• Ph.D., M.A. Duke University
  • B.S. University of Richmond

Areas of Expertise

  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Developmental Psychopathology
  • Peer Relations and Friendships


Why do friends matter to us? How do friendships affect children’s and adolescents’ social and emotional development? Are friendships only positive influences, or can friends also lead us astray? Can friends buffer vulnerable youth against challenges in the peer world?

These are the kinds of questions I ask in my research, and they all address the goal of understanding the developmental significance of friendship—how friendships contribute to our adjustment and well-being. My interest in psychology was sparked in my introductory psychology course at the University of Richmond, and my first taste of research came soon after as part of a class in which students worked together on research investigating children’s peer relationships.

After graduating from Richmond with a B.S. in psychology, I attended Duke University’s Ph.D. program in clinical psychology and graduated in 1999. My research at Duke focused on the peer relationships of aggressive children, and my clinical work focused on prevention and intervention efforts for children at risk for Conduct Disorder.

I completed my clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh and then returned to my alma mater as Assistant Professor of Psychology. At Richmond I embraced the opportunity to work closely with students in a liberal arts environment and to collaborate with faculty invested in undergraduate education. I was Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and MacEldin Trawick Professor of Psychology at Richmond from 1999-2012.

In 2012, I moved to Colgate University for four wonderful (and cold) years as Professor of Psychology and then had the great opportunity to join the faculty at Oxford College of Emory University in 2016.

I am thrilled to be a part of the Davidson College faculty, beginning in January 2023, and I am eager to work with Davidson students in similar collaborative endeavors as I experienced as an undergraduate student. I live in Davidson with my partner, Doug Hicks, and my two children (well, one only when he visits from college).