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Clinical PhD Program

Rebecca Schiedel

Rebecca is a fifth-year student in the clinical PhD program. She is from Alexandria, VA and earned her BA with highest distinction in psychology and sociology from the University of Virginia. Before beginning graduate school, Rebecca worked as a research assistant/programmer at Mathematica Policy Research, a social policy research organization. Her current research interests include perceptions of offender maturity in the juvenile justice system and community-based interventions for offenders. Rebecca is also involved in the Reentry Project, a program that aims to reduce risk factors for individuals returning to the community after incarceration. Rebecca enjoys strength training, watching sports of all kinds, and dining out in Philadelphia’s many restaurants.

Email: | Vita (PDF)

Kelley Durham - Drexel Psychology Clinical PhD Student

Kelley Durham

Kelley Durham is a fourth year PhD student from Guilford, CT. She graduated from Boston College in 2012 where she completed an honors thesis on stress and emotional memory. After graduating, Kelley worked for two years as a research coordinator in the Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachussetts General Hospital before moving to Philadelphia to attend the MS in Psychology program at Drexel. Kelley studied under the mentorship of Naomi Goldstein, PhD, in the Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab and completed her Master's thesis on the relationship among depression, anxiety, suggestibility and false confessions. As a PhD student, Kelley has focused her research on risk assessment and management of justice-involved individuals with mental health needs. Kelley loves Boston sports, classic old movies, and time with family and friends.

JD/PhD Program

Alice Thornewill

Alice is a 6th-year student in the JD/PhD Program. She is from Louisville, Kentucky, and she graduated from Grinnell College in 2011 with a BA in English. During her years at Grinnell, she volunteered with The Grinnell Prison Program and taught a literature course to inmates at the Newton Correctional Facility in Newton, Iowa. After graduating, Alice spent a year in Prague working as a proofreader at Havel, Holasek & Partners, an international law firm. Alice has also volunteered with Shakespeare Behind Bars at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, Kentucky. Her research interests include recidivism rates, prison reform, arts and education programs in prisons, and community-based alternatives to incarceration. At Drexel, Alice serves as coordinator for the Reentry Project, a comprehensive project designed specifically to meet the needs of offenders reentering the population after incarceration. In her free time, Alice enjoys reading novels, singing, theatre, doing crossword puzzles, watching good TV, doing Zumba, playing Settlers of Catan, and spending time with her friends and family.

Email: | Vita (PDF)

Victoria Pietruszka

Victoria is a fifth-year JD/PhD student from New Hartford, New York and graduated from the University of Rochester in 2013 with a BA in Psychology. During this time, she was a research assistant for the Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization at the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and completed an honors thesis investigating college adjustment and domestic violence. Her research interests include bias and decision-making, risk assessment, diversion and alternatives to incarceration, reentry and public policy. Victoria is a project coordinator for the Reentry Project. She is currently studying methodologies to measure bias and interventions to promote recognition, particularly for the bias blind spot. In her free time, Victoria enjoys reading, exploring the outdoors, video games, and cross stitching.


Madelena Rizzo

Madelena Rizzo is a third-year student in the JD/PhD program. She is from Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and she graduated from Bowdoin College in 2014 with a BA in Psychology. At Bowdoin she was awarded a summer fellowship to intern at a youth correctional facility in South Portland, Maine. Upon graduation, she spent two years immersing herself in Philadelphia's mental health and legal communities with engagements including developing a presentation about trauma for police officers, participating in prison workshops, and acting as administrator for the Philadelphia Restorative Justice Coalition. She also served as a research assistant for the "Crossroads Study" under Laurence Steinberg of Temple University, a longitudinal study examining the consequences of juvenile justice involvement. Her clinical and research interests are in rehabilitation programs in prisons, alternatives to incarceration, and criminal and juvenile justice system reform. She is particularly interested in reentry after incarceration, including ways to reduce recidivism and increase positive outcomes. In her free time, Madelena enjoys exploring anywhere and everywhere, running, spending time outdoors, solving cryptograms and being with family and friends.

MS Program

Joanna Thomas

Joanna is a 2018 graduate of the MS in Psychology program with a focus on forensics. Her research interests include alternatives to incarceration, law and public policy, risk assessment, factors of resiliency after traumatic experiences, and reentry into the community. Joanna is from the Atlantic City, New Jersey area. Prior to beginning graduate school, she was employed by the National Center for Victims of Crime, where she worked in various capacities, including advancing laws and policies that created resources and secured rights and protections for victims at the federal and state levels, as well as provided technical support to attorneys representing crime victims in civil actions. Joanna graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a BA in English Literature, where she was a member of the women's varsity swimming and diving team, as well as an Olympic trial qualifier. She is currently working at a hospital in New Jersey.

Research Assistants

Na Young

Na Young (Nay) is a 2015 Drexel graduate with a degree in Psychology and a Minor in Criminal Justice. She joined the Heilbrun Research Lab in 2012 and gained valuable research experience in forensic psychology. She also has research experience in eating disorders, cognitive neuroscience, and brain imaging. Her primary interests include the assessment and treatment of high-risk behavior individuals, working with individuals who are deemed incompetent to stand trial (because of both legal and clinical implications), reentry and recidivism. She has been involved in several projects in this lab and completed her independent study under Heilbrun’s mentorship. Currently, she is the Forensic Research Coordinator and Database Analyst at Philadelphia’s Mental Health Care Corporation. She intends to pursue a JD/PhD in the near future with the hope of integrating her passion in data-science and forensic psychology for data-driven policy making and clinical practice. In her free time, she enjoys discovering new restaurants, traveling and participating in volunteer work around the City of Philadelphia.