Faja Laboratory | Research Assistants

Graduate Research Assistants


Ali SagonAlison Sagon

Ali received her Bachelors in Arts (B.A.) in psychology from the University of Michigan in 2015. As an undergraduate, she completed an honors thesis exploring the value of setting communication goals for increasing well-being. She is currently enrolled in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Suffolk University where her research is focused on developing acceptance-based mindfulness interventions targeting anxiety, depression, and loneliness. In the past she has assisted on community and drug intervention projects focused on symptom alleviation for individuals with ASD. She is interested in exploring the utility of acceptance-based mindfulness strategies for facilitating stress reduction in individuals with ASD. She is excited to be working with Dr. Faja to utilize an expanding understanding of the links between brain activity and behavior to inform personalized interventions. When she is not busy with schoolwork, Ali enjoys eating large amounts of pizza, advocating for the protection of Orca whales, and spending time in Cape Cod.


Devon OostingDevon Oosting

Devon is currently a clinical psychology doctoral student working with Dr. Alice Carter at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She conducts developmental evaluations with very young children at risk for autism spectrum disorders and provides motivational interviewing sessions for parents of young children diagnosed with ASD. Devon completed her Bachelor's of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2012. At Michigan, she worked in the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center under Dr. Catherine Lord. After graduating, Devon completed a two-year clinical research fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, with a focus on providing behavioral treatment for preschool children with ASD and examining the neural correlates of treatment response via fMRI and EEG. In her albeit limited free time, Devon enjoys painting, being by the ocean, and playing Guitar Hero.


Paige HickeyPaige Hickey

Paige is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Psychology Department at Tufts University. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience from Furman University in 2015. After graduation, she worked as a research assistant for the Human Neurobehavioral Core at Boston Children's Hospital where she worked with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and a variety of other rare genetic disorders. Currently at Tufts, she is studying how EEG signals can be modulated by external stimuli, such as music. Additionally, she is interested in how modulations in EEG relate to fluctuations in attention and subsequent memory performance. Outside the lab, Paige enjoys exploring Boston and spending time with her dog.

Research Assistants

Brooke KohnBrooke Kohn

Brooke graduated from Kenyon College in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in English. As an undergraduate, Brooke worked in a number of different research labs. Most recently in Dr. Ruth Grossman’s FACE lab, studying how adolescents with autism spectrum disorder perceive and produce social cues, and the Kenyon Psychological Neuroscience Lab using EEG to study facial processing. During her time as an undergraduate, Brooke founded a series of talks and discussion groups encouraging students to speak candidly about mental illness; she has also worked as a Kenyon College Peer Counselor and a mentor for teens from Knox County’s Juvenile Mental Health Court. Brooke is interested in researching how parenting can influence neurodevelopment and she is particularly motivated by issues surrounding the accessibility of resources and interventions for families with children who have neurodevelopmental disorders. Brooke is excited to further her passion for research and neuroscience in Dr. Faja’s lab through the CRUSH Project and the IDEA Study. She plans on pursing a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and would like to continue working with children and teenagers in her future career. In her spare time, Brooke enjoys playing fetch with her cat O’Malley, drinking coffee, and kayaking on the Charles.


Carly ColmanCarly Colman

Carly graduated from Marquette University in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Cognitive Science, as well as a minor in Criminology & Law Studies. At Marquette, Carly was an undergraduate research assistant in two labs. She worked in Dr. Kristy Nielson’s Aging, Imaging, and Memory Lab (AIM) conducting research that investigates the neurobiological, physiological, and cognitive foundations of age- and dementia-related cognitive decline. She also conducted research aimed to understand the social and neural development of children with and without Autism in Dr. Amy Van Hecke’s Marquette Autism Project (MAP). Through this research program she assisted in the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills, or PEERS. This study investigates how preschoolers, teenagers and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their parents are affected by social skills therapy. In the future she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is excited to carry out work in Dr. Susan Faja’s lab in order to further her knowledge and skill set. Both her clinical and research interests focus on individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically ASD. In her free time, Carly enjoys taking spin classes, listening to music and spending time on Cape Cod. 

Gabrielle MacNaughtonGabrielle MacNaughton

Gabrielle MacNaughton graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology in 2018. Both her research and clinical interests focus on children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD and childhood anxiety and disruptive behavior disorders. As an undergraduate at NYU, Gabrielle explored her various areas of interest through her time spent as a classroom with children on the autism spectrum, through her position as a job and social skills coach for young adults with autism, as well as through her internship in a clinical psychology consulting practice where she was able to work with children with anxiety. She was also a research assistant Dr. Anil Chacko’s FACES lab where she engaged in research involving youth with ADHD. Gabrielle also completed an honors thesis, which involved computerized executive control training for children with ADHD. Gabrielle loves living Boston where she works as a Clinical Research Assistant in Dr. Susan Faja’s lab and expanding her knowledge on neurocognitive functioning in various clinical populations of children and adolescents. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and would like to continue working with children in the future. Outside of the lab, Gabrielle can be found running on the Esplanade, kicking a soccer ball, reading on the T, drinking coffee, and going to concerts!


Paige VidalPaige Vidal

Paige graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological Sciences. As an undergraduate at UConn, Paige worked in the Early Detection Lab which looks at improving early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children, as well as improving intervention services provided to children and families. Her honors thesis through the lab focused on the accuracy of pediatrician reported concern for ASD across racial and socioeconomic minorities. At UConn Paige also lead the local chapter for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and served on the university’s board for the Special Olympics. During the summer, she has worked as a teaching intern at the New England Center for Children, where she administered coursework modeled through applied behavior analysis to adolescents with ASD, and at the Psychological Associates of Southeastern Massachusetts where she co-facilitated a social skills playgroup with a LICSW. Paige hopes to someday pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and is excited to continue to expand her research knowledge here in the Faja Lab. Outside of work Paige enjoys weightlifting, spending time at the beach, and catching up on TV shows.