Our director, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conduct research that contributes to deeper understandings of early childhood development. Learn more about our team’s backgrounds and research interests.



Julia O. Dmitrieva


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Our Team

  • Graduate Students

    Emma Espel

    Emma Espel earned her BA from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, and majored in honors psychology with a minor in neuroscience. She completed her master's thesis on sibling and family relationships at the University of Denver.

    Espel uses a multi-systemic perspective to study adolescent development and psychosocial outcomes, with a specific interest in applied developmental psychology. She plans to evaluate the effectiveness of a Moving Mindfulness treatment program among a sample of young female offenders in her dissertation. In her free time she enjoys all things outdoors—hiking, skiing—and spending time with family and friends.

    Jiquan Lin

    Jiquan Lin received her English degree in 2009 from South China Normal University and her BA in psychology in 2012 from Kansas State University. She is currently in the developmental psychology PhD program at the University of Denver.

    Her research interests include both proximal and distal environmental effects on adolescent developmental trajectories as well as the influence of environment × gene interplay. She enjoys traveling and learning things from different cultures.


  • Undergraduate Students

    Melissa Harlow

    Melissa Harlow is a senior at the University of Denver studying psychology and criminology. She hopes to continue her education and obtain a master's degree, and potentially a doctoral degree, in psychology and specializing in forensics. Her goal is to work with juvenile offenders and conduct research relating to treatment, rehabilitation and intervention within this population. In addition, she would also enjoy doing assessments and providing clinical treatment.

    Kristen O'Connell

    Kristen O'Connell is a third-year student at the University of Denver who is majoring in psychology, with minors in French and ecology & biodiversity. She enjoys working in the criminal justice system. Her goal is to become a criminal defense lawyer or to work in a residential facility (like juvenile justice facilities or a psychiatric hospital) as a psychologist.

    Rachael Weatherly

    Rachael Weatherly is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Denver who is majoring in criminology and socio-legal studies, and getting a minor in psychology. She plans to study international law in Hong Kong next year . After graduating she would like to go to law school, become a criminal defense attorney and eventually start her own firm.


Aerial view of campus on a sunny day.

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