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 first grade and Head Start projects, and is 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

Mrs. Melissa Fetterer-Robinson 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 graduated from ADP program at GMU with a doctorate. She managed the First Grade research project and completed research for her dissertation. Allison coauthored three articles and four conference presentations. Allison graduated in spring 2015 and is currently an administrator at Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

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 my lab, a new record. Britney has shared in publications resulting from her 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 fourth-year doctoral student working with me. 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. Since arriving at GMU, she has made four conference presentations based on gender relationships she discovered in our patterning data,  and coauthored three journal articles.  She headed her own project on gender differences in first graders' approaches to math. Ally is now writing up her dissertation and will graduate in December 2018.

Kate Vennegrund

Like Britney, Kate set 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, and participated with Mandana in an investigation of cognitive and emotional development. Kate coaauthoored four conference presentations and four journal articles.

Mandana Motasham

Mandana joined us when Dr. Denham retired. She coauthored three conference presentations and an article in our laboratory, and completed 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.  

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 is supported on the new IES grant and manages the kindergarten research while she completes her masters. 

Jihyae Cho

Jihyae joined the team as a manager last year, and is also supported on the IES grant for kindergarten research while she earns her masters degree. 

Courtney Holmberg

Courtney is the newest member of our team and is participating in the kindergarten project.

Lauren Strauss

Lauren earned her B.S. in psychology here at GMU in 2017. As an undergrad, she participated in the first grade research and currently works as a project manager for the kindergarten IES grant.