Undergraduate Alumni

Cypress Kuhnel

Cypress is a senior at Georgia State University Honors College and is currently a Pre-med majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Biology. They are getting their sea legs in Dr. King’s DNP-ATL Lab and are excited to expand on functionality deficits and potential long-term developmental effects of brain tumors. They are also an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant at GSU, a Research Assistant in the Healthy Brains Study with Dr. King, and love playing the piano, choir, violin, and cosplay.

Milu Parrilla

Milu is a junior at Georgia State University majoring in Biology, with hopes of attending medical school. She is a Goizueta Scholar and part of the Honors College. She was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to Georgia about three years ago. Last summer, she participated in the Brains and Behavior program where she began developing her ongoing research project. She is currently working on a manuscript exploring the relationship between sleep and executive memory in college students. She has done poster presentations at VPURC and GSURC. For her VPURC presentation, she was awarded the Neuroscience Award for best presentation in the field of neuroscience and the Diversity Award Runner Up. In her free time, she loves to read, play volleyball, and spend time with her friends, family, and dog Mei

Naveen Thourani

Naveen is a senior at the Georgia State University Honors College. He is currently majoring in Psychology with a pre-med concentration. He has worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the DNP-ATL lab since May 2021 and is currently working on his honors thesis detailing the relationship between white matter hyperintensity volumes and cognitive flexibility performance in long-term survivors of childhood cerebellar tumors. He has also worked in the lab as a part of the Brains & Behavior Summer Research Program in 2022. He hopes to attend an MD-PhD program in the future and continue to be involved in neuropsychology, eventually becoming a professor at an academic hospital. Naveen is also a research assistant for the Healthy Brains Study.

As part of a mentoring workshop, Naveen was tasked with putting together a video on his current lab project with his mentor Holly! Please watch to hear more about Naveen’s impressive research.

Savitha Narayanaswamy

Savitha is a senior at Georgia State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. She is a part of the Honors College, the Golden Key Honors Society, the National Honors Society, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She hopes to attend medical school with a specialization in Psychiatry. In addition to her studies, she enjoys volunteering at hospices and is a Red Cross Young Professionals board member. Savitha is currently working on a manuscript detailing updated norms for the Auditory Consonant Trigram (ACT) test as a measure of working memory and exploring its relationship with the norms of related neuropsychological measures. She has presented at GSURC and was also a recipient of the Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy (RCALL) undergraduate research fellowship. In her free time, she loves to read psychological fiction, crochet, and spend time with friends and family. 

Grace Choi

Grace Choi is a Junior and part of the Honors college at GSU studying Neuroscience. Within GSU, she is a Student Ambassador for the Achieve Atlanta Scholarship, a member of KUSA (Korean Undergraduate Student Association), and HUG (Healthcare United Group). Grace joined this lab to gain skills in research and apply the knowledge she has learned to the real world. Grace’s interests in research include language development in relation to brain functioning. After graduation, Grace would like to go to medical school and become a surgeon. She believes she will be able to use her experience in this lab as a part of her practice. Apart from academia, Grace likes to dance, choreograph, perform, watch Netflix, travel, and spend time with friends and family. 

Kaylynn McCarthy

Kaylynn is a junior at Georgia State University, majoring in Psychology. She hopes to use her time at Tricia King’s Developmental Clinical Neuropsychology Across the Lifespan Lab (DNP-ATL) to elevate her knowledge on assessing and evaluating abnormal brain functioning. She is excited to use this opportunity as preparation for a career in neuropsychology. Additionally, she does data evaluation for the Multi-Agency Alliance for Children organization. She is also a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with family, friends, and her new dog Ziggy.


Corianne Cowan

Corianne is a sophomore at Georgia State University and is majoring in Biomedical Science and Enterprise. She has joined us as a new research assistant in The Developmental Clinical Neuropsychology Across the Lifespan (DNP-ATL) Lab, as a research fellow in the Perimeter College Summer Research Assistantship. Her research interest includes developmental psychology, as well as biomedical research to assist in the creation of medications and treatment. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano, being an avid reader, designing journals, writing, and working toward her goal of becoming a true polyglot.

Neami Tedla, B.A.

Neami is a senior at Georgia State pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is an Honors College student and Resident Assistant at University Commons. Neami is currently working on finalizing a manuscript exploring the importance of white matter tract integrity in empathy, and has developed a strong interest in how different domains, such as working memory and attention, contribute to language processes. She has presented at PURC and GSURC and has won awards for her oral presentations. She is also a member of the NAACP and African Student Association. In her free time, she likes to cook, exercise, and spend time with her family.

Evie Bledniak, B.A.

Evie Bledniak recently graduated from Georgia State University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. She has been a research assistant in Dr. King’s lab since May 2019. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and the National Honors Society of Neuroscience, Nu Rho Psi. Evie has presented her research at the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference where she explored the relationships among socioeconomic status and domains of physical activity.

Courtney Keeler, B.A.

Courtney recently graduated as a psychology major from Georgia State University. As the Historian of GSU’s Psi Chi chapter, she is in charge of the undergraduate psychology newsletter. She has been an undergraduate research assistant in the DNP-ATL lab since January 2019 and has been researching the links between single nucleotide polymorphisms and cognitive outcomes in pediatric brain tumor survivors. Courtney has presented this work at the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC), as well as GSU’s Summer Research Symposium as a Brains & Behavior scholar. At PURC, Courtney won the Neuroscience Runner-Up Award. In her free time, she enjoys fiction-writing and baking.

Karson Rosenberger

Karson is a senior neuroscience major at Georgia State as part of the Honors College. She is a member of the American Medical Student Association and the Collegiate Neuroscience Society, and serves as the Director of Membership Enrichment in Zeta Tau Alpha, where she presents workshops for mental health advocacy to chapter members. She also serves as an SI leader for Organic Chemistry on top of working as a new Research Assistant in Dr. Tricia King’s Developmental Neuropsychology Across the Lifespan laboratory and as a volunteer in Dr. Eyal Aharoni’s Cooperation, Conflict, and Cognition laboratory. She is fascinated with TBI recovery and its emotional side effects as a result of a severe concussion she received her freshman year playing collegiate soccer. She wishes to attend medical school to study neurology primarily as a result of her own recovery process. In her free time, she loves listening to music and crime mystery podcasts, exercising, and spending time with her family.

Annie Sunil

Annie is a former Georgia State Honors College student. As a research assistant in Dr. Tricia King’s Developmental Neuropsychology Across the Lifespan Lab, she assisted in examining contributors to long-term outcomes of pediatric brain tumor survivors. She is currently pursuing biology as her major at the University of Georgia and seeks a profession in patient care. She is interested in how exposure to childhood emotional trauma can cause long term damage to the brain. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, spending time with children, listening to music and painting.

Olivia Haslam

Olivia is a former psychology major at Georgia State University. She is apart of the Alpha Beta Gamma Business Honor Society, from her prior interest as a freshman business major, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology.   In the near future, Olivia’s goals include earning her Ph.D. in neuropsychology while focusing on neural regeneration in patients with severe brain damage. She hopes to bring her numerous past years of customer service and managerial experience into her work to positively serve her Atlanta community. In her spare time, she works on her family-owned horse farm in Milton, Georgia, and nannies for a family of doctors in Midtown.

Tobi Quadri

Tobi is from Lagos, Nigeria, and received her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from Georgia State University (GSU) in May of 2020. During her undergraduate career at GSU, she was a research assistant in Dr. Tricia King’s Developmental Neuropsychology Across the Lifespan Lab, examining contributors to long-term outcomes of pediatric brain tumor survivors. In addition, she was a CASA-Sloan Fellow and an LSAMP and S-STEM Scholar. Following her graduation from GSU, Tobi began work as a full-time research technician at Penn State University under the mentorship of Drs. Pamela Cole and Nilam Ram where she worked on the Development of Self-Regulation Dynamics project. In the Fall of 2021, she will begin the Clinical Neuropsychology program at the University of Houston with a presidential fellowship. At the University of Houston, she will join the MIND Lab run by Dr. Michael Williams. Tobi is interested in examining long-term neuropsychological outcomes following an acquired brain injury. 

Tiffany Tucker

Graduate Student, Medical/Clinical Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Tiffany volunteered and became a University Assistant via the Honors Program.  She collaborated with Tanya Panwala on presentations that won awards at PURC, and the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences. She also authored a peer reviewed paper in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society before starting graduate school.

Tanya Panwala

Tanya Panwala is pursuing her M.D. at Florida Atlantic University.  She was a University Assistant in the lab for all four years of her undergraduate education.  She first authored and co-authored peer review articles during this time. She also participated in the Brains and Behavior Summer Research Program and the Duke University Summer Biomedical Sciences Institute. Check out these articles featuring Tanya and some of her work that found women might be particularly susceptible to radiation treatment.

Norma Hernandez

Norma Hernandez was born just blocks away from Georgia State University at Grady Memorial Hospital.  She grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia, and she returned to Atlanta when she received the Goizueta Foundation Scholarship in 2011 to study neuroscience at Georgia State University. The Neuroscience Education and Training (NET/work) Program and a student assistantship from the Honors College enabled Norma to work in research labs through all four years of college.  Her first lab experience was in Dr. King’s lab.  After working in Dr. King’s lab, she completed three summer research programs in the labs of Dr. Joseph Manns (Emory University), Dr. Benjamin Wolozin (Boston University), and Dr. Wendy Suzuki (New York University). She is currently working towards her Ph.D. at Cornell University.

Cassie Hendrix, Ph.D.

After graduating from Oglethorpe University with a B.S. in Psychology, Cassie joined the King Lab to work on a project examining language and literacy development in children who sustained a traumatic brain injury early in life. This work ignited her interested in the developing brain, and she went on to enroll in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at Emory University where she has worked with Dr. Patty Brennan to study the impact of adversity on child neurobiological development and psychiatric risk. Her dissertation uses MRI to non-invasively examine how different experiences of maternal adversity shape infant brain development within the first few weeks after birth. She has received multiple awards for this work, including an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the APF Koppitz Dissertation Award, and the AAUW American Dissertation Fellowship. Cassie will defend her dissertation in May 2020 and has accepted a postdoctoral position to work with Dr. Moriah Thomason at NYU, where she will study fetal brain development, resilience, and the intergenerational transmission of adversity.

Alyssa Ailion, Ph.D.

Alyssa completed an undergraduate Honors thesis and was an Language & Literacy Undergraduate Fellow, and a Brains & Behavior Summer Fellow. She won 1st Place Overall Award at PURC Fall 2011. She won 1st place Award in 2012 Honors College Research Paper Competition and her abstract was published in Honors College Undergraduate Research Journal Discovery. She received the Academic Recognition award the Royal Flame Awards Ceremony with plaque and Senate/House resolutions, thePsychology Outstanding Honors Student Award, and the University System of Georgia Outstanding Scholar. Alyssa represented GSU at the Colonial Academic Alliance Conference. Check out Alyssa on the graduate alumni webpage to see continued success after earning her Ph.D. at GSU.

Sunita Kapahi Theiss

Sunita Kapahi Theiss was born and raised in the Atlanta area. She worked in Dr. King’s lab while obtaining her undergraduate degree at Georgia State University, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in psychology. Sunita’s career has included roles in health communications, digital marketing, and nonprofit content strategy. Presently, she is the Communications Director for Women’s Public Leadership Network, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that seeks to equip and inspire women seeking public office. She is also a published poet and writer. Sunita lives north of Atlanta with her husband and two-year-old son.

Follow this link to see one of Sunita’s publications from a prior role at the CDC.

Michael Morgan, Jr., M.S.

Michael’s journey as a psychological researcher and practitioner began as an undergraduate lab assistant for Dr. King in 2009. Since that time, he has completed two master’s degrees, one in applied experimental psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and one in clinical mental health counseling from Mercer University. He is currently enrolled in a doctoral level psychology program at Florida State University, where he hopes to attain doctoral candidacy at the end of the Spring 2020 semester. He has worked on more than 9 separate empirical research studies, been an author on 6 written publications, and 13 presentations at conferences around the United States. He is currently the leader of the Florida State University Graduate Student Government Association as a means of service to others. To continue his journey in neuropsychology, he plans to pursue an APPIC accredited internship with an emphasis on geropsychology and neuropsychology.

Stephony Humphrey, LGSW

Stephony Humphrey graduated from GSU with a BS in Psychology in 2010. She worked in the King lab from 2008-10. Following graduation she went on to receive her MSW from University of Southern California specializing in mental health therapy. For 4 years she was a licensed therapist working at a non-profit (specialized in severe mental health disorders w/ co-ocurring substance use) and in the neurology department at INOVA Fairfax Hospital in northern Virginia. Since 2015 she has been an epidemiologist for the Department of Behavioral Health in Washington, DC. Her current field of research focuses on the opioid epidemic as it relates to the African American populations in the District. She is currently working on creating a predictive model for those at high risk for opioid-related death. She is also awaiting grant approval for a study exploring a new client centered intervention specific to treating African American who are diagnosed with opioid use disorder. Lastly, she is in the early stages of examining pharmacogenomics with relation to African American’s and prescribed methadone. 

Stacia Gessner, Ph.D.

Dr. Gessner was formerly a student in Dr. King’s lab at GSU as an undergrad. She completed graduate school at the University of Missouri- Kansas City in clinical psychology. She is currently at the John Dingell VAMC as a staff member.  She works in outpatient mental health as a PTSD psychologist. She also have a small practice outside the VA. 

Claire Galloway, Ph.D.

Claire Galloway received her PhD in Psychology: Neuroscience and Animal Behavior at Emory University in 2017. Currently, she is a postdoctoral research fellow at Emory University in the laboratory of David Weinshenker, where she investigates the role of different brain regions in Alzheimer’s disease. 

Matt Silliman

Since my time is Dr King’s fabulous lab my life took a few interesting turns. My family grew, I am the father of 2 boys – 1 who is 12 and the other who is 6, both take most of my wife’s and my free time. Professionally I went almost immediately into advertising after I graduated in senior level roles at a number of prominent advertising agencies like BBDO, Huge, Moxie, 22squared and now Wunderman Thompson. I am a currently head of Delivery and Production which is a fancy way of saying I oversee the department that make the work – from websites to TV commercials, content and even print advertising.  I’ve won a number of awards including a Cannes Lion for the work that I produce or have overseen.  A small sampling of my work can been seen at www.mattsilliman.com.  When I’m not working or playing games with my wife and kids I picked DJ’ing back up by way of facebook live streaming. If your ever in the mood for some house music look me up on Facebook!

Courtney Charvat, M.D.

Dr. Charvat is a pediatric hospitalist at Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and works at Egleston children’s hospital. She is dual board certified both in general pediatrics and in hospital medicine. Her research is focused on quality improvement surrounding a common pediatric illness called bronchiolitis.

Cory Inman, Ph.D.

Cory completed his honors thesis on trait emotional awareness and decision making in the lab. He then went on to complete his PhD at Emory University under the supervision of Dr. Stephan Hamann, studying the dynamic functional networks that underlie autobiographical memory retrieval. After graduate school, he transitioned to studying memory enhancement via direct brain stimulation in epilepsy patients with Drs. Bob Gross and Jon Willie as a postdoc, and then did a 2nd postdoc at UCLA aiming to translate these direct brain stimulation techniques to enhance memory in the real-world. He currently directs the Integrative NeuroModulation and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of Utah. In 2021, Cory received a National Science Foundation grant funding his work in deep brain recordings and augmented reality. 

Ozioma Okonkwo, Ph.D.

Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo is a faculty member in the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Okonkwo’s research focuses on clarifying how alterations in the brain and other biomolecules (such as cerebrospinal fluid β-amyloid) place some cognitively-normal individuals on a trajectory that culminates in probable Alzheimer’s disease. He is also interested in discovering new knowledge concerning the modulation of the link between brain changes and cognitive decline by both modifiable (e.g., physical exercise, cognitively-stimulating activities) and non-modifiable (e.g., genetic vulnerability) factors.