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.
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.
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.
Kimberly Liles is a post-baccalaureate research assistant in the Harrop Lab. Kim graduated in May 2023 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Human Development and Family Science. During her final semester, she completed an internship at the Harrop Lab before transitioning to work in the lab over the summer. She also volunteers throughout the year at Camp Royall, working directly with children, adolescents, and adults on the spectrum who have varying support needs. Kim plans on attending graduate school after gaining more experience in research related to neurodevelopmental disorders. Her current interests center around masking and the experiences of late-diagnosed autistic individuals, as well as the impact of sex and gender in relation to these. Outside of the lab, Kim enjoys reading fantasy and science fiction and listening to music.
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.
Alison (Sonny) Russell is a first-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at UNC Chapel Hill. Sonny earned a B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior at Vassar College and then spent 3 years post-bacc at Dr. Julia Parish-Morris’ Social Attention and Language Lab. Sonny primarily supports the Harrop Lab’s study focused on sex, gender, and camouflaging in autism. She is particularly interested in anti-ableism, supporting queer and gender-diverse autistic individuals, and how increased social camouflaging behaviors might contribute to the under-diagnosis of autism in girls. In her free time, Sonny enjoys crocheting, wrestling yarn away from her cat Pigpen, and boxing.
Mags McAllister is a first-year doctoral student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences program at UNC and a Royster Fellow. Mags is a double Tarheel who earned a BA in Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduation, Mags worked on a study of early detection and diagnosis at Duke’s Center for Autism and Brain Development. She also spent two years working on neuroimaging studies of lifespan development in Duke Neurology Department. Mags’ current studies focus is the personally significant and communicative functions of echolalia and repetitive behaviors for autistic individuals. Mags enjoys backpacking, kayaking, and playing with her water-phobic dog, Maya!
Mary Kathryn Phelps is a first-year master’s student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences program at UNC. Mary Kathryn is from just outside of Memphis, Tennessee and received her B.A. in Audiology and Speech Pathology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is particularly interested in working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other learning disabilities. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, cooking, going to coffee shops, and hanging out with friends.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Macey Johnson is a Senior 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 and earn a masters in Mental Health Counseling. In her spare time, Macey enjoys spending time with loved ones, cooking/baking, theatre, singing, and buying too many holiday decorations.
Inyene Udoh is a Senior from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is currently pursuing a psychology BA degree along with a minor in Sexuality Studies. After undergrad, Inyene plans on obtaining her Masters of Social Work. She hopes to become a therapist that specializes in intersectional mental health and sexual development. In her free time, Inyene likes going out to new places and spending quality time with her friends.
Sienna Halterman is a senior from Southern Pines, North Carolina pursing a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Sociology. After undergrad, Sienna plans to pursue graduate school, for research interests in better understanding and supporting neurodiverse populations. In her free time, Sienna enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, playing board games, and spending time with her dog, Tucker.
Meredith Braddy is a senior from Efland, NC pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience and a minor in Spanish for the Professions. After graduating, she plans to apply to medical school to become a pediatrician. In her free time, Meredith enjoys reading, playing soccer with friends, and listening to music.