Lauren S. Hallion, Ph.D.
Dr. Hallion is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Hallion joined the faculty at Pitt in 2016 after receiving a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. She completed her predoctoral clinical psychology internship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in 2014 and her postdoctoral fellowship at the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living in 2016.
**Dr. Hallion is NOT planning to accept a graduate student to begin Fall 2021. **
Mary Blendermann, B.S.
Mary is a first-year graduate student in the Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms of Anxiety Lab pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Hillsdale College in 2018. Prior to joining the CNMA Lab, Mary worked as the lab manager of the Psychopathology and Emotion Processing Lab at UC Davis, where she studied cognitive control of emotion in early psychosis. Mary is interested in the cognitive mechanisms regulating thought, emotion, and attention, particularly in the context of anxiety disorders.
Tracie Ebalu, B.S.
Tracie is a first-year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student in the Cognitive and Neural
Mechanisms of Anxiety Lab. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from
the University of Vermont in 2013. Afterwards, she worked as a Research Technician at the
National Center for PTSD in Boston and later on as a Student Research Grantee at the Central
Institute of Mental Health (Zentral Institut für Seelische Gesundheit) in Mannheim, Germany.
Her research interests are investigating transdiagnostic cognitive mechanism associated with
emotional and stress-related disorders. In her free time, Tracie loves swimming, cooking, solo-travelling, and salsa dancing.
Susan Kusmierski, B.A.
Susan graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Research and a minor in Neuroscience. She joined the Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms of Anxiety Lab in 2016 as the lab manager. Susan is interested in how perseverative thought is maintained in various emotional disorders with a particular emphasis on GAD and PTSD.
Cecilia Westbrook, MD Ph.D.
Ceci Westbrook, MD PhD is a second-year psychiatry resident at Western Psychiatric Hospital. She completed her Ph.D. in Psychology in 2017 with Dr. Richard Davidson, and her MD in 2019, both at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research interests are in understanding the role of stress-diathesis interactions in the development of depression and anxiety disorders, with a focus on the cognitive and neural mechanisms leading to worry and rumination in vulnerable individuals. In her free time she enjoys hiking, baking and creative writing.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Alyssa is currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Applied Statistics and a certificate in Global Health. She hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a career in psychiatric epidemiology.
Yasmine is a senior Psychology and Africana Studies double major with a creative writing minor. She plans on going to graduate school to become a therapist and also wants to pursue a career in screenwriting.
Karlie is a fourth year student at the University of Pittsburgh. She majoring in Psychology, minoring in Chemistry, and receiving a certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine. After graduating, she plans on attending medical school to study Psychiatry.
Molly is a junior at Pitt studying psychology. After graduating, she ultimately hopes to enroll in a clinical psychology Ph.D. program.
Joanna is a junior majoring in Psychology at Pitt and studying Neuroscience and French studies as minors. Her long-term career goal is to become a clinical psychologist and help those in need through counseling and research because this has remained her purpose ever since middle school. In her spare time, she loves watching horror movies and doing water color paintings.
Julianne graduated from University of Pittsburgh in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Administration of Justice. Julianne now works at Alvis Inc. as a Case Manager at an all-female halfway house to help women reintegrate back into the community.
Emmy Ayman is a fourth year student at the University of Pittsburgh, pursuing degrees in Psychology and Political Science with a minor in Administration of Justice. After graduating, she plans to attend law school. She hopes to incorporate psychology into her career.
James Cotton is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Psychology with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. In the future, he hopes to further his education into graduate school and follow the path of clinical psychology.
Katina is currently a graduate student of physical therapy school at Pitt. As she learns more about the encompassing features of being a good physical therapist, she is finding new ways to apply her psychology background into her field. She plans to pursue psychologically informed physical therapy after graduation.
Nikita graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018 and remains actively involved in ongoing research in the Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms of Anxiety Lab. She is currently a Masters of Health Psychology student at the University of Auckland focusing on digital health.
Kate currently a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Psy.D program at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Morgan Pedersen graduated from John Jay with my Master’s in Forensic Psychology this past May, and is currently working at the Center for Community Alternatives as a Mitigation Specialist. She is working closely with people who are charged with criminal offenses and am conducting psychosocial history investigations to tell the client’s story in order to advocate for a more favorable sentence/plea.
Justine is currently a clinical research assistant at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown Medical School in Providence, RI.
Grace graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 and remains actively involved in ongoing research in the Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms of Anxiety Lab. She is currently working on a meta-analysis on the relationship between worry, rumination, and cognition.