Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, ABPP

Dr. Kazdin is Sterling Professor of Psychology and Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale University and Director of the Yale Parenting Center, as well as the Innovative Interactions Lab. He was the 2008 President of the American Psychological Association and is the author of 49 books for professional-audiences on topics of parenting and child rearing, child psychotherapy, cognitive and behavioral treatments, and interpersonal violence. His work has been translated in several languages. A recent profile in the Yale Alumni Magazine says, “When your kids whines, hits, kicks, and bites–relax. Alan Kazdin can help you find your inner parent.”

Graduate Students

Molly Crossman (Co-Director)

Molly Crossman is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Yale. Broadly, Molly is interested in novel methods of reducing the burden of mental illness for children and youth. She has a particular interest in the use of human- animal interaction and animal-assisted therapy to reduce psychological distress and improve mental health. Before coming to Yale in 2013, Molly graduated from Tufts University with a BA in child development and psychology.

Ava Casados

Ava is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Yale. She is interested in finding ways to reduce the gap between the emergence of psychological distress and the delivery of psychological services in young people’s lives. She focuses specifically on treatment disparities between ethnic groups, as well as on cultural influences on mental health literacy, mental illness stigma, and help-seeking. Ava received her BA in psychology and fine arts from the University of Southern California in 2011.


Research Assistants

Luca Eros

Luca is a junior and is majoring in psychology at Yale College. She’s interested in animal-assisted therapies and child-dog interactions, and how they promote mental health. Luca is interested in clinical psychology and therapy techniques and hopes to pursue a career working with families that have children with mental illness or developmental disorders.

Elizabeth Kitt

Elizabeth is a junior at Yale College majoring in psychology. Her interests lie in the field of child clinical psychology with a particular interest in finding novel methods to reduce childhood anxiety. Post-graduation, Elizabeth plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.

Vanessa Sheridan

Vanessa is a senior at the University of New Haven with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. She is interested in studying how the effects of mental illness influence everyday decisions. Upon graduation she plans to continue her education in law school to obtain her JD. 

Angela Matijczak

Angela is a senior at the University of New Haven majoring in psychology, with a concentration in clinical/counseling psychology and minoring in sociology and spanish. She is interested in further studying mental illness and also exploring the benefits of animal-assisted therapies. Angela plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in the field of clinical psychology in the future. 

Taylor Buscemi

Taylor is a junior at Yale College majoring in Psychology (BS) and pursuing the Neuroscience Track. She is also pre-med, and plans to study neurology in medical school. Taylor has a strong passion for neuroscience, especially as related to memory, psychoanalysis, and neuropsychiatric illness. In the Innovative Interactions Lab, she looks forward to evaluating animal-assisted therapy and exploring animal-human interactions in order to propose novel methods of improving mental health. 

Past Lab Members

Kara Allen (Research Assistant)

Brian Bink (Lab Manager)

Shawna Bush (Research Assistant)

Michelle Carney (Research Assistant)

Morgan Cohen (Research Assistant)

Rebecca Crystal (Research Assistant)

Izzy Derber (Research Assistant)

Nicholas Fagan (Research Assistant)

Gabriella Ferragamo (Research Assistant)

Katie Galbraith (Research Assistant)

Jenny Huber (Research Assistant)

Allison Jacobs (Research Assistant)

Jocelyn Jones (Research Assistant)

Krista Knudson (Collaborator and Dog Handler)

Rebecca Marks (Research Assistant)

Tanya Mayer (Research Assistant)

Gessica Ni (Research Assistant)

Sheantel J. Reihl (Lab Manager)









Lexi Paul (Research Assistant)



Caitlyn Rand (Research Assistant)