Nadia Photo.JPG

Abigail Bushnell

Abigail is a senior majoring in psychology with a concentration in human development at DePaul University. Her research interests are influenced by her career as a ballet dancer and include the impact of mental states on performance. Under Dr. Buscemi’s supervision, Abigail is currently investigating the impact of social media use on professional ballet dancers’ mental health. Abigail plans to continue her education in graduate school after finishing her undergraduate degree.

Nadia Photo.JPG

Bernardo Loiacono

(4th year Doctoral Candidate)


Bernardo received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from DePaul University in 2016. During his undergraduate studies, he was involved in researching myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) in children. Upon graduation, he accepted a research assistant position at the Center for Community Research where he continued his study of ME/CFS in children. Currently, Bernardo’s primary research interests are in understanding chronic illness in children and adolescents, specifically as it relates to physical functioning. He is also interested in how behavioral economic variables, such as delay discounting and food reinforcement, predict dietary intake and body mass index.

Nadia Photo.JPG

Dylan Sagan

Dylan is a 4th year undergraduate at DePaul. He is double majoring in Psychology with a focus in Human Services and Communications and Media. He is involved in a Field Work program to prepare him for his future studies in the field of psychology. He is interested in health psychology as well as its effects on various minoritized groups. Dylan plans on finishing his undergrad degree in 2022 and continuing his education into graduate school.  

Nadia Photo.JPG

Mary Takgbajouah

(1st year Doctoral Candidate)

Mary received her B.S in Psychology from DePaul University in 2020. She was involved in research on gender based violence and substance use and addictive behaviors during her undergraduate studies. After graduating she worked as a summer research fellow at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Excellence for Eating Disorders on projects looking at binge eating in Black women, the importance of diversity in genetic studies, and comorbidity of eating disorder pathology and alcohol use. Currently, she is interested in exploring the relationship between trauma and addictive behaviors, including substance use and food addiction.

Nadia Photo.JPG

Alex O'Donnell

(2nd year Doctoral Candidate)


Alex received his B.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2016 after which he worked as a behavior analysis specialist at Munroe-Meyer Institute's Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Omaha, Nebraska. He received his M.S. in psychology from DePaul University in 2020. As a master's student at DePaul, he researched the benefits of natural mentoring relationships on Latinx adolescents' psychological well-being under Dr. Bernadette Sánchez. Alex is interested in combining his research and practical experience with children and families to explore relationship factors which promote healthy behaviors and barriers preventing equitable access to nutrition among low-income communities.

Nadia Photo.JPG

Meg Clark Withington

(5th year Doctoral Candidate)

Meg Clark received her B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh, where she majored in Applied Developmental Psychology. After graduation, Meg worked state government before making a career change to psychology and clinical research. She worked at Drexel University engaging in volunteer research experiences by delivering emotional regulation interventions in Philadelphia Public Schools. She then worked at Drexel's WELL Center, coordinating a study focusing on lifestyle modification for behavioral weight loss, with emphases on acceptance based therapies and physical activity. Meg's primary research interests include developing interventions and prevention strategies for promoting healthy eating habits, specifically with children in minority populations. For her thesis project, she explored the role that emotions and self-regulation play in diet.

Nadia Photo.JPG

Nadia Arteaga

Nadia is currently a senior studying health sciences with a concentration in nursing. She hopes to obtain her Master's in Nursing at DePaul University after she completes her undergraduate studies, and to eventually become a nurse practitioner. Her personal research interests include understanding disparities such as maternal morbidity and mortality rates in minority women. She will be serving as Dr. Buscemi's undergraduate research assistant this academic year for the project titled "A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Experiences, Symptoms, and Health Behaviors of Patients with or Exposed to COVID-19 in Chicago's Underserved Neighborhoods" and is pursuing her own research question related to the relations between sociodemograhic factors and medical mistrust and health care discrimination.