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Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Elizabeth C. Neilson, PhD (she/her)

I was born and raised on the east side of Michigan, and I attended the University of Michigan for my undergraduate degree. While an undergraduate, I became interested in the scientific study of sexuality and worked as an undergraduate research assistant in a developmental psychology laboratory. I then obtained a dual Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan (I bleed Maize and Blue). I then worked as a clinical social worker in Chicago, where I provided psychotherapy services to children and families. After four and a half years as a clinical social worker, I obtained my doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle. While at UW, I examined the confluence of GBV, substance use, and sexual health. I then completed my pre-doctoral psychology residence at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas where I provided trauma and substance use services to Veterans. After completing my internship, I accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at Morehead State University. I teach courses in addiction therapies, introduction to clinical psychology, psychology of gender, and intellectual assessment. My research program can be best understood by the quote from USAID: “Prevent only, and you ignore the survivor in front of you. Respond only, and you’ll be responding forever.” In addition to my research and teaching, I am a pop culture enthusiast and proud Pitbull rescue mama.

What's your SUPER power? I have an encyclopedic knowledge of "Gilmore Girls". 

Doctoral Students


Elizabeth Farren

My name is Libby Farren, and I am a first-year student in Eastern Michigan University's Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program. My research interests include examining the interplay between hegemonic masculinities, racial/ethnic discrimination and identity, and risk of perpetrating alcohol-involved sexual violence. In my free time, I love thrifting, trying out new coffee shops, and watching The West Wing. 

What's your SUPER power? I can eat an entire watermelon, and I always find the best restaurants (back home in Cleveland and while traveling). 


Jordan Gootee

Jordan (she/her) is a doctorate student in Eastern Michigan University’s Clinical Psychology program. She graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies from Wayne State University in 2019. After she graduated, she worked in the Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research at Henry Ford Health. Jordan’s current research interests focus on the association between sexual trauma and relationship functioning. She is also interested in studying sexual satisfaction/ dissatisfaction in individuals who have experienced sexual trauma. 


What's your SUPER power? Jordan’s super powers are befriending almost any cat she meets and finding a great parking spot no matter where she goes. 

Kellsey Launius

Undergraduate Students

Hadlie Daigle


Jesse John

I'm a Junior undergraduate Psychology major with minors in Human Sexuality and Women's and Gender Studies. My research interests include domestic and inter-partner violence, sexuality and sexual risk-taking, and the roots of toxic masculinity.


What's your SUPER power? My superpower is crocheting! I love trying new patterns and working on projects.

Noelle Leahy

Katherine Steger

I am a junior undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University. I am working towards my B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Human Nutrition. I’m interested in women’s reproductive health, as well as chronic illnesses and the impact sexual trauma and mental illness can have on those conditions.


What's your SUPER power? My superpower is my ability to make one thing during the day turn into an all-day ordeal!

Volunteers and Alumni


Xiyu Cao

My name is Xiyu Cao and I’m a recent graduate from Eastern Michigan University M.S. in Clinical Psychology-Behavioral. I currently work as a psychotherapist and an assessor near the Detroit area. My research interests lie in trauma, emotion regulation, and reproductive health. I am a huge sci-fi fan and would not shut up about Dr. Who and the Twilight Zone if you talk about them. 

What's your SUPER power? My superpower is I visualize subtitles when people speak in real life. 


Kaitlyn McCarthy

My name is Kaitlyn McCarthy, and I recently received from M.S. in Clinical Psychology-General from Eastern Michigan University. My research interests are interpersonal trauma, social support, suicide prevention, and post-trauma recovery and behaviors (e.g., risky behaviors, self-injury).

What's your SUPER power? My superpower is being able to quickly weave my way through large crowds and busy sidewalks/trails

Canine Support

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Rhonda Waggletail

What's your SUPER power? Wags.

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