Co-Executive Chairs

Erika G


Marc Atkins            

Erika Gustafson

Graduate Student - Clinical Psychology

Erika is a third year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Program, advised by Dr. Marc Atkins. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2012 with a B.A. in psychology, cum laude. Her research interests broadly consist of community-based interventions to promote healthy psychological development for children and families living in urban poverty. She is particularly interested in the accessibility and sustainability of psychological interventions for marginalized youth and families, and how these issues intersect with communities’ cultures. Erika’s current masters research focuses on the use of a community member paraprofessional workforce to implement a school-based mental health intervention, and the role of paraprofessionals’ positionality in engaging traditionally hard-to-reach families. She also is interested in Latino mental health issues, specifically as they relate to family systems and acculturation processes


Karl Szpunar

Sushmita Shrikanth

Graduate Student - Cognitive Psychology

Sushmita Shrikanth is a rising third year graduate student in the cognitive psychology program. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2015 with a B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Cognitive Science. Her research looks at the role of memory systems in future-oriented thinking. For her masters thesis, she is studying the cognitive mechanisms that underlie how coherent and detailed imagined future events are described. Additionally, she is also looking at ways to dissociate how people view their personal future versus the future of a collective (i.e. the country, community), and the broader social implications of that dissociation. Lastly, she is interested in applying theories of future thinking to theories of planned behavior by finding ways to foster successful goal attainment.


Jacklynn (00000002)


K. Luan Phan

Jacklynn Fitzgerald

Graduate Student - Behavioral Neuroscience

Jacklynn is a fourth year graduate student in the Behavioral Neuroscience Program and a Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS) Student Representative. Her research centers on the study of brain mechanisms that support affect dysregulation following psychological trauma and stress, notably in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This research utilizes both functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalogram (EEG) methods. As a COGS Student Representative and a member of the Diversity Advancement Committee - Student Advisory Board, Jacklynn is committed to building an inclusive environment in the department in order to support all students in their graduate studies.


Courtney Bonam

Olivia Holmes

Graduate Student- Social & Personality Psychology

Olivia is a third year in the Social Psychology program, advised by Dr. Courtney Bonam. Olivia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Guilford College in 2013. Broadly, Olivia is interested in racial identity, stereotypes, and discrimination. Her current research focuses on perceptions of Biracial persons when racial identification does not match racial categorization


Courtney Bonam

Drexler James

Graduate Student - Social & Personality Psychology

Drexler is a third year graduate student in the Social Psychology program and a Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS) student representative.

He studies racism, (racial) prejudice & discrimination. More specifically,(1) space-focused racial stereotyping: the consequences of stereotyping racialized physical spaces (e.g. inner-city vs. suburb), and (2) how experiences with racism/discrimination—negative racial experiences—contribute to negative mental (and physical) health outcomes among African Americans and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the U.S. Drexler also has some interests in Folk Psychology.



Robin Mermelstein

Corrina D. Simon, M.A.

Graduate Student - Clinical Psychology

I am interested in refugee and torture survivor mental health and acculturation as they relate to promoting healthy adaptation and preventing psychological distress. Specifically, I am interested in further understanding the process and measurement of psychological acculturation as well as understanding the relationship between acculturation and mental health. I am also interested in family systems and interventions to increase parental efficacy and involvement in youth resilience and recovery from trauma.


Courtney Bonam

Caitlyn Yantis, M.A.

Graduate Student - Social & Personality Psychology

My broad interests involve stereotyping, discrimination, and social justice. Specifically, I am interested in the relationship between person-focused and space-focused stereotypes and their influence on perceptions and treatment of physical spaces (e.g., homes, neighborhoods, schools). Currently, I am working on projects that explore how stereotypes held at the individual level may be contributing to racial disparities in educational outcomes as well as continued racial segregation of schools. I am also interested in the role of moral conviction in social justice participation, particularly for issues related to one's racial, ethnic, or gender identity.


Kristine Molina

Sarah Hernandez, M.A.

Graduate Student - Community & Prevention Research

My research interest is the intersection of race relations and racial-ethnic discrimination with food inequities and environmental justice. I am interested in community gardens as settings in which these connections can be made. I am currently working on developing a grounded theory of race relations in racially diverse community gardens. Additionally, I am a program coordinator for the UIC Heritage Garden project, which aims to create a unique educational space on campus that highlights the connection between environmental sustainability and cultural diversity.

Alex J.

Evelyn Behar

Alexander Jendrusina, M.A.

Graduate Student - Clinical Psychology

Alex received his Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University in 2010. He recently started his fifth year in the Clinical Psychology Program. Broadly, Alex is interested in the treatment of anxiety disorders and the cognitive biases associated with them. His masters research focused on generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and cognitive mechanisms maintaining and exacerbating this condition. More recently, a budding research interest of Alex’s has been studying the intersections of ethnicity/race, anxiety, and discrimination. In particular, he is interested in examining the extent to which experiences of discrimination broadly relate to anxiety, and more specifically confer increased risk for anxiety disorders across different ethnic/racial groups. In his spare time, Alex enjoys exploring Chicago neighborhoods, trying new restaurants, and watching movies.  

DAC-SAB appreciatively recognizes former chairs of the organization:

Lindsay Bynum, Community & Prevention Research Program

Brett Coleman, Community & Prevention Research Program

Hillary Rowe, Community & Prevention Research Program

Tamara Springle, Community & Prevention Research Program

Caitlyn Yantis, Social & Personality Program

Olivia Holmes, Social & Personality Program

Alexander Jendrusina, Clinical Psychology Program