Current Lab Members

Dr. Jillian Ryan Scheer, Director of the Minority Stress & Trauma Lab. Dr. Scheer (she/they) is a licensed counseling psychologist and the Cobb-Jones Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Syracuse University. Dr. Scheer received a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Boston College and completed a T32 postdoctoral research fellowship at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) through the Yale University School of Public Health. Dr. Scheer’s research focuses on (a) determining mental and behavioral health consequences of trauma exposure (e.g., intimate partner violence, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse) facing diverse sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations, with a particular focus on sexual minority women; (b) identifying how stigma-related stressors potentially exacerbate PTSD symptoms among trauma-exposed SGM people; and (c) developing, testing, and implementing transdiagnostic interventions to reduce hazardous drinking and comorbid PTSD symptoms among trauma-exposed sexual minority women. ​For a complete list of Dr. Scheer’s publications, please visit MyNCBIGoogle Scholar, or ResearchGate. Outside of work, Dr. Scheer loves being a new mom, listening to radio interviews, reading fiction, traveling, biking, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

Cory J. Cascalheira, B.A. (he/they) is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Counseling & Educational Psychology at New Mexico State University. Prior to graduate school, he worked for several years in community settings as a behavioral health technician, afterschool counselor, and promoter of LGBTQ+ nightlife. His research interests include stigma-related experiences among sexual and gender minorities and people from sexual subcultures (e.g., BDSM), and how these experiences impact identity, well-being, and mental health outcomes. Cory focuses on factors conferring risk for and resilience against substance misuse and internalization processes. He uses both qualitative and quantitative methods, including the application of computational social science.

Clinically, he has experience delivering cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness-based, and relational-cultural interventions through individual and group modalities with people living with homelessness, addiction, recidivism, academic distress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, loss, and concerns about body image and identity development. Cory has worked in college counseling centers and community behavioral health settings.

Aside from working as a graduate research assistant and practicum counselor, Cory serves as the research project coordinator in the Minority Stress & Trauma Lab. When he is not analyzing data or writing up results, you can find him running, hiking, biking, traveling, playing board games with friends, or reading science fiction.

Zoë Medina-Weiner (She/Her) is a rising senior at Syracuse University, majoring in psychology with a minor in human development and family science. She joined the Minority Stress & Trauma lab (MST) as a paid research assistant in December 2020. Her work within the MST lab includes recruitment for our daily diary study on sexual minority women, as well as the management of our social media accounts. Her research interests focus on the development of complex trauma in adolescents and children. Within these groups, she is interested in the development of targeted early interventions for minimizing the effects of both CPTSD and PTSD. Zoë will be applying to post-baccalaureate research assistant positions this Fall and plans to attend graduate school to obtain her master’s in psychology during the Fall of 2023.

TJ Shaw is a rising senior at Syracuse University (SU), majoring in psychology, history, and photojournalism. He has spent three semesters performing mentored research in the Close Relationships and Healthy Living lab at SU and joined the Minority Stress & Trauma (MST) lab as a paid research assistant in December of 2020. Within the MST lab, TJ has been involved in recruitment for our daily diary study of sexual minority women (SMW) and screening articles for a meta-analysis on the SMW’s PTSD symptomatology. He has also worked with other lab members to develop our lab’s identity by connecting us with a graphic designer who created our lab logo. TJ’s research interests focus on the impact of traumatic events on adult attachment security, the role of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the proliferation of intimate partner violence (IPV), and developing targeted interventions for minimizing PTSD symptoms. He will be applying to Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs in the Fall of 2021.  

Spencer Watt (she/her) is a senior at Syracuse University pursuing a Bachelors of Science in both Psychology and Forensic Science, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Study in Medicolegal Death Investigation. Amongst her academics, she has worked in the Department of Psychology within the Close Relationships Lab for the past six semesters and this will be her first with the Minority Stress and Trauma Lab. Her research interests lie within interpersonal relationships and how one’s conflict resolution style and coping mechanisms for external stressors impact their partner’s emotional, mental, or physical state. With that, she hopes to understand why one goes from admiring or adoring another to actively hurting them unconsciously or consciously. She will be applying to Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs during the Fall of 2021.

Britney Kokesh (she/they) is a senior at Syracuse University pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience. First joining the MST Lab in Fall 2021, their work includes recruitment and qualitative analysis for Project QueST and literature analysis for the SMW Gender Diversity scoping review. Their research interests include the neural and psychological development of identity. This includes the impact of stigma during SGM (sexual and gender minority) identity development. They also are interested in online communities’ and tabletop-roleplaying games’ role in identity formation/expression. Britney plans on applying for PsyD Child Psychology programs or continuing their research as a PhD student in Childhood or Social Psychology post-grad.