Jennifer Steward, TITAN Graduate Student Coordinator
Jennifer Steward is a first year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at The University of Tulsa. Jennifer is the Student Coordinator for the Tulsa Institute of Trauma Abuse and Neglect.
In this role, Jennifer organizes and runs the monthly TITAN meetings, facilitates communication between TITAN members, assist in the development and organization of the institute, and follows up on the progress of each TITAN project. In addition to her role as TITAN Coordinator, Jennifer is also the Project Manager for the Domestic Violence Intervention Services/ Call Rape (DVIS) Male Offender Program. This study is evaluating the effectiveness of a 52-week court-mandated treatment program for offenders of intimate partner violence. We assess childhood abuse, motivation to change, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and emotional intelligence.
“Working with TITAN has allowed me to learn about trauma from a variety of perspectives. The interdisciplinary nature of the institute allows you to work with people from different backgrounds who bring different pieces to the research process. TITAN also works with many local agencies which allows us the unique opportunity to see how our work directly impacts people in the community.”
Brandi D. Liles, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Brandi Liles is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Tulsa. She received her Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology in December 2008. Brandi’s research foci include substance abuse in women (specifically parenting characteristics) and families, and how trauma affects young children (ages 0-6).
Brandi is currently working on a TITAN study examining mental health, coping skills, readiness to change, parenting skills, and other outcome data of women in the Women in Recovery program, a trauma-informed jail diversion program for women. Brandi has specifically enjoyed the multidisciplinary aspect of TITAN and the encouraging and positive collaborations with professionals from other disciplines.
Marsha Siebenmorgen, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Marsha is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at The University of Tulsa. Marsha’s primary research focus is on the after effects of onset and/or treatment for cancer and blood disorders among children. However, her research has also delved into traumatic exposure and its aftermath.
“My involvement with TITAN and OCAST has provided a great opportunity to learn about the field of trauma through cross-disciplinary views, while also becoming an integral part of those reaching out to the community.”
Rachel Wiedeman, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Rachel Wiedeman is on internship in the Clinical Psychology graduate program at The University of Tulsa. Rachel’s research interests are traumatic exposure, aggression, juvenile delinquency, and her clinical interest is in working with adolescents and adults involved in the criminal justice system. Rachel is one of two graduate students working with the Women in Recovery, which is a jail diversion program in Tulsa for women with substance abuse problems.
Rachel has worked on a TITAN study examining parenting skills, trauma histories and symptoms, and mental health symptoms of women in the Women in Recovery program. Women in Recovery provides intensive outpatient treatment focused on addiction, trauma, and parenting. As part of this project, Rachel is examining long term clinical outcomes exhibited across the course of treatment for the women, with specific attention to the timing of improvement across different areas.
“My involvement with TITAN has provided a great opportunity to do hands on clinical research with an ongoing and continually evolving treatment program.”
Rachael Swopes, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Rachael Swopes is in her fourth year in the University of Tulsa Clinical Psychology PhD program. Her research interests broadly focus on interpersonal violence and treatment evaluation. Under this broad umbrella, she is currently interested in the effects of previous trauma on subsequent risky and disruptive behaviors, as well as effective interventions in this field. Her interests focus on serving child and adolescent trauma-exposed populations. In addition, she is interested in the effects of trauma on parenting.
There are several specific TITAN studies that Rachael is currently involved in. First, Rachael is working with a local domestic violence agency to evaluate the effectiveness of a 52-week court-mandated treatment program for offenders of intimate partner violence. This study is also examining the role that childhood abuse, post-traumatic stress, and emotional intelligence play in regulating adult aggression. Second, Rachael is the primary investigator for a pre-post treatment evaluation of a gender-specific, integrated treatment that targets trauma exposure and substance use in incarcerated women. This project will not only provide an effectiveness study of a new treatment, but is also serving as the basis for Rachael’s doctoral dissertation. Finally, Rachael is part of a research team planning a clinical investigation of Exposure, Relaxation, and Rescripting Therapy for Children, a child adaptation of a cognitive-behavioral treatment for trauma-related nightmares in adults.
“My work with TITAN has been rewarding both professionally and personally, and has offered me countless opportunities to take real action against violence and traumatic stress in our community.”
Christina E. Craig, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Christy Craig earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from The University of Tulsa in 2009 and is currently in her third year of graduate school in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Tulsa. Christy is the Lead Biochemical Researcher for the Tulsa Institute of Trauma Abuse and Neglect.
Christy’s research focuses on genetic variants of the 5-HTTLPR promoter region of the serotonin transporter SLC6A4 gene. Changes in SLC6A4 alter the expression and/or function of serotonin and serotonin receptors. These changes can have important clinical implications. This study aims to determine whether genetic variants, specifically the 5-HTTLPR insertion/deletion polymorphisms of the SLC6A4 gene, affect a person’s susceptibility to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following exposure to a sexually traumatic event.
Christy is currently working on optimizing a noninvasive buccal (cheek) cell DNA extraction technique in order to determine an individual’s serotonin transporter genotype in a low cost and noninvasive manner. Studies on variance in serotonin transporter expression will further refine our understanding of the neurobiology of PTSD and the relationship of the serotonin transporter to this disease. Results of this nature could assist in prevention and treatment of this severe disease. It could be critical to combine information from genotype, clinical features and treatment response of PTSD, and neurobiological measures (i.e. frontal/amygdala connectivity from fMRI analysis) in attempts to trace the origin of PTSD to a neurobiological determinant.
Ashley Miller, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Ashley Miller is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at The University of Tulsa. She is currently a graduate assistant with the Tulsa Institute of Trauma Abuse and Neglect.
Ashley is currently working on a TITAN program evaluation study that examines the psychological and social issues in a sample of women in an intensive inpatient treatment for substance abuse. In particular, parenting skills, mental health, parental stress, and readiness for change are being examined. As a graduate assistant, Ashley conducts psychological outcome assessments, enters, analyzes, and synthesizes data.
“TITAN has provided me with an opportunity to further study the field of trauma, as well as work with other students and faculty across disciplines towards a common goal.”
Katherine Miller, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Katherine is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at The University of Tulsa. Katherine’s research interests involve the effects of traumatic exposure, adult clinical populations, and related empirically-based interventions. She is currently working as the Project Coordinator for the Oklahoma Community Readiness Training for Military Trauma, funded by the Wounded Warrior Project, under the Community Service Council's Veteran's Initiative. The purpose of this grant is designed to make our community more service member and veteran ready by providing an in-depth series of evidence based trainings, including ongoing support and supervision, to effectively and ethically treat the complex needs of returning service members and veterans.
As the project coordinator, Katherine’s role is to assist in the monitoring of the project, coordinating with consultants at the University of Tulsa and Duke EPIC, monitoring goals and objectives, collect assessment and metric data, as well as writing and dispersing reports.
“I’m energized by the variety of projects and the availability of interdisciplinary communication within TITAN. I look forward to the many opportunities that TITAN will provide toward my education and community involvement.”
Katherine Cunningham, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Katherine is a clinical psychology student at The University of Tulsa. Her research interests include trauma from interpersonal and sexual violence. Additionally, she is interested in the forensic and policy implications of psychological research in the field of trauma. She is currently working under Dr. Lisa Cromer on a study exploring perceptions of human exploitation.
“Interdisciplinary collaboration and community involvement are very important to me. I am excited to share TITAN’s vision, and I look forward to the many opportunities TITAN will provide for collaboration and education.”
Namik Kirlic, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Namik Kirlic is a third year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Tulsa. His research interests center on translational approaches to studying exposure to adversity, development of psychopathology, and shared features in mood and anxiety disorders, while his clinical interests are focused on evidence-based treatments of PTSD and comorbid disorders. Namik is currently involved in a TITAN project which examines parenting skills, mental health, and parenting stress of women in an intensive treatment program for substance abuse.
Emily Kaier, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Emily Kaier is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Tulsa. Her primary research interests focus on trauma and more specifically the effects of adverse childhood experiences.
Emily is a graduate assistant for TITAN who is working on a project in collaboration with TU's athletics department. She is coordinating a needs assessment and is examining situational and individual factors that contribute to academic and athletic success and performance.
"TITAN excites me because of the interdisciplinary opportunities it provides.The potential for growth as a researcher is endless.”
Susan Drevo, TITAN Graduate Research Assistant
Susan is a second year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at The University of Tulsa. Susan’s research interests lie at the intersect of trauma and risk taking behaviors (e.g., substance abuse), and how these lead to health and psychological consequences. She is currently assisting the Mitigating Effects of Sexual Assault study, funded by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology grant, under Dr. Joanne Davis. The purpose of this grant is to ameliorate the trajectory for recent sexual assault survivors.
A brief video-based intervention has been examined and has suggested improvement in post mental and physical health problems related to the assault. Further, this project is investigating genetic markers that may predict vulnerability to posttraumatic stress disorder. As part of OCAST, Susan’s role is to assist with the genetic data analysis.
“I’m thrilled to be afforded so many valuable opportunities through TITAN! I look forward to expanding my knowledge base through interdisciplinary efforts, and academic and community teamwork.”
Ashley Louie, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Ashley Louie is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program. Her research interests focus on child and family resilience.
Ashley is a co-investigator on the Parenting in the Military: At Home and Away project. She is documenting deployment preparation techniques used by military families to help young children understand and cope with parental absences. Ashley aims to utilize the information gained through this research to develop a program that will help military families navigate the challenges of preparing for and coping with military deployment.
"I appreciate TITAN because it provides a unique and exciting opportunity to participate in research through collaboration with other disciplines. TITAN’S commitment to the Tulsa community is motivating because it promotes more immediate application of the information gained through the research process. I look forward to the learning opportunities involvement in TITAN will provide."
Ludivina Vasquez, TITAN Graduate Research Assistant
Ludivina Vasquez is a first year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Tulsa. Her interests focus on resilience, appraisal, and perceptions of trauma. She is also interested in trauma as it relates to emotion dysregulation and suicidal ideation. Ludy currently works on ERRT-C, which is a study that looks at the of influence of Emotion, Rescripting, and Relaxation Therapy on trauma-exposed children with chronic nightmares.
"I'm excited to be a part of TITAN and look forward to learning all about the ongoing research projects."
Rachel Savage, TITAN Graduate Student Member
Rachel Savage is a first year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Tulsa. Rachel's research interests lie primarily in the area of trauma and interpersonal violence, specifically prostitution and human trafficking.
Rachel is currently assisting on a program evaluation for Domestic Violence Intervention Services/ Call Rape (DVIS) Male Offender Program. This study is evaluating the effectiveness of a 52-week court-mandated treatment program for offenders of intimate partner violence.
“I am excited to be a new member of TITAN, and am looking forward to the opportunity to partner with researchers in other disciplines.”
Rachel Micol, TITAN Graduate Research Assistant
Rachel is a first-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Tulsa. Rachel’s research interests include various elements (e.g., risk and protective factors, outcomes) related to interpersonal and sexual violence, as well as effective interventions to assist survivors of such traumas. In addition, she is interested in the implications of these various elements on policy and programming on college campuses and in the greater community.
Rachel will begin work on TITAN projects this fall; details of these projects to come!
“For me, TITAN provides an exciting and unique opportunity to engage in meaningful interdisciplinary research. I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful team, and look forward to all of the opportunities that membership in TITAN is sure to afford me.”