Current Research Assistants

Autumn Williams

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Fall 2018 - present


Autumn is an undergraduate senior at The Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Human Development and Family Studies, and minoring in Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies. She enjoys playing video games, reading, and exercising in her free time. Following graduation, Autumn plans to explore work with LGBTQ+ youth and victims of sex trafficking.


Cara Scipioni

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Fall 2018 - present


Cara is a senior undergraduate student at The Pennsylvania State University majoring in Biobehavioral Health with a minor in Bioethics and Medical Humanities. Outside of school Cara enjoys painting, going to concerts, and playing with her dog. After graduation, she plans on attending graduate school to get her Master's in Public Health with a focus on either Epidemiology or Human Genetics.

Lauren Whitley

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Spring 2019 - present


Lauren is a senior studying Psychology with double minors in Sexuality & Gender Studies and Deafness & Hearing Studies. Outside of the lab, Lauren also works at the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (formerly the LGBTQA Student Resource Center) and volunteers with the Parents Program on campus. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music, watching dog videos, and napping. After graduation, she plans on going to graduate school to get a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Angel Moulton

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Fall 2019 - present


Angel is a junior undergraduate student at The Pennsylvania State University studying Psychology with a minor in Sexuality and Gender Studies. Angel enjoys reading, drawing, and hanging around friends in their free time. In the future, Angel plans on attending graduate school to earn a Masters in Counseling Psychology and work as a therapist for LGBT+ youth.

Taylor Owen

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Fall 2019 - present


Taylor is a senior at The Pennsylvania State University pursuing a B.S. degree in Biobehavioral Health with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Outside of school, Taylor enjoys drawing and exploring her hometown of NYC. She aspires to further her education and become a physician assistant in the future.

Emily Thibault

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Fall 2019 - present


Emily is currently a junior undergraduate student at The Pennsylvania State University studying Human Development and Family Studies. Emily enjoys reading, travel, and her involvement in Penn State THON. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school, then to work with children and adolescents.

Shannon Lavelle

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Fall 2019 - present


Shannon is a sophomore undergraduate student at The Pennsylvania State University studying Human Development and Family Studies with a plan to minor in Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies. Outside of school, Shannon enjoys baking, watching Netflix, and listening to music. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to get her Master's degree in Social Work and then go on to work within the Foster Care system.

Megan Stoddard

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Spring 2020

Megan Stoddard is a junior undergraduate student at the Pennsylvania State University studying Communication Sciences and Disorders with a Human Development and Family Studies minor. Outside of school, Megan enjoys singing with her a a cappella group, The Coda Conduct, and learning languages online. After graduation, Megan plans to attend graduate school to get her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology in order to achieve her goal of becoming a voice specialist for transgender individuals and singers.

Ashlie Dykeman

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Spring 2020

Ashlie is a junior undergraduate student studying Biobehavioral Health with a Human Development and Family Studies Minor. Outside of school she enjoys being part of her sorority, being a fundraising chair for THON and participating in the Association of Pre-professional Pediatric Specialists. After graduation, Ashlie plans to attend graduate school to get a degree in Pediatric Nursing.

Rachael Hobbs

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Spring 2020

Rachael is a junior undergraduate student at the Pennsylvania State University studying Psychology with a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor. Outside of school, Rachael enjoys performing comedy with Derby: A Women's Comedy Troupe and Second Floor Stand-Up, writing for Phroth--Penn State's humor publication, and spending time with her friends. After graduation, Rachael plans to attend graduate school in order to further pursue her studies in Psychology.

Tierney Smith

Research Assistant

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Spring 2020

Tierney is a junior undergraduate student at the Pennsylvania State University studying Biobehavioral Health with a Sexuality and Gender Studies minor. Outside of school, Tierney enjoys football games, reading, and being involved on campus. After graduation, Tierney plans on gaining experience in the workforce before heading towards graduate school.

Have any questions? Send an email to Dr. Tornello at GenderDiverseParents@gmail.com