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Current Team at Rowan University

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Dr. Katherine (Kaite) Gotham

Director, SEAHLab; Principal Investigator

Kaite received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan. In the Rowan University Psychology Department, Kaite teaches undergraduate courses and mentors junior researchers across many stages of their training. She also trains health professionals on autism assessment as a co-developer of a commonly used autism diagnostic tool, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). Kaite's professional goal is to translate SEAHLab findings into meaningful ways to promote quality of life in the autistic community. She loves to spend time with her daughters (two human, one canine), and is an avid consumer of fiction, KDrama, and carbs.


Curriculum Vitae

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Erin McKenney

4th Year Clinical Psychology PhD Student

Erin graduated from Lafayette College with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and anthropology & sociology. She completed her undergraduate honors thesis on how access to communication devices in childhood relates to wellbeing in adulthood for nonspeaking people. She's passionate about learning from the neurodiversity movement and accessibility initiatives and applying this knowledge to research.  In lab, her major projects focus on trauma and predictors of depression and anxiety during the transition to adulthood. Outside of the lab, Erin enjoys baking, dancing, and learning to paint.

Curriculum Vitae

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Robyn Himelstein

3rd Year Clinical Psychology PhD Student

Robyn graduated from Haverford College where she majored in psychology and minored in neuroscience. During and after college, she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Aaron T. Beck, contributing to research on the cognitive model of schizophrenia. She also served as a Behavioral Health Technician, working one-on-one helping provide therapy to children on the autism spectrum. She is thrilled to be a part of the Social, Emotional, and Affective Health Lab. In her spare time, Robyn enjoys playing tennis and pickleball, and spending time with her family, friends, and golden retriever, Louie.


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Claudia Cucchiara

Full Time Research Assistant

Claudia joined SEAHL after graduating from Loyola University New Orleans with her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. During her undergraduate education, she previously volunteered in a clinical psychology lab where she studied predictors of PTSD severity. She is enthusiastic about studying psychopathology, especially mood disorders. After gaining additional experience in research, she plans to pursue a PhD in Counseling Psychology and ultimately work as a therapist. In her free time, Claudia loves practicing aerial dance and watching anime. 

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 Emanuel (Manny) Avila

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Manny is currently a sophomore, who joined us in Summer 2022. His major is Psychology. Manny is part of the U-RISE fellowship program at Rowan, which is a competitive, NIH-funded program to support biomedical research trainees from underrepresented backgrounds throughout their undergraduate careers. Manny has 7 dogs and loves to watch anime. He also collects swords. Currently, he is engaged and looking forward to being married.

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Maria Menke

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Maria is currently a sophomore at Rowan University. She joined the SEAHLab as a first year student at Rowan. She is majoring in psychology and considering a minor in sociology. After graduating Maria plans on going to graduate school to further her studies in psychology. She aims to have a career as a clinical psychologist one day in the future. In her free time Maria loves to cook and bake, and spend time with her friends and family. ‘

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Pricila Sanchez Rojas

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Pricila joined us as a first-year student at Rowan University. She is currently a second-year student with a major in psychology, a minor in law and justice, and a Certificate of Undergraduate Study in forensic studies. She is pursuing a career in forensic psychology. Pricila is a part of the START research as a research assistant and the psychopathy and crocheting club. Outside of school, Pricila takes an interest in volunteering for Century 21 as an interpreter, exercising, and hanging out with friends and family. 

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Julia Gushue

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Julia is currently a Junior at Rowan University pursuing her BA in psychology. She is expected to graduate in the Fall of 2024. Many members of her family have been diagnosed with autism, and she was diagnosed at the age of 18. As a result, she is very interested in autism research, emotional and mental health in adults with autism, and fixing the gender imbalance in autism research that leads so many people to go undiagnosed. In her spare time, Julia enjoys reading A Song of Ice and Fire and exploring the lore, watching HBO Max, listening to film and TV soundtracks, and spending time with her family.

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Amy Senanayake

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Amy is a junior undergraduate student at Rowan University. She is pursuing a BA in Psychology with a Concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience, a minor in Sociology, and a Certificate of Undergraduate Study in Social Justice and Social Change. Amy plans on going to graduate school to become a Clinical Psychologist. She is passionate about studying psychopathology and wants to help underrepresented communities. In her free time, Amy loves to hang out with her family and friends, listen to music, and spend time with her bird. 

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Samay Shukla

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Samay is a freshman at Rowan University. He is a Molecular and Cellular Biology major and is part of the 3+4 BS/DO program with the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine. Samay plans on earning his medical degree and practicing as an Emergency Medicine physician. Other than research, Samay spends his free time volunteering as an EMT, playing video games, and watching tv shows. His favorite tv show is SpongeBob and he knows most of the dialogue in many of the episodes.


Coming soon!

Undergraduate Research Assistant

New member coming soon!

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Sapjah Zapotitla

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sapjah Zapotitla is a Freshman Undergraduate student pursuing a BA degree in psychology to become a Child Therapist. Being in the Degree-in-3 program has motivated her to excel in taking 18 credits every semester. This is to graduate before the year 2026. During her first semester in college, she became the President of the Sociology and Anthropology Club. Sapjah also started working with the Academic Success Center. As a result, Sapjah found her passion for helping deepened and is now a session ​manager for GetFit. All the while, Sapjah has been the only female wrestler at Rowan. She also loves all kinds of art, whether it be photography, dancing, singing, or playing instruments for church! Behind the scenes, she provides ideas and assistance as a leader for a non-profit organization called Forging Youth Resilience.

External Team Members

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Dr. Gloria  Han

Vanderbilt University, Assistant Professor

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Dr. Jessica Schwartzman

Vanderbilt University, Assistant Professor

Jessica is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her program of research focuses on depression and suicide interventions for autistic youth and adults, and parent-child relationship factors. Jessica co-directs a multidisciplinary psychiatry clinic at VUMC for autistic youth and adults with depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders, and she supervises clinical and research trainees. Jessica is an active external collaborator of SEAHL with shared interests in characterizing and treating depression in autistic adults. She spends her free time trying new restaurants with friends and family in Nashville, and attempting to acclimate to country music.

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Zachary Williams

Vanderbilt University MD/PhD Candidate

Zack Williams is an MD/PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program and Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University. He is also an affiliate of the Vanderbilt University Frist Center for Autism and Innovation and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. He is also openly autistic, having been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of four. Zack received his bachelors in Psychology from Yale University, where he was heavily involved in autism research at the Yale Child Study Center. As a future psychiatrist, Zack is passionate about improving the mental health and well-being of autistic adults, and much of his work with Dr. Gotham has been focused on improving the measurement of depression and related constructs in the autistic population. Current projects in the SEAHL lab include a large-scale study to comprehensively characterize depressive symptoms in autistic adults and a longitudinal study that examines the demographic, psychological, and social predictors of future depression and well-being in the autistic population. Additional areas of interest include the assessment and treatment of sensory sensitivities, alexithymia, and psychosomatic symptoms in autistic adults, quantitative methodology, and the development of novel questionnaires to assess core and associated features of the autism phenotype. You can follow him on Twitter at @QuantPsychiatry.

Meet our lab alumni here!
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