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SHAG LAB RESEARCH TEAM

Lab Director

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Brian A. Feinstein, Ph.D.

Dr. Brian A. Feinstein (he/him) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. He obtained his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Stony Brook University in 2015 after completing an APA-accredited internship at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Then, he completed an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship (F32) at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University from 2015-2018. Following the completion of his postdoctoral fellowship, he served as a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing at Northwestern University from 2018-2020. He joined the Department of Psychology at RFUMS in 2020. Dr. Feinstein is also involved in a number of professional activities including serving as an Associate Editor at Archives of Sexual Behavior and the Behavior Therapist. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist in Illinois.

His research interests include:

  • Sexual and gender minority (SGM) health

  • Bisexuality and pansexuality

  • Stigma-related stress and coping

  • Mental health, substance use, sexual health, and relationship functioning in SGM populations

  • Developing and testing interventions to improve SGM health

Postdoctoral Research Associate

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Roberto Rentería, Ph.D.

Roberto Rentería (he/him) is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the lab. He received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Arizona State University and his Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Truman State University. Broadly, Roberto's research and clinical interests focus on health outcomes and disparities among SGM communities of color, particularly assessing how intersectional structural and individual factors contribute to health disparities. Clinically, he has trained in a variety of settings (e.g., primary care) providing services for culturally diverse populations, including services in Spanish. Outside of the lab he loves to go on walks, cooking all types of food, going to the movies, and traveling to new places. 

Postdoctoral Research Associate

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Roberto Rentería, Ph.D.

Roberto Rentería (he/him) is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the lab. He received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Arizona State University and his Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Truman State University. Broadly, Roberto's research and clinical interests focus on health outcomes and disparities among SGM communities of color, particularly assessing how intersectional structural and individual factors contribute to health disparities. Clinically, he has trained in a variety of settings (e.g., primary care) providing services for culturally diverse populations, including services in Spanish. Outside of the lab he loves to go on walks, cooking all types of food, going to the movies, and traveling to new places. 

Zig (they/them) is a first year PhD student in the lab. They graduated from Florida State University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Leadership Studies. After graduation, they worked as a psychology technician in the National Center for PTSD’s Behavioral Science Division housed within the VA Boston Healthcare System. Their areas of clinical and research interests include the impacts and associations between negative interpersonal experiences and substance use, as well as, the resiliency of LGBTQ+ communities and ways that strengths can be further amplified through community-specific intervention development. When they are not in the lab, Zig enjoys painting, making music, watching cartoons, and spending time outside.

Graduate Students

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Zig Hinds, B.S.

Zig (they/them) is a second year PhD student in the lab. They graduated from Florida State University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Leadership Studies. After graduation, they worked as a psychology technician in the National Center for PTSD’s Behavioral Science Division housed within the VA Boston Healthcare System. Their areas of clinical and research interests include the impacts and associations between negative interpersonal experiences and substance use, as well as, the resiliency of LGBTQ+ communities and ways that strengths can be further amplified through community-specific intervention development. When they are not in the lab, Zig enjoys painting, making music, watching cartoons, and spending time outside.

Isabel Benjamin, B.A.

Isabel (she/her) is a second year PhD student in the lab. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Theatre from Williams College in 2019. She subsequently worked as a post-bacc research assistant at the Rhode Island Hospital at the MIDAS study. Broadly, her research interests include stigmatizing experiences contributing to SGM mental health, with a particular interest in bi+ populations and targeted psychotherapy interventions. Clinically, she is interested in working with SGM individuals and older adults. Outside of the lab, you can find her with her kitten Tooth, hanging with Kate’s dog Greta, or at her local community theatre.

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Isabel Benjamin, M.S.

Isabel (she/her) is a third year PhD student in the lab. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Theatre from Williams College in 2019. She subsequently worked as a post-bacc research assistant at the Rhode Island Hospital at the MIDAS study. Broadly, her research interests include stigmatizing experiences contributing to SGM mental health, with a particular interest in bi+ populations and targeted psychotherapy interventions. Clinically, she is interested in working with SGM individuals and older adults. Outside of the lab, you can find her with her cats Tooth and Edward Cullen, hanging with Kate’s dog Greta, or at her local community theatre.

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Kate Dorrell, M.S.

Kate (she/her) is a third year PhD student in the lab. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Chemistry. After graduation, Kate pursued a post-bacc research assistantship at the Pittsburgh Girls Study through the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry, where she worked on studies of the impact of discrimination stress in sexual minority women. Her research focuses on how romantic relationships impact mental health for SGM individuals, with a particular focus on bi+ individuals and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. In her free time, you can find Kate at Lake Michigan beaches with her dog Greta, playing with Isabel’s cats, or exploring thrift shops in Chicago.

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Taylor Macaulay, M.S.

Taylor (they/them) is a fifth year PhD student in the lab. They received their Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Dance at Wayne State University in 2015. They went on to obtain a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at Eastern Michigan University in 2019, during which they conducted research in a pediatric health psychology lab focusing on health behaviors of children with food allergies. Their research interests are in the development of health behaviors and their impact on SGM youth health outcomes. Clinically, they are interested in pediatric healthcare and working with SGM youth. Taylor spends their free time baking, making art, dancing, supporting Chicago's drag scene, and taking long walks with their sister and dog nephew. 

Sibel Sarac, M.S.

Sibel (she/her) is a sixth year PhD student in the lab. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Justice Studies from Miami University in 2018. Her research interests focus on intersectionality of race/ethnicity in sexual and gender minority individuals and related mental health outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety, PTSD). Clinically, she is interested in working with adults presenting with traumatic experiences/PTSD, as well as CPTSD. Outside of the lab, you can find her at the dog park with her dog Ralph, spending time with friends, playing the cello, or repotting one of her 30 plants. 

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Em Shea, B.A.

Em (she/they) is a second year Master’s student in Clinical Counseling in the lab. They graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with bachelor’s degrees in Clinical-Community Psychology and Political Science and a minor in LGBTQ+ studies. During her undergraduate studies, Em worked on research projects that focused on perinatal depression prevention and mindfulness, as well as research related to development of stress regulation and generational transmission of stress-related mental health disorders. They are currently working on research related to identifying priorities in child health to inform a national health equity agenda. Clinically, Em is interested in working with LGBTQ+ individuals across the lifespan. Outside of the lab, you can find them baking, taking her dog Olive on different adventures, or spending time near Lake Michigan.

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Devon Roberts, B.A.

Devon (they/them) is a first year medical student in the lab. They received their Bachelor's degree in Biology as well as in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in 2022 from Dartmouth College. During college, they helped to design and run a program to improve access to telehealth for members of Devoted Medical Group, a medical group attached to Devoted Health. After graduation, they spent a year working with the Clinical Education team at Devoted Medical Group before starting medical school. Their research and clinical interests focus on pediatric healthcare, with a special interest in the psychosocial development and wellbeing of SGM youth. Outside of the lab, you can often find them building puzzles, reading, or spending time with their two cats, Helix and Calliope.

Zig (they/them) is a first year PhD student in the lab. They graduated from Florida State University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Leadership Studies. After graduation, they worked as a psychology technician in the National Center for PTSD’s Behavioral Science Division housed within the VA Boston Healthcare System. Their areas of clinical and research interests include the impacts and associations between negative interpersonal experiences and substance use, as well as, the resiliency of LGBTQ+ communities and ways that strengths can be further amplified through community-specific intervention development. When they are not in the lab, Zig enjoys painting, making music, watching cartoons, and spending time outside.

Staff

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Research Data Management Specialist

Emily Bettin, B.A.

Emily (she/her) joined the lab as a part-time Data Analyst in 2022. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Kenyon College in 2003 and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Preclinical Psychology from Northwestern University in 2012. She is passionate about improving the health of SGM populations, and she has a knack for creative and functional survey design as well as developing and implementing sophisticated and user-friendly data management tools. She has two cats (Loki and Toby), is always up to date on the latest news, and enjoys pursuing various creative interests (most recently, knitting).

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Research Assistant

Diana Kaziyev, B.A.

Diana (she/her) joined the lab as a research assistant after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a clinical concentration from Hunter College (CUNY) in 2022. Her research interests broadly center around depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and substance use among adolescents and young adults. In her free time, Diana enjoys discovering new music, going to the movies, attending concerts, and spending time with her family and friends. 

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Volunteer Research Assistant

Morgan Cooper, B.A.

Morgan (she/her) joined the lab as a volunteer research assistant after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Indiana University in 2022. Her research interests center around close relationships with broad focuses on feelings of belonging, satisfaction, and health outcomes. Outside of her professional endeavors, Morgan enjoys reading, music, and learning about anything and everything.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Former Lab Members

Helena Blumenau, Lake Forest College, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2021-22)

Emily Ernst, St. Catherine University, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2022)

Sydni Foley, Lake Forest College, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2022)

Nadiyah Johnson, Northern Illinois University, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2022)

Spencer Royer, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, MS Student (2022-23)

Shane Kasmarogi, Research Coordinator (2023-24)

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