Meet the Researchers and Graduate Students

Meet the Researchers and Graduate Students

THE BULLYING RESEARCH AND VICTIM EMPOWERMENT LAB: ENDING BULLYING THROUGH TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH


 

Susan M. Swearer, Ph.D.

FOUNDER, NEBRASKA BULLYING PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION INITIATIVE & EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE

DIRECTOR OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY FOCUS, BULLYING RESEARCH AND VICTIM EMPOWERMENT RESEARCH LAB

BORN BRAVE EXPERIENCES STUDY
PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH STUDY
TARGET BULLYING INTERVENTION PROGRAM STUDY

Dr. Susan M. Swearer serves as professor of school psychology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and co-director of the Bullying Research Network. As principal investigator of the Target Bullying: Best Practices in Bullying Prevention and Intervention project, Swearer has a long-standing track record of working with schools and districts nationwide to reduce bullying behaviors. She received a bachelor's in psychology from Swarthmore College, a master's in special education from the Pennsylvania State University, and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

For more than a decade, Swearer has developed and implemented a data-based decision-making model for responding to bullying among school-aged youth. She has conducted staff trainings in elementary, middle and high schools, with the goal of helping school personnel establish cost-effective and data-based strategies to reduce bullying behaviors. Swearer has authored more than 100 book chapters and articles on the topics of bullying, depression and anxiety in school-aged youth, co-authoring "Bullying Prevention and Intervention: Realistic Strategies for Schools" and co-editing "Bullying in North American Schools (2nd Edition)" and "Handbook of Bullying in Schools: An International Perspective."

Swearer's Target Bullying Intervention Program was featured on "CBS Sunday Morning" in February 2011, and she presented at the White House Bullying Prevention Conference in March 2011. In February 2012, she served as a panelist at Harvard University for the launch of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, appearing alongside Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelieus. Swearer also appeared as a featured bullying expert on Anderson Cooper's daytime show, "Anderson," in March 2012. Her work has been featured in numerous other print, radio and television outlets. Most recently, she has partnered with the Making Caring Common Project at Harvard University and Career Training Concepts to develop the H.E.A.R. presentation for the National Guard.

A licensed psychologist, Swearer serves as a supervising psychologist in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at UNL. She has devoted her career to the intersection of research and practice, serving as co-editor of the e-publication "Bullying @ School and Online" through Education.com. She chairs the research advisory board for the Born This Way Foundation and can be followed on Twitter (@DrSusanSwearer@Bully_Research) and Facebook via the BRAVE Lab and Bullying Research Network pages.

Sam Kesselring, M.A., PLMHP

T-BIP SPECIALIST

Sam is a doctoral candidate in the School Psychology program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her interests include bullying prevention and intervention in historically underrepresented populations in research, particularly LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and refugee/immigrant students. She is also interested in the development and implementation of culturally-humble and inclusive programs targeting social-emotional learning, youth empowerment, and promotion of positive school climate. 

Catie Carney, M.A., PLMHP

PRE-DOCTORAL INTERN

Catie is a doctoral candidate in the School Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently completing her pre-doctoral internship at NICPP Morningstar Counseling. Her research interests include bullying among students with disabilities, the role of group norms and social processes in bullying behaviors, and the relationship between school climate and bullying involvement.

Emilea Rejman, M.A., PLMHP

T-BIP SPECIALIST

Emilea is a fourth-year doctoral student in the School Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests include bullying prevention and intervention, emotion regulation, as well as chronic peer victimization. She serves as the project director for BELONG, a virtual support group for victims of bullying.

Jared Noetzel, M.A., PLMHP

T-BIP SPECIALIST

Jared is a fourth-year doctoral student in the School Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He serves as the project director for the BRNET International Study: Teacher's Perceptions of Bullying Behaviors investigating teacher's perceptions of bullying among school-aged students in 13 different countries. His research interests include cross-cultural differences in bullying behaviors, responses, prevention, and how to accommodate for cultural differences in diverse populations.

Melanie Willis, M.A., PLMHP

T-BIP DIRECTOR

Melanie is a fourth-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She serves s the project director for the T-BIP and @SocialThatSupports. She also serves as the coordinator for the Bullying Research Network (BRNET). Her research interests include bullying as an adverse childhood experience and the impact of positive childhood experiences and a resilient environment on long-term adult psychosocial and health outcomes.

Amanda Barrett, M.A.

T-BIP SPECIALIST

Amanda is a third-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests include strengths-based interventions, differences in bullying behaviors in populations with disabilities, and the adaptation of interventions across modalities and for diverse populations.

Odera Malika Achingale, B.S.

T-BIP SPECIALIST

Malika is a second-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests include cultural factors associated with resilience in immigrant youth; bullying and peer victimization in schools; the impact of school climate and parent-teacher relationships on students' wellbeing; and mental health disparities among minority youth, specifically African immigrant youth. She aspires to become a pediatric psychologist in a hospital setting and eventually work in private practice.

Hailey Kisner, B.A.

T-BIP SPECIALIST

Hailey Kisner is a second-year Ed.S. student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. She is originally from Hutchinson, Kansas. Hailey envisions using her degree to work in a rural school district. She has a passion for civil rights, educational neuroscience, and equipping young learners with the social-emotional skills needed to live and lead successful lives. Feel free to reach out to Hailey with any inquiries or questions at hkisner2@huskersunl.edu.

Liqun "Jenny" Feng, MA, BCBA

T-BIP SPECIALIST

Jenny is a first-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program at UNL. Her research interests primarily revolve children with ASD, intellectual disability, and family with children with disability around exploring the functions, relationships, and correlations inherent in challenging behaviors and social reinforcement. Specifically, she is intrigued by the factors influencing the selection of behavior treatment plans by practitioners and families, as well as the subsequent implementation and effectiveness of these plans. Additionally, her focus extends to examining the efficacy of interventions addressing both behavioral and academic aspects.

Taylyn Petsche, BA

T-BIP SPECIALIST

Taylyn is a first-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program. More information coming soon.

Lab Alumni

Dr. Swearer has had many students graduate and contribute to research, policy, and practice across the country. See below to learn more about alumni from the lab over the past two decades. 

Raul Palacios, PhD

SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST

Raul is a 2024 doctoral graduate from the School Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He earned his Ed.S. in School Psychology from Seattle University. His research interests include bullying intervention and prevention, social justice, and the implementation of restorative practices in schools. His dissertation study investigated the association between machismo, caballerismo, ethnic identity identification, and bullying status (i.e., bully perpetrator, victim, bully-victim, not involved) among Chicano male youth. Raul completed his APA-accredited internship and fellowship at The School at Columbia University in New York City. He serves as the First Program Psychologist (Kindergarten to 3rd Grade) at The Dalton School, an independent school in the Upper East Side of New York City. He also teaches graduate courses at Bank Street College of Education. If you want to contact Dr. Palacios, you can reach him at raulapalaciosii@gmail.com

Guadalupe Gutierrez, PhD

POST-DOCTORAL STUDENT

Guadalupe is a 2024 graduate of the School Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests include the development of prevention and intervention programs for underrepresented youths and children from a strength-based perspective, with a particular focus on protective factors and resilience. She also wants to explore the underlying relationships between early school experiences like bullying and the detrimental impact on children's psychological well-being.

Linnea Swanson, PhD

POST-DOCTORAL STUDENT

Linnea is a 2024 graduate of the School Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests include the influence of interpersonal relationships on outcomes associated with adverse experiences, including bullying, for youth and young adults. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 

Miriam Crinion, PhD

POST-DOCTORAL STUDENT

Miriam is a 2024 graduate of the School Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests include the presence of bullying behaviors among students with disabilities and identifying and implementing system-wide bullying prevention programs. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Kelley Wick, PhD

HTTP://WWW.KELLEYMWICK.COM/

Kelley is a 2024 graduate of the Developmental & Learning Sciences program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She specializes in the other end of the bullying spectrum, examining what aids in higher levels of wellbeing and sense of belonging in emerging adults and teachers, especially in underrepresented and traditionally marginalized populations. Her other interests include exploring self-efficacy, self-compassion, and the role that the intersecting identities we subscribe to impact our experiences. Kelley has a strong foundation in statistics and methodology, and holds a certificate in Mixed Method Research, as well as a minor in Quantitative, Qualitative, and Psychometric Methods. Kelley has an expected graduation date of Spring 2024, and will be looking for a tenure-track faculty appointment in the Fall of 2024.