Lab Personnel

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April Smith, PhD she/her/hers

Assistant Professor 

Dr. Smith is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Auburn University and the director of the Research on Eating Disorders and Suicidality (REDS) Laboratory. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. She then taught English in Japan for two years as part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program. Dr. Smith received her Ph.D. from Florida State University’s Clinical Psychology Program in 2012, and completed her clinical residency at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Smith was named a 2016 Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, and in 2017 Dr. Smith received the Miami University Junior Faculty Scholar Award. Dr. Smith has received funding from NIMH and the Department of Defense to support her work. 



Shelby Ortiz, M.A. she/her/hers

Shelby is a fifth-year clinical psychology PhD student at Miami University. Her research interests include exploring the factors affecting the development and maintenance of eating disorders and studying the effectiveness of treatments. Originally from the Virginia Beach area, Shelby received her B.A. in both Psychology and Biology from Wake Forest University in 2014. She then spent a year writing curriculum and working as a group facilitator for a non-profit organization before moving to Philadelphia to work as the research coordinator for The Renfrew Center. Her two years there were spent studying eating disorder pathology and related comorbidities and she is thrilled to continue this type of research at Miami.


Natalie Perkins, M.S. she/her/hers

Natalie is a fourth-year Clinical Psychology PhD student at Miami University. She is broadly interested in eating disorders, nonsuicidal self-injury, and suicide, with a particular interest in the comorbidity of eating disorders and NSSI and how these conditions translate to increased suicide risk. Originally from Southern Kentucky, Natalie graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2016 with a B.S. in Psychological Science and a minor in Nutrition. She later completed her master’s degree at WKU in Psychology with an emphasis in Clinical Science in 2018, where she studied suicidal behavior and nonsuicidal self-injury in adolescents and young adults.


Shruti Kinkel-Ram, M.A. she/her/hers

Shruti is a third-year clinical psychology PhD student at Miami University. She is interested in researching shared vulnerabilities and cause and maintenance factors underlying eating disorders and suicide. She is particularly interested in exploring the role of interoceptive awareness and weight stigma in eating disorder and suicide severity, and in exploring these topics using novel statistical methods such as network analysis in her research. Shruti received her B.S. in Psychology from Centre College in 2017, and spent two years as a lab manager and research coordinator at the Eating Anxiety Treatment Lab at the University of Louisville. 



Will Grunewald, M.A. he/him/his

Will is a second-year clinical Psychology PhD student at Auburn University. His research interests include identifying risk factors for disordered eating, body image disturbance, and suicidality, with a particular emphasis on these risk factors among vulnerable populations. He also studies the overlap between conformity to masculine norms and Muscle Dysmorphia. Originally from San Diego, Will graduated with his B.S. in Social Psychology from the University of California, San Diego in 2018. He later earned his Master's degree in Psychology from San Diego State University in 2020, where he studied body image, eating pathology, and suicidal behavior in sexual minority populations.



Nikhil Singh, B.A. he/him/his

Nikhil s a second-year clinical psychology Ph.D. student at Miami University. He is primarily interested in studying cultural contexts of suicidal behavior among minoritized youth and the implications of these contexts for youth suicide interventions. Originally from Chandler, Arizona, Nikhil graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology and Cognitive Science. Before coming to Miami University, he spent two years working as an intern at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. As an intern, he studied suicide risk assessment and interventions in emergency department patients and immigrant youth. He is thrilled to continue this work at Miami University.


Lab Alumni


Dorian Dodd, PhD

Dorian completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Miami University in the summer of 2020. Her main research interests are in the areas of eating disorders, suicidality, and non-suicidal self-injury. Dorian recently completed her predoctoral internship at the State University of New York - Buffalo. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow on a NIMH Mid-west Eating Disorders T32 at Sanford Behavioral in Fargo, ND, with Dr. Stephen Wonderlich and colleagues. 



Lauren Forrest, PhD

Lauren completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Miami University in the summer of 2020. She researches the development of eating disorders and suicidality, and specifically the development of suicidality in people with eating disorders. Lauren recently completed her predoctoral internship at Yale University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Eating/Weight Disorders at Yale with Dr. Carlos Grilo and colleagues and is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Penn State. 



Lisa Velkoff, PhD

Lisa is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Miami University. Her research interests are in eating disorders, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicidal behavior, with a particular focus on identifying proximal indicators of risk. Lisa completed her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University in 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology and English. She joined the REDS Lab in Fall 2014 as a research coordinator and stayed on as a graduated student beginning in Fall 2015. Lisa has worked in a number of research labs examining such areas as cognitive functioning in depression, media influence on body image, and cortisol activity in response to interpersonal stress. Lisa completed her predoctoral internship at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the 2020-2021 year and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program.



Jacob Chamberlin, M.A. 

Jake was a project coordinator for Project RISE and Project Network, both Department of Defense funded studies in the REDS Lab at Miami University. His main research interests lie in suicidality, depression, and motivation. Jacob graduated from the University of Kansas in 2017 with a B.G.S. in Psychology and a minor in Business. He later completed his M.S. in Kinesiology at Miami University in 2019. He is began working on his PhD in Kinesiology at the University of Kansas in Fall 2021. 



Dr. Tracy Witte, Auburn University

Suicidal Behavior & Psychopathology Lab

Dr. Elise Clerkin, Miami University


Dr. Jonathan Kunstman, Miami University

Kunstman Lab

Dr. Jeffrey Hunger, Miami University

Hunger Lab

Dr. Vaishali Raval, Miami University


Dr. Cheri Levinson, University of Louisville

EAT Lab & Clinic

Alsana Treatment Center

Research Assistants

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Lauren A. is a senior at Auburn University and is a outgoing psychology student who aspires to become a clinical psychologist. She has a love for understanding people and the world around them. She is a driven individual with an intense passion for mental health. Lauren's ultimate goal is to help people experience a life full of hope, happiness, and meaning. 

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Madilyn Ford is a sophomore at Auburn University majoring in psychology with minors in business and Spanish, topics in which she finds interest. She is also interested in studying not only the research process as a whole, gaining first-hand experience in a research lab, but specific topics concerning eating disorders and body image. 

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Walton Ferguson is studying Psychology and Mathematics at Auburn University. He intends to pursue graduate studies in Clinical Psychology. His main research interests are clinical interventions targeting depression and motivation. Outside of his studies, Walton spends his time reading and writing down ideas, wake-surfing on the river, and playing the drums in the Auburn Marching Band.

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Sammi Fogelberg is a senior at Auburn University studying psychology with a minor in general business. She will also be starting Auburn's accelerated bachelor's masters Industrial and organizational psychology program. She plans on studying occupational health paired with work life balance. She hopes to become more educated through working in the REDs lab so that she can help others in the future.

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Bailey Fortenberry is currently a third-year undergraduate student at Auburn University majoring in Psychology and Political Science. Upon graduation, she plans to attend New York University School of Law and work in public service. Bailey plans to earn her PhD in Psychology and focus on advocacy and awareness for those with mental health issues.

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Sarah Hines is a rising junior at Auburn University from Austin, Texas majoring in psychology. After graduating, she plans to attend graduate school for clinical psychology. She is a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority. Outside of her studies, Sarah likes to spend time with friends and family. This is her first semester as an RA at the REDS lab and she is looking forward to learning more about this field!