Lab

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

Research Team Members

Portrait of Lexi Asplund

Postbaccalaureate Research Assistant

Lexi Asplund graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where she majored in biology and minored in psychology. She is a 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.


asplu035@d.umn.edu

Projects: Adaptive yoga; COVID-related traumatic stress and adjustment symptoms in the US and Nepal; Online stress management intervention
Portrait of Muna Bishar

McNair Scholar Research Assistant

Muna Bishar will be starting her senior year this upcoming fall semester at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She is currently majoring in Health Service Management and minoring in Public Health. Her research interest is to learn more about trauma and how to improve access to better health care for underserved communities. A few of her hobbies are creative writing, painting/drawing.


bisha009@umn.edu
Projects: Emotional abuse perceptions

Graduate Research Assistant

Kelsey is a Graduate Research Assistant for the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab and graduate student at the University of Minnesota Duluth in the Master of Arts in Psychological Science program (clinical/counseling track). Kelsey earned her BA in English and Psychology from Bowling Green State University where she completed two research projects about the psychophysiological effects of mindfulness and yoga for college students. Kelsey is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher and Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Facilitator who is passionate about holding safe and accessible space for all people to practice mindful movement. Her research interests include trauma-sensitive mindfulness-based modalities, somatic psychology, and yoga interventions in healthcare.


dietr133@d.umn.edu
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.


gooch029@d.umn.edu
Projects: Ecological momentary assessment with adults who stutter; Emotional abuse and physical health; Emotional abuse and forensic interviewing




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.


hartw081@d.umn.edu
Projects: Emotional abuse perceptions





Undergraduate Research Assistant

Colleen Jender is an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is working for her Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Psychology with a Public Health minor. She hopes to further her education and obtain a MS in clinical/counseling psychology. Colleen is an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab. Her area of interest is developmental psychology, specifically looking at traumatic or stressor events in childhood and how that impacts the individual later on. Colleen is interested in the changes over a lifespan, holistic approaches, and the mind-body relationship. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling, hanging out with her cat, friends, and family.


jende014@d.umn.edu
Projects: Emotional abuse and forensic interviewing; Trauma-sensitive yoga qualitative interviewing





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.


kaelk003@d.umn.edu
Projects: Trauma-sensitive yoga adaptations with marginalized groups; Trauma-sensitive yoga and pregnancy





Portrait of Elizabeth Lee

Postbaccalaureate Research Assistant

Elizabeth Lee (she/her) graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Sciences in Psychology and minor in Neuroscience. While at the University of Minnesota, she volunteered at the Aurora Center as a direct service advocate for victim/survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, sexual harassment, and stalking. She also volunteered at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s hospital providing mindful hand massages formally known as the M-technique to children in the psychiatric units. After graduating, she started a position at the Avanti Center, a DBT-based youth residential facility, as a Residential Counselor for adolescents experiencing mental health crises.

After 10 months of providing direct care and teaching DBT skills to residents, she is now a Unit Supervisor who oversees both Residential Counselors and residents. With all of these experiences, she has developed an interest in conceptualizing how mindfulness-based techniques can serve those who have experienced various forms of abuse and trauma. Elizabeth is starting her journey at the Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab this summer (2021) to expand her research skills and knowledge before applying to graduate programs in Clinical Psychology for the Fall 2022 cycle. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, photography, yoga, and staying active.


leex8075@umn.edu
Projects: Emotional abuse perceptions; Trauma-sensitive yoga and dialectical behavioral therapy





Interdisciplinary Doctoral 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.


leixx147@umn.edu
Projects: Ecological momentary assessment with adults who stutter
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.


megan.lindemann@stthomas.edu
Projects: Trauma-sensitive yoga and dialectical behavioral therapy; Trauma-sensitive yoga and sports; Trauma-sensitive yoga and rape crisis center
Portrait of Jacob Moore

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jacob Moore (he/him) is approaching his final semester of his bachelor's degree at University of Minnesota Duluth. Jacob is majoring in psychology with a minor in philosophy. His research interests include trauma, emotional abuse, and community access to mental health care. In his free time, he enjoys camping, hiking, snowboarding, and hanging out with his dog Ada.


moor2012@d.umn.edu
Projects: COVID-related traumatic stress and adjustment in the US; Emotional abuse perceptions
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.


murp0497@d.umn.edu
Projects: Ecological momentary assessment and adults with autism; Emotional abuse and academia; Emotional abuse and forensic interviewing

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.


nikce005@umn.edu
Projects: Trauma-sensitive yoga adaptations with marginalized groups; Trauma-sensitive yoga and pregnancy
Jessica Nowacki portrait

Postbaccalaureate 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.


nowac033@d.umn.edu
Projects: Trauma-sensitive yoga and treatment court
Portrait of Brandon Roiger

Postgraduate Research Assistant

Brandon Roiger (he/him) is a chaplain resident at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He graduated with an MA in psychology and religion from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a BS in agricultural education from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. His background is in youth work, and he hopes to pursue further education to be a clinical psychologist. As a queer person and someone who has experienced caregiver maltreatment, Brandon is interested in research/practice involving healing and interventions for adolescents who have experienced complex trauma, including young people who experience oppression-based trauma. He is centered by abolitionist and transformative justice frameworks, as a way of imagining how we transform the harm that young people experience under abuse, oppression and violent interpersonal/social structures. Brandon enjoys running, playing volleyball, going for walks with friends, and being outdoors near water.


broiger@umn.edu
Projects: Emotional abuse perceptions
Portrait of Hailey Sauer

Postbaccaleureate 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.


sauer316@d.umn.edu
Projects: Emotional abuse and forensic interviewing
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.


smi00861@d.umn.edu
Projects: Ecological momentary assessment with adults who stutter; Trauma-sensitive yoga qualitative interviewing

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!


sunds054@d.umn.edu
Projects: Adaptive yoga; Ecological momentary intervention efficacy
Brenisen Wheeler portrait

Postbaccalaureate 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!


linde720@umn.edu
Projects: Intersectional identities and attachment; Multiple marginalization; Trauma-sensitive yoga qualitative interviewing

McNair Scholar Research Assistant

Bruk graduated from the University of Minnesota as a major in Health and Wellness and is now pursuing a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy on the Twin Cities campus. 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.


zewdi009@umn.edu
Projects: Ecological momentary assessment and adults with autism; Emotional abuse and physical health

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.


zhen0355@d.umn.edu
Projects: Ecological momentary assessment and adults with autism; Emotional abuse and forensic interviewing; Emotional abuse and physical health; Emotional abuse perceptions
The Mind-Body Trauma Care Lab logo
The Mind-Body Trauma Care Research Team is accepting a Graduate Student Research Assistant for Fall 2022.