Core Research Team at the University of Pittsburgh
Sophia (Sophie) Choukas-Bradley, Ph.D.
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 (2008) and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (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. After two years at the University of Delaware, I returned to Pitt in June 2022.
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 diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in academic psychology; I have been involved in DEI committees for the past 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.
Annie Maheux, M.S.
Annie joined the TAYA Lab in 2018 as a joint Ph.D. student of Developmental and Social Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. With the TAYA Lab, she 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 has 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, B.S.
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, received an M.S. in Psychology at the University of Delaware in 2022, and is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipient. Savannah 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 first-year 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 2nd-year 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. 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 first-year 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 secondary 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.
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 part of 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.