Core Research Team at the University of Pittsburgh
Sophia (Sophie) Choukas-Bradley, Ph.D.
LAB DIRECTOR & PI &PI
I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), where I'm a core faculty member in the Developmental, Clinical, and Social Psychology programs.
I earned an A.B. (B.A.) degree in Psychology from Brown University in 2008 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2016. I completed a pre-doctoral clinical internship and post-doctoral fellowship in the Pitt Department of Psychiatry (Western Psychiatric). My first faculty position was in the Pitt Department of Psychology from 2017-2020, during which time I started the Teen and Young Adult Lab. I moved to lab to the University of Delaware from 2020-2022, before returning to Pitt in June 2022. Since 2023, I have also served as the Clinical Psychology Lead at the new Center for Digital Thriving of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
My program of research focuses on interpersonal and sociocultural influences on the mental health and wellbeing of adolescents and emerging adults (ages 11–24). One major goal of my work is to identify specific social media experiences that predict adaptive and maladaptive body image, mental health, and identity development. I also aim to understand how gender identities, sexual identities, and racial/ethnic identities affect body image, mental health, and relationships. My work has increasingly focused on LGBTQ+ youth and the intersection of multiple marginalized identities.
In addition to my work as a researcher, I am a licensed clinical psychologist, and I teach undergraduate and graduate courses focused on adolescence, social development, and psychopathology. I have a longstanding commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in academic psychology; I have been involved in JEDI committees for over a decade, and I have started LGBTQ+ affinity groups at Pitt and U. Delaware. My blog, Psychology of Adolescence: The Science of Teens, Screens, Gender, and Sexuality, is available through Psychology Today. I live in Pittsburgh with my wife, Anna, and our quirky tailless tuxedo cat, Balsam.
Anne (Annie) Maheux, Ph.D.
GRADUATE STUDENT ALUM
Annie joined the TAYA Lab in 2018 and graduated with her Ph.D. in 2023 from the University of Pittsburgh. She was the first Pitt student to graduate with a with a Ph.D. in Developmental and Social Psychology, having developed an individualized training plan. In July 2023, she joined the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor in the Developmental Psychology program and the Winston Distinguished Fellow in the Center on Technology Use, Brain, and Psychological Development.
With the TAYA Lab, Annie completed two years of her graduate training at the University of Delaware from 2020–2022, before returning to the University of Pittsburgh in 2022. Annie received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Vermont in 2015 and completed an M.S. in psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2020.
Broadly, Annie’s research examines sociocultural influences on adolescent development, with a focus on the role of gendered norms in academic interest, sexuality, and mental health. Annie’s research and graduate training have been supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the American Psychological Association, and the Character Lab Research Network. Annie is particularly passionate about learning and applying advanced statistical methods, including longitudinal and mixture modeling techniques to understand within-person change and heterogeneity across development.
Annie is also committed to social justice, both through research and in professional service roles, and has prior experience in crisis-based social work and as a middle school teacher in rural India. She recently started a mentorship network to help graduate students in psychology learn and gain confidence in statistics, with a focus on promoting community among those traditionally underrepresented in quantitative fields. More information about Annie’s work can be found at annemaheux.com.
Savannah Roberts, M.A.
Savannah joined the TAYA lab in the fall of 2019 as a joint Ph.D. student in Clinical and Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Savannah completed a B.S. in Psychology with Honors at Western Washington University in 2016, and she received an M.A. in Psychology at the University of Delaware in 2022 (when the TAYA Lab was at UD).
Savannah is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipient. She is interested in studying the sociocultural factors implicated in the development, maintenance, and prevention of body image concerns and disordered eating during adolescence, particularly as they relate to sexual and gender minority youth. She also studies the effect of social media use on adolescents’ body image, broadly.
Previously, Savannah coordinated NIH clinical trials in the Center for Weight, Eating, and Lifestyle Science at Drexel University. As an undergraduate, Savannah worked as a research assistant in the Eating and Body Image Lab at Western Washington University to develop inclusive eating disorder prevention programs for college students.
Beyond research, Savannah is passionate about increasing accessibility and inclusion in clinical psychology Ph.D. programs and co-founded a mentorship program to assist applicants who wish to study body image, disordered eating, and eating behaviors. More information about Savannah's work can be found at www.savannah-roberts.com.
Claire Stout, B.A.
Claire joined the TAYA Lab in the fall of 2021 as a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of Delaware. She transferred to Pitt with the TAYA Lab in June 2022, where she is now a student in the joint Clinical–Developmental Ph.D. program.
Claire graduated from Duke University in 2019 where she studied psychology, human development, and education. While at Duke, she worked with Dr. David Goldston at the Center for the Study of Suicide Prevention and Intervention and Dr. Sarah Gaither at the Identity & Diversity Lab. Following her time at Duke, Claire worked as a research assistant for Dr. Kate Guthrie at Brown University, where she gained experience in qualitative data collection and analysis on the topics of sexual and reproductive health. She also worked as a research assistant for Dr. Kimberly Nelson at the Boston University School of Public Health, where she became passionate about youth engaged research.
Claire is interested in using quantitative and qualitative research methods to study LGBTQ+ adolescent development, with a focus on sexual health. She received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2023. In the future, she hopes to develop community informed interventions to address health disparities impacting LGBTQ+ adolescents. Claire cares deeply about advocacy, and she hopes to use her research to inform progressive policy. In her free time, Claire loves to play ultimate frisbee!
Zelal Kilic, B.A.
Zelal joined the TAYA Lab in the fall of 2022 as a joint Clinical–Developmental Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh. Her primary mentor is Dr. Jennifer Silk and Dr. Choukas-Bradley is her co-mentor.
Zelal graduated from Connecticut College in 2022 where she double majored in psychology and computer science. At the intersection of these two fields of study, she became interested in investigating the effects of digital media on developmental mental health and pursued multiple projects investigating different types of online interactions. Later, she worked as a project coordinator for the WIFI Initiative at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Drs. Eva Telzer and Mitch Prinstein, where she conducted research on social media use, peer relationships and suicidality.
Zelal is now broadly interested in investigating the longitudinal links between online and offline interpersonal interactions, and self-harm behaviors and suicidality. She's excited to get involved with the diversity and inclusion committees at Pitt, hoping to increase visibility and accessibility for underrepresented folks in the field.
Daniel Labrousse, B.A.
Daniel is joining the TAYA Lab in the fall of 2023 as a joint Ph.D. student in Clinical and Developmental Psychology and K. Leroy Irvis Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. Daniel is primarily interested in studying sociocultural influences on youth mental health and the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
Daniel graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Psychology with Honors in 2020. While in Chicago, Daniel worked with Dr. Alex Shaw in the Developmental Investigations of Behavior and Strategy Lab in the Center for Early Childhood Research. In 2020, Daniel conducted research on youth development in school and community settings while at the American Institutes for Research. Daniel gained experience in topics such as school-based mental health, school climate, social emotional learning, restorative practices, trauma-informed practices, and out of school time. In 2022, Daniel also worked as a research coordinator at Georgetown University with Dr. Kean Hsu on technological applications to detect internalizing psychological problems.
As a researcher, Daniel wants to increase the accessibility of mental health care, especially for Black queer youth. Passionate about liberation, Daniel hopes to become involved in advocacy and community building efforts for resilient youth and families. For fun Daniel enjoys mixology, swimming, and watching scary movies.
Courtney Medina, B.A.
Courtney is joining the TAYA Lab in the fall of 2023 as a first-year Developmental Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh. She was awarded the K. Leroy Irvis Fellowship for her first year of study.
Courtney graduated with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2021, where she double majored in Psychology and Human Developmental and Family Studies and minored in Latinx Studies. Following her graduation, she worked as a research project coordinator in UNC’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience under Drs. Eva Telzer and Kristen Lindquist, where she conducted research on the neural correlates of adolescent risk-taking and socioemotional development.
Courtney is interested in investigating the bidirectional relationships and developmental pathways between adolescents’ mental health, sexual, and romantic experiences, especially among queer youth and youth of color. She is also interested in researching sociocultural and other influences on adolescents’ sexual and romantic experiences and subsequent well-being, such as body image, dating violence, and online sexualization and objectification. During her time at Pitt, Courtney hopes to bridge public health, youth-centered, and psychological research methods to promote holistic health and well-being for marginalized youth.
Emily Gotkiewicz, B.A.
Emily first joined the TAYA lab in the spring of 2021 as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Delaware. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Health & Wellness from the University of Delaware in 2022. As an undergraduate research assistant in the TAYA lab, she completed her senior thesis examining personality factors in relation to disordered eating behaviors.
Emily’s research interests include adolescent and young adult disordered eating, mental health, and body image. She is also interested in the role of sociocultural factors in adolescent development and health behaviors. Following her graduation from the University of Delaware, Emily moved with the TAYA Lab to Pitt and became the part-time TAYA Lab Manager while completing pre-med coursework.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Dominique joined the TAYA lab in the spring of 2023 as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. She will graduate in the spring of 2024 as a Psychology major, with a minor in LGBTQ+ and Critical Sexuality Studies, and a minor in Creative Writing on a journalism and nonfiction writing track. Her research interests include sexual development and functioning in women, as well as body image and mood disorders. Dominique intends to complete a graduate program and plans on pursuing a career in the mental health field. When she’s not studying or working, she is known to be somewhat of a movie critic.
Hajjar (she/her) is joining the TAYA lab in the fall of 2023 as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Africana Studies and certificates in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine and Afro-Latinx/Afro-Latinx American Studies. Hajjar’s current research interest is in LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC adolescents, especially when these two identities intersect, and she hopes to expand into the topic of body image as well. Her future goals include pursuing a graduate degree in clinical psychology. A fun fact about her is she enjoys listening to fiction podcasts.
Basia joined the TAYA lab in the spring of 2023 as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. She will graduate in 2024 with a double major in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and a certificate in Jewish Studies. Basia is interested in studying body image, disordered eating, and the intersection of cultural and personal identities as it pertains to LGBTQ+ adolescents and young adults. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree and a career related to clinical practice and research. Basia enjoys spending her summers as a camp counselor for teenagers at a Jewish sleepaway camp.
UNDERGRADUATE HONORS THESIS STUDENT
Derek joined the TAYA Lab in the spring of 2023 as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a junior majoring in Psychology with a Children's Literature certificate. Derek’s research interests include the roles of race and sexuality in adolescent identity development. He is currently working on an honors thesis with the lab. Derek plans to attend a graduate program to expand his knowledge in the field of psychology. One fun fact about Derek is that he is from Guatemala.
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT VISITING FROM KENYON COLLEGE
Sami (they/them) joined the TAYA lab in the summer of 2023 as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. They are a rising junior at Kenyon College, majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies. Sami is interested in studying LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse youth, and is especially passionate about education and learning environments for minority students. They want to pursue a doctorate in School Psychology, and are very interested in both research and clinical-oriented work. A fun fact about Sami is that their favorite book genre is fantasy!