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.

Lab Manager

Angela Matijczak

Angela recently graduated from the University of New Haven with a B.A. in Psychology, concentrating in Clinical/Counseling Psychology. In a general sense, Angela is interested in further studying the benefits of human-animal interactions on mental health and the benefits of using animal-assisted therapy to treat mental illness. In the future, she plans to pursue a PhD in the field of Psychology and continue contributing to the field of human-animal research.

Research Assistants

Olivia Quagliani

Olivia is a junior at the University of New Haven majoring in psychology with a concentration in Clinical/Community Psychology. Post-graduation, she plans to continue her education in the field of social work. Olivia is interested in further studying the benefits of human-animal interaction regarding mental health, specifically within the family environment. 


Hailey Dias

Hailey recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a B.S. in Psychology and a concentration in Applied Clinical Science. She has a general interest in studying empirically-supported treatments for mental health issues. Hailey is currently a research coordinator for a study assessing the efficacy of a mentalization-based treatment for mothers recovering from substance abuse. After working as a research coordinator, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D in clinical psychology.


Rebecca Spargo

Rebecca is a senior at the University of New Haven who is majoring in General Psychology and minoring in Communications and Sociology. She is interested in studying the basic psychological needs of children and adolescents, as well as how the family and other social contexts influence development and mental health. After graduating in December, Rebecca hopes to intern at a mental health clinic before pursuing a Master’s degree in Child Psychology. 


Audrey Gibb

Audrey is an undergraduate senior at West Virginia University. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Special Education. Upon graduating, she plans to pursue a Ph.D is either the field of clinical or counseling psychology. Audrey is primarily interested in how animal-assisted therapies are used in the improvement of mental health among individuals of all ages. She hopes to find an occupation that allows her to practice or research animal-assisted therapies involving an array of different animals. 


Past Lab Members

Vanessa Sheridan (Research Assistant)

Luca Eros (Research Assistant)

Taylor Buscemi (Research Assistant)

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)

Abigail Cox (Research Assistant)

Hannah Bolotin (Research Assistant)

Gillian Burns (Research Assistant)

Elizabeth Kitt (Research Assistant)

Brandyn Cesan (Research Assistant)