Skip to main content

Principal Investigator

Dr. Clare Harrop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill. She is a member of the UNC Autism Center and an Investigator at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. She is affiliated with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities and faculty in the DAHS Office of Research and Scholarship. Dr. Harrop received her BSc. in Psychology from Durham University, her MSc. in Reading, Language and Cognition from the University of York, and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychopathology from the University of Manchester. She completed postdoctoral training at the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment and UNC Chapel Hill. In her spare time, Clare can be found spending time with her family, crafting, or listening to true crime podcasts.

Email: clare_harrop@med.unc.edu  Twitter: clareharrop85
Clare_Harrop_CV_2022_Sept


Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Tyler McFayden is a T32 Postdoctoral Fellow with UNC’s Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. She received her B.S. in Psychology and Education from Davidson College and her Ph.D. in Clinical and Developmental Psychology from Virginia Tech. Tyler’s research focuses on social communication and language in autistic youth; she works primarily on Dr. Harrop’s R01 studying sex and gender in autism. Outside of work, Tyler loves gardening, thrift shopping, and tracking down the best local kombucha.  

Email: tyler_mcfayden@med.unc.edu

 

 

 


Project Coordinators and Research Assistants

Amanda Neal is a post-baccalaureate research assistant with the Harrop Lab. Previously, she worked at Duke’s Early Experiences and the Developing Brain Lab as a Research Technician and attended the University of Tennessee – Knoxville where she graduated with a degree in Neuroscience. While at UTK, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant with the Infant Language and Perceptual Learning Lab. Amanda plans to attend graduate school and aims to study mental health impacts in children.

Email: ajneal@email.unc.edu

 

 

 

Maia Karpinsky is a post-baccalaureate research coordinator in the Harrop Lab. Maia graduated in 2022 with a degree in Psychology from Marquette University, where she worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Aging, Imaging and Memory Lab and the Improving Child and Family Interventions Lab. She has volunteered as a research assistant in various neuroscience and psychology labs at the University of Minnesota and worked clinically as a residential mental health counselor since graduation. Maia plans to pursue her PhD in Clinical Psychology and is interested in focusing on adolescent mental health and suicidal ideation. In her free time, Maia enjoys knitting, checking out local coffee shops, and spending time with her dog Isla.

 

Email: karpinm@ad.unc.edu

 


PhD Students

Jessie Goldblum is a doctoral candidate in Developmental Psychology at UNC Chapel Hill. Jessie splits her time in the Harrop Lab and the Brain and Early Experiences Lab studying the development of early social communication, novel methods for social communication assessment, and disparities in access to services and diagnostics faced by autistic youth. Under the mentorship of Dr. Harrop, Jessie leads the TRAVEL Study, which seeks to validate a virtual and remote eye-tracking screener for young children at risk for social communication problems. Jessie completed her BA in Psychology, Art History, and Italian at Emory University. In her spare time, Jessie enjoys spending time with her loved ones and playing with her two pups, Junior and Tallulah.

Email: jessgold@unc.edu

 

Orla Putnam is a third-year doctoral student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences program at UNC and a current LEND trainee. Orla earned a BS in Human Development at the University of California San Diego, where she worked at the UCSD Autism Center studying sex differences using eye-tracking. Orla’s current studies focus on the experiences of autistic women and language use in autistic children. She is particularly interested in masking, communication, and neurodiversity. In her free time, Orla enjoys knitting, reading, and playing with her dog, Lacey.

Email: orla_putnam@med.unc.edu | Twitter: @OrlaPutnam

 

 

 

Stephanie is a doctoral student in the Occupational Science program at UNC Chapel Hill. She completed her BA in Exercise and Sport Science and Spanish at UNC and her MS in Occupational Therapy at the Medical University of South Carolina. She previously worked as a pediatric occupational therapist in SC before returning to UNC to pursue her PhD. Her interest involve human-animal interaction and how autism assistance dogs can benefit autistic children and their families. In her free time she enjoys riding and competing her horse, Ballenger and spending time with her two golden retrievers, Finnley and Bentley.

 Email: smbristo@live.unc.edu


Master’s Students

 

Brenna Wood is a first-year masters student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences program at UNC. Brenna is from Lexington, North Carolina and received her B.A. in Linguistics from UNC in 2022. She hopes to pursue a career in speech-language pathology and is specifically interested in working with children. In her free time, Brenna enjoys reading, painting, and spending time with her cat, Loki.

Email: brenna_wood@med.unc.edu

 

 

 

Emma is a second year Masters student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences program at UNC and an Interdisciplinary Specialization in ASD trainee. She graduated from James Madison University in 2021 with her B.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, where she was a member of the Social Communication and Language Evaluation (SCALE) lab. Here, she focused her honors thesis on socioeconomic status and its impact on school-aged children’s language development. She is particularly interested in masking and supporting communication for individuals with ASD. In her free time, she enjoys reading historical fiction, watercoloring, and walking during golden hour..

 Email: emma_sprance@med.unc.edu

 


Undergraduate Research Assistants

 

Roshni Ammanamanchi is a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina pursuing a Psychology B.S. major and a Spanish for the Medical Professions minor. After graduating, she plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. In the future, she hopes to become a therapist for children and adolescents and eventually open up her own clinical practice. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and spending time with her cat Ash.

Email: roshni@live.unc.edu

 

 

 

Annie Flanagan is a senior from Boston, MA. She is pursuing a BAEd. in Human Development & Family Studies as well as a B.A. in Music and a minor in Conflict Management. After undergrad at Carolina, Annie plans to pursue graduate study to continue working with neurodiverse populations. Annie hopes to work in a clinical setting with adolescents while researching. In her free time, Annie enjoys cycling, petting dogs, and cheering on Tar Heel athletics as a member of the Marching Tar Heels.

Email: aflan@email.unc.edu

 

 

Gavin Thompson is a senior from China Grove, North Carolina pursuing a Psychology B.S. major and a Biology minor. After undergrad Gavin plans on perusing a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy in hopes of eventually doing ASD research. In his free time, Gavin enjoys hanging out with his friends, spending time with his dog Appa, and watching documentaries.

Email: gavgavin@live.unc.edu

 

 

 

Kimberly Liles is a senior from Kalispell, MT pursuing a B.A.Ed. in Human Development and Family Science and a minor in Chemistry. After graduating, she plans to take a gap year to gain more research experience before pursuing graduate school. Her desire is to continue to work with and conduct research with neurodiverse populations. In her free time, Kim enjoys recreational swimming, spending time in nature, reading fiction, and listening to music.

Email: marieki@live.unc.edu

 

 

 

Tyler Burney is a sophomore from Bladenboro, North Carolina pursuing a B.A. in Psychology as well as a minor in Cognitive Science. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he plans to apply to a graduate program for school psychology. He hopes to work in rural North Carolina public schools and conduct research with neurodiverse and gender-diverse youth. In his free time, Tyler enjoys making jewelry and baking.

Email: kburney@unc.edu

 

 

 

Amanda Clowdis is a Senior from Greensboro, NC pursuing a Psychology B.S. major. After undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill, Amanda plans to pursue a graduate degree in Occupational therapy. Amanda also works at Camp Royall in Moncure, NC as a camp counselor. In her free time, Amanda enjoys supporting UNC athletics, spending time with her friends, and attending Scholarship, Leadership, Fellowship, and Service events held by her Honors Fraternity Phi Sigma Pi.

Email: abclowdi@email.unc.edu

 

 

 

Henry Swift is a Junior at the University of North Carolina majoring in Information Science and Psychology with a minor in music. He is interested in pursuing graduate work in child development, with an emphasis on children with Autism, or working in tech consulting. Outside of his studies, Henry is a member of the Marching Tar Heels and the club ultimate frisbee team as their media manager. He also enjoys swimming, watching sports, and playing all kids of board games.

Email: henryw@email.unc.edu

 

 

 

Macey Johnson is a Junior from Raleigh, NC. She is pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Conflict Management. After undergrad, Macey plans to continue her education in graduate school, focusing on researching and improving outcomes for individuals with ASD. In her spare time, Macey enjoys spending time with loved ones, cooking/baking, theatre, singing, and buying too many holiday decorations.

Email: lanemac@email.unc.edu

 

 

 

Anaam Amin is a Sophomore from Cary, North Carolina. She is pursuing Psychology and Neuroscience B.S. majors as well as a minor in Public Policy. Anaam is still working out her plans for after she graduates, but would like to go into a field that has to do with child development. In her free time, Anaam enjoys trying new restaurants with her friends, gardening, and listening to music.

Email: anaam@ad.unc.edu

 

 

 

Kedrianna Griffin is a Senior from Perry, Georgia pursuing a Psychology B.A. major and Conflict Management minor. After graduating, she plans to continue working within the research sphere studying children who are neurodiverse. Kedrianna aspires to become a therapist for children and eventually obtain a PhD in clinical psychology. In her free time, she enjoys creative endeavors such as poetry, painting, and creating music, as well as engaging in community service.

Email: kgh11@email.unc.edu


Lab Alum