Collaborators/Alumni

Whitney Dominick

Dr. Whitney Dominick is a special lecturer at Oakland University and is still involved with the FF-PTG lab as a support and resource figure for current students. She received a Bachelors in Psychology from Colorado State University and Ph.D. from Oakland, completing a dissertation examining the impact of dolphin interaction on children’s mental health. Her research interest in the relationship between animals and human mental health was carried throughout her time in the FF-PTG lab as a doctoral student (2015-2020) and into current projects. Whitney recently conducted a longitudinal study examining the impact of pets on social support during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also working with Water Planet USA to gather data on the impact of wild dolphins on children’s emotions in hopes of establishing a therapy program serving children with emotional and behavioral disorders. Whitney can be contacted at wdominick@oakland.edu.

Colin O’Brien

Colin earned his bachelor’s degree in statistics from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and master’s in psychology from Oakland University. His master’s thesis dealt with anxiety and the perceived risk of the general public in relation to mass shootings. He also completed work regarding Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and the influences of anxiety, disgust, and parenting styles have on the development of the disorder. His clinically focused research interest in eating disorders from the FF-PTG lab carried into his current job at the University of Kansas as a research aide in Dr. Kelsie Forbush’s CARE lab, where he coordinates projects focused on eating disorders. With long-term interests in clinical psychology, he plans to get his PhD and hopes to continue working in academia someday, preferably as a professor. Colin can be contacted at colinobrien@oakland.edu.

Katherine Lewitzke

Dr. Katherine (Kat) Lewitzke is currently working as board member for the Michigan Association of Gifted Children (MAGC), an organization that provides resources to help parents and educators improve of Michigan’s advanced and accelerated children. Dr. Lewtizke also opened Bright Pine Behavioral Health facility in Clarkston, Michigan in 2017 where she focuses her background and experiences on helping individuals affected by: anxiety, depression, behavioral difficulties, learning & academic struggles, memory, interpersonal issues, trauma, loss, chronic pain, brain injuries, and more. Dr. Lewitzke graduated from Oakland University in 2009 with her BA in psychology, and obtained her MA in clinical psychology with a specialization in child development from the University of Detroit-Mercy. Dr. Lewitzke completed her doctoral degree from the Michigan School of Psychology in 2016 where her dissertation focused on PTG and personal beliefs, among the emerging adulthood population, and she was honored to have Dr. Tedeschi as her consultant throughout the dissertation process. Dr. Lewtizke received her neuropsychological assessment training through the National Academy of Neuropsychology. During her time in the PTG lab, from 2008 to 2009, she expanded on her interests of gender differences and emotional support regarding PTG. Dr. Katherine Lewitzke can be reached at kat@brightpinepsych.com, on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter: @drkat_psyd, and through her website: www.brightpinepsychology.com.

*Picture: Dr. Lewitzke was awarded a MOM Approved Doc in 2019 by Metro Parent. *

Maggie Britton

Dr. Megan (Maggie) Britton is currently working as a Research Scientist for Taking Texas Tobacco Free, a research collaboration between the University of Houston (Houston, TX) and Integral Care, a Local Mental Health Authority (Austin, TX). She manages the day-to-day operations of several grants implementing tobacco-free workplaces and tobacco dependence training programs in behavioral health centers across Texas, while maintaining a scholarly dissemination record.  Dr. Britton earned her Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish from Oakland University in 2014. During her time in the PTG lab from 2013-2014, she primarily focused on how individual characteristics such as optimism, pessimism, and self-esteem, were associated with PTG, drawing cross-cultural comparisons between samples of U.S. and Japanese participants. Dr. Britton went on to obtain her Master of Arts (MA) degree in Psychology and her PhD in Social/Health Psychology (specialization in Statistics) from the University of Houston in 2017 and 2021, respectively. During her graduate studies, she primarily examined how social context (especially interpersonal encounters related to race or ethnicity) influences people’s health behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol use. Her dissertation was titled, “The Impact of Microaggressions on Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol-Related Problems Among Latinx Community Members and College Students.” Dr. Britton can be reached at Mkbritton@uh.edu.

Leah LaLonde
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Leah LaLonde (formerly McDiarmid) is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Eastern Michigan University. Her master’s thesis project evaluated a training program aimed at teaching pediatricians to implement behavior activation, a brief depression treatment, with adolescents who present to their pediatricians office with depression. She is working on completing her dissertation, which will use a modern model-based measurement method, item response theory, to evaluate items on the Patient Health Questionnaire. Leah earned her Bachelor of Arts (BS) degree in Psychology from Oakland University in 2015 and earned her Master of Science (MS) degree in Clinical Behavioral Psychology from Eastern Michigan University in 2018. During her time in the PTG lab, from 2013-2016, Leah examined how people differentially value aspects of PTG. She also collected and analyzed data that investigated PTG reported after adolescents hurt others. Today, her primary clinical interests are in the integration of behavioral health providers in medical settings, including primary care. Leah is currently completing her pre-doctoral internship in pediatric primary care at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. She hopes to continue providing consultation services in the pediatric medical setting as well as conduct research on the implementation of services in this setting. Leah can be reached at lmcdiarm@emich.edu.

Aundreah Walenski-Geml
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Aundreah is currently working as a full time clinical social workers and psychotherapist at Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine. She works with adults and adolescences and specializes in the treatment of peripartum mood disorders and anxiety disorders. Aundreah earned her Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Psychology from Oakland University in 2016 and obtained her master’s in social work (MSW) in Interpersonal Practice from the University of Michigan. She completed a one-year internship with IHA in Ann Arbor, MI where she provided collaborative care and integrated behavioral health treatment in primary care settings and assisted in the quality improvement and expansion of collaborative care throughout the organization. During her graduate program, Aundreah was a research assistant in the TaMMs project in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan where she assisted in the study of the effectiveness of collaborative care programs in primary care clinics at Michigan Medicine. After graduating with her MSW, Aundreah obtained a two-year postgraduate social work fellowship at the University of Michigan in the Department of Psychiatry and became fully licensed in 2019. During her time in the PTG lab, from 2014-2016, she assisted with the psycho-educational programming, teen parent project, and studied the effects of multiple adverse and stressful events and its impact on PTG. Aundreah hopes to continue to strengthen her psychotherapy skills, get more involved in the Rochester community to reduce the stigma of mental health treatment, and eventually pursue a career in mental health administration and quality improvement of behavioral health interventions. Aundreah loves being a part of the PTG community and utilizes skills she learned in the lab on a daily basis. Aundreah can be reached at aundreah.m.walenski@gmail.com.

Lauren Harrison

Lauren Harrison is currently working as a Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapist at Michigan Progressive Health where she provides support for clients receiving ketamine for treatment resistant conditions. Through ketamine therapy Lauren assists clients with understanding the origin of their symptoms through a trauma informed lense while supporting the clients’ connection to their inner self, their communities, and their sense of purpose in the world.  Upon graduating from Oakland University, Lauren completed her Masters of Social Work at the University of Michigan in December 2019. She specialized in Interpersonal Practice and was both a Geriatric Scholar and HRSA SUD/OUD Scholar. During her time in the lab from 2015-2018, Lauren was interested in assessing support groups and psychoeducational activities related to PTG. Lauren can be reached at flkharrison@gmail.com.

Jenna Beltramo

Jenna (Duronio) Beltramo is a doctoral student in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida, specializing in occupational health. Her research has primarily centered around the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions to promote the health, safety, and well-being of workers in high-risk/high-stress occupations. Through UCF’s Targeted Research Training Program, which is funded through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Jenna has worked extensively with hospitality employers and unions throughout the Central Florida area and has led interdisciplinary teams to identify and address occupational hazards and exposures faced by hospitality/tourism workers. Jenna also has extensive interests and training in advanced data analytic methods, which allow for accurate examinations of complex processes and real-world problems faced by individuals and organizations. Jenna earned her Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Psychology and Writing & Rhetoric from Oakland University in 2018 and was a member of the PTG lab from 2016-2018 where she focused on the process of recovery and the relations between resilience and PTG, particularly among military personnel. Jenna’s interests in, and research regarding the process of recovery, PTG, and resilience continue to this day, and she is currently working to examine such processes among individuals suffering from chronic health conditions. More recently, Jenna has also begun project-based consulting work. Jenna can be reached at jenna.beltramo@ucf.edu OR jennabeltramo@gmail.com

Velinka Marton 

Velinka Marton is currently a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Wayne State University (WSU). She received a Bachelor of Arts and Science, majoring in Psychology, from Oakland University in April 2019. Velinka originally joined the PTG lab in January 2017 because of her interest in a cross-cultural approach to examining PTG. During her time in the lab, from 2017 – 2019, Velinka developed an honor’s thesis project, titled “Youth Perceptions of Intergenerational Discordance and Immigrant Well-being” and presented her findings at an undergraduate research conference. Currently at WSU, Velinka is engaging in the many learning opportunities offered through the doctoral program, including teaching, research submissions, and clinical training. Upon completion of the program, Velinka anticipates integrating her various, rich experiences into her career as a clinical psychologist. She can be reached at velinka.marton@wayne.edu

Alvin Nicholas

Alvin Nicholas is currently a first-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at The University of Detroit Mercy. Alvin received his Bachelors of Art and Science, majoring in Psychology in April of 2017 and his Master of Arts and Science, majoring in Psychology in 2019 both from Oakland University. During his time in the PTG lab in, from 2017 – 2019, he was able to conduct and disseminate his research relating to PTG, achievement and failure, resilience, wisdom, and motivation. Along with his own dissertation, Alvin participated in the Teen Parent Program with many of his research colleagues at local high schools. Currently at UDM, along with his teaching assistant and clinical assistant duties, Alvin is enjoying expanding his research interests on specific mechanisms that contribute to resilience and persistence after experiencing repeated failures. Alvin is enjoying his abilities to guest lecture some of the courses he is assisting on and creating assignments for undergraduate students psychology courses. He looks forward to beginning to see his own clients as a student therapist and conducting psychotherapy and assessments. Alvin’s plans on becoming a licensed clinical psychologist with the long-term goal of becoming an associate professor, conducting research, and owning his own private practice. His ultimate goal is to help those who are of low SES to achieve their goals and to become successful. Alvin can be reached at nicholae1@udmercy.edu.

Kat Fraus

Kat Fraus is currently a first-year graduate student at the University of Michigan where she is working towards a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) in Interpersonal Practice. Kat hopes to build psychotherapy skills so that she can eventually become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). She aspires to either work with children or adults who are victims of childhood trauma and is also considering hospital social work. Although she plans to focus on clinical work, Kat hopes to continue contributing to research throughout her career and addressing inequalities within psychology research. Kat graduated from Oakland University in 2021, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. During her time in the lab from 2019-2021, Kat worked on many projects that focused on childhood trauma and PTG, with her senior thesis studying the impact of multiple traumatic events in relation to PTG in adolescence. She also worked on projects with medical students regarding medical error, second victim experience, and burnout. Kat can be reached at: kvfraus@gmail.com.

Emilee Causey

Emilee Causey is currently a first-year graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Wayne State University (WSU). Emilee is pursuing a career as a Certified Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), practicing psychotherapy with LGBTQIA+ individuals and possibly college students. Throughout graduate school, Emilee hopes to do research contributing to the field of counseling in partnership with some of her professors. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Science in Psychology and Sociology from Oakland University and graduated in April 2021. Emilee joined the FF-PTG lab in January of 2020 to work with Dr. Taku as her mentor for her Honors College thesis project. She was a research assistant at the lab from January 2020 to April 2021working on various research projects on topics including resilience, emotional recognition ability (ERA), and trauma severity with PTG. Emilee presented her senior Honors College thesis, titled “Is Resilience Hiding a Dark Side? An Exploration of Resilience and Unrealistic Optimism”, at the Honors College Research Day and Psi Chi at Michigan School of Psychology 7th Annual Research Symposium where she received the “Original Research Award”. Additionally, the Honors College awarded Emilee the designation of “Thesis with Distinction” and a “Thesis Award in Psychology” for her thesis project. Emilee can be contacted at: emileecausey24@gmail.com

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