Grad Students


Emily Ross, M.A.

Thesis:  Identification of areas of patient need using the cancer support source program (2017).

Dissertation: The Reciprocal Effect of Gastrointestinal Health on Psychological Distress (Defended, June 2021)

Internship:  University of Florida, Medical/Health Psychology Intern, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, in progress.

Bio: Emily earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts from the Clinical Psychology Master’s Program at the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus of the University of Central Florida. During her time in the master’s program, Emily was involved in research and clinical work in the area of clinical health psychology, focusing on health promotion and reduction of distress and psychiatric symptoms in patients with cancer. Emily’s research interests include psychogastroenterology, psycho-oncology, health behaviors in individuals with chronic diseases, facilitating integration of psychology in medical settings, and cognitive and emotional processes involved in well-being and adjustment to stress. Outside of school, Emily enjoys tennis, playing piano, the beach, and spending time with her family.

Michelle Keck, M.S.

Thesis: Examing the Role of Anxiety and Depression in Predicting Dietary Choices in Emerging Adults (2020)

Bio:  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Prior to joining the Health Psychology lab, Michelle served five years in the U.S. Navy. She also spent two years as a research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Anxiety Disorders lab, where she was involved in research related to phobia, tics and compulsions. Michelle’s research interests include health-related lifestyle factors (e.g., diet), as well as occupational trauma among healthcare providers and service members. Outside of school, Michelle enjoys cooking, reading, video games and spending time with her family. Michelle has a passion for dark chocolate and spicy food, and is a self-proclaimed chocoholic and chilihead.

Miranda Proctor

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BioMiranda earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining the Health Psychology lab, Miranda spent two years studying the relationship between stress and health at the Biobehavioral Mechanisms Explaining Disparities lab at Rice University. There she earned funding under an NIH Diversity Supplement and began investigating stigma’s influence on stress and health. Miranda hopes to continue expanding on this line of research, in addition to exploring health disparities and underrepresented populations. Outside of school, Miranda enjoys tennis, soccer, painting, scuba diving, and traveling.


Jonathan Mitchell, M.A., M.S., Ph.D.

Thesis: Measurement of negative affectivity in psychometrically defined schizotypy using facial electromyography (2013)

Internship: Brown University | Providence, RI,  Warren Alpert Medical School, Track: Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology

Dissertation Cardiac autonomic control in patients with metabolic syndrome (2016)

Bio: Originally from Wilton, Connecticut, Jonathan completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Miami in 2007 with a double major in Music Education and Psychology. After completing his first Master’s degree at UCF, he joined the doctoral program with a focus on health psychology and behavioral medicine. Jonathan was involved in a number of clinical services both inside and outside the Department of Psychology as a Visiting Assistant Professor from 2016-2017 where he served as a behavioral health consultant at the UCF College of Medicine primary care clinic (UCF Health).

He has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including PLoS ONE and Psychiatry Research. Outside of work, Jonathan enjoys surfing, cooking, travel, and playing guitar and piano like a boss. On occasion, he gets to relax with his wife and dog.

Jonathan is currently Assistant Director for Counseling Services at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Frances Deavers, M.S., Ph.D.

Thesis: Modeling risk for sexually transmitted infections in women in a court-ordered substance treatment program (2014)

Internship: Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston

Dissertation: How does brief cognitive behavioral therapy work? potential mechanisms of action for veterans with physical and psychological comorbidities (2017)

Bio: Frances graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in the Spring of 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology.  During her undergraduate career she interacted with patients and helped with the administration of a token economy at Austin State Hospital. Under Dr. James Pennebaker, she conducted research on television watching, behavior, and language in depressed populations, and completed her undergraduate honors thesis on couples’ linguistic styles. She has published multiple works in the area of Primary Care Health Integration. She completed her dissertation examining mechanisms of CBT in patients with COPD. Frances enjoys outdoor activities, attending concerts, Thai food, and all things Texas.

Frances is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

Natasha DePesa, M.S., Ph.D..

Thesis: Affective and autonomic responses to erotic images among young women with and without sexual difficulties (2015)

Internship: General Track- Health Psychology Emphasis, James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital, Tampa, FL

Dissertation: Effectiveness of an interdisciplinary chronic arthritis pain group intervention in an outpatient healthcare setting (2016)

Bio:  Natasha, a Los Angeles native, completed her undergraduate training at California State University Northridge in 2010. While in the Health Psychology Lab, she explored and expanded her interests in working in a health setting. Recent papers/projects have examined condom use among women in mandated substance use treatment, female sexual (dys)function, and physiological and affective responses to erotic photos. Natasha aims to gain knowledge and experience that will facilitate a career in integrated healthcare. She completed her dissertation with a rheumatologist at UCF Health, a joint physician practice affiliated with the UCF College of Medicine, to develop a multidisciplinary chronic pain management program for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. She and the physician were awarded an internal grant through the College of Medicine to fund this program. Outside of academia, Natasha is an avid hockey fan (go Kings!) and loves to read, be outdoors, and probe the infinite tastes of the culinary world.

She is currently a Psychologist at the Durham V.A. in North Carolina.

Keri Dotson Bayley, M.S., Ph.D.

Internship: Brown University | Providence, RI,  Warren Alpert Medical School, Track: Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology

Dissertation: Subjective-Objective Discrepancies among Patients with Sleep Complaints in the Outpatient Setting (2018)

Bio: Keri received her B.A. in Psychology from Georgia State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2010.  She then attended the University of Central Florida, where she has received her M.S. in Clinical Psychology and completed her doctoral training in July 2018. Keri completed her predoctoral internship in Behavioral Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.  Her dissertation examined sleep misperceptions among medical patients using consumer activity monitors (Fitbit Charge HR™).  Her research and clinical interests largely overlap and include health behavior change and the use of technology in integrated care settings as well as interprofessional education and training for health promotion. In her free time, Keri enjoys doing DIY projects, going on day trips with her husband, and relaxing at home with their two dogs, Bayley and Kahlua.

Keri completed her Postdoctoral training at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston.

Andel Nicasio, MS.Ed., M.S., Ph.D.

Thesis: Examination of attitude-behavior discrepancy in familism and its relation to symptoms of depression among Latinos (2016)

Internship: Charleston Consortuim (Medical University of South Carolina/Ralph H. Johnson VAMC)

Bio: Originally from the Dominican Republic, Andel completed a B.A. in Organizational Psychology at the Pontifica Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra. She then received a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from Hunter College, New York. Andel has experience working with community agencies servicing racially and culturally diverse groups. From 2009-2013, she was an adjunct faculty member at John Jay College for Criminal Justice, Department of Latin American and Latinos/as Studies. Prior to joining the Lab, she worked as Research Coordinator for the Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence at the New York State Psychiatry Institute-Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. There, she conducted mental health services research and led the coordination of the DSM-5 Field Trial for the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI). Currently, her research interests are centered on adapting evidence-based practices and interventions for racially and culturally diverse populations with serious mental illness. She is also interested in the impact of public and self-stigma in people with serious mental illness. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, baking, some crafts, and entertaining family and friends.

Andel completed her Postdoctoral training at the Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina. She is currently an Associate Professor with the Clinical Psychology PhD Program at Albizu University (AU), San Juan Campus.

Chelsea Wiener, M.S., Ph.D.

Thesis: Relationships between information adequacy, illness perceptions, and distress among survivors of differentiated thyroid cancer (2016)

Intenrship: The VA Boston Healthcare System Psychology Internship Training Program

Dissertation: Brief Behavioral Health Intervention Program for Patients with Stable Coronary Artery Disease (2019)

Bio: Chelsea is an advanced student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. She completed her undergraduate training at Washington University in St. Louis in the Spring of 2012. Prior to joining the Health Psychology lab, Chelsea worked in research and clinical settings with focuses on substance use and substance use disorders. Since joining the Health Psychology lab, Chelsea has explored other research interests such as psycho-oncology, and the treatment of endocrine disorders such as thyroid disease and diabetes. Clinically, Chelsea is passionate about work in integrated care settings.  She has defended her dissertation, which tested an intervention for patients with cardiovascular disease in an outpatient cardiology clinic within a patient-centered medical home (PCMH). Outside of the lab, Chelsea is a fan of creating new food concoctions, playing with her puppy, and spending time with family and friends.

She completed her Postdoctoral training at the Durham VA, North Carolina.

Thien-An Le, M.S., Ph.D.

Dissertation: The Relationship Between Familism and Social Distancing Behaviors During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Defended, November 2020)

Internship:  Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX. Track: Pediatric Psychology Health Program and OCD and Anxiety Disorders Program

Bio: Dr. Thien-An Le earned a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from Wofford College in South Carolina. She received her master’s and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida. Following the completion of her internship, she is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Capital OCD and Anxiety Practice, in Austin, TX, where she will continue as a full-time Licensed Psychologist. As part of her role, she will provide clinical training and mentorship to Clinical Psychology Ph.D. and School Psychology Ph.D. graduate students from the University of Texas.

From undergraduate studies to present day, An has developed a program of research focusing on 1) cost-effective and feasible interventions for medical and mental health concerns, such as childhood obesity and access to mental health care for under-accessed youth, 2) cross-cultural and intersectional considerations in the assessment of psychological impact, and 3) assessment development and psychometric feasibility with a cross-cultural lens. As such, she has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, such as the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Clinical Case Studies, Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, Learning & Behavior, and International Journal of Obesity.

Outside of work, An enjoys engaging in outdoor activities and sports, spending time with family & friends, and baking.