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Student Profiles: Fall 2014


1177_13_052.jpgBridgette Aumand
Undergraduate Student
Human Development

Bridgette Aumand (’15) is a Human Development major and Nutritional Sciences minor in the College of Human Ecology. She began working on the Superstar Practitioners Project under the direction of Charles Izzo in January 2013. The Superstar Practitioners Project investigates the behaviors and practices of direct-service providers across a variety of settings that facilitate client engagement. Bridgette has been involved in conducting an extensive literature review across many fields, including residential childcare, perinatal home visiting, disability services, early childhood education, parent training programs, psychotherapy, and health-care. She was also a contributor to a research article in press for the International Journal of Child and Family Welfare: Special Edition. This paper investigated the perceptions of youth in residential childcare settings to determine what characteristics facilitated positive relationships with caregivers.

In the future Bridgette plans to continue her education to become a nurse midwife. She has had numerous shadowing experiences in the hospital and home birth setting, and has shadowed a home-visiting nurse with the School Readiness Project at Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Developmental Services in Elmira, NY. She is currently serving as president of the community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, as well as participating in Human Ecology Ambassadors. She enjoys spending her free time doing community service, watching movies, and hiking the beautiful gorge trails.


1083_13_016.jpgBrian Cash
Graduate Student
Human Development

Brian Cash is a first-year Ph.D. student in Human Development. After graduating from Cornell with a degree in Applied Economics and Management in May 2013, Brian decided to pursue his interest in psychology by working as a research assistant in the BCTR. He has worked primarily with Charlie Izzo on the Residential Childcare Project. This project involves analyzing data from and providing feedback to residential childcare agencies that have undergone an intervention known as CARE. This intervention is designed to improve the quality of the relationships between children in residential care and the staff who care for them. Brian’s work on this project has ranged from applying research from related fields, to interpreting primary data, to analyzing and summarizing observed results.

Brian’s time in the BCTR has expanded his knowledge of the research process, and instilled in him the importance of translational research. Working on the Residential Childcare Project has reinforced Brian’s interest in the positive social development of adolescents. He intends to continue doing research in this area during his time as a graduate student, always keeping an eye towards the practical applications of his research.

1177_13_017.jpgVictoria Atzl

Victoria Atzl graduated from Cornell in May 2014 with a B.S. in Human Development. While at Cornell, Victoria was a research assistant for a home visiting research initiative directed by John Eckenrode and Charles Izzo. She researched home visiting programs such as the Nurse Family Partnership and wrote research briefs on continuous quality improvement, early childhood systems, and coordination of care. This research experience led to the development of Victoria’s honors thesis. Using data from the Nurse Family Partnership, she examined whether mothers who have experienced intimate partner violence and have high levels of social support have better mental health outcomes than mothers who experienced intimate partner violence and have low levels of social support.

Victoria is currently working as a clinical research assistant for the Family Informed Trauma Treatment Center at the University of Maryland Baltimore, School of Medicine. She assists in facilitating and examining the effectiveness of Strengthening Families Coping Resources, an intervention for families who have experienced trauma that focuses on increasing coping resources and improving parenting skills. Victoria will also be assisting with the validation of a psychological assessment that measures families’ strengths and needs. The guidance and support Victoria received at the BCTR allowed her to develop research skills and a passion for working with families, which she is excited to develop further at the Family Informed Trauma Treatment Center.


1177_13_042.jpgSherry Zhang
Graduate Student
Policy Analysis and Management

Sherry is a second-year Ph.D. student in policy analysis and management. She is working on the Complementary Strengths research project with Dr. Jennifer Tiffany and on the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery with Dr. Janis Whitlock. On the Complementary Strengths project, she is evaluating the effects of peer education on risky health behaviors using survey data.

Sherry completed her bachelor’s degree in economics with minors in math and French in 2012 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She worked at the Chicago Department of Public Health and at the Institute for Health Policy and Research, on a project examining the effect of sugar-sweetened beverage taxes on obesity levels. In addition, she tutored economics and English to undergraduate and high school students.

Growing up in a financially unstable home during her youth as an immigrant showed Sherry the importance of access to health care through employer-provided insurance. Her interest in health policy solidified after taking a health economics course during her undergraduate years that taught her about health capital, insurance, and risky behaviors. In graduate school she wanted to understand the intersections of health policy, behaviors, and outcomes due to education and income disparities.

As a teaching assistant in Cornell’s Prison Education Program, Sherry became interested in family structure changes due to incarceration and its effects on child outcomes. She hopes to teach an economics or public policy course in the program in a couple of years. Sherry plans to pursue a post-doctoral position and become an assistant professor. She would like to show students the power of education to uplift others and encourage them to pursue research and higher education.

Sherry is social justice chair the Society for Asian-American Graduate Affairs and an affiliate with Cornell’s Institute for Health Economics, Behaviors and Disparities and the Cornell Population Center. She enjoys listening to jazz and exploring new places.