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, B.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, 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, B.A.Shantel

Shantel is a third-year doctoral student in Dr. Gentzler’s lab. In 2013, she graduated with a B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Broadly, her interests include how personality and other interpersonally-relevant individual differences (e.g., big five traits; attachment dimensions; interpersonal traits; individual differences in social and emotional information processing) develop across the lifespan and how to measure and assess these aspects of personality.  For fun, Shantel enjoys coloring books and occasional Netflix binging.

Undergraduate Students

Alika Lopatka

Alika Lopatka is a sophomore 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 first semester in Dr. Gentzler’s I.D.E.A. lab and has not determined particular research interests yet. Potential interests include abnormal psychology and genetic counseling. In her free time, Alika enjoys hanging out with friends and family, watching TV and movies, listening to music, and playing badminton and tennis.

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 junior 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.

Emily Akers

Emily Akers is a junior and is currently pursuing a double degree in Psychology and History. Emily is also receiving a minor in Equine Assisted Therapy. She is interested in therapy and clinical mental health counseling, and while she hasn’t decided exactly what she wants to do after undergrad, she is considering law school or furthering her education in psychology. In her free time, Emily enjoys playing the piano and guitar, pretending she can dance, riding horses, and eating mint chocolate chip ice cream.

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 MorrowKayLab

Kayley Morrow is a sophomore from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Religious Studies. Her current research interests include emotion regulation, pastoral counseling, and marriage and family relationships. She plans to earn her PhD in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys drinking Diet Coke, playing the ukulele, and being outdoors.

Lora McDonaldHeadshot

Lora McDonald is a sophomore Psychology major from Clarksburg, West Virginia. Her current research interests are in child and adolescent communication, parent-child relationships, and emotional regulation in children and adolescents. She plans to earn a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys watching Netflix, reading, and spending time outdoors.

Sophie Walz

Sophie is a senior at WVU from Huntington, West Virginia. She is finishing her last courses in order to complete a B.S. in Biology and Psychology. This is her first semester working in Dr. Gentzler’s I.D.E.A. lab. She hopes to continue her studies in graduate school or medical school focusing on neuroscience and sleep. In her leisure time, she enjoys listening to music, visiting friends, and cuddling with her dog Fée.

Taija Thomas

Taija Thomas is a junior 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 interns at the Child Advocacy Center. After undergrad, she plans to attend obtain her PhD in clinical or counseling psychology. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and basically doing anything that involves her two Labrador retrievers.

Victoria Angel

Victoria Angel is a junior Psychology major from Centreville, Virginia. This is her first semester in Dr. Gentzler’s lab. Her research interests include abnormal psychology and adolescent development. She is hoping to go to medical school, to work towards a career in pediatric psychiatry. In her free time, she enjoys gymnastics, traveling, and spending time outside.

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.

Meagan Meagan (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.

Frankie Frankie’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 F12 Cara 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 F12 Jennifer 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