Bullying Prevention and Mental Health Promotion Lab

Lab Members

Dr. Cixin Wang

Cixin Wang
Dr. Cixin Wang is an Associate Professor of School Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park (Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education). She received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011. She then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University in 2013. Her research interests focus on bullying prevention and mental health promotion among children and adolescents. Her research seeks to: (1) better understand different factors contributing to bullying and mental health difficulties, including individual, family, school, and cultural factors; (2) develop effective prevention and intervention techniques to decrease bullying at school; and (3) develop school-based prevention and intervention to promote mental health among students, especially among culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students.

Ja'Kala Barber

First-Year SP Doctoral Student

Ja'Kala is a first-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at UMD. She received her B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021. After completing undergrad, Ja'Kala worked as a full-time Research Assistant in The Gaab Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Education. While at the Gaab Lab, she worked on several longitudinal studies examining the typical and atypical learning trajectories of children, with a special focus on reading and language development. Her research interests center around motivation, well-being, learning disorders, and the impacts these factors have on students from minoritized backgrounds. 

 Romy Stancofski

First-Year SP Doctoral Student

Romy is excited to be a second-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at UMD. Romy received her B.A. in Psychology and Speech, Language, and Hearing Science from the George Washington University in 2018. In 2020, she received her M.A. in Psychology from American University, where she studied the relationships between mindfulness, body image, and self-worth. Following the completion of her M.A., she worked in a special education program as a paraeducator in a preschool classroom before starting at UMD. Her research interests include youth mental health, social-emotional learning, and the school experiences of Arab American children and families.

Ami Patel

Third Year SP Doctoral Student

Ami Patel is a third-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at UMD. Ami received her B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 2015 and her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Temple University in 2017. Upon graduation, she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) on IES and NIMH-funded research grants focused on anxiety mental health interventions in schools as well as organizational skills training (OST) for those with executive functioning difficulties. Ami is interested in the cultural adaptation and cultural responsiveness of mental health interventions and social-emotional learning both in schools and in the community, particularly for Asian American students/families.

Bio photo

Diksha Bali

Diksha (she/they) is a fourth-year at UMD’s School Psychology program. Although her nuclear family is North Indian, she grew up in South India, in an interfaith monastery, and the Middle East. She moved to Philadelphia to study for undergraduate degrees in Business and Creative Writing, and then her MS.Ed. degree in Quantitative Methods and Human Development (counseling concentration) at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research breadth includes designing surveys to evaluate community programs; doing qualitative and quantitative work for community-based research projects; and analyzing large datasets such as the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) for policy decisions.

Her current research  includes working to disrupt the links between marginalization, mental health, and inter- and intra-group conflict. She also works to disrupt the incidence and impacts of economic and cultural marginalization by disseminating culturally responsive community-based interventions, including trainings and workshops; facilitating dialogues; and trying to build true partnerships. She strives to take a partnership, liberatory, and advocacy approach in her work; and her current grants and projects (hopefully) reflect this.

Finally, Diksha has been practicing meditation techniques, yoga asana, and Eastern philosophies since she was a toddler. She is interested in helping others understand these techniques and use them as interventions where applicable. She is acutely aware of how meditation, mindfulness and yogic principles do not belong to any one people, movement, or religion – but does encourage people to learn more about the bases of many mindfulness practices in the Western world today from native sources, and consider their roots in many pre-colonized communities before disseminating them, to empower; reduce cultural appropriation; and increase understanding.

Sara Gliese

Sara Picture

Sara Gliese is a fourth-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at UMD. Sara received her B.S. in Psychology from UMBC, and her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from UMD. Her research interests include youth mental health, parent-child communication, and peer relationships.

Janisa Hui 

SP student

Janisa Hui is a fourth-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program. Janisa earned an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in May 2018. Prior to joining UMD, she served as a research assistant for the Harvard Caregiver Reported Early Development Instruments (CREDI) team, studying caregivers' understanding of infants' socioemotional development and mental health in both developed and developing countries. She also worked with Dr. Nutsa Kobakhidze from the University of Hong Kong to investigate the competitive education market related to kindergarten admission. This study demonstrated the pressure to succeed in early life and that there is an implication on stress and well-being for both parents and young children. Janisa's research interests center around early childhood mental health, parenting, coping and socialization strategies in different contexts, and culturally-informed interventions.

Mazneen Havewala

Mazneen Havewala Picture

Mazneen is a fifth-year in our School Psychology program and on internship this year with HCPSS. Mazneen earned her first Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in 2008 in India, after which she worked as a Clinical Psychologist for two years. She moved to the United States in 2011, and got her second Master’s degree in Personality and Social Psychology from the American University, Washington, DC in December 2012, after which she worked as a research assistant in various capacities. In 2016, she started working at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) as a research coordinator for Dr. Julia Felton for a study investigating the effects of distress tolerance and daily life stressors on internalizing symptoms in adolescents.  She then worked as a clinical interviewer for the Temperament Over Time Study in Dr. Nathan Fox’s Child Development lab.  She is very interested in studying the effects of parental influences and culture on child development, with a specific focus on child and adolescent internalizing symptoms.

Xinyi Zhang

Xinyi Zhang Photo

Xinyi Zhang is a fifth-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at UMD and on internship this year with PGCPS. She earned her Master of Education in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She received her undergraduate education from the University of Hong Kong and Yale University (as a visiting international student). Her research interests include cross-cultural parenting and youth mental health. She is currently working on a project looking at ethnic-racial socialization among Chinese Americans.