Meet the Team

Eileen Crehan

Dr. Eileen Crehan is an assistant professor at Tufts University and head of the lab. A clinical psychologist by training, Eileen loves working with people of all ages and understanding what gets them out of bed in the morning! Her lab focuses on social development and promoting evidence-based practices informed by science and the communities utilizing these practices. In addition to the clinical applications of this knowledge, Eileen is interested in the methods and mathematics necessary for the pursuit of better programming and outcomes. Eileen is a proud Wellesley College alum where she majored in math and psychology as an undergraduate and a huge fan of the gorgeous state of Vermont, where she got her PhD.  Outside of the lab, Eileen spends her time perfecting the ideal breakfast spread (her specialty is blueberry pancakes), decorating cupcakes in outlandish ways, and doing puzzles. She enjoys playing soccer, trying to stay standing on a snowboard, and attempting to weightlift. Eileen was raised a Trekkie but married a Star Wars fan and thus is open to fans of either universe. A native New Englander, she is obviously a Red Sox  fan.

Xihan Yang

Xihan is a doctoral student in Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. Her research focus on cross-cultural differences in autism diagnosis and education. With practical experiences working in autism education institutions in different countries, she intends to provide culturally informed education for autistic children and adolescents with different racial and cultural backgrounds. For fun, Xihan enjoys watching movies and sewing.

Simone Dufresne

Simone is a doctoral student in Child Study and Human Development. Her research focuses on the personal-social development of adolescents and young adults with autism, or the way autistic individuals understand themselves and their place in society, and how interventions can support this development. She has been working professionally in the autism field for over 10 years supporting youth and families. She cares deeply about disability issues and her work is informed by empirical research and perspectives of multiple stakeholders, most importantly autistic people themselves. In her spare time, Simone enjoys going on walks, baking bread, and spending time with her family’s two dogs.

Emma Gatlin

Emma is a Masters student in the Child Study and Human Development department at Tufts University. Her current research interests are centered around building comprehensive sexuality, sex education, and dating safety programs for neurodiverse populations. She is passionate about bringing this information to kids, teenagers, and adults everywhere! In her free time you can find her watching niche documentaries, playing sudoku, or on the prowl in Boston to find the perfect egg and cheese breakfast sandwich.

Gabriela Castro

Gabriela is a graduate student in Child Study and Human Development program at Tufts University. Her research interests focus on examining the disparities in access to autism-related services that Hispanic communities face. Her research specifically examines the barriers to accessing services that Spanish-speaking families encounter. Outside of research and class, Gabriela works as a behavioral technician, providing ABA services to autistic individuals ranging in age from 18months-22 years of age. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to the beach (no matter the season), and recently has found herself dabbling in pottery making.

Maddie Smith

Maddie is a graduate student in Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. Her current research interests are in child psychopathology as well as understanding disparities in access to treatment and care for children and adolescents with varying disorders. She currently works in the Crehan lab, as well as Dr. Andrea Spencer’s REACH lab at Boston Medical Center, and Dr. Ellen Pinderhughes’ lab on her Adoption and Development Project. When Maddie has free time, she enjoys getting outside and hiking, traveling, and reading!

Sana Aladin

Sana is a Masters student in the Child Study and Human Development department at Tufts University. Her current research interests are in child psychopathology, adolescent sexual development, and disparities in care for youth from minority populations. Her past experience in working with children with autism has made her passionate about developing comprehensive sex education and supporting social-emotional well being for this community. In her free time, you can find Sana watching Seinfeld or trying new recipes that went viral online!

Katie Campbell

Katie is a second year MA student in Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. Katie graduated with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and following several positions, supporting and counselling adolescents, Katie transitioned her field of academic interest to psychology and human development. Her current research interests are centered around providing adolescents with the supports and resources needed to reach their full potentials. She is particularly interested in advocating for individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders, specifically those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis and one facet of this involves providing sex education to this population of individuals. In her free time, Katie enjoys spending as much time outdoors as possible, whether that involves hiking or exploring new places. Katie is passionate about travelling, reading, drawing and participating in most sports, particularly swimming, dancing and rock climbing.

Alexa Miller

Alexa is a Masters student in Child Study and Human Development at Tufts. Her current research interests are in how we can make sex education more accessible and inclusive for children with disabilities, as well as how to improve our education system for neurodivergent youth. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her puppy! 

Abby Donaghue

Abby is an undergraduate double majoring in Biopsychology and Child Studies & Human Development. As a researcher, she’s particularly interested in education access and social/emotional learning in neurodiverse populations. She is currently studying access to arts education for autistic students as a Laidlaw Scholar, a subject that’s been a passion of hers since she first got involved with drama education in middle school. When she’s not sending emails and making spreadsheets, Abby loves theatre arts, skiing, youth outreach, singing (loudly) in the car, and making up recipes and foisting them upon her friends.

Leah Kirsch

Leah is an undergraduate student studying Cognitive and Brain Science and Child Study and Human Development. She found a passion for working with children with neurodevelopmental disorders through her time volunteering at a recreation and rehabilitation center for children and adolescents and hopes to continue studying development and brain function by pursuing a career in neuropsychology. Outside of class, Leah spends her time interning at the Faja Lab of Boston Children’s Hospital, singing with her a cappella group on campus, teaching health education to high schoolers throughout the Boston area with Peer Health Exchange, and being a FOCUS leader. She also loves talking about how much she loves her hometown of the SF Bay Area, exploring the outdoors, and her beloved dog, Luna.

Sophie Kallenbach

Sophie is an undergraduate student at Tufts University majoring in Child Studies and Human Development and minoring in Studio Art. After graduation, she hopes to combine her interests in children’s health, studio art, and sex education to support different populations of children and adolescents. Outside of school, she enjoys playing the piano and guitar, doing quick sketches of the people and places around her, writing short stories, reading, and watching feel-good TV (New Girl and Parks and Rec especially). 

Tait Smith

Tait is an undergraduate student in Economics and Math at Tufts University. Their research interests include neurodivergent access to healthcare, sexuality and neurodivergence, but also economic research regarding social issues and how to combat inequality within workplaces and the economy as a whole. Along with their work in the lab, Tait is an autistic/neurodivergent self-advocate working to better the lives of neurodivergent students on campus through creation of safe social spaces and spreading of awareness and education. In their free time, Tait is an avid baker who develops recipes for publication; their favorite recipe is their chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Daniella Rothstein

Daniella is an undergraduate studying Cognitive and Brain Sciences with a minor in Child Studies and Human Development. She is also passionate about gender and sexuality studies, and she is fascinated by the intersection of these fields. In high school, Daniella worked at a local business (in Maplewood, NJ) called “Beloved Bath,” which is a company dedicated to the meaningful employment of young adults with autism. They produce high-quality soaps, candles, and scrubs — Daniella swears by the pumpkin spice candle. Outside of class, Daniella can most likely be found playing, or listening to, music. Daniella drums in two jazz bands, plays piano, and is currently learning the bass; she also participates in a “trash drumming” group at Tufts! 

Grace Jung

Grace is an undergraduate student in the class of 2024 majoring in Clinical Psychology. She is especially interested in studying psychopathology. After graduation, she hopes to help a wide variety of people and pursue a career in psychiatry. She greatly enjoys working with children in various settings. Outside of school, she spends time playing the guitar, watching Netflix shows, taking night walks, and listening to music. 

Michelle Pu

Michelle is an undergraduate student at Tufts University planning to major in Biology and Child Studies and Human Development. She became interested in learning how to better empower neurodiverse people by working at a center that serves those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. She is passionate about advocating for resources for the neurodiverse population. After graduation, she is interested in attending medical school. In her free time, Michele enjoys playing volleyball, making art, volunteering at a transitional home, mentoring youth, and taking care of her large plant collection.

Zaimarie Vela-Santana

Zaimarie is an undergraduate student majoring in Child Study and Human Development with a focus on disability and neurodivergent childhood experiences. Drawing from personal experience, she is passionate about creating spaces that are accessible to the various identities that individuals may hold. Whenever Zaimarie is not in class, volunteering at a neurodiversity community center, or working at the lab, you might find her taking pictures, dancing, recreating family recipes, and, in the winter, gushing over snow. 

Surya Adeleye

Surya Adeleye is an undergraduate student at Tufts University. Surya hopes to major in Child Study and Human Development or interdisciplinary studies. Surya is passionate about working alongside black and brown communities and advocating for access to equal health care within these communities. She is especially interested in studying the barriers that prevent black and brown communities from receiving earlier autism intervention. In the future, Surya hopes to attend medical school to become a pediatrician. She also loves watching horror/thriller movies, going on hikes with her dog, going on runs, and watching soap making videos (they are super relaxing)! Also her favorite colors are pink and orange–the perfect combo 🙂

Lab Alumni