Graduate Students

Eric Semmel, M.A.

Master’s Thesis: Posterior cerebellar volume and executive functioning in young adults with congenital heart disease

General Exam: Graph Theoretical Analysis of Brain Network Characteristics in Brain Tumor: A Systematic Review

Dissertation: Graph analysis of resting state functional networks and associations with cognitive outcomes in survivors of pediatric brain tumor

Email Eric
Twitter: @Eric_Semmel
ResearchGate Profile

Eric is originally from Syracuse, New York, and received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Rochester in 2014 with a double major in Psychology and Environmental Studies. Following graduation, he worked for 2 years as a full-time research assistant at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, where he studied social outcomes in pediatric brain tumor survivors. Eric joined the King Lab at GSU as a Ph.D. student in clinical neuropsychology in the Fall of 2016. His research interests include the neuroanatomical and cognitive correlates of executive function and social cognition in survivors of pediatric neurological injury and disease. Most recently, his work has focused on graph analysis of brain network structure and function in survivors of brain tumors. He is a former recipient of the Brains & Behavior Graduate Fellowship through the GSU Neuroscience Institute as well as the Training in Integrated Pediatric Psychological Services (TIPPS) fellowship, and is currently funded by the Educating Psychologists in Innovative Care: Child and Adolescents Research and Empirical Services (EPIC-CARES) project funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Recently, he was a recipient of the Richard Morrell Outstanding Graduate Student in Psychology award.

This July, Eric will begin the Pre-Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology at Emory University School of Medicine in the Neuropsychology Track.


Rella Kautiainen, M.A.

Master’s Thesis: GSTP1 polymorphisms sex-specific association with verbal intelligence in survivors of pediatric medulloblastoma tumors

Dissertation: Models of Genomic Risk and Resiliency for Long-Term Neurocognitive Outcomes in Pediatric Medulloblastoma and Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors

Email Rella
Twitter: @RellaKautiainen

Rella grew up in Southern California and attended UC Berkeley where she obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. After graduation, Rella worked for three years in San Francisco. She worked for Joyable, a mental health technology company, as a cognitive behavioral coach which solidified her interest in clinical psychology. She also volunteered at University of San Francisco, as a research assistant, investigating the long-term medical outcomes for egg donors. Rella joined the King Lab as a doctoral student in Clinical Neuropsychology in the Fall of 2017. Her research focuses on utilizing neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and genomic methods to understand the variation in outcomes for long-term pediatric brain tumor survivors. She is currently funded by the 2CI Neurogenomics Fellowship at GSU.

This July, Rella will begin her pre-doctoral internship at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, NM.


Holly Aleksonis, M.A.

Master’s Thesis: Quantification of White Matter Hyperintensities in Long-Term Survivors of Childhood Brain Tumor: Relationships with Cognition

General Exam: Relationships Among Structural Neuroimaging and Neurocognitive Outcomes in Adolescents and Young Adults with Congenital Heart Disease: A Systematic Review

Dissertation: Structural Brain Network Properties and Relationships with Cognition in Adolescents and Young Adults with Congenital Heart Disease

Email Holly
ResearchGate Profile

Holly grew up in New Hampshire and obtained her Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Mary Washington in 2016 with a major in Psychology and Neuroscience. Following her undergraduate degree, Holly worked as a full-time research assistant at Nationwide Children’s Hospital investigating neural mechanisms of executive and social-cognitive functioning following pediatric traumatic brain injury as well as neurocognitive sequelae after pediatric brain tumor. She entered GSU as a doctoral student in the Clinical Neuropsychology program under the mentorship of Dr. King in Fall 2018. Her research interests include utilizing neuroimaging and neuropsychological methods to identify neurocognitive outcomes in survivors of pediatric brain injury and disease. She is a former recipient of the Brains & Behavior Graduate Research Fellowship, and is currently funded by the Dynamic Multiscale and Multimodal Brain Mapping Across the Lifespan (D-MAP) fellowship through GSU’s Center for Translational Research in Neuroimaging & Data Science (TReNDS).


Stephanie Steinberg, M.A.

Stephanie grew up on Long Island and received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development, with a specialization in Human Behavioral Neuroscience, from Cornell University in May of 2019. Three months later, Stephanie started at GSU as a doctoral student in clinical neuropsychology under the mentorship of Dr. King. She is interested in combining neuroimaging and neuropsychological assessment methods to examine the neuroanatomical underpinnings of human behavior and cognition. Stephanie looks forward to developing her research interests in the long-term neurocognitive outcomes of pediatric brain pathology as a member of the King Lab. She is a recipient of the Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy (RCALL) graduate student fellowship.


Olivia Haller

Master’s Thesis: Identifying Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Its Symptoms: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Machine Learning Study


Email Olivia
ResearchGate Profile

Originally from Minneapolis, Olivia obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Neuroscience and Classical Studies from Colgate University in 2017. During her undergraduate career, Olivia worked on several projects studying traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder at the University of Minnesota and Baylor College of Medicine. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she joined the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, where she worked as the Recruitment and Retention Coordinator for the DIAGNOSE CTE Research Project. Olivia is excited to join the King Lab at GSU as a Ph.D. student in clinical neuropsychology in the Fall of 2020. Her research interests include utilizing multimodal neuroimaging techniques to investigate later-life cognitive, behavioral, and mood outcomes in pediatric brain tumor survivors. She is currently funded by the Brains & Behavior Graduate Research Fellowship through the GSU Neuroscience Institute.


Jordan Pincus

Jordan grew up in South Florida and received her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University in 2019. As an undergraduate research assistant in the Dilks Lab, she studied the development of scene processing abilities and cortical regions. After graduation, Jordan worked at the Marcus Autism Center. There, she used eye-tracking and neuroimaging to investigate the neurobiological processes underlying neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder and 3q29 deletion syndrome. Jordan is excited to stay in Atlanta and join Dr. King’s lab as doctoral student in clinical neuropsychology in Fall 2021. She is broadly interested in understanding how the brain, cognition, and behavior change throughout development and following neurodevelopmental disruption. She looks forward to utilizing neuroimaging and neuropsychological methods to investigate how brain damage in childhood interacts with development and impacts neurocognitive outcomes later in life. She is a recipient of the Brains & Behavior Graduate Research Fellowship through the GSU Neuroscience Institute and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.