Brynne Velia, Post-baccalaureate Research Coordinator
Brynne graduated with her B.S. in Psychology from Stony Brook University in May of 2017. She is interested in how substance abuse manifests itself differently across populations and how behaviors associated with substance abuse are perceived differently depending on the social context. Specifically, she hopes to better understand how predispositions and environmental factors, like belonging to social groups that are more likely to abuse substances (e.g., the LGBTQ community), interplay to lead to the differential development of substance abuse. She is interested in how a better understanding of the role of these factors in the development of substance abuse could inform treatment courses that could be catered to the individual and eliminate stigmas, allowing substance abuse to be conceptualized as a mental illness by the community at large. Outside of the lab she enjoys hiking, singing/playing ukulele, and line dancing.
Zoe Lee, Undergraduate Lab Manager
Zoe is in her junior year of pursuing her B.S. in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include investigating the environmental and social factors in adolescence that may contribute to alcohol and substance abuse disorder. Specifically, she’s interested in how alcohol and substance use is affected by different kinds of stress. Outside of lab, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and playing the flute.
Sara Mei, Undergraduate Honors Student
Sara is currently studying to receive her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her main interests lie in clinical psychology as she hopes to get a better understanding on numerous psychiatric disorders, specifically but not limited to substance use disorders, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. To study these in greater detail, she is apart of two labs, one that analyzes alcohol’s emotional effects in social drinkers, and one that monitors emotions in daily living to map out schizotypy and bipolar spectrum scales. She hopes to combine the research to learn how exactly daily mood is affected by and fluctuates with different disorders. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing video games, singing/playing guitar, and eating her weight in hotpot.
Sam Stearns, Digital Marketing Manager
Sam is a senior pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Community and Clinical Psychology with a minor in Public Relations. Sam manages our lab’s online presence. He is the one behind the social media posts and everything marketing. He spends his time outside of the lab skateboarding around campus and working as a Counseling Center Paraprofessional (CCP). Outside of academics, Sam is also a full-time entrepreneur. He is the Founder and Creative Director for an online clothing catalog, The Snack Rack, and is the CEO of BeeViral Marketing LLC. Sam hopes to combine his passion for digital marketing and design by someday becoming a Creative Director for Google.