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 Buzinski Steven G. Buzinski, Ph.D.
Director of the Karen M. Gil Internship Program on Psychology 

Dr. Steven Buzinski, a Social Psychologist by training, received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 2011.  An award-winning graduate teaching assistant and Lilly teaching fellow at the University of Maryland, Dr. Buzinski joined the University of North Carolina’s Department of Psychology as a Lecturer in 2012.236 Davie Hall
Psychology Department, UNC-CH
Chapel Hill, NC 27599  Email:
Phone:  919-962-5081

 Dana Ripperton Dana Ripperton
Karen M. Gil Internship Program Manager 

Dana Ripperton has a Master’s in Educational Policy and Practice from the University of Colorado Boulder and Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Sweet Briar College. She has worked abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in Ukraine, as the Student Board of Education Coordinator for Denver Public Schools, and as an Academic Advisor for international students in Denver, Colorado. She is originally from Chapel Hill and has been working at UNC since 2013.213C Davie Hall
Psychology Department, UNC-CH
Chapel Hill, NC 27599  Email:
Phone:  919-962-4977

KAREN M. GIL Fall 2014 interns

CIDD Alexandra Alvarez, class of 2015
Developmental Intern at Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) 

Alexandra Alvarez is a senior Psychology major and Education minor. She was born in Venezuela and grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland. Her research interests in Psychology are centered on the study of eating disorders, especially in ethnic minorities. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has worked in Dr. Anna Bardone-Cone’s research lab at UNC where she has helped in the creation and execution of research studies focusing on recovery from eating disorders and the effects of media on body image, self-esteem, perfectionism, and more. She is currently working on an honors thesis with Dr. Bardone-Cone in which she examines the influence of parental pressures and perfectionistic expectations on body image and disordered eating in a college-aged sample.Alexandra is also passionate about working with children through Psychology research.She has dedicated the past two summers to working with the Partners for Parenting Program at the University of Maryland under the direction of Dr. Lisa Berlin and Dr. Brenda Jones-Harden. As a community interviewer, she helped conduct in-home data collection visits that include video recorded mother-infant interactions and assessment of infant stress regulation for a five-year federally funded randomized trial testing Early Head Start services for low-income, predominantly monolingual Spanish mothers and infants with and without a supplemental parenting program. Alexandra is excited to continue working within the developmental and clinical Psychology fields through her work as a Gil intern.After graduation, Alexandra hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in School Counseling.

foulser albanNC_DPS Alban Foulser, class of 2015
Social Intern at NC Department of Public Safety; Polk Correctional Institution 

Alban is a senior from Melrose, Massachusetts. She is double majoring in Psychology and German. At UNC, she is Co-Chair of Project Dinah, a student group that works to end interpersonal and sexual violence. She volunteers as a Community Educator with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, and she is a mentor for international students at UNC through Easing Abroad Students’ Entry (EASE). She has also recently worked as a research assistant studying neural activity in Dr. Flavio Frohlich’s neuroscience lab at UNC.In her free time, Alban loves running, going to the farmer’s market, and doing crossword puzzles. She also enjoys traveling, going to the beach, and seeing her family.After college, Alban hopes to move to explore a new city and continue her work with interpersonal violence prevention for a few years before pursuing a graduate degree.

 frumkin madelynVeritas Madelyn Frumkin, class of 2015
Clinical Intern at Veritas Collaborative 

Madelyn Frumkin is a senior Psychology and Music double major from Charlotte, NC.  Much of her interest in Psychology stems from her work as a research assistant in the Bardone-Cone lab at UNC-Chapel Hill. Madelyn has worked on many projects related to body image and disordered eating as a member of this lab, including the NIH-funded Road to Recovery from Eating Disorders Study and several studies concerning social media use and body image. She also completed an independent research project studying the application of feminist theories to the treatment and prevalence of negative body image and disordered eating in various cultures. Madelyn is very excited to continue studying eating disorders in a clinical setting through her internship at Veritas Collaborative, an eating disorder treatment center for adolescents.In addition to her work in Psychology, Madelyn is passionate about interpersonal violence prevention and sexual assault awareness on campus. She serves as co-chair of Project Dinah, a student organization that works to prevent and end all interpersonal violence on campus and in our community through education and advocacy programs.Madelyn is also studying classical singing at UNC, where she performs in operas, recitals, and other concerts. In her free time, Madelyn enjoys doing yoga, eating sushi, and watching Parks & Recreation.

horschler daniel


Daniel Horschler, class of 2016
Cognitive Intern at Lenovo 

Daniel is a rising junior from High Point, NC majoring in Psychology and minoring in Anthropology. His interests lie mostly in the cognitive branch of psychology, and are centered on memory, thinking, and problem solving.He spent the past year working with Dr. Mark Hollins in the Somatosensory Research Lab. The Lab is currently focused on pain research, and more specifically looks to identify non-pharmacological methods of chronic pain reduction and relief. His experiences in the Lab have taught him a great deal about how cognitive psychologists conduct their research and go about solving difficult problems.Next year, he looks forward to completing a PSYC 395 project in the Lab that will take a closer look at the use of vibration to treat chronic pain. In addition to his interests in cognitive psychology, he has always enjoyed learning more about the information technology field. The Gil Internship will allow him to combine his interests in psychology with information technology through the development of user interfaces. He is excited to be working with Lenovo on usability research, which examines how effectively and efficiently new technology is being utilized and seeks to identify potential changes to the technology to make it easier to use. This experience will help him to fully realize the expanding role that cognitive psychology has in developing consumer electronics.In his free time, he enjoys a variety of activities such as fishing with the Carolina Fishing Club, camping, canoeing, and playing disc golf. In the future, he hopes to pursue graduate studies in cognitive psychology with an eye towards a career in either academia or usability research and software development.

juarez oliviaLepage Olivia Juarez, class of 2016
Clinical Intern at Lepage Associates 

Olivia is a junior Psychology major from Durham, North Carolina with a minor in Cognitive Science. She plans to attend a graduate program in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests focus on emotional processes, particularly in empathy and its association with interpersonal relationships and depression, as well as the concept of deficits in empathic abilities as predictors of morbidity of other psychiatric illnesses. Her clinical interests include the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as the treatment of addiction and compulsive behaviors.She recently worked with Dr. Andrea Hussong and her team at the Raising Grateful Children Project in the CDS lab as a research assistant; the project seeks to understand the way gratitude is socialized in children through the relationships of the parent-child dyad. While in the lab, she also conducted research in the form of a literature review in which she examined the process through which interpersonal tensions mediate the relationship between deficits in the empathic abilities of alcoholics and changes in drinking behaviors.Through the Karen M. Gil Internship, she will be working with Dr. Lepage at the Lepage Associates Solution Based Psychological and Psychiatric Services clinical facility in Durham, exploring various facets of psychology including but not limited to forensic psychology, CBT, marriage and group counseling, and neurofeedback services.Apart from her academic and professional career, she is a brand new author with a whole-hearted passion for poetry, dance, and above all, family. I am elated to be a part of what I am certain will be a very rewarding experience through the Karen M. Gil Internship!

mckenna brookeHorizonPerformance Brooke McKenna, class of 2015
Social Intern at Horizon Performance 

Brooke is a senior from Chapel Hill, NC majoring in Psychology and Biology. Her initial interests in health and wellness led her to pursue an education in the science of both the body and the mind. She has since explored numerous fields of psychology in hopes of applying a combination of these two fields. This summer Brooke worked with Dr. William Pelham’s Summer Treatment Program to determine and implement the most effective combination of medication and behavioral modification for children with ADHD, ODD, and other developmental disorders. She has also worked with Dr. Mitchell Prinstein’s Peer Relations Lab to investigate how adolescents’ development is related to their peer interactions, social behaviors, and emotional and physiological reactions. These experiences sparked Brooke’s interest in the social interactions that govern adults’ mental health and behavior, and how these features can be evaluated.Through the Gil Internship she will be able to observe how various aspects of Occupational Psychology are applied to personnel selection and assessment, psychometrics, and organizational culture within the workplace.Outside of psychology, Brooke enjoys getting involved with her community and staying active. She has worked with a local organization, Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocacy, as an academic tutor for minority students and is also an ESL tutor for members of the Hispanic community. She is a member of UNC’s Club Volleyball team, and has also served as a manager for the varsity volleyball team for the past three years. In her free time she enjoys reading, drawing and painting, and traveling as often as possible.

mcweeny seanTEACCH Sean McWeeny, class of 2015
Clinical Intern at TEACCH 

Sean is a rising senior from Indianapolis, IN majoring in Psychology and Music. He has been interested in studying the effects of music on behavior since high school and hopes to pursue this niche interest after his undergraduate studies. He strongly believes in music as a treatment for many types of disorders, both physical and psychological. This belief has led him to the field of autism research, where music therapy has gained a lot of attention as an alternative therapy and form of communication due to the language deficits associated with autism.He works in the Clinical Affective Neuroscience (CAN) Lab with Dr. Gabriel Dichter. This past summer he spent the majority of his time working as a Taylor Mentored Research Fellow on a project examining the developmental aspects of reward processing in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He would not have made it to this point without the guidance of Dr. Mitch Prinstein, with whom he has worked since his first year. Through his involvement in Dr. Prinstein’s lab, PeerLab, he established a strong foundation for research and has since grown to develop his own project. He will be working on an Honors Project this coming year with his advisors Dr. Patrick Curran and Dr. Gabriel Dichter to develop a new measure for assessing social motivation, a core feature of autism.The Gil Internship will allow him to work with individuals on the spectrum in a non-research capacity, which he is super excited for.Outside of psychology, he is a performing violinist with the UNC Symphony Orchestra as well as with local bands. The free time that he is afforded is spent either practicing/playing music or running/cycling. He has run competitively for 11 years and hopes to continue running and cycling for the rest of his life.

 seider nicoleRTI Nicole Seider, class of 2015
Quantitative Intern at RTI International 

Nicole is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, double majoring in Psychology (BS) and Chemistry (BA).She is a joint research assistant in the labs of Dr. Charlotte Boettiger (Coginitve Addiction and Biopsychology Lab) and Dr. Martin Styner (Neuro Image Research Laboratories). Under their supervision, she has conducted research for the past two years into the structural differences of the gray and white matter of individuals with differing levels of alcohol and nicotine consumption. Quantitative Tractography, a novel DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) analysis method, was used to analyze the white matter microstructure of participants of white matter fiber bundles implicated in delayed discounting task research. Psychology interests are focused in the fields of Neuropsychology and Quantitative Psychology, specifically the development of the brain and understanding how to better utilize technology and statistical analysis to provide a better understanding of cognitive structure and organization (eventually).Nicole is a native of Chile and fluent in both Spanish and English.

sundararaj preethikaCogPsychofCH Preethika Sundararaj, class of 2016
Clinical Intern at Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill 

Preethika is a Junior at UNC-Chapel Hill from Oak Ridge, North Carolina with a major in Psychology and minors in Chemistry and History. During her undergraduate career, Preethika aims to gain some experience in various sub fields of Psychology. After completing a clinical psychology internship the previous semester dealing with adolescents with abnormal eating disorders and emerging borderline personality disorders, she will be conducting research this semester with adult ADHD. She looks forward in the upcoming years to gain some experience with social psychology as well, as she is interested in couples and relationship psychology. As a pre-med student, Preethika hopes that gaining experience in various sub fields will be helpful when deciding whether to pursue either medical school or graduate school after graduation.Outside of academics, Preethika is involved with the Campus Y, where she is the co-chair of the committee C.H.E.A.P (Carolina Hunger Education and Activism Project). The committee, partnering with the international organization Stop Hunger Now, seeks to raise awareness among the Carolina Community concerning hunger-related issues and fundraises to carry out an annual ‘Heel Meals’ meal packaging event, packaging thousands of meals to send to countries around the world that may need them most. After studying abroad for a semester in London, Preethika has developed a passion for traveling. In her spare time, she volunteers on the weekends as a part of the Buckley Public Service Scholars program.

 skyes jesseUNC_NicotineDepProg  Jesse Sykes, class of 2014
Clinical Intern at UNC’s Nicotine Dependence Program 

Jesse Sykes is a senior Psychology major at UNC, with a minor in History. Her interest in Psychology is focused on Clinical Psychology since she hopes to become a Rehabilitation Counselor and work with people who have physical and mental obstacles to overcome. Currently, she works as a research assistant in an Eating Disorders and Body Image Lab on campus, which has been a highlight of her time at UNC. She is also a member of an Honor Society on campus, and helps to make Build-a-Bears for sick kids in the hospital. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.