is a third year graduate student in the School Psychology Ph. D. Program at Syracuse University.  Her research interests include self-determination and motivation in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder with the unique perspective of studying this using electrophysiology.  Nicole is currently the Graduate Research Assistant in Dr. Russo’s lab.  During her second year she was an extern at SUNY Upstate University Hospital’s Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders where she conducted neuropsychological evaluations for children experiencing cognitive late effects from cancer treatments.  Prior to joining the CARE Lab, Nicole was an undergraduate student at the University of Notre Dame where she was a research assistant in an ASD lab under the direction of Dr. Joshua Diehl. 

In her free time, Nicole loves to travel and has been to twelve countries!

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Elizabeth McKernan

Rye, New York.

Elizabeth is a first-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.

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Justin Kopec

South Hadley, MA

Justin is a first 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!

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Ellie Kaplan

Ellie is a first 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.
On the top of Ellie's bucket list: Visiting every one of the 58 National Parks in the US! (She's got 49 to go!)

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Lab Manager

Alyssa Prawl, BA.

Syracuse, New York.

Alyssa graduated from Syracuse University in May of 2016 after majoring in Psychology and Forensics. She spent most of her time as an undergraduate studying, working in the lab, playing a witness on SU's Mock Trial team and working at different restaurants. Alyssa plans to attend graduate school and eventually obtain her Ph.D.

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

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Undergraduate Research Assistants

Joeann Salvati

Queens, New York.

Jo is a junior 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. 

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Cholette Fiore

Summit, New York.

Cholette is a junior studying psychology and neuroscience. After graduation, she plans on attending graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in neuroscience in order to become a Clinical Neuropsychologist. In addition to being an undergraduate research assistant, Cholette is also a member of Active Minds, Alzheimer's Association and Psi Chi. 

When she is not busy with school, Cholette enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors.

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Stephanie Velazquez Lopez

Ponce, Puerto Rico
Stephanie is a sophomore double majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience. After completing her bachelors degree, she plans to obtain a PhD on Clinical Psychology and eventually have her own research lab. Apart from being an undergraduate research assistant, Stephanie is part of WiSE, SWEEP, Greenpeace, and Soulful Sitdowns. 
In her free time, Stephanie enjoys reading, writing, and dancing.

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CARE Lab Alumni

Carl Hagmann, PhD.

Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Carl was CARELab’s Postdoctoral Researcher. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 2007 and earned his PhD in Psychology from Tufts University in 2013 while managing Molly Potter’s lab at MIT. Carl’s primary research interests are multisensory temporal integration, rapid cognition, and concept learning. While at Tufts, he conducted comparative cognition research in pigeons, starlings, and humans, specifically examining how vocal learning ability influences audio-visual rhythm processing. At MIT, his research focused on understanding how humans process sequences of conceptual scene images presented at extremely fast rates.

Carl has moved on from the CARE Lab and accepted an exciting new position in Syracuse.  

In his free time, Carl likes to cook, play drums of all kinds, dabble in other musical instruments, and play with his cat Al.

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Megan LeBlanc, BS.

Reading, Massachusetts.

Megan has been working as the research coordinator since her graduation from Syracuse University in May of 2014. She graduated with a BS in Neuroscience and Psychology and hopes next to go to medical school and become a surgeon. Megan worked in the lab for two years while she was an undergraduate at Syracuse, volunteers as a wish granter for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and works as an EMT in the area. 

Megan has left her position at the CARE Lab to pursue a Master of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Megan has already been to six continents in her lifetime and hopes to get to Antarctica so she can say she's been to all seven.

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Andrew Seddon

Middletown, New York.

Andrew is a junior double majoring in psychology and neuroscience. He plans on going to medical school after college, specializing in either psychiatry or neurology. Along with being an undergraduate research assistant, Andrew volunteers as the Vice President of the Red Cross Club of Syracuse University, raises money for Relay for Life, and is part of Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society and Psi Chi.

When Andrew isn't in the lab, he spends most of his time studying and drinking gallons of coffee to stay awake.

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Edna Ramirez

Edna Marie is a junior studying psychology and neuroscience.  She plans on going to medical school after college and becoming a Psychiatrist, specialized in children and adolescents.  The person that inspired her to form part of the Lab is her younger brother, with ASD, and forming part of a group that is working to make a difference for these children and their families. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys mentoring students, and taking road trips.

You will most likely find her involved in volunteering activities, and on the dance floor.

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Morgan Anderson

Harwich, MA. 

Morgan is a senior double majoring in psychology and Child & Family Studies. After graduating Syracuse, she plans on attending graduate school to pursue her PsyD on the child and adolescent track. In addition to being an undergraduate research assistant, Morgan also works at the Syracuse University Early Childhood Education Center and interns at Fanforth Middle School as a youth development specialist. She is a member of Psi Chi, Kappa Omicron Nu and Alpha Gamma Delta.

In her spare time Morgan likes going to Gannon's, spending time with friends, baking and sleeping. 

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Tamara Abu-Ramadan

Gaza, Palestine 
Syracuse, New York
Tamara is a Senior studying Psychology and Neuroscience. Upon graduation, she plans on attending graduate school and obtaining her PhD in a clinical/school psychology combined program, specializing in neurodevelopmental disorders. Along with being an undergraduate research assistant, Tamara is also a Resident Advisor for the Psychology in Action Learning Community in Shaw Hall and a member of PsiChi.
Aside from academics, Tamara enjoys writing poetry and singing.

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Conner Black

West Allenhurst, New Jersey.

Conner graduated from Syracuse University in 2015. He is now the lab manager of the Temple University Cognition and Learning Lab in Philadelphia, PA. Conner also enjoys cooking and going skiing. He hopes to attend a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology with a focus in the physiological and behavioral effects of autism.

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Emily Payne

Baldwinsville, New York.

Emily gradutated from Syracuse University in 2015 after majoring in psychology and public health. Since gradutation, she has been attending a masters program in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Later, she plans to continue her education and earn her PhD in Epidemiology with a focus on adolescent and young adult reproductive health.

Emily is semi-fluent in German and enjoys brushing up on her skills in her spare time.

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Janelle LeMon

Smyrna, Delaware.

Janelle graduated from Syracuse University in 2015 after majoring in psychology and minoring in chemistry and philosophy. She is interested in the relationship between the brain and behavior, and how both change when children become adolescents. After graduating, she began working towards her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience at Michigan State University.

In her spare time, Janelle enjoys being front row at concerts.

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Magenta Silberman

Phoenix, New York.

Magenta graduated from Syracuse University in 2016 after majoring in psychology and neuroscience. After graduation, she will begin persuing her Ph.D. in School Psychology at University of Utah. Magenta has loved public speaking all her life and has given two televised performances, as well as gone to three national tournaments for public speaking. She continues to perform on the SU Mock Trial team.

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Blake Slater

Long Island, New York.

Blake graduated from Syracuse University in 2016 after studying psychology and child and family studies. She is very interested in clinical psychology and plans on attending graduate school and becoming a children's psychologist.

In her free time Blake enjoys baking and going hiking.

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Alicia Rego

Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

Alicia graduated from Syracuse University in the winter of 2015 after studying Psychology and Biology.  She has been working in a clinic in Massachusetts since graduation and will begin a program in osteopathic medicine beginning in the fall of 2016. She plans on becoming an OB/GYN.  When Alicia is not in the lab she enjoys being with friends and talking to her family.  She was part of Phi Delta Epsilon and an intern at Planned Parenthood during her undergraduate career. 

Alicia is also Portuguese.  ​

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Elyse Davis

Las Vegas, Nevada.

Elyse graduated from Syracuse University in 2016 after studying Child and Family Studies and Psychology with a Communication Sciences and Disorders minor. After graduation, she is interested in getting her Ph.D in Child Clinical Psychology with a focus on ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

In her free time she likes to do outdoor activities or read magazines in her cozy apartment.

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Brandon Carlos

Fresno, California.

Brandon graduated from Syracuse University in 2016 after double majoring in psychology and neuroscience. On top of working with children in our lab, he enjoyed spending time at St. Camillus working with adults with dementia during his undergraduate career. After graduation Brandon plans on attending a Ph.D program in clinical psychology. When he is not studying you might catch him longboarding the hills of Syracuse. 

When Brandon was younger he would take monthly trips to Los Angeles to work as an extra in films.

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Kayleigh Brennan

Geneva, New York.

Kayleigh graduated from Syracuse University in 2016 after double majoring in psychology and neuroscience with a child and family studies minor. After graduation, she will start earning a masters at the University of Denver in the fall. She plans on continuing on to earn a Ph D in child clinical psych, and later becoming a pediatric neuropsychologist.

In her free time, Kayleigh enjoys traveling and being outdoors.

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Kelsey Montondo

Buffalo, New York

Kelsey is a sophomore majoring in public health and minoring in nutrition. She hopes to go to medical school after college. Aside from working in the lab, Kelsey volunteers at Upstate Hospital, and is a part of Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity and Syracuse University Ambulance.

Kelsey left to investigate other research interests.

Kelsey enjoys spending time outdoors and being with her friends and family.

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Allyson Tiriolo

Melville, New York. 

Ally is a junior studying psychology and neuroscience. After graduating from Syracuse, she plans on attending graduate school and learning more about different areas of psychology that interest her. When not in the lab, Ally is active on campus in the Renee Crown Honors Program and her sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi. 

Ally left the CARE Lab to investigate other research interests.

In her free time Ally also loves hanging out with her friends and family and travelling. 

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