Kristin Valentino, Ph.D

Kristin Valentino is the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame.  She earned her BA from Georgetown University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.  Her research focuses on the development of memory, self, and psychopathology among children, as well as on the development of interventions for maltreated children and families.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Lawson Crop3

Monica Lawson, Ph.D.

Dr. Lawson's research interests are in the broad areas of autobiographical memory development and child maltreatment. The goals of her research are to (1) contribute to theoretical understanding of cognitive and sociocultural factors that influence children’s autobiographical memory and (2) to apply findings towards establishing and refining empirically supported interviewing methods that bolster the reliability of children’s forensic reports. As a graduate student, Dr. Lawson investigated the role of dyadic conversations on the reliability of children’s event reports as well as children’s recollection of conversations. As a postdoctoral fellow, she is working with Dr. Kristin Valentino to expand her applied forensic interest in children’s memory to examining autobiographical memory development within the context of maltreatment. Using a developmental psychopathology perspective and the sociocultural theory of autobiographical memory development, Dr. Lawson is currently investigating mother-child reminiscing among dyads with and without substantiated maltreatment histories with a specific focus on the influence of maternal and child attachment quality on reminiscing and children’s autobiographical memory.


Graduate Students

Christina Mcdonnell Web

Christina McDonnell, M.A.

Christina McDonnell is a sixth year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Program. She received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. McDonnell’s research interests lie in understanding the processes that confer risk and resilience across development, and she is further interested in the translation of this research into empirically-based interventions for at-risk youth. Additionally, she is particularly interested in the neurobiology and development of memory within the context of stress and child trauma, as well as autism spectrum disorders.  Christina is currently on clinical internship at the Medical University of South Carolina.




Kaitlin Fondren Web

Kaitlin Fondren, B.A.

Kaitlin Fondren is a thrid year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Program.  She received her B.A. from Indiana University at Bloomington.  Fondren's research interests lies in exploring the ways in which children develop in the context of psychopathology, with the broader goals of increasing our understanding of typical and atypical development as well as informing interventions that seem to improve maladaptive developmental outcomes.  Her current work focuses on the development of children who have experienced maltreatment, with a specific interest in their language development.




Ruth Speidel 2015

Ruth Speidel, B.A.

Ruth Speidel is a third year graduate student in the Developmental Psychology Program.  She received her B.A. from Georgetown University.  Speidel is fascinated by the individual and contextual factors that impact how children learn and remember new information.  More specifically, she is interested in how the context of maltreatment impacts aspects of cognitive and emotional development, and how this knowledge can be used with a developmental psychopathology perspective to educate effective intervention strategies.


Professional Staff

Heidi Miller, Project Coordinator
Kathy Heyn, Data Manager
Laureen Poinsatte, Family Coach
Starla Ross, Family Coach
Rosemary Salinas, Family Coach
Ruth Sobieralski, MSW, LCSW; Child Maltreatment Coordinator


Undergraduate Research Team

Sofia Carozza
Katie Edler
Laura Eckert
Bailey Jaeger
Molly Kuehn
Madeline McKenna
Evelyn McManus
Phoebe Natale
Savannah Pfeffer
Nicholas Pittman
Madison Rectenwald
Grace Reilly
Jack Sullivan

Lab Alumni


Amy K. Nuttall, Ph.D. ('15),  Assistant Professor Michigan State University, Department of Human Development & Families Studies  

Michelle Comas, Ph.D. ('16).  Postdoctoral Fellow in Child and Family Forensic Psychology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.


Jamie Schulte ('10), Teach for America
Elizabeth Murphy ('11), McKinsey & Company
Adam Barsella ('12) Rush Medical College, Rush University
Emily Franz ('12) Washington University
Oscar Gonzalez ('12) Quantitiative Psychology Ph.D. Program, Arizona State University
Kaitlyn Howard ('12) Ernst & Young
Jennifer James ('12) DePaul University College of Law
Jordan Matulis ('12), Catholic Child and Family Services
Anne McNeill ('12) Clinical Psy. D. Program, Roosevelt University
Christina McDonnell ('12) Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program, Notre Dame
Stephanie Sieswerda ('12). Masters Program in Social Work, University of Chicago
Suzy Fanuele ('13), Social Work MA Program, Rutgers
Brianna Piper ('13) Developmental Psychology Ph.D. Program, UC Davis
Sarah Poppe ('13), St. Martin de Porres Academy
Taylor Thomas ('13) Developmenal Psychology Ph.D. Program, UNC Chapel Hill
Christina Mondi ('14), Developmental Psychopathology Ph.D. Program, University of Minnesota
Alyssa Mall ('14), Social Work MSW Program, University of Chicago
Alysia Phillips ('14), Alliance for Catholic Education
Courtney Taylor ('14), Deloitte
Anne Haas ('15), Teach for America
Elizabeth Millea ('15)
Krystal Morrison ('15) Clinical Psychology Program, University of Central Florida
Jessica Zhao ('15) Quantitative Psychology Program, University of Southern California
Theresa Barton ('16). University of Notre Dame Law School
Shelby Clingen ('16) Masters Program in Social Work, University of Chicago
Katherine McManus ('16) Intern, Student Welfare & Development, Athletics, University of Notre Dame
John Oakley ('16) Research Coordinator, Temple University

Colleagues & Resources