Would you like to assist in the research at the EEDP? If so, please review the information below. If you are interested, please email Becca Meza at

General area of research

Developmental psychopathology and emotional development in early childhood—preschool children/ mood disorders

Prerequisites/special skills required of research assistants

All students must have completed 6 hours of upper level psychology courses or discuss course experience with our research team. Because of the intense training required to work with this unique study sample, we would like students to make a 2-semester commitment to the lab. Learning our procedures is time consuming and students often take most of the first semester simply learning the procedures in the lab. Thus students gain better experience by spending two semesters in the lab. Often, in the second semester students are given more responsibility and have the opportunity to learn new skills. We also ask students to work a minimum of 11 hours per week.

About our research

The EEDP has several on-going, grant funded studies. Students are involved with a study evaluating early therapeutic interventions in preschoolers with depression.  Participants eligible for treatment receive 18 weeks of a treatment intervention called Parent Child Interaction Therapy – Emotion Development (PCIT-ED). Students are also involved with assisting in the administration, data collection, and data entry of a supplemental study examining treatment response and neural markers of emotion development and treatment response to PCIT-ED using EEG and fMRI.

RAs are also involved in the third follow-up phase of a longitudinal study of mood disorders (depression and mania) in children. At the beginning of the study, children were preschool ages 3.0-6.0 from a large community based sample.  In the current phase, we are re-assessing our original sample children who are now ages 12.0-16.0.  Assessments include dyadic observational tasks, a diagnostic psychiatric interview, cognitive measures, and EEG and fMRI.

With each of these studies, research assistants gain “hands on” experience using state of the art assessment techniques, are exposed to current trends in diagnostic assessment, and become familiar with diagnostic criteria for mental disorders in young children.  Students will gain understanding of the logistics of conducting research and with the administration of study protocols in a research setting.

Duties of research assistant

Student research assistants have a very important role in our research. Students’ responsibilities will include assisting in the collection, coding, and entry of data obtained from parent and child assessments. Students will also have various administrative duties such as organizing research related materials, assisting in the quarterly newsletter, and obtaining the most current published data. Students are often relied upon heavily to assist in assessment set-up and take an active role interacting with subjects during assessments, including subject childcare.

Current undergraduate research assistants

jasmine-han Jasmine Han

Jasmine Han is a first year MSW candidate at the Brown School of Social Work. In her undergraduate studies at WashU, she majored in Psychology and minored in Anthropology: Global Health and the Environment and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. At the EEDP, she assists with ERPS and MRIs and provides childcare for the PCIT-ED study. She is particularly interested in trauma-focused treatments for children and adolescents who have experienced interpersonal violence as well as how medical systems can provide more trauma-informed and survivor-centered healthcare. After graduation, she hopes to combine these interests and attend medical school to pursue a career in pediatrics or child and adolescent psychiatry. 

Alyssa Hunt

Alyssa Hunt is a sophomore majoring in Psychology with a potential second major in Anthropology or Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. At the EEDP, she is involved with the PCIT-ED study, and hopes to continue working with children and their families in the future. Her research interests broadly include childhood mental illness, trauma, and addiction. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a degree in clinical psychology and focus her career on working with children and adolescents.

Tommy Baumel

Tommy is a sophomore majoring in Cognitive Neuroscience and minoring in Medical Humanities. His research interests include the biological bases for psychopathology and their behavioral and cognitive consequences. He plans on attending medical school after graduation, and is especially interested in the fields of psychiatry and pediatrics.

Meghana Kunam

My name is Meghana Kunam and I am a Junior majoring in Psychological Brain Sciences with a minor in Children’s Studies and Biology. In the future I hope to attend medical school for neonatology. I am currently working on the Optimism Project with Laura Hennefield.


Peter McManus

Peter McManus is a sophomore majoring in Cognitive Neuroscience with a potential minor in Computer Science. He is currently involved in the PCIT-ED study and assists with child assessments and data treatment. He is interested in the research areas of systems neuroscience and cognitive development in children. Following graduation, he plans on attending graduate school and aspires to pursue a career as a research scientist.

Nuala Spillane

Nuala Spillane is a junior majoring in Psychological and Brain Sciences with a second major in Educational Studies. She is interested in research on the influence of socioeconomic status on brain development, mental health, and educational attainment. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and ultimately pursue a career in psychiatry working primarily with children and adolescents.



 Ayeesha Sayyad 

Ayeesha Sayyad is a senior majoring in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology. After graduation, she hopes to continue doing research with children before attending graduate school to obtain a PhD in clinical psychology. At the EEDP, she is currently involved in the eDOC study and enjoys working with children during their assessments. She is particularly interested in how socioeconomic and racial factors can effect early development.


 Ella Sudit

Ella is a rising senior at Washington University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Graphic Design. She hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical or Personality Psychology. Ella joined the lab to gain research experience and learn more about psychopathology, specifically in the context of developmental child psychiatry. Outside of the lab, she is an executive member of Design for America, a member of Psi Chi, and a volunteer at the art therapy program at Barnes Jewish hospital.