Valerie Malabonga

Valerie received her doctorate in 1996 after four years in our program. Her research was focused on cognitive development and language skills for kindergartners and preschoolers. She was employed at the Center for Applied Linguistics for many years, one of many applied research organizations in the Washington area. Valerie continued to conduct and publish research with partnership graduate students before retiring to become a full time mother.

Charlie Hendricks

As an undergraduate, Charlie assisted with two of Valerie's projects, teaching classification and seriation to lagging kindergartners. After earning her M.A. at Columbia, Charlie came back to GMU for her Ph.D. Charlie discovered the missing link - a new step in the development of first grade children's thinking! She is now in charge of a long term project at the National Institute of Child Health and Development.

Dennis Ciancio

Dennis completed his M. A. here before transferring to the University of Notre Dame in his home state for his Ph. D. The work he did here led to two published articles and was the basis of his dissertation.  He also received a Head Start Research Scholarship to support his research at GMU.  He currently has a research position in Texas.

Monica Savage Greene

Monica earned her M.A. at Howard University and completed her Ph.D. at George Mason University.She is especially interested in the interaction between parents and their children. Monica is currently employed at the Federal Office of Personnel Management.


Marinka Gadzichowski

Marinka earned her B.A. and Ph.D. at GMU in the ADP program. She participated in research with children with severe mental disabilities and supervised research with kindergarten, first grade, and Head Start children. Marinka has authored or coauthored thirteen journal articles that present her work with children, and made twenty nine presentations at professional conferences. She has taken a position as an assistant professor at a local university.

Christina Terpenning

Christina participated in the IES grant supported research with kindergarteners. She participated in two presentations and completed her master's degree.  She is currently enrolled in a clinical doctoral program.

Debbie Gallington

Debbie has a B.A. from GMU and completed her education with an M. Ed. here at George Mason. She was the Field Manager of the IES supported kindergarten, first grade, and Head Start projects, and will be the field manager for the new IES supported kindergarten project. She has coauthored seven articles and 10 presentations.

Katy Addison

Katy has a B.A. from Virginia Tech and completed her master's here at GMU in 2006. She participated in the IES grant supported research with kindergarteners.  She was employed as an ABA therapist in Northern Virginia and was employed as a researcher and data analyst at the national Institutes of Health.  She was a manager on the IES supported kindergarten and Head start projects.   She had two articles and 3 presentations while at GMU

Sandy Lilia Romero

Sandy assisted with the kindergarten research as an undergraduate and helped manage the Head Start research as an M. A. student.  She completed her own research study, presented it at two conferences, and published it.  She also coauthored a second study. She managed a research laboratory at U. of MD after graduating, and earned her Ph. D. at the University of Miami. Now Sandy Dietrich, she is co-authoring a book chapter with me.

Karla Perez

Karla assisted in managing the Head Start research while earning her M. A., and shared equally with Sandy in creating their own research project, presenting it at two conferences, and publishing it. 

Caroline Boyer Ferhat

Caroline earned her Ph.D. in the ADPprogram at GMU.   She participated in the IES supported Head Start project and managed the IES First Grade project.  She also conducted and published her own research project.  She is currently chair of the Department of Education at William Wood University.

Ameena Sweeting

Ameena earned her M.A. while managing the IES-supported First Grade research project.

Lily Adams

Lily earned her M.A. in the ADP program at GMU. She also managed the IES supported first grade project, and after graduating has worked in the human service and education fields.

Chen Qiu

Chen earned her the ADP program at GMU, after participating in the First Grade research project. A Chinese citizen, she is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in China.

Sarah O'Brien

Sarah received her M.A. in Applied Developmental Psychology from GMU in 2014, and her B.A. in both Psychology and German from Lewis & Clark College in 2010. While at GMU she coauthored three journal articles, made one conference presentation, and coauthored four others. She is a Certified Learning Specialist with the American Academy of Learning Specialists, and has extensive experience providing intervention, education and play therapy services for children and youth of varying developmental backgrounds. She is now at WETA.

Melissa Fetterer

Melissa Fetterer received her M. A. in 2014. She graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in May 2012 with a B.S. in Psychology. She played a major role in managing the First Grade research project. Melissa is now Melissa Fetterer Robinson, living in Memphis. She coauthored a journal article and five conference presentations at GMU. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in school psychology.

Allison Bock

Allison came to GMU with her M. A. She is in her third year as a doctoral student in the ADP program at GMU. She managed the First Grade research project and completed research for her dissertation. Allison coauthored two articles while here, has another submitted, and coauthored four conference presentations. Allison graduated in spring 2015 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesoata.

Katrina Schmerold

Katrina graduated from the ADP program at GMU in December, 2015. She has taught numerous courses, held an assistantship at the Division of Disabilities Services, and also managed a First Grade research project. She has coauthored two journal article and submitted a third for publication. Katrina has also made two conference presentations and coauthored three others. Her dissertaion is published in the Journal of Psychology, and she is currently working as a project coordinator at Puurdue University

Britney Leaf

Britney graduated with her M. A, in December 2015 after three semesters in Dr. Pasnak's lab, a new record. Britney will share in publications resulting from the last three semester's research, and is currently practicing ABA therapy. She graduated in 2014 from James Madison University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in special education.

Ally Patterson

Ally is a third-year doctoral student working with Dr. Pasnak. She graduated from Furman University in 2013 with a B.A. in psychology and communication studies. After graduation, she spent a year collecting and coding data for Vanderbilt University’s Peabody Research Institute. Sinnce arriving at GMU, she has made two conference presentations based on gender relationships she discovered in our patterning data,  and coauthored a journal article.  She headed her own project on gender differences in first graders' approaches to math. Ally is now preparing for her comprehensive examination

Kate Vennegrund

Like Britney, Kate is setting a new record by earning her M. A, in three semesters. Kate received her BS in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington in 2012. During her time at school, she worked part time as an ABA Therapist and a 2-year-old daycare teacher. Upon graduation, she became a caretaker for a young boy with multiple disabilities. She continues to practice ABA therapy with children who have autism spectrum disorders, as well as participating with Mandana in an investigation of cognitive and emotional development. Kate coaauthoored two conference presentations and two journal articles.

Mandana Motasham

Mandana joined us when Dr. Denham retired. In her third year of the doctoral program, she has already coauthored three conference presentations and an article in our laboratory, and is pursuing her dissertation on preschoolers' cognitive and emotional development.

Kaity Burdette

Kaity graduated from the M. A. program in two years, and is pursuing a certificate in ABA therapy

Laura Lauderdale

As an undergraduate, Laura was so outstanding in our first grade research that she was made a manager of the kindergarten research. Laura graduated with her M. A. after three semesters.  

Monica Yassa

Monica was so good at the patterning research that she managed other students while still an undergraduate.  In her first year of graduate school, she was a mainstay of this research and coauthored two conference presentations. She will graduate at the end of this, her second year.


Brittany Pierceall

Brittany had a heavy load in her first semester, managing six undergraduates in the patterning research. She has since practiced ABA therapy as a behavioral technician, and will graduate this December after only 3 semesters


Katrina Gagliano

Now a second year M.A. student, Katrina managed patterning research and is exporing working with underprivileged multicultural children. 

Meehreen Hassan

Mehreen managed the first grade research as an undergraaduate. Returning as a master's student, she will be partially supported on the new IES grant and manage the kindergarten research 

Jihyae Cho

Jihyae is joining the team as a manager this year, and will be partially supported on the new IES grant for kindergaarten reseaarch