Research Staff

WHO WE ARE — RESEARCH

Click on the names below to read their biographies:

Nicole Russo-Ponsaran, Ph.D.

Clark McKown, Ph.D.

Tina Grieco-Calub, Ph.D., CCC‑A

Ashley Karls, B.A.

Matthew Wronski, B.A.

Diana Cortez, B.S.

Sarah Van Valkenburg, B.A.

Ryan Bruno, B.S.

Jason K. Johnson, B.A.

 

 


Nicole Russo-Ponsaran, Ph.D.

Research Director, RNBC

Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences

 


Education and Training

  • Northwestern University, Ph.D., Neuroscience
  • Loyola University Chicago, B.S., Biology
  • Certified research reliable in administration of the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised, Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), and ADOS‑2

Areas of Expertise

  • Autism spectrum disorders, fragile X syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and language-based learning problems
  • Bilingualism, English language learners, and SEL
  • Neurophysiology, speech-evoked auditory brainstem response
  • Nonverbal awareness, prosody, facial affect
  • Social information processing

Research Interests

  • Improving objective assessment of functioning for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities
  • Direct assessment of social-emotional learning skills and self-regulation in typically-developing and clinical pediatric populations
  • Evaluation of intervention efficacy and the development of new treatment programs

 


Clark McKown, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences

 

 


Education and Training

  • University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., Psychology
  • Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Predoctoral internship
  • Yale University, B.A., Psychology

Areas of Expertise

  • Child assessment and therapy
  • School consultation
  • Academic, social, behavioral, and emotional disorders of childhood
  • Social development and friendship

Research Interests

  • Typical and atypical social development
  • Assessment and treatment of social problems
  • Instructional environments and children’s well-being
  • Program evaluation

 


Tina Grieco-Calub, Ph.D., CCC‑A

Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences

 

 


Education and Training

  • Northwestern University, Ph.D., Neuroscience
  • Vanderbilt University, M.S., Hearing and Speech Sciences
  • Marywood University, B.S., Communication Sciences & Disorders

Areas of Expertise

  • Auditory neuroscience
  • Clinical audiology
  • Implantable hearing devices, cochlear implants
  • Speech perception and word recognition

Research Interests

  • Effects of childhood hearing loss on language, literacy, and cognitive development
  • Effects of background noise on spoken language processing and learning
  • Visual attention during face-to-face communication
  • Audiovisual speech perception

 


Ashley Karls, B.A.

Research Study Coordinator II

 

 


Education and Training

  • National University, B.A. in Business Management, Minor in Psychology

Research Interests

  • Social-emotional and executive functioning skills and deficits
  • Assessment and treatment of social deficits in children
  • Emotional regulation and self-perception

 


Matthew Wronski, B.A.

Research Assistant


Education and Training

  • Lawrence University, B.A. in Psychology and Music, Minor in Neuroscience

Research Interests

  • Interplay between cognition and emotion
  • Emotion regulation strategies across development
  • Emotional regulation and self-perception
  • Internalizing psychopathology
  • Life stress
  • Well-being

 


Diana Cortez, B.S.

Research Study Coordinator


Education and Training

  • University of Minnesota, B.S. in Child Psychology

Research Interests

  • Typical and atypical cognitive and language development
  • Language acquisition and speech perception
  • Bilingualism in children

 


Sarah Van Valkenburg, B.A.

Research Assistant


Education and Training

  • The University of Illinois at Chicago, B.A. in Psychology, Minor in Disability and Human Development

Research Interests

  • Mental health disparities
  • Early childhood adversity and emotional regulation
  • Mental health and substance use interventions for youth experiencing homelessness

 


Ryan Bruno, B.S.

Research Assistant


Education and Training

  • DePaul University, B.S. in Neuroscience

Research Interests

  • Psycholinguistics
  • The formation of conceptual knowledge
  • Speech processing and perception

 

 


In memory of Jason Johnson, B.A.

Research Study Supervisor (2008–2016)

 

 


Education and Training

  • Monmouth College, B.A., Biology and Chemistry

Research Interests

  • Development of assessment tools to identify children and adolescents at risk for social- emotional difficulties
  • Direct assessment of social-emotional learning skills and self-regulation in typically-developing and clinical pediatric populations
  • Evaluation of intervention efficacy and the development of new treatment programs, specifically facial emotion recognition
  • Sociometrics and Peer rejection