People

we value multidisciplinary cross-cultural collaboration

lab Director

Na Zhang, PhD

Na Zhang is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Her primary appointment is at the Stamford campus. As a family scholar and prevention scientist, her program of research analyzes the intrapersonal and interpersonal pathways involved in the development of psychopathology and resilience among youth and adults who were exposed to stressful or traumatic experiences. A major focus of her research is on the development and evaluation of behavioral parent training programs that consider parents as the agents of change. Zhang has investigated how effective parenting may lead to resilience outcomes in children from at-risk families. Her current program of research focuses on mindfulness training as an intervention strategy to strengthen and optimize parenting programs.

Current GRADUATE Researchers

Yuanyuan Zhang, MA

Yuanyuan Zhang is a doctoral student (Advisor: Dr. Na Zhang) in the Department of HDFS at UConn. She obtained her Master’s degree in Applied Psychology at the East China Normal University. She is interested in studying mindfulness, health and well-being in the family context, as well as the application of mindfulness interventions in various domains. Specifically, she is interested in mindful grandparenting and the co-parenting relationship between parents and grandparents in multigenerational families.

Emily Fritzson, MA

Emily Fritzson is a doctoral student (Advisor: Dr. Keith Bellizzi) in the Department of HDFS at UConn. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Skidmore College. Broadly, she is interested in the ways in which chronic illness, particularly cancer, impact the physical and psychosocial health of individuals and their loved ones. Her master’s thesis investigated the prevalence and predictors of post-traumatic growth among recently diagnosed cancer survivors and its associations with mental and physical well-being. She is also interested in how people’s healthcare experiences influence their health behaviors, health outcomes, and quality of life.

Nathaniel Stekler

Nathaniel (Nate) Stekler is a doctoral student (Advisor: Dr. Preston Britner) in the Department of HDFS at UConn. He earned his B.S. in Psychology (minor in Philosophy) from Union College (NY). He is interested in ​​early attachments and how adverse childhood experiences can moderate associations of early attachments with personality, emotions, relationships, and worldviews. Additionally, he is interested in how adverse environments such as homelessness negatively affect the attachment relationship. He also wants to work to develop interventions and policies that address the impact of homelessness and adverse childhood experiences on the attachment relationship.

Suge Zhang, MSW

Suge Zhang is a PhD student in the Department of HDFS at UConn. Her research interests are in Asian and Asian American families, particularly in ethnic-racial socialization, family functioning, and children’s social-emotional development. To this end, she has studied parents’ emotional regulation in Beijing, China and the high school choice experience of Chinese immigrant parents and students in New York City. Prior to arriving at UConn, Suge worked as a Research Associate at the Child Study Center at Yale University. She holds an MSW and bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Drama from New York University

Current undergraduate Researchers

Abigail Ricketts

Abigail Ricketts is a junior and honors student at UConn (Stamford). She is a Psychological Sciences major with minors in Sociology and HDFS. Abigail is passionate about improving children’s mental health and desires to help them through their developmental, emotional, and social issues. She is interested not only in improving these issues but also in preventative methods to reduce the chances of children developing mental health problems. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Child Psychology to achieve her goal of becoming a Clinical Child Psychologist with an aim to positively impact the lives of the children she will encounter. Abigail has been involved with research on first-generation college students and has been working with faculty to determine and implement beneficial programs to meet the needs of this population of students on her campus. 

Alexa Molina

Alexa Molina is a sophomore and honors student at UConn (Stamford). She is a Political Science and Psychological Sciences double major. Alexa has a keen interest in the social welfare of children and their respective families and hopes to assist this part of society through future studies in family law. She truly desires to make an impact in the lives of families and their children that can change their mindsets for the better. Alexa, through honors, will serve as a UNIV1784 facilitator and PATH mentor, striving to create welcoming environments and build meaningful relationships among peers. As a part of FRAME lab, she wishes to learn more about mindfulness and its correlation with humanistic aspects.

Victoria Almazan

Victoria Almazan is an undergraduate student at UConn (Stamford) majoring in Physiology and Neurobiology with a minor in English. Victoria is interested in the intersection between neuroscience and psychology, health disparities, and computational techniques in research. She hopes to pursue medical research through an MD/PhD program in the future in order to help research and treat pediatric neurological and psychiatric disorders. As part of the FRAME Lab, Victoria hopes to learn more about the implementation of mindfulness techniques and prevention of psychiatric disorders among at-risk communities.”

Collaborators

Golda S. Ginsburg, PhD

Dr. Ginsburg is a professor in the School of Medicine at UConn. She has been developing and evaluating interventions for youth who struggle with a range of psychiatric disorders for over 25 years. A primary focus of her research is on the best approach to treat and prevent anxiety disorders—one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in youth. Dr. Ginsburg has been the PI or Co-PI on over 10 federally and/or privately funded clinical trials, including a study of Unified Treatment of Adolescent Emotional Disorders in Community Clinics, and a study of a family-based prevention of child anxiety and its long-term follow-up. Dr. Ginsburg also completed a NIMH-funded K24 Mid-Career Investigator Award examining biomarkers of pediatric anxiety.

Alumni

Fatima Serrano
Research assistant,
2021-2022
Chelsea Valdez
Visiting student,
2022 summer
Meghan Cunningham
Research trainee,
2021 Spring
G. Hilal Kuscul
Research assistant,
2021 Fall