Team Members

EQUITY Research Group team at the 2023 UWM Symposium for Undergraduate Research

Click through the tabs below to learn more about our lab members!

Principal Investigator
Junior Investigators (Graduate Students)
Professional Staff
Research Interns

Dr. Gabriela Nagy


Education and Training

Dr. Nagy completed a Bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She pursued graduate education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning a Master's and PhD in clinical psychology. She then completed her pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship from Duke University.



Dr. Nagy is the Principal Investigator of the EQUITY Research Group and Director of the EQUITY Clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is Assistant Professor within the Department at UWM, and Research Faculty Liaison within the Roberto Hernandez Center. Prior to returning to UWM, Dr. Nagy was faculty at Duke University.


Professional Interests

Broadly speaking, Dr. Nagy is driven by a passion for equity-focused, community-engaged research. Much of her work has centered on developing, testing, and disseminating interventions to reduce acculturative stress in immigrants and refugees from Latin America.


Curriculum Vitae

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Doctoral Students

*Listed in alphabetical order (last name)

Monica Estrada

Monica is a graduate student in the clinical psychology PhD program at UWM with the EQUITY Research Group. Prior to coming to UWM, Monica was a Research Study Coordinator at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Her passions include examining the impact of intergenerational trauma on socioemotional development and the development of interpersonal relationships among Latinx families, mental health education, and the intentional dissemination of mental health resources among minoritized communities. In addition to being a graduate student, she is a community engagement specialist for HealWise (formerly Therapy4thePeople), a nonprofit dedicated to providing affordable local mental health resources to people of color and low-income individuals.

Norma Reyes

Norma completed a dual Bachelor's degree from UWM in Psychology and Social Welfare. As an undergraduate student, she was very active in research and completed a senior thesis under the direct mentorship of Dr. Nagy. Norma worked as a Case Manager for several years following graduation, which allowed where she serve a crucial role of connecting community members with mental health and social resources. This experience allowed her to want to return to school so that she could not just connect community members with mental health services, but actually be the one to provide them in both English and Spanish. She chose to return to UWM once again to advance her education and she is currently a second year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program. She is passionate about community-engaged research as well as implementation science. Currently,  Norma has been focused on developing an innovative behavioral fidelity coding system – a processes for evaluating adhere to the "Cultivating Resilience" intervention. Norma also directly mentors Research Interns and oversees the coordination of the Community Advisory Board in the lab.

Alma Paola Vázquez-Smith

Alma is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology department. Alma was born and raised in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and graduated in 2018 from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Psychology and Spanish. Throughout her four years at Duke, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the Cognitive and Behavioral Research and Treatment Program (CBRTP), under the mentorship of Dr. Zachary Rosenthal and Dr. Gabriela Nagy. After she graduated, she received her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification and worked as an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea for three years. Her research interests lie in developing and implementing community-adapted tools to more equitably provide care to underserved communities, with a particular interest in the Latinx community.  In her free time, Alma enjoys watching true-crime documentaries, photography, and reading classic literature in both English and Spanish.



Master's Students

Tori Haanstad

Tori received a dual Bachelor's from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Psychology and Spanish. This fall, she will be starting as a first-year student in the Master's of Health Psychology program at UWM to gain further mental health equity research prior to applying to Clinical Psychology PhD programs. Prior to starting the Master's at UWM, Tori was a Research Intern in the lab helping with several projects. Tori's interests lie in neuropsychology and social models/systems of health, illness, and chronic stress that operate in underserved populations, including the Latinx community.  Tori is leading a project focused on determining the key and modifiable elements of the "Cultivating Resilience" intervention, which is aligned with her emerging interests in implementation science.

Community Health Worker Conference (Madison, WI) – Oct 2022
Alma Navarro

Alma received a Bachelor's in Psychology from UWM. While she was an undergraduate student, she was involved in research and completed the McNair Program. Following graduation, she received training in and worked as a Behavioral Therapist supporting families with children living with Autism. She now works as a Case Manager, assisting community members connect with local resources. Alma was the Lab Manager for the EQUITY Research Group overseeing the day-to-day operation of the research lab, and now her role has shifted to provide support in community outreach, data management, and data collection. Alma is also very actively involved in organizing the lab's Community Advisory Board. 

Current Research Interns

*Listed in alphabetical order (last name)


Sabreet Dhatt

Sabreet received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago. Aspiring to become a clinical psychologist, she is building her research experiences by serving as a research intern at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests include understanding the impact of identity-specific experiences and their role in the etiology of mental health disorders in minoritized communities. Additionally, she is passionate about developing methods for reducing racial and ethnic disparities in reporting mental health symptoms and receiving mental health care. In her leisure time, she finds happiness in spending time in nature, baking with her loved ones, and capturing memories through photography.

Jordan Easterlin

Jordan is currently a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee majoring in Psychology. She will graduate with her Bachelor's Degree in Spring 2024. She will be completing a Senior Thesis utilizing qualitative data pertaining to difficulties that immigrants and refugees from Latin America experience in navigating complex systems (like health care and education systems). Jordan is interested in mental health issues in adolescents and young adults and why these issues start so young. Following graduation, Jordan hopes to enroll in a master's program in clinical or counseling psychology.

Kayla Jackson

Kayla is a senior at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee  pursuing dual Bachelor's Degrees in Psychology and Neuroscience. In addition to her majors, she is also completing coursework within the Pre-Med track in hopes of enrolling in Medical School following completion of her undergraduate education. Kayla is interested in bringing more awareness and mental health resources to underserved communities.  

Jalise Kerkenbush

Jalise is a senior graduating in Spring 2023 with a dual Bachelor's Degree in Film and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Jalise is hoping to expand mental health services, research, and interventions to marginalized communities in the Milwaukee area. She is excited to be a part of EQUITY Research and believes everyone should have access to mental health care. 

Srinika Pattaswamy

Srinika is currently senior in high school but already completing college-level coursework at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She will be enrolling as a full-time college student in fall 2023 and intends on majoring in Psychology. Srinika is interested in clinical and developmental psychology, although she is exploring what she would like to study specifically. 

Tomas Vasquez

Tomas is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He will graduate from UWM with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology in 2025. He has started working on his Senior Thesis focused on understanding stress and resilience factors in Indigenous communities, as well as pathways to healing within the Oneida Nation. Tomas has received SURF funding to support the development of this project. Tomas is interested in pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology following graduation from UWM. Tomas describes his interests this way – "I grew up in a very urban area and moved around a lot when I was younger. When I was seven, I moved in with my grandma on the Oneida Native American Reservation. I grew up around a lot of different people, and have been given a lot of opportunities other people like me have not been given. My ultimate goal is to become an active member of my Oneida community and provide Indigenous peoples with services I was not afforded."

Dante Sosa

Dante is a senior graduating with a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Psychology in spring 2023. Dante is interested in social and clinical psychology. Dante states "Growing up in Milwaukee, I have experienced various levels of what mental health care looks like in different communities. A goal of mine is to help make mental health services more accessible to those who have been marginalized." 

Cassandra Wasniewwski

Cassie is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She will graduate with her dual Bachelor's Degrees in Psychology and Italian Studies in 2023. Cassie is interested in social cognition (personal perception) and human development (language acquisition and learning disabilities). 

Lab Alumni

*Listed in alphabetical order (last name)


Annabelle Ahlers

Annabelle graduated with a Bachelor's in Psychology in May 2023. She was a Research Intern with the EQUITY Research Group during her senior year, prior to starting graduate school at Marquette University. While at UWM, Annabelle was connected to several groups on campus including the Honors College and the Reproductive Justice C21 collaboratory at UWM. She also received SURF funding to research the connection between infertility, identity, and mental health under the direction of Dr. Maria Novotny.

Francesco Bianchi
Francesco is a senior at William and Mary University in Virginia studying psychology. He joined the EQUITY Research Group during summer 2023 as a Visiting Scholar to complete a summer internship prior to starting his senior year. He was instrumental in synthesizing Census data and other archival data documenting vast and varied health inequities in Milwaukee, upon which several lab grant applications have been built. Francesco also assisted with a mixed-methods program evaluation of the Roberto Hernandez Center as well as a project seeking to identify the key and modifiable elements of the "Cultivating Resilience" intervention.   


Sophia Santiago-Fodor

Sophia was a Research Intern with the EQUITY Research Group while she was a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She graduated in May of 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish. Sophia comes from an immigrant household and is a first-generation student. Her excitement to be a part of a research team that aims to help individuals like her parents was what initially drew her to the lab. There are many aspects to psychology that Sophia is interested in and after graduation she would like to explore her options and eventually get a masters in psychology.

Candy Viayra

Candy was a Research Intern with the EQUITY Research Group during her junior year at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is pursuing a major in Psychology and minor in Counseling. She will graduate with her Bachelor's Degree in spring 2024. Candy's interests are centered on child psychology (school psychologist) and educational psychology. 

Duke University

Ashley Alcantar Magana

Ashley is an undergraduate and Cardea Fellow on the Pre-Medicine track at Duke University. She is majoring in Neuroscience and Latin American Studies. Her research interests include health and social inequity among Latinx populations, degenerative brain diseases, and linguistics.

Lilian Bravo

Lilian graduated from the Nursing Ph.D. program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in spring 2022. She is currently a post-doctoral trainee in the National Clinician Scholars Program at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Jessica Choi
Jessica earned her Master’s Degree in Global Health at Duke University in 2019. Her research interests include trauma and resilience in minority groups and the development and implementation of mental health interventions. As an advocate for solving problems through a global health lens, she aspires to work toward promoting health equity at the global level.
Paola Gilliam

Paola holds a BA in Media and Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations as well as a minor in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Amanda Junek

Amanda is an undergraduate student on the Pre-Medicine track at Duke University. She created her own major titled “Mental Health Studies: the Latinx community in the U.S.” through the Duke Program II Major program. Amanda’s research interests include health inequity and mental health disparities among minority populations.

Susana Munoz

Susana is an undergraduate student on the Pre-Medicine track at Duke University. She is majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology.

Maria Pita
Maria graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine's Master of Biomedical Science program before enrolling in Medical School. Her research interests include occupational health inequities among immigrant populations and methods of community engaged healthcare, both of which she explored in her thesis, “Estorbando y Trabajando: The Burden of Essentiality in the age of COVID-19.”



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