Research Assistants and Other Staff
Grace Chen hails from northern California and graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Biological Sciences. As an undergraduate, she researched a novel communication therapy for non-communicative children with autism and has an interest in cognitive literary theory. She currently assists with research projects in Dr. Chawarska's Toddler Developmental Disabilities Clinic and hopes to pursue graduate studies in the future.
Jessica Emmons-Garzarek graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Communicative Disorders. As an undergraduate, she conducted research examining the social, emotional, and academic functioning of college students with ASD as a means to identify predictors of successful college transitions. Her honor’s thesis explored emotion recognition through gestures and prosody in children with ASD. Jessica is currently a research assistant for the Simons Baby-Sibs Project of Social Neuroscience in Infancy. Her research interests include language development, implicit learning, and social cognition across the lifespan of persons with ASD. Jessica plans to pursue a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology in the future.
Rebecca Loomis assists with the study of Pragmatics and Prosody in Speakers with Autism for ages 9-17. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where she majored in Psychology and Russian and Eastern European Studies. She intends to pursue a graduate degree in psychology.
Kerry O'Loughlin, originally from Stow, MA, graduated cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in English and Psychology. As an undergraduate research assistant, she explored the role that in-group and out-group biases play in the formation of social identities. For her senior thesis, she sought to establish an animal model for the effects of prenatal hormone exposure on digit ratios, behavior, and the sexually dimorphic nucleus in rats. In addition, her research explored the long term behavioral effects of PCP in male and female rats. While working at the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies, she explored the relationship between typically developing infants and novel social entities. Kerry is interested in both scientific and artistic representations of experience and plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology.
Evelyn Pomichter is the Administrative Coordinator at the Developmental Disabilities Clinic for Infants and Toddlers. She provides a high level of administrative and clerical support with regard to all aspects of clinical and research functions. In addition, she is a central source of information to both families and members of the developmental disabilities clinical/research teams. She responds to patient concerns and requests ensuring smooth resolution. She is responsible for the management of clinical fees, including preparation of evaluation summary statements, provided to families upon request, for submission to their insurance provider for possible reimbursement. Ev has over 20 years experience working with families of children and adults with disabilities, having previously worked at the Yale Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs and the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center.
Heidi Tsapelas is the School-Age Recruitment Coordinator and Community Liaison for the Autism Program at the Yale Child Study Center. Heidi is a native of Madison, Connecticut and earned a B.A. in Communications from Fordham University in New York City. Her background is in television news production and public relations. Heidi handles PR for the Yale Autism Program, as well as being responsible for the recruitment of research study participants.
Andy Auerbach is our main data entry person and office assistant, and also assists the principal investigators. He studied liberal arts at Edward Williams College, and attended Chapel Haven's vocational program for four years. He is currently a member of Chapel Haven's outreach program.