Old Dominion University
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Meet the Research Team


 Cathy Lau-Barraco, Ph.D.

Dr. Lau-Barraco joined ODU in the Fall 2009. She came to us from the Research Institute on Addictions at SUNY Buffalo where she completed an NIH-sponsored postdoctoral fellowship. Broadly, her research focuses on the determinants (e.g., cognitive, social, environmental) of alcohol use and other risk behaviors. She's also interested in developing brief interventions to address problematic alcohol use among young adults. Dr. Lau-Barraco was born in Hong Kong but moved to the States at the age of 10. She lived in Florida for most of her life but now considers Chesapeake, VA home, where she resides with her husband Anthony. Dr. Lau-Barraco is a self-proclaimed craft-nerd who enjoys knitting, scrapbooking, decorating, and photography. 

                                                                Contact: cbarraco@odu.edu



Graduate Students

Ashley Linden

Ashley is a fourth-year doctoral candidate (ABD) in the Applied Experimental Psychology PhD program at ODU.  She completed her undergraduate work at Central Michigan University in 2010 and received her M.S. in Experimental Psychology from ODU in 2012.  She currently serves as the BARS lab coordinator.  Ashley's primary research interests are in caffeinated alcohol use (e.g., Red Bull and vodka), mental health, and associated cognitive factors among young adults.

Academic Website: http://ashleynlinden.weebly.com

                                                          Contact: alind016@odu.edu 



Joe Minifie 

 Joe is currently a fourth-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PsyD program offered jointly through ODU, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Norfolk State University. He earned his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 2008. Joe is currently working on the REACH project as an interventionist. His primary research interests center on the psychosocial factors that relate to alcohol use in emerging adults. Joe's clinical interests include substance use, grief, trauma, and anxiety and mood disorders within young adult and adult populations. 

Contact: jmini001@odu.edu



Brynn Sheehan 

Brynn is currently a third year in the Applied Experimental Ph.D. program. She completed her undergraduate work at Bloomsburg University and received her Masters in Justice from the University of New Hampshire in 2011. For the last two years, Brynn served as the BARS lab graduate research coordinator.  Her primary research interests include alcohol-related aggression, social dominance, and risky alcohol and health behaviors.

Brynn's Curriculum Vitae

Contact: bshee006@odu.edu 




Cristina Valdivieso 

Cristina is currently a second-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PsyD program offered jointly through ODU, EVMS, and NSU. She earned her undergraduate degree from Longwood University in 2010 where she double majored in psychology and sociology. She earned her MA in psychology with a concentration in substance abuse treatment from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2012. Cristina is currently working on the REACH project as an interventionist. Her primary research interests center on the psychosocial factors that relate to alcohol and drug use in collegiate emerging adults. 

Contact: cvald002@odu.edu



Amy Stamates

Amy is a first year in the Applied Experimental PhD program. She completed her BS in Psychology at Northern Kentucky University in 2010. From 2010-2013, Amy worked on an NIH funded grant, which examined the behavioral and cognitive effects of consuming alcohol with energy drinks. Amy is currently the lab's REACH Project Coordinator. Her research interests include alcohol use (alone and with other substances) in emerging adults, alcohol-related cognitions and risks, and individual differences in subjective responses to alcohol. 

Academic website: http://amystamates.weebly.com/

                                                          Contact: astam007@odu.edu





Undergraduate Research Assistants


Lora is a senior at Old Dominion University majoring in Psychology. After graduating in the spring of 2014, she is planning to pursue graduate school to study clinical psychology. Her interests involve depression, anxiety, and working with autistic children.


Bailey is a Senior at Old Dominion University who is majoring in Psychology with a Women's Studies minor. After graduating in Spring of 2014, she aspires to pursue a Masters degree in counseling, her interests are alcohol and depression. She also spends her time as an active member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. 


Natalie is a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology with an interdisciplinary minor in Health and Wellness.  Natalie plans to attend graduate school to obtain a Masters in Counseling after expected graduation this upcoming May 2014.  Natalie is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society as well as Sigma Alpha Lambda Honors Society.  Her main interests are physiological psychology, substance abuse and the criminal mind.


Sakon McQuown is a senior at ODU and has been participating in the BARS Lab for three semesters. She is currently majoring in Psychology and minoring in International studies. After graduation, she plans on attending grad school for her masters in counseling. She is also a current member of Psy Chi.


Nicole is a junior at Old Dominion University where she is majoring in Psychology with a Human Services minor. Nicole plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. Her interests include PTSD, criminal behaviors, and substance abuse. She is a member of the Pre-Clinical Psychology Community.


Emilee Bostic is currently junior at Old Dominion University. She is a Psychology major with a minor in Human Services. This is her first semester as a research assistant for the BARS lab. After graduation, she plans to pursue graduate school to study clinical psychology.