Sarah O'Neill, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Sarah O’Neill received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.  She worked with Dr. Rachel Zajac to investigate factors that influence children’s responses to cross-examination style questioning.  Specifically, she sought to understand the mechanisms that account for children’s often inconsistent and inaccurate responding to cross-examination questions; cognitive individual difference factors that may affect children’s cross-examination performance; and the effectiveness of an intervention designed to improve children’s cross-examination performance.        

Given her clinical interests, she shifted her research focus to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  In the fall of 2009 Sarah moved from New Zealand to New York to take up a post-doctoral fellowship at Queens College of the City University of New York under the mentorship of Distinguished Professor Jeffrey Halperin.  During her time at Queens College, Sarah worked on two of Dr. Halperin’s federally-funded studies.  The Queens College Preschool Project (QCPP) investigated the relation between children’s neuropsychological development and change in their ADHD severity over time. The Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Preschoolers with ADHD (NIPA) study evaluated two non-pharmacological treatments for young children with ADHD.   

In the fall of 2013 Sarah joined the CCNY faculty as an Assistant Professor where she continues to research ADHD.  Specifically, she is interested in better understanding the mechanisms that drive long-term outcomes in individuals with ADHD and in developing evidence-based interventions for ADHD.

Mariely Hernandez

Doctoral Student

Mariely is a doctoral student broadly interested in developmental psychopathology, risk factors for mental illness, emotion regulation, and cognitive function in clinical populations. She earned a BA in Neuroscience from Columbia University and an MA in Psychology from Teachers College. Prior to joining the lab, Mariely researched pharmacological interventions for pediatric bipolar disorder at Massachusetts General Hospital, and parental depression and child psychopathology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. 

Michael Tate

Doctoral Student

​Michael is a doctoral student broadly interested in childhood development, child psychopathology and emotional regulation particularly in underrepresented populations. He earned a BM in Music Education and a BA in Psychology from Ithaca College and a MA in Psychology from Long Island University Brooklyn. Michael is currently interested in the use of music education and musical interventions with attentional and emotion-regulation difficulties in underrepresented populations.

Ramya Jayanthi

Doctoral Student

Ramya is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program at CCNY. She is broadly interested in racial and ethnic disparities in ADHD, and obesity diagnosis. Ramya is also interested in understanding the relationship between obesity, exercise, and cognitive functioning. Ramya earned her BA and MA in psychology from New York University.

Ashley Rainford

Doctoral Student

Ashley is a Clinical Psychology PhD student at the City College of New York (CUNY). Ashley graduated from Wesleyan University in 2013 with a major in Psychology.  Prior to entering CUNY, she was the recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) diversity supplement under the mentorship of Dr. Monk. Her research interests include child mental health and neurobiological development as well as trauma and its effect on mother-infant attachment styles and child cognitive outcomes. 


Shannique Richards

Doctoral Student

Shannique is a doctoral student in clinical psychology. She is interested in women's brain health, particularly among racial/ethnic minorities. She has a specific interest in examining the role of IPV-related traumatic brain injuries in women cognitive, psychological, behavioral, physical, and mental health. She earned her BA from Medgar Evers College and MA in psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to joining the lab, Shannique researched sleep, cardio-metabolic diseases,and health disparities among racial/ethnic minorities at NYU School of Medicine.

Carolina Rozario

Masters Student

Carolina is a graduate student in the General Psychology Master’s program at CCNY. She is also a Teaching Assistant in the Psychology department at The City College of New York. She is broadly interested in studying effective assessment techniques and the usage of non-pharmacological treatment strategies for children with developmental disorders.

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Laurie Pierre-Paul

Masters Student

Laurie is a graduate student in the General Psychology Master’s program and an Adjunct in the Psychology department at The City College of New York. She is also a mother to a vibrant 2-year old girl. She is broadly interested in studying self-regulation in children and the implications on their development.

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Breanna Badripersaud

Masters Student


Breanna is a graduate student in the Psychology General Masters Program at The City College of New York.  She received her BA in Psychology from Queens College.  Breanna has previously worked with children with autism and children facing homelessness.  She is interested in conducting research and helping those facing adversities.  Breanna hopes to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. 

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Ayanna Gilmore

Masters Student


Ayanna is a Masters student in the General Psychology program at City College. She has an interest in the relationship between diet and mental health. More specifically, Ayanna would like to investigate the role of the gut-brain axis in chronic stress, depression, and neurodegenerative disorders.

Sara Scherrer

Research Assistant

Sara Scherrer studied graphic design and worked in the field for several years. A strong interest in music encouraged her to pursue an A.A. in liberal arts with the focus on music in the U.S. This career change ultimately lead her to continue her education in psychology.  Sara completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology with honors at The City College of New York, graduating in Spring 2018. Sara's honors thesis investigated timing/rhythmic deficits in ADHD

Geneva Hidalgo

Research Assistant

Geneva graduated with a BA in Psychology from The City College of New York in Spring 2018.  She was the recipient of a prestigious NIH-funded RISE fellowship. Her current research interests center on the assessment and treatment of ADHD among minority populations. Geneva plans to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Shelagh Mahbubani

Research Assistant

Shelagh Mahbubani completed her Post-Baccalaureate studies in Psychology at Columbia University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in History from Yale University in 2011 but realized in 2014 that she wanted to be a Clinical Psychologist.  Her research interests include the etiology and treatment of child and adolescent psychopathological disorders. 

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Saudia Baksh

Undergraduate Student

Saudia is an undergraduate student pursuing a BS in Psychology at the Macaulay Honors College at City College. She has experience working closely with various populations of individuals with developmental disorders and mental illnesses, such as children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and young adults from underprivileged communities suffering from clinical depression. She is trained in Applied Behavior Analysis teaching methods and plans to attend a graduate program to become a school psychologist. For her undergraduate honors thesis, Saudia is broadly interested in studying the relationship between obesity and ADHD diagnosis to better understand the potential risk factors and identify any socioeconomic disparities. 

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Anita Sztukowska 

Undergraduate Student

Anita is a Macaulay Honors senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biology at the City College of New York. Under the mentorship of Dr. Sarah O’Neill and Dr. Olga Berwid, she is investigating the effects of acute moderate-vigorous intensity exercise on delay discounting in young adults. She is also examining whether these effects are moderated by factors such as ADHD. Her interests reside in health and neuropsychology, as well as behavioral economics. In the future she hopes to become a physician assistant and be able to help individuals maintain both good mental and physical health. 

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Laura Trahms

Undergraduate Student

Laura is a senior undergraduate student double majoring in psychology and philosophy and minoring in legal studies. She is currently working on an undergraduate honors thesis that combines her interests of law and psychology, exploring the relationship between ADHD, childhood maltreatment, and later criminal offending. Once finished with undergraduate studies, Laura plans to pursue a J.D.

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Nadira Bhowal

Undergraduate Student

Nadira is a sophomore at the City College of New York. Her research interests include the identity crisis in second-generation immigrants, and the receptiveness of minority groups in receiving treatment for behavioral disorders. She is also interested in understanding the relationship in ADHD and the regression it serves among ethnic minorities. She hopes to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and use my knowledge to foster better access to mental health resources and tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness in my community. She currently works with children with developmental disabilities receive therapy with horseback riding. 

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Rina DeFrancesco

Undergraduate Student

Rina is a sophomore at City College pursuing a B.A in psychology with a minor in chemistry. She studied chemistry at SUNY Geneseo before transferring to City College and altering her goals to pursue a career in psychology. She is interested in pursuing a doctorate in neuropsychology.

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Zainab Baig

Undergraduate Student

Zainab is a junior at City College pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Zainab is a part of the Psychology Honors Program and is working on research to complete the undergraduate honors thesis and hopes to pursue a career in medicine. 

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Sadé Ayana Dixon

Undergraduate Student

Sade is a junior at City College pursing a B.A. in Psychology.  She is interested in becoming a neuropsychologist in relation to understanding institutionalized racism on a psychological scale. She also is an advocate for people with A.D.H.D/Dyslexia due to having to struggle with this herself. Her ultimate goal is to get a PhD. in neuropsychology to help change the education and the livelihood of marginalized groups.