Meet the Team

The most valuable part of the Play Lab is the people...

Dr. Lisabeth DiLalla, PhD, received her graduate degree in developmental psychology from the University of Virginia in 1987. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in behavior genetics at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado. Since then, she has been at Southern Illinois University, currently as a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, part of the School of Medicine, with a cross-appointment in the Department of Psychology. Her research on preschoolers has focused on aggressive and cooperative peer behaviors, behavioral adjustment to school, and play and imagination. Other research interests include delinquency and cognitive development. Dr. DiLalla focuses on twins in her research in order to better understand the contributions of genes and environment to the behaviors she studies. She also teaches child development and behavior genetics to undergraduate students and medical students.

 

Graduate Research Assistants:

  • Riley Marshall, MS, is the current SITSS lab coordinator and a third-year Brain & Cognitive Sciences Psychology graduate student. Her master's thesis project (from Western IL University) investigated the relationship between retrospective reports of parenting and adult self-esteem using a monozygotic (identical) twin difference design.
  • Matthew Jamnik, MA, is a fifth-year Brain & Cognitive Sciences Psychology graduate student who was previously the SITSS lab coordinator (2016-2018) and is now currently a Graduate Research Assistant. His master's thesis project involved investigating the relationship between various genetic and environmental factors on preschooler's internalizing problems. He is currently beginning his doctoral dissertation project, which will examine the relationship between preschoolers' physical activity and health outcomes experienced in middle childhood.
  • Emily Pali, MA, is a third-year Child Clinical Psychology graduate student who works in the lab as a Graduate Research Assistant. She recently finished her master's thesis project, which examined at-risk temperaments and parenting practices and their interactive effect on internalizing problems in 5-year-old children. 
  • Rachel Weisbecker, BA, is a first-year Child Clinical Psychology graduate student who completed her bachelor's degree from Case Western Reserve University and recently joined the lab in Fall 2020 after working as a research assistant at Northwestern University in Chicago.

 

Undergraduate Research Assistants:

  • Rachel Ewing
  • Elena Cornelius
  • Tori McNary
  • Kieleha Pinkston
  • Maria Garcia Yanez
  • Megan Myers
  • Amber Canby
  • Tehya Payne

 

Recent Honors and Awards:

  • Kelly McKiness was awarded the Best Undergraduate Poster award, Midwestern Psychological Association, 2020.
  • Emily Pali and Matt Jamnik were awarded the Best Graduate Student Oral Presentation, Sigma Xi National Science Honor Society Virtual Symposium, June 2020.
  • Lisabeth DiLalla was elected to serve as the new President-elect of the Behavioral Genetics Association, 2020.
  • Kelly McKiness was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Sigma Xi Poster, 2019.
  • Riley Marshall was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Sigma Xi Poster, 2019.
  • Emma Diaz received the Deb Morrow scholarship for her dissertation project, 2019.
  • Dr(s). Lisabeth DiLalla, Karla Fehr, and Michelle Kibby received the APA summer undergraduate experience grant, 2019.
  • Lisabeth DiLalla was awarded the SIU School of Medicine Outstanding Educator Award, 2018.
  • Erin Boester received 2nd place in the McNair Scholars Research Symposium, 2018
  • Shay Wood was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Sigma Xi Poster (Wood, Jamnik, & DiLalla, 2018), SIUC Sigma Xi Poster Session, April 2018.
  • Megan McCrary was awarded the Sigma Xi Rose and Essie Padgett Graduate Student Research Award, SIUC, 2018.
  • Gabe Casher was awarded the Sigma Xi Rose and Essie Padgett Graduate Student Research Award, SIUC, 2017.
  • Emma Diaz was named an SRCD Millenium Scholar, 2017.
  • Lisabeth DiLalla was awarded the SIU School of Medicine Academy Scholar Award, 2017.
  • Gabe Casher was awarded an Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award from the SIU Psychology Department, 2017.
  • Jordan Constance was awarded the Sigma Xi Rose and Essie Padgett Graduate Student Research Award, SIUC, 2016.
  • Kesia McClellan received 2nd place in the Behavioral Sciences division of the SIU REACH Poster Forum, 2016.
  • Matt Jamnik was awarded the Robert C. Radtke Leadership Award by the SIU College of Liberal Arts, 2014.
  • Lisabeth DiLalla was awarded the 2013 SIU UWPA Faculty Mentor of the Year Award, nominated by her wonderful students!
  • Sufna Gheyara and Jackie Klaver both were awarded the Sigma Xi Rose and Essie Padgett Graduate Student Research Award, 2013.
  • Lisabeth DiLalla was elected a Charter Fellow of the Midwestern Psychological Association.
  • Lisabeth DiLalla was awarded the Outstanding Mentor of Undergraduate Research Award from the SIUC Chapter of Sigma Xi, nominated by her students, in 2010 and 2006.
  • Lisabeth DiLalla was elected a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.
  • Jaimi Mathias was awarded the Sigma Xi National Honor Society, SIU Chapter, Rose and Essie Padgett Graduate Student Research Award, 2012.
  • Jaimi Mathis, Sara Biebl, Sufna Gheyara, and Sarah Long were awarded the Sigma Xi Best Graduate Student Poster Award at the 2011 Sigma Xi Research Day competition.
  • Sara Biebl and Kristin Bell both were awarded Outstanding Dissertation Awards by the Psychology Department!
  • Sarah Long was awarded the Sigma Xi National Honor Society, SIU Chapter, Rose and Essie Padgett Graduate Student Research Award, 2010.
  • Sara Biebl was awarded the Sigma Xi Best Graduate Student Poster Award at the 2010 Sigma Xi Research Day competition.
  • Jessica Young was awarded First Place for her research poster at the SIUC Research Day competition. She also was awarded a Psi Chi award for her same poster presented to the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago, 2010.
  • Sara Biebl was awarded the Sigma Xi National Honor Society, SIU Chapter, Rose and Essie Padgett Graduate Student Research Award, 2009.
  • Sara Biebl and Kristin Bell were awarded the Sigma Xi Best Graduate Student Poster Award at the 2009 Sigma Xi Research Day competition.
  • Kristin Bell was awarded the Sigma Xi National Honor Society, SIU Chapter, Rose and Essie Padgett Graduate Student Research Award, 2008.
  • Sara (Wonderlich) Biebl was awarded the Sigma Xi Best Graduate Student Poster Award at the 2008 Sigma Xi Research Day competition.
  • Katie Butera was awarded the People's Choice Award for her research poster at the SIUC Research Day competition.
  • Kristin Bell was awarded a grant from the national Sigma Xi grant program to help conduct her dissertation research.
  • Kristin BellSara Wonderlich, and Shana Sigler were awarded the Sigma Xi Best Graduate Student Poster Award at the 2007 Sigma Xi Research Day competition.
  • Katie ButeraAngela Phillips, and Kit Elam were awarded the Sigma Xi Best Undergraduate Student Poster Award at the 2007 Sigma Xi Research Day competition.
  • Katie Butera was awarded a 2007-2008 Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity Award from SIUC to conduct her undergraduate honors thesis on cooperative behaviors in young twins.
  • Wendy Young received the Regional Research Award from Psi Chi for her 2007 Midwestern Psychology Association conference submission.
  • Lisabeth F. DiLalla was awarded the Sigma Xi National Honor Society, SIU Chapter, Outstanding Mentor Award, 2006. (Thank you, students who nominated me!!)
  • Paula Mullineaux was awarded the Sigma Xi National Honor Society, SIU Chapter, Rose and Essie Padgett Graduate Student Research Award, 2006.
  • Elizabeth Tolar was awarded the Sigma Xi Best Undergraduate Poster Award at the 2006 Sigma Xi Research Day competition.
  • Elizabeth Tolar was awarded a 2006-2007 Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity Award from SIUC to conduct her undergraduate honors thesis on parent-child interaction behaviors when the children are 1 to 4 years old as they relate to peer play behaviors at age 5.
  • Maja Wright-Phillips won Honorable Mention for her thesis poster presentation at SIUC's Research Day in April, 2005.
  • Maja Wright-Phillips was awarded a 2004-2005 Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity Award from SIUC to conduct her undergraduate honors thesis on 5-year-old anxiety as a predictor of early adolescent academic and behavioral adjustment.
  • Paula Mullineaux won for Best Sigma Xi poster at the 2004 SIUC Sigma Xi Research Day competition.
  • Maja Wright-Phillips won Outstanding Undergraduate 2004 Sigma Xi poster at the SIUC Sigma Xi Research Day competition.

 

For correspondence, send e-mail to: ldilalla@siu.edu