Meet the strong, sharp, and spry backbone of the Mind-Body Trauma Care Research Team. To reach the team, email

Research Team Members

Portrait of Lexi Asplund

Undergraduate Research Assistant & Lab Manager

Lexi Asplund is a student at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, working towards a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minoring in Psychology. She is an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab. Her research interests include working with those whose sociodemographics (e.g., age), medical concerns, or psychological symptoms impact their ability to receive help. This includes working with children, those who have experienced childhood trauma, and those whose help seeking is limited. In her free time, Lexi enjoys golfing, wakeboarding, and playing with her dog.
Portrait of Katie Gooch

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Katie is a non-traditional undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota- Duluth and will be graduating in December of 2021 with a major in Psychology and minor in Sociology. Katie hopes to continue her education and obtain a masters degree on the Clinical/Counseling Track. Katie is a Research Assistant for the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab. Her background includes working with adults and children with disabilities. Katies research interests include working with children in a clinical setting as well as psychopathology and human behavior. Katie has past research experience in a lab regarding effects of threesome outcomes with heterosexual partners. In her free time, Katie enjoys hiking the trails in Duluth or playing cribbage.

Portrait of Emma Hartwig

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emma is an undergraduate student at University Minnesota Duluth majoring in Psychology and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies with a minor in Public Health. Emma’s goals after graduation in the Spring of 2022 are to pursue a Graduate Degree in Counseling Psychology. Her research interests include social cognition, psychopathology in children exposed to trauma, mind-body interventions, and mindfulness. Emma enjoys cooking, traveling, photography, and hiking in her free time.

Portrait of Carmen Kaelke

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Carmen is an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota Duluth and will be graduating in May 2021 with a major in psychology and a minor in marketing. After graduation, she hopes to obtain her master's in school psychology. She is an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab. Her research interests include working with children from all backgrounds and abilities. This includes an interest in prenatal trauma, children within school settings, children with autism, and those who faced childhood abuse. In her free time, she loves to be taking photos, traveling, hiking, fishing, kneeboarding, or anything else outdoors.

Doctoral Research Fellow

Xiaofan is a PhD student in speech pathology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Her research focuses on investigating the influence of stuttering moments on the mood and attention control of people who stutter with both experimental and non-experimental methods. Prior to speech pathology, she received a master's degree in Applied English Linguistics and a Bachelors' degree in English literature. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, and embroidering.
Megan Lindemann portrait

Affiliate Graduate Research Assistant

Megan is a Counseling Psychology Graduate student at the University of St. Thomas GSPP. She engages in a number of activities within the health ecosystem, including academic research, behavioral health product development, mental health therapy, and movement/mindfulness-based practices. These diverse engagements increase understanding of the intersection between health care treatment and individual health practices. In partnership with the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab, Megan looks forward to exploring the process of awareness in thoughts, emotions and interoception through modalities such as yoga. Her findings aim to develop novel solutions for stress and trauma while creating synergy among thought leaders in the health and well-being space.
Portrait of Angela Murphy

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Angela is a non-traditional student returning to UMD to pursue a career in psychological sciences. Her background previously included teaching students in special education with emotional and behavioral disorders, as well as Autism spectrum disorders. She also spent time in the real estate and property management industry. These experiences, while vastly different, led to a fascination with the human brain and a new endeavor to learn as much about it as possible. This semester she will be an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab. Angela's research interests include working with young people who have emotional, behavioral, or Autism spectrum disorders in order to provide them access to tools and coping skills that will support their ability to thrive. Whenever there is a spare moment, Angela enjoys hiking Duluth's many trails with her dog, Duncan, or spending quality time with friends and family. She is also an avid baker and visual artist.

Affiliate Undergraduate Research Assistant

Lizzy is a senior undergraduate student at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN majoring in Biology and Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. Lizzy is originally from Duluth and, post graduation, plans to pursue a masters and doctoral degree in clinical/counseling psychology. She is an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab. Her current research interests include trauma impacted childhood development, human sexuality, attachment styles, and psychopathology as a precipitate of trauma. In her free time she runs the radio station at St. Olaf and enjoys cooking, yoga, and mindfulness exercises.
Jessica Nowacki portrait

Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistant

Jessica Nowacki is from Andover, Minnesota. She started UMD as a Biology major, switched to Elementary Education, and then graduated in the Fall of 2020 with a major in Psychology with a Biology minor. She hopes to attend graduate school, as she found interest in Psychology and admires the fact that one can do many things after undergraduate with this major. Assisting in this research as an undergraduate sparked her interests, especially in the field of addiction and mindfulness. She wants to relate the Mind-Body connection to how people understand their feelings and actions depending on how they discover their own connections within themselves.

Graduate Research Assistant & Graduate Research Mentor

Megan is a Graduate Research Assistant and Graduate Research Mentor for the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Minnesota Duluth in the Master of Arts in Psychological Science (MAPS) program (clinical/counseling psychology track). Her current research projects are assessing wellbeing in individuals with disabilities through adaptive yoga and sports programs at a community center and assessing the effects of trauma, particularly emotional abuse, on persons over time. Broad topics of research interest include mindfulness and mind-body interventions, trauma and trauma narratives, populations with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and quality of life and well-being. Megan enjoys hiking and running in her free time, and she loves to travel as much as she can!
Portrait of Hailey Sauer

Post-Baccaleureate Research Assistant

Hailey is a recent graduate from the University of St. Scholastica with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She participated in research during her final semester and is continuing to do so as a non-degree seeking student at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She plans on furthering her education by attending graduate school for clinical and forensic psychology. By participating in research, she hopes to expand on her interests such as, working with people that have experienced trauma, how the mind body connection interacts, and how early childhood trauma affects people in adulthood. Some of her favorite things to do include reading, listening to music, and relaxing with her pet cat Totoro.
Portrait of Julia Smith

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Julia Smith is an UMD undergraduate and is studying psychology with a minor in public health to achieve her goals of implementing healthy lifestyle choices into her future mental health practice. Her ultimate goal is to attend graduate school to pursue a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests are the mind-body relationship, natural treatments for depression and anxiety, and the negative effects of drugs on the body.
Brenisen Wheeler portrait

Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistant

Brenisen Wheeler earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Spring 2019. She is currently serving as the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Women’s Advocates, the nation’s first domestic violence shelter. Her current mission is to address domestic violence where individuals in Minnesota live, learn, work, and gather through Safety Recourse Crews, Community Advocacy Programs, and the implementation of both online and in-person educational curriculums reaching over 7,000 people each year. Her interests include trauma-informed/survivor focused approaches, mental health, intersectional identities, holistic wellbeing, yoga and mindfulness.

She was mentored by Dr. Nguyen-Feng in the summer of 2018 through the Multicultural Summer Research Opportunity Program (MSROP) on a project called "Mental health at the intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation among college students." The poster was presented at the Undergraduate Symposium in 2018 and the manuscript is currently being prepared for submission to an APA journal. While working at a domestic violence shelter, Brenisen hopes to implement online tools to increase access to violence prevention education, develop evaluation tools for educational presentations, and other trauma-informed initiatives with the support of the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab!

McNair Scholar Research Assistant

Bruk graduated from the University of Minnesota as a major in Health and Wellness with an interest in Occupational Therapy. She works with Dr. Viann Nguyen-Feng to study the effects of emotional trauma and abuse. Bruk is interested in the implications of emotional abuse and how people can recover from particularly traumatic experiences. She is also excited to take an in-depth look at autism to prepare for her future as an OT. In her spare time, Bruk volunteers at the Ethiopian Kids community, teaching the American parents of adopted Ethiopian children the Amharic language and traditional dances to acquaint them with the Ethiopian culture. Bruk's favorite things to do are eating ice cream and catching up with close friends.

Graduate Research Assistant & Graduate Research Mentor

Linda is a Graduate Research Assistant for the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, Duluth in the Master of Arts in Psychological Science program (clinical/counseling track), where her Plan B/thesis-equivalent project focuses on early maladaptive schemas and coping responses in children at a child advocacy center. Her current research interests include mind-body interventions, improving access to mental health care, and the wellbeing of underserved, underrepresented, and other disadvantaged communities. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, cooking, meditation, and creating art.
The Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab logo
The Mind-Body Trauma Care Research Team is accepting a Graduate Student Research Assistant for Fall 2021.