Faja Laboratory | Research Assistants

Graduate Research Assistants

Alyson SagonAlison Sagon

Ali received her Bachelors in Arts (B.A.) in psychology from the University of Michigan in 2015. As an undergraduate, she completed an honors thesis exploring the value of setting communication goals for increasing well-being. She is currently enrolled in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Suffolk University where her research is focused on developing acceptance-based mindfulness interventions targeting anxiety, depression, and loneliness. In the past she has assisted on community and drug intervention projects focused on symptom alleviation for individuals with ASD. She is interested in exploring the utility of acceptance-based mindfulness strategies for facilitating stress reduction in individuals with ASD. She is excited to be working with Dr. Faja to utilize an expanding understanding of the links between brain activity and behavior to inform personalized interventions. When she is not busy with schoolwork, Ali enjoys eating large amounts of pizza, advocating for the protection of Orca whales, and spending time in Cape Cod.

Devon OostingDevon Oosting

Devon is currently a clinical psychology doctoral student working with Dr. Alice Carter at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She conducts developmental evaluations with very young children at risk for autism spectrum disorders and provides motivational interviewing sessions for parents of young children diagnosed with ASD. Devon completed her Bachelor's of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2012. At Michigan, she worked in the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center under Dr. Catherine Lord. After graduating, Devon completed a two-year clinical research fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, with a focus on providing behavioral treatment for preschool children with ASD and examining the neural correlates of treatment response via fMRI and EEG. In her albeit limited free time, Devon enjoys painting, being by the ocean, and playing Guitar Hero.

Research Assistants

Julia NikolaevaJulia Nikolaeva

Julia received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2017, with a minor in English. She first developed an interest in developmental cognitive neuroscience as a research assistant with the Brain and Cognitive Development Lab at UIUC. Here Julia was able to explore underlying brain mechanisms related to mathematical and cognitive development. During her undergraduate training, she also had the opportunity to work with Professor Bert De Smedt at the University of Leuven in Belgium to assess neuroimaging data and identify individual differences linked to quantitative reasoning in children. Julia is delighted to join the Faja Lab and looks forward to working in the Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials (ABC-CT) where she will continue her efforts to use neurocognitive research as a framework for early childhood intervention. Outside of the lab, you can find Julia reading a book or video chatting with her cat back home in Illinois.

Victoria SanchezVictoria Sanchez

Vickee graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2018 with bachelor's degrees in Biology and Psychology. She was an undergraduate research assistant in the Baby Lab at UMB researching language development in typically developing infants. She was also a research assistant and project coordinator in the Child Development lab working on projects to assess and develop universal screening methods and classroom intervention strategies for toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Her thesis project analyzed the language acoustics of cries of toddlers with ASD and investigated this method as an early screening tool. Vickee is thrilled to continue with translational research and hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a career in research in the future. Outside of the lab you might find her listening to a podcast, photographing around the city, or spending time with her three cats.

Gabrielle MacNaughtonGabrielle MacNaughton

Gabrielle MacNaughton graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology in 2018. Both her research and clinical interests focus on children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. As an undergraduate at NYU, Gabrielle explored her various areas of interest through her time spent as a classroom volunteer in a school for children on the autism spectrum, through her position as a job and social skills coach for teens with autism, as well as through her internship in a clinical psychology consulting practice where she was able to work with children diagnosed selective mutism. She was also a research assistant Dr. Anil Chacko’s FACES lab where she engaged in research involving youth with ADHD. Gabrielle also worked with Dr. Chacko as her mentor to complete an honors thesis, which examined the moderating role of working memory on treatment outcomes for a neurocognitive intervention for school aged youth with ADHD. Gabrielle is very excited to move to Boston to carry out the role of a Clinical Research Assistant in Dr. Susan Faja’s lab in order to further her knowledge on neurocognitive functioning in populations of children. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and would like to work with children in both research and clinical settings. Outside of work, Gabrielle likes to spend her time running with her dogs, playing soccer, reading, drinking coffee, and going to concerts!

Brooke KohnBrooke Kohn

Brooke graduated from Kenyon College in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in English. In the summer of 2017, Brooke worked as a Research Assistant at Emerson College’s Face Lab in Boston, studying how adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder perceive and produce social cues. She has also been a Research Assistant in two labs at Kenyon, most recently conducting EEG research on facial processing. During her time at Kenyon, Brooke created a program called Stop the Stigma to encourage students to speak candidly about mental illness; she has also worked as a Kenyon Peer Counselor and a mentor for adolescents from Knox County’s Juvenile Mental Health Court. Brooke is interested in researching how parental dynamics can influence neurodevelopment, and she is excited to further her passion for research and neuroscience in Dr. Faja’s lab. In her spare time, Brooke enjoys cuddling with her cat O’Malley, eating chocolate, and spending time with her family.