Research Student Affiliates

 sumbleen ali

Sumbleen Ali

Ph.D. candidate, HDFS, University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Her research focuses on investigating psychological adjustment and personality as correlates of interpersonal acceptance-rejection, neurobiology of social rejection, and meta-analysis.

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Alex Molaver

Ph.D. candidate, HDFS, University of Connecticut, Storrs.

His research focuses on interpersonal rejection and mental health consequences in adulthood, including loneliness, fear of intimacy, and rejection sensitivity.


Yuan Zhang

Ph.D. student, HDFS, University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Her research focuses on the parent-child relationship, and on the development of interpersonal relationships and social skills within different cultures. Her research interests include the way in which parent-child relationships influence individuals’ social-skill development, and the way in which the improvement in relationship quality and positive parent-child interaction skills are relevant to individuals’ social well-being. Yuan is also interested in the long-term effects of parent-child relationships on individuals’ lifespan and intimate relationships with significant others when they merge into adulthood.


Ryan Allred

Ph.D. candidate, Communication, University of Connecticut, Storrs

His research focuses on communication inhibitors and pro-social emotions as they relate to creating and maintaining relationships. Specifically, he explores the intersection between interpersonal communication and technology by examining the influence of cell phone usage on face-to-face communication (i.e., phubbing). He is interested in understanding how cell phones may inhibit or change communicative processes and in helping individuals navigate the complexities of an ever-expanding digital era. Additionally, he studies the effects of pro-social emotions (e.g., gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness, etc.) in relation to overcoming such inhibitions. His work considers the expressive writing paradigm as a tool for enhancing positive emotion and fostering healthy relationships.

Laila Almotwaly

Undergraduate Student, Cognitive Science Major, University of Connecticut, Storrs

Laila Almotwaly is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science with minors in Neuroscience and Computer Science at the University of Connecticut. She is also an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Rohner Research Center.


Alex Reid

Dr. Alex Reid

Assistant Professor, California State University, Bakersfield

Alex specialized in Parenthood. Alex received his Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in 2014 and a PhD in parenting and parenthood from HDFS, UConn in 2018.  His research interests focus on family dynamics and parental behaviors related to mental health outcomes (e.g., depression and self-esteem) in adolescents and emerging adults.;


Dr. Kaitlin Flannery

Assistant Professor, State University of New York College, Cortland

Kaitlin specialized in Developmental Psychology. She received her Master’s and PhD degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Her research interest focus on friendship dissolution among adolescents, social cognition in peer relationships, and gender development. website


Dr. Maggie Bennett

Ph.D. Communication, University of Connecticut, Storrs

Maggie’s research focuses on romantic relationships as well as media portrayals and its effects on romantic relationships. Her primary focus is on disclosure and communication in intimate partner settings.