Meet the FAD Lab team!

Lab Director:

Rachel Farr
PhD from University of Virginia, Developmental and Community Psychology (BS from Cornell University)

Dr. Farr's research focuses on diverse families, particularly those parented by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) adults and formed through adoption. Overarching themes in Dr. Farr's writings include how empirical research on LGBTQ+ parent families and on adoption may be informative to public policy, practice, and law, especially given that her research has been influential in media circles, public debates, and legal and policy domains. She serves on her local county school's LGBTQ+ advisory committee, as well as in multiple leadership roles in her department and university, especially as related to diversity and inclusion efforts. Founded the FAD lab:Summer 2015

Graduate Students:

Samuel Bruun
PhD expected 2021 (Class of 2016, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point)

My broad research interests revolve around the ways in which people use cultural artifacts, such as toys, clothing, and fictional characters to represent and reinforce gender. My most recent research line has focused on understanding how LGBTQ+ people engage in gender presentation, and the unique pressures that these groups might face making presentation choices, in comparison to cisgender and heterosexual people. This line of research has led to a developing interest in discrepancy theory, examining how people’s mental health is impacted when their ideal self feels unattainable, or is blocked by social obstacles. My other research interests include the impact of children’s gender-typed play behaviors, how LGBTQ+ parents talk to their children about sexuality, and identity development in the intersection between race, gender and sexual orientation. Joined the lab: Summer 2016

Madison Diomede
PhD expected 2025 (Class of 2020, University of Texas at Tyler)

My research interests revolve around identity development, identity saliency, and socialization. In the past, I have researched developmental and psychological predictors of LGBTQ+ attitudes in college students. Currently, I am exploring the intersection between diverse family structures and identity in adolescents and young adults. I am also interested in perceived social status amongst these populations— more specifically, the relationship between perceived social status and various identities such as racial/ethnic, geographic, gender, or sexual identities. Joined the lab: Summer 2020

Emily Lapidus
PhD expected 2025 (College of Charleston, 2019)

My primary research interests focus on how and to what extent childhood development is influenced by public policy. Developmental research focused on adoption into same-gender households is still controversial and there can be a lot of changes that can be made for the better. Specifically in the FAD lab, I am interested in seeing how we can better understand development of children in same-gender households so we can better the current adoption systems. Joined the lab: Summer 2020

Kay Simon
PhD expected 2021 (Class of 2015, Ohio Wesleyan University)

Broadly my research interests focus on how we as diverse individuals come to conceptualize sexual identity in relation to other identities (e.g., racial-ethnic, gender) and various ecological contexts particularly family life. Understanding the way sin which we come to create narratives for ourselves as well as the ways in which others view and perceive our identities is my primary interest. My current research is focused on ambiguous loss theory and boundary ambiguity in the context of LGBTQ+ identity development and family stress. Further, this work is often in the context of LGBTQ+ people's perceptions of parenthood, for those who are already parents, or those who want to be parents in the future. In addition, identity-based socialization such as sexual or gender identity, racial-ethnic identity, and adoption status are an additional line of research. A relatively new interest is perceptions of sexual or gender identity that are under-researched such as asexual-identified people. Joined the lab: Summer 2016

Casey Vázquez
PhD expected 2023 (Class of 2017, University of Kentucky)

Primarily, I am interested in how parent-child relationships and communication in diverse family systems relate to adolescent and young adult's sexuality development. Specifically, I intend to explore how sexual minority and adoptive parents talk to their children about sexuality and how these conversations may influence child and family level outcomes and relationships. I am also interested in the perceptions and stereotypes of youth in foster care. Lastly, I have helped spearhead a project exploring birth relatives' experiences of contact with the adoptive families whom they are connected to. Joined the lab: Summer 2016

Postdoctoral Scholars:

Krystal Cashen

PhD, 2020, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Class of 2013, Vassar College)

Dr. Cashen earned her PhD in developmental science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2020. Broadly, her research focuses on development in the context of diverse family systems (LGBTQ+ parent families, adoptive families). Her dissertation examined experiences of stigmatization and community among emerging adults with LGBQ+ parent(s). She has also been involved in research looking at the close relationships of adopted people through the transition to adulthood. Joined the lab: Summer 2020

Research Assistants:

Brittany Alexander
Class of 2022
Major: Psychology Minor: Criminology
Key Professional Goals and Interests: I am planning on attending graduate school to pursue a PhD in Counseling Psychology one I graduate from UK. I have a particular interest in child and adolescent mental health research. Outside of school, I enjoy reading, watching movies, and spending time with my roommates. My goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and my main research interests surround the mental health of children and adolescents with chronic illnesses. Joined the lab: Summer 2020
Jordan Bernard
Class of 2022
Major: Psychology, Topical Studies in Social and Behavioral Science

Key Professional Goals and Interests: I have a strong interest in developmental psychology, with a focus on children, especially those from diverse backgrounds, and their educational process and needs. My goal is to one day be able to aide children going through school by helping them achieve an education that is best suited for them. I plan on going to graduate school to earn my Ed.S in School Psychology after I complete my undergrad. Joined the lab: Fall 2019

Emma Breetz
Class of 2022
Major: Psychology Minor: Spanish

Key Professional Goals and Interests: After graduating, I plan to apply and join the Peace Corps and work with youth in development. Forming human connections and understanding individuals from all different perspectives is what brought me to study psychology. Outside of school you can find me outdoors, running, hiking, and partaking in the occasional barre or cycling class. Joined the lab: Fall 2020

Heather Evans
Class of 2022
Major: Psychology Minor: Sociology

Key Professional Goals and Interests: I plan on taking the MCAT this spring and I will hopefully be attending medical school in order to further pursue my psychology interests to become a psychiatrist. I find all facets of psychology research to be absolutely fascinating and I am super happy to be a part of the FAD lab! Joined the lab: Summer 2020