OUR TEAM

DR. SHANNON O'CONNOR

Principle Investigator

Shannon is an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Montclair State University. Shannon completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Michigan State University in 2018 after completing her APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at the UCSD Eating Disorder Center and Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. Shannon then completed a post-doctoral fellowship on the Midwest T32 for Eating Disorder Research at the University of Chicago. Shannon's research interests center on identifying environmental risk factors for eating pathology using genetically-informed designs.

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LEORA HALLER

Clinical Psychology PhD Student

Leora is a third-year student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Montclair State University. As an undergraduate, Leora studied biomarkers and environmental risk factors for depression and psychosis in a non-clinical setting. In the Lowe Lab at Drexel, Leora looked at weight history and weight change in patients with Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa as part of her MS degree in psychology. Leora hopes to pursue research regarding the biobehavioral etiology of motivation and reward valuation in disordered eating.

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FRANCOIS BAN

Lab Manager

Clinical Psychology PhD Student

Francois is a first-year student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at MSU. She has a background in epidemiology from her Master's degree in Public Health at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include disordered eating pathology, weight stigmatization, and body image. Specifically, she is interested in people's relationships with food and how cultural, environmental, and societal factors may influence their eating behaviors.

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EMILY FERRER

SONA Project Coordinator

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emily is a fourth-year undergraduate student with a double major in Psychology and Justice Studies at Montclair State University. She is interested in abnormal psychology, eating disorders, child development, and neuropsychology. Her future goals are to go straight into a Clinical Psychology PhD program after she graduates from Montclair and work specifically with adolescents who are struggling with eating disorders/behaviors. She also aspires to teach as a professor at a University in the far future. In her free time, Emily likes to spend time with her dog, Rummy, go on hikes, and travel!

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ALEXA SALOTTI

Food Access Focus Group Project Coordinator

Clinical Psychology MA Student

Alexa is a second-year student in the Clinical Psychology Master’s Program at Montclair State University. She has a concentration in Child & Adolescent Psychology, as she is highly interested in looking at mental health within youth populations. Following her Master’s, Alexa plans on going straight into either a PsyD or PhD Clinical Psychology program. When she is not at the lab or in class, Alexa is a Pre-K teacher at an Early Learning Center in Cranford, NJ.

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SAMANTHA CORRALES

Clinical Psychology MA Student

Samantha is a second year student in the Clinical Psychology Master’s program with a concentration in Forensic Psychology. As an undergraduate, she studied Psychology and Justice Studies at Montclair State University. Samantha is interested in criminal assessments and preventing false confessions in wrongful convictions. She is also interested in understanding the underlying biological factors of adolescents in prison settings. Samantha plans on pursuing an education in a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology to continue researching about various topics of the field.

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SAMANTHA MATTHEWS

Clinical Psychology MA Student

Sam is a second-year student in the Clinical Psychology Master’s program with a concentration in Forensic Psychology. Prior to coming to Montclair, she studied Biological Sciences and Psychology at Rutgers University. Sam is interested in the biological and genetic factors that underlie the development of eating disorders, and how that understanding can be utilized to treat patients more effectively. She hopes to be a practicing psychologist in the future who also has the ability to contribute to research in the field.

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CHINWE OSSAI

Clinical Psychology MA Student

Chinwe is a second-year student in the clinical psychology masters program with a concentration in forensic psychology with the ultimate goal of achieving a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She received her BA degree double majoring in psychology and criminal justice at Rutgers University. She is interested in many areas of research including forensic psychology and the development of eating disorders and how pressures from society and in the home can impact one’s perception of their image.

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NAYELI DUME

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Nayeli is a third-year undergraduate student at Montclair State University, majoring in psychology. She is interested in adolescents, anxiety, depression, and minority groups like Latinos, and individuals part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Nayeli’s goal is to join a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program right after graduating with her Bachelor’s from Montclair. Her future goals after earning her Ph.D. are to work as a practitioner and later on open up a mental health clinic of her own.

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DEVAN DEPUE

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Devan is a senior undergraduate student at Montclair State University. Devan's major is in Psychology and minor is in Family Science & Human Development. Devan is interested in working in some capacity for a residential life department at a university while also pursuing an M.A. in Counseling after she graduates. She plans to apply to a M.A. in Counseling program and hopes to concentrate in Student Affairs/Higher Education. She aspires to work with students in the higher education field, ideally helping them navigate college life and introducing them to resources that they may not know about. She is very interested in the psychology of eating disorders and body image, the psychology of human sexuality, and the psychology of women. She is also interested in studying issues like food insecurity as well!

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EFTIHIA MAZIS

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Eftihia is a senior at Montclair State University, majoring in Psychology. Eftihia's next steps would be applying to a doctoral degree program in Clinical Psychology and becoming a licensed therapist for children to young adults.
She is specifically interested in how an individual's home life can impact their mental health, whether supportive or harmful and how perception can play a factor. She is also interested in researching eating disorders and the connectivity of having underlying symptoms of depression or anxiety and how these could affect an individual.
Her current favorite Psychology book is Perception: How our bodies shape our minds by Dennis Proffitt and Drake Baer.

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BEFED LAB ALUMNI

Nicole DeSimone, MA

Uzma Hasan

Shannon Marhan, MA- pursuing a Master's of Social Work at NYU

Cornelia Marian

Deja Stith

Victoria Solakov- pursuing a Master's in Child and Adolescent Mental Health  at University College London