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.

Prospective graduate students who are interested in topics as diverse as adoption and adoptive families, parent-school relationships, same-sex parent families, stigma and resilience in sexual minorities, transgender youth and young adults, the transition to parenthood, and perinatal mental health, are encouraged to apply to work with Dr. Goldberg.

Abbie Goldberg currently has four doctoral students.


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 (PhD, 2015)

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.


Melissa Manley

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Melissa is a first year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan, where she co-authored a paper on sexual fluidity in polyamorous and monoamorous individuals. After earning her bachelor’s, Melissa worked with LGBTQ teenagers and young adults in a support program through a local nonprofit, Ozone House. Melissa is interested in sexual orientation and identity development, gender nonconformity, and how individuals and communities interact with experiences of inequality.


Reihonna Frost

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Reihonna Frost is a first-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Oberlin College. After graduating, she worked with children and families as a service coordinator for Ohio’s Help Me Grow early intervention program. From there, Reihonna took a job as a research assistant for the Language Development Project at the University of Chicago. In her four years with the project, she coordinated data collection, subject communications and new cohort recruitment.

Reihonna’s research interests are united by the basic question, “What works in adoption?” She is curious about what it means to be an adoptive family and how adoption experiences differ for diverse families. She is also interested in child development within the context of the adoptive family. She hopes to identify common challenges for adoptive parents and how parents address those challenges.

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

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