Amy Gentzler, Ph.D. – Lab Director and Associate Professor of Psychology

Gentzler AmyAmy received a B.A. (Psychology major) from Miami University. She then trained in Experimental Psychology (specializing in Social Psychology) at Kent State University, working with Dr. Kathryn Kerns as her advisor. Amy completed a NIMH postdoctoral position in Developmental Psychopathology at George Washington University, then gained additional, valuable research experience by working at the University of Pittsburgh within the Childhood Depression Research Program. Since starting at WVU in 2007, Amy runs the I.D.E.A. Lab and has taught undergraduate courses in Applied Social Psychology (PSYC 351), Emotions & Mood (PSYC 370), and Positive Psychology (PSYC 493), and graduate courses in Child Development (PSYC 542), Developmental Research Methods (PSYC 546), Social Psychology (PSYC 725), and developmental seminars focused on emotions or emotion regulation (PSYC 745).

Graduate Students

Katy Delong, M.S.

Katy is a fourth-year doctoral student working in Dr. Gentzler’s I.D.E.A. Lab. She graduated from West Chester University in Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Psychology in 2015. She is interested in the development of self-regulation across the life-span, including behavioral, cognitive, and emotional components. She is especially interested in what leads to the development of, improvement of, and the outcomes of having good or poor self-regulation. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and taking her puppy, Pepper, on walks.

Tyia Wilson, M.S.

Tyia is a third-year doctoral student working in Dr. Gentzler’s I.D.E.A. Lab. She graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. She is interested in the development of emotion and emotion regulation. Specifically, she is interested in how environmental factors, such as parenting, influence a child’s emotional behavior. In her free time, she enjoys sleeping, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Shantel Spears, M.S.Shantel

Shantel is a third-year doctoral student in Dr. Gentzler’s lab. She graduated with a B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Her interests include personality measurement and structure, as well as how personality contributes to important health outcomes (e.g., death risk; sleep). She is an avid fan of the great state of Michigan.

Katelyn Romm, M.S.

Katelyn is a fourth-year doctoral student working in Dr. Metzger’s Adolescent Development Lab and Dr. Gentzler’s I.D.E.A. Lab. She graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from York College of PA in 2013 and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Maryland in 2015. She is interested in the role of various parenting behaviors, with a specific emphasis on parental psychological control, on adolescents’ engagement in health-risk behaviors. She is especially interested in exploring the pathways of these associations and various moderators of these links. Additionally, she is interested in how adolescents reason about and evaluate parents’ use of psychological control and the role that these cognitions play on the associations between psychological control and adolescents’ problematic outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her adorable dog,
Penny, and spending time with family and friends.

Jeffrey Hughes, M.S.

Jeff is a first-year doctoral student working in Dr. Amy Gentzler’s I.D.E.A Lab. He graduated from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania with a B.A in Psychology in 2016 and an M.S in Psychological Science in 2018. He is currently interested in how early life adversity, specifically childhood abuse, impacts the development of social and emotional functioning. He is also interested in how resiliency can act as a buffer between adversity and the negative repercussions that come of it. In his free time he enjoys listening to music, biking, and cooking.


Undergraduate Students

Alika Lopatka

Alika Lopatka is a junior at WVU double majoring in Biology and Psychology. Alika is also pursuing a Biology area of emphasis in Genomics and a minor in Religious Studies. She is currently working her second semester in Dr. Gentzler’s I.D.E.A. lab. She is interested in pursuing a career in genetic counseling, with abnormal psychology being an area of interest in research. In her free time, Alika enjoys hanging out with friends and family, watching TV and movies, listening to music, and playing badminton and tennis.

Emma Mendoza

Emma Mendoza is a first year student at WVU majoring in Psychology and plans to get a Ph.D. in the future. She is interested in neuropsychology and forensic psychology. Emma has not decided exactly what she wants to focus on once she gets to graduate school, but she is very excited to be working with graduate students and Dr. Gentzler so help her find her passions. In her free time, she likes to watch YouTube, spend time with her friends, and sleep.

Arik SheetsIMG_8546

Arik is a senior from Ripley, West Virginia, and is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology at West Virginia University.  Although he is currently enrolled in his first semester of lab work, Arik is interested in continuing his academic career by conducting experimental data analysis in the research fields of drug abuse and emotional reinforcement.  Arik’s extracurricular activities include computer programming, reading comic books, and playing guitar.

Ben Duplaga 

Ben Duplaga is a senior at WVU from Wheeling, WV. He is working to finish his biochemistry degree. This is his first semester working in Dr. Gentzler’s IDEA lab. His research interests are somewhat broad, but he is primarily interested in how environmental factors plays a role in early childhood development. Upon graduation, he hopes to attend medical school; however, he is unsure of which specialty he wants to pursue. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, skateboarding, hanging out with friends, and playing with his dog, King.

Cody Hatcher

Cody is a senior Psychology major from Beckley, West Virginia. His research interests include mental healthcare accessibility, positive emotions, and mood disorders. Upon graduation, he intends to pursue an M.A. in Mental Health Counselling. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, playing the piano, and relaxing with friends and his bearded dragon, Lord Byron.

Rebecca (Catherine) Kincaid

Catherine is a senior from Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Forensics and Human Services. Her research interests include forensic psychology and abnormal psychology. After graduation, she plans on attending graduate school for her Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology or in another psychology related field. In her free time, she enjoys watching Netflix, cooking, and playing with dogs.


Kaitlyn Berry 

Kaitlyn Berry is a junior Psychology major from Barboursville, West Virginia. This is her first semester working in the lab. Since she is intrigued by many aspects of Psychology, she has not yet determined the particular area of research she plans to pursue in the future, however she knows she wants her profession to involve something that is going to help people who struggle with mental health. She plans to obtain her Master’s degree in Psychology upon finishing her undergraduate degree. In her free time she loves to hang out with her friends, watch Game of Thrones, explore new music, and play with her adorable cat, Aster.

Kayley Morrow

Kayley Morrow is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Religious Studies. Her current research interests include emotion regulation, positive affect, and depression in adolescence. She plans to earn her PhD in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys drinking Diet Coke, singing in an a cappella group, and being outdoors.

Lora McDonald

Lora McDonald is from Clarksburg, WV and is a junior Psychology major with minors in Communication Studies and Human Services. She plans to pursue a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology after graduation. Her research interests include parent-child relationships as well as emotion socialization and regulation in children and adolescents. In her spare time, she loves binge watching shows on Netflix, reading, and spending time outdoors. You can usually find her drinking coffee.

Taija Thomas

Taija Thomas is a senior from Moorefield, West Virginia. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Child Development and Family Studies. Her research interests include adolescent depression, anxiety, emotion regulation, and resiliency. Outside of the IDEA lab, she also does independent research with the McNair Scholars Program and works at the Monongalia Child Advocacy Center as an undergraduate clinical intern. After undergrad, she plans to attend obtain her LCSW. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and basically doing anything that involves her two labrador retrievers.

Victoria Angel

Victoria Angel is a senior Psychology major from Centreville, Virginia. This is her second semester working in Dr. Gentzler’s I.D.E.A. lab. Her research interests include abnormal psychology and adolescent development. She is planning to attend medical school after graduation to work towards becoming a surgical oncologist. In her free time, she enjoys gymnastics, yoga, traveling, and training cats.

Emma Shaffer

Emma Shaffer is a junior at WVU from Hurricane, West Virginia. She is studying psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. This is her first semester working in Dr. Gentzler’s I.D.E.A. lab. She has not found research interests as of yet but is intrigued by emotion regulation and abnormal psychology.  She hopes to attend grad school for a M.A. in Psychology.  In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, baking, and being with her friends.

Emily Akers

Emily Akers is a senior from Beckley, West Virginia. She is majoring in Psychology with two minors in Business Administration and History. After graduation, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in either Counseling Psychology or Applied Psychology. Her main research interests include positive psychology in areas of positive affect, gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness, and she is also interested in workplace relations/organizational psychology. In her free time, Emily loves horseback riding, playing the piano and guitar, traveling, and spending time outdoors hiking.

Harriet (Hattie) Rowe

Hattie is from Charleston, WV and a junior at WVU. She is double majoring in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Human Services. After graduation she hopes to obtain a Masters degree in Counseling or Clinical Psychology. She is passionate about service and hopes to one day use her degree to provide help for those in need. Her research interests include adolescent development, abnormal psychology, and the effects socialization of gender has on development. This is her first semester in the I.D.E.A. Lab and she is excited to learn more about the real life research process. Her interests include helping others, visiting art museums, hanging out with friends, and (most importantly) hot sauce.

Skylar Spanburgh

Skylar Spanburgh is a senior Psychology Major from Keyser, West Virginia. She is minoring in Human Services, which she is most intrigued with and plans to pursue a career. She wants to further her education with an M.A. in Counseling and hopes to become a school counselor. Skylar is also an active member of the WVU Psychology Club and she is the Social Media Chair. In her free time she enjoys shopping, watching Netflix, and spending time with her family and friends.

Madeline Price

Madeline Price is currently a junior at WVU from Saint Albans, West Virginia. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Political Science and Addiction Studies. She recently began her first semester in Dr. Gentzler’s I.D.E.A. lab. Outside of the lab, she’s also a Teaching Assistant for Psychology 281. Her research interests include abnormal psychology, the role of drugs in behavior, and mental health in modern society. Upon graduation, she will pursue a MA and then a PsyD in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, you may find her watching Parks & Rec, searching for a Corgi to adopt, en route to a concert, traveling, or somewhere eating any type of dessert.

I.D.E.A. Lab Alumni

Karena Moran, Ph.D.

Karena (Ph.D., 2018) is interested in the regulation of positive and negative emotions, beliefs about emotions and emotion regulation strategies, and the socialization of emotions and how to regulate them across the life span. Her dissertation extended previous work on children and adolescents by examining how parents and friends socialize emotions with emerging adults.

Meagan Ramsey, Ph.D.

MeaganMeagan (Ph.D., 2015) had three main research interests:: 1) parent socialization of gratitude, 2) parent socialization of positive emotion regulation, and 3) the regulation of positive emotions in adulthood. For her dissertation, she created and conducted gratitude interventions in the family context. She had a postdoctoral position with Cindy Berg at the University of Utah and now works at the University of Michigan as a Grant Development Specialist.

Chit Yuen Yi, Ph.D.

FrankieFrankie’s (Ph.D., 2015) main interests were in emotion regulation and substance use. Her dissertation examined emotion regulation flexibility of negative and positive emotions in relation to substance use among adolescents. Her thesis focused on mood effects on emotion perception and social interactions. Frankie is currently an Instructor of Psychology at Florida International University.

Cara Palmer, Ph.D.

Cara Palmer F12Cara Palmer (Ph.D., 2014). Cara’s research broadly focuses on the regulation of emotions, especially the regulation of positive affect. Her thesis focused on children’s regulation of emotion and parental socialization of this process in a sports context. In her dissertation, she experimentally manipulated savoring in adults to understand variability in ability to sustain positive affect. Cara is currently completing a postdoctoral position at the University of Houston working with Dr. Candice Alfano.

Jennifer Morey, Ph.D.

Jennifer Morey F12Jennifer Morey (Ph.D., 2013). Jennifer’s master’s thesis focused on how attachment related to the sharing of and responses to positive events in romantic relationships. Her dissertation examined parents’ perception of and responses toward children’s negative and positive emotions, and how these responses were predicted by parents’ attachment and meta-emotion philosophy. Jennifer became a postdoctoral scholar with Dr. Suzanne Segerstrom at the University of Kentucky and now is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Thomas Nelson Community College.

Amanda Wheat, Ph.D. (volunteered as a secondary lab)

Amanda Whited, (Ph.D., 2012), was a member of the Gentzler lab at WVU from 2009-2012 to supplement her Clinical Psychology research training in the area of psychophysiology from a developmental perspective. She is currently completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology at East Carolina University with dual appointments in the Departments of Psychology and Cardiovascular Sciences. This fellowship followed an initial fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology at the Center for Transplant Care at UNC Hospitals. The majority of her current clinical work and research focuses on cardiovascular disease, including the role of psychosocial and psychophysiological factors in CVD risk, prevention, and treatment.

Brian Creasy, Ph.D. (volunteered as a secondary lab)

Brian Creasy (Ph.D., 2012) is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in San Antonio, Texas.

Danielle Nadorff, Ph.D. (volunteered as a secondary lab)

Danielle Nadorff (Ph.D., 2011) is currently an Assistant Psychology at Mississippi State University.

Emily Keener, Ph.D. (volunteered as a secondary lab)

Emily Keener (Ph.D., 2010) currently is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Slippery Rock University.

Past Undergraduate Students

  • Joseph Angioli
  • Amanda Barboza
  • Caleb Brown
  • Brandon Benchoff
  • Jessica Billups
  • Derek Burns
  • Sasha Canan
  • Anthony Casella
  • Ashley Clement
  • Chelsea Coder
  • Alyssa Cordani
  • Zach Dengler
  • Carinna Ferguson
  • Brianna Godfrey
  • Kiana Hayes
  • Amanda King
  • Ben Kristanto
  • David Lewis
  • Hannah Lubman
  • Kelsey McCoy
  • Ginny Milsap
  • Matthew Murry
  • Ashley Noah
  • Jackie Patzer
  • Kelly Pearse
  • Colton Peloquin
  • Angela Pubal
  • Lorena Rose
  • Jesse Shorts
  • Brittaney Sikorski
  • Mary Kevan Smith
  • Larry Sobek
  • Aaron Testoff
  • Chad Thompson
  • Cal Wilson