Grad Students

Graduate students in Abbie Goldberg’s lab participate in a wide range of research-related activities, including: designing interview questions and selecting measures; interviewing participants; designing the newsletters which we send to our participants; coding and entering data; transcribing interviews; supervising undergraduate research assistants; writing peer-reviewed publications; and presenting our research at national conferences.

Abbie Goldberg currently has five doctoral students, and two recent graduates.


Jordan Downing (PhD, 2013)

Jordan Downing, Ph.D. received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Clark University in 2013. She is broadly interested in how gender, sexual orientation, race, and other socio-cultural factors shape individual and family development. She has been particularly interested in understanding how experiences of marginalization and discrimination impact identity formation.

Jordan has co-authored papers on a variety of topics related to the transition to parenthood. Her master’s thesis entailed a qualitative analysis of lesbian mothers’ constructions of the division of paid and unpaid. She has also co-authored papers relating to the transition to adoptive parenthood, specifically, including such topics as open adoption arrangements and gay male adoptive parenthood. Her dissertation entailed an in-depth qualitative study of transgender and gender-variant individuals’ perceptions of gender and sexual identity development, with a particular focus on the process of transitioning within specific socio-cultural contexts. Her clinical interests include emerging adults and individuals with chronic and persistent mental illness.

Hannah Richardson (PhD, 2013)

Hannah Richardson, M.A., received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 2013. She is interested in researching the unique experiences of stigmatized groups, particularly the LGBT community. For the last several years she has studied how sexual minorities make decisions about family formation and marriage. Hannah has also served as a project coordinator of the Clark Anti-Violence Education Program, an empirically based program that aims to reduce and prevent instances of dating violence and sexual assault on campus.

Hannah has co-authored papers on topics including transracial adoption, open adoption, and the transition from infertility to adoption among same-sex and heterosexual couples. She is currently working on papers that examine work/family balance among gay adoptive fathers, and rates of sexual assault and help-seeking among non-heterosexual college students. For her master’s thesis, she researched the experiences of lesbian couples who completed transracial adoptions. During the last few years, she has developed a research interest in the impact of marriage equality on same-sex couples. Her dissertation entailed a qualitative analysis of how same-sex couples from Massachusetts view marriage equality as impacting their sense of well-being, relationship satisfaction, and connection to broader communities. Her clinical training has focused on providing psychotherapy to college students, LGBT-identified individuals, and low-income populations. Hannah recently completed her Predoctoral Clinical Internship at the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology at Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine.

Lori Kinkler

Lori Kinkler, M.A., is a doctoral student in clinical psychology. Broadly, she is interested in the construction of social categories such as gender, sexual orientation, and race and how the intersection of social categories contributes to one’s experiences, challenges, and sometimes, stigma. Furthermore, Lori has a strong desire to examine the ways in which an essentialist approach to the study of gender issues serve to support certain political agendas which ultimately harm and marginalize groups identified as “different.” Because of this, Lori is committed to investigating gender, sexual orientation, and race categories using qualitative methods to give a voice to marginal groups and counteract distorted conclusions typically emphasized in more traditional research.

More specifically, Lori has co-authored papers on topics including open adoption, adoption stigma, and queer community involvement by adult children of sexual minorities. For her master’s thesis, Lori researched the perceived experiences and unique challenges faced by same-sex couples who adopted in non-metropolitan areas. Lori is currently working on her dissertation, which will research single parents by choice, particularly lesbian, gay, and heterosexual individuals who choose to adopt without a partner. Her clinical training has focused on providing relational psychotherapy to a diverse population within the college counseling setting, as well as couples therapy to adults in the community. She will be on her Predoctoral Clinical Internship during 2013-2014.

April Moyer

April Moyer, M.A., is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology. She enjoys studying diverse families, especially those involved with the child welfare Moyer_2013system and adoption. She obtained an M.A. in Developmental Psychology at San Francisco State University prior to attending Clark University. At SFSU, her Master’s thesis focused on adoptees’ identity development, specifically during the period of emerging adulthood. While at Clark, she conducted a Master’s thesis project that focused on foster-to-adoptive parents’ preferences for their future children and violations of those preferences, using TAPP data.

April has co-authored other papers based on the TAPP data as well. More specifically, the work she has been involved with includes emphasis on gay fathers’ motivations for parenthood, work/family balance, the challenges of the foster-to-adopt process, and attachment in adoptive families. Her clinical training thus far includes providing psychotherapy to college students on campus and psychological assessment for adults and adolescents. She has recently become more involved in the Worcester community, through work at a local non-profit agency that provides mental health services to families and children.

Katie Black

Kaitlin Black, M.A., is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology.  She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Spanish from KBlack for website (2)Houghton College, and her master’s degree in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology, with a focus in Community Psychology and Social Justice, from Boston College.

While at BC, Kaitlin worked for the Center for Human Rights and International Justice on the Human Rights of Migrants Project, an interdisciplinary community-based participatory action research project.  She organized and facilitated Know Your Rights workshops with and for mixed-status immigrants and their families in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Kaitlin’s research interests center on families and inequality. She is interested in how families, such as immigrant families, navigate the education system. She is currently working on a project that explores what young adults know about current immigration policies.


New ImageAlyssa Durham

Alyssa is a first-year doctoral student at Clark University. She is a native of Colorado and an avid outdoor enthusiast. After completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Denver, she spent two years working as a case manager for the Colorado AIDS Project and then returned to the University of Denver to become a full-time research coordinator for a longitudinal study of adolescent attachment and relationships. While maintaining her position as research coordinator, Alyssa completed a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis on Clinical Mental Health at the University of Denver.

Alyssa’s broad research interest is in sexual development and behavior with a more specific focus on identity development of sexual minority youth. She is interested in evaluating and establishing strengths-based interventions for sexual minority youth to investigate trauma resilience within this specific population.

Kay Sweeney


Kay Sweeney, M.S., is a first-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology. She is interested in studying the effects of minority stress on health and mental health for LGBTQ people, sexual and gender diversity, and the positive aspects of identifying as member of a sexual minority group. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Studies from Ithaca College and her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Kay has co-authored papers on families of choice and HIV prevention in African American gay men and transgender women, parental experiences of raising gender-variant and transgender children, and experiences of sexual self-concept in lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual women with physical disabilities.

Her clinical training included working with adults with dual diagnoses of mental health and substance abuse concerns in a community mental health center. Her current research at Clark focuses on co-parenting collaboration in gay, lesbian, and heterosexual parents who are participating in the Transition to Adoptive Parenthood Project. Se is enjoying her conversations with women participating in the Postpartum Well-Being Study, which is in part focused on the intersection of motherhood and sexual orientation.


hannah's defense 7 13

 Abbie and graduate students, at Hannah’s dissertation defense, 7/13

from left: Liz, Jordan, Hannah, Abbie, & April