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Steering Committee

The Steering Committee of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network guides the development of the national network of centers to improve treatment and services for all children and adolescents in the United States who have experienced traumatic events. Steering Committee members serve 2-year terms and are selected to reflect the diversity of the NCTSN, including representatives from the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, SAMHSA, and Category II, Category III, and Affiliate organizations.

Saida Abdi

Saida M. Abdi (she/her), PhD, LICSW, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. She is a trained clinician and expert in refugee trauma and resilience. She earned her PhD in Sociology and Social Work from Boston University. Dr. Abdi has worked for more than 20 years with refugee and immigrant youth and families. Her area of focus is building individual, family, and community resilience and improving mental health access and engagement among trauma-impacted refugee and immigrant children and families. Dr. Abdi is a leader in the adaptation and implementation of Trauma Systems Therapy for Refugees (TST-R). She is also the co-author of a recently published book, Mental Health Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Youth: A Socioecological Framework (American Psychological Association, 2020).

Marisol Acosta

Marisol Acosta (she/her/ella), MEd, LPC-S, is the Director of Clinical Services at Any Baby Can in Austin, Texas where she oversees the Family Health Programs, including counseling services and medical case management for children and youth with special health care needs and cancer. She was the Director of a Category III NCTSN site at the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Health and Human Services Commission where she served as the state’s Children Mental Health Director and Manager of Child and Adolescent Services for the Behavioral Health Services and oversaw children mental health services, residential treatment services, suicide prevention, and substance abuse prevention services. Marisol contributed to the redesign of children community mental health programs and the Texas Resilience and Recovery service delivery system, including co-authoring the third version of the Texas CANS. From 2011-2019, she was the trauma subject matter expert for the state of Texas implementing trauma informed care policies, evidence-based practices (including TF-CBT, PCIT, Seeking Safety, and PFA) and systems change impacting behavioral health, child welfare, disaster behavioral health, schools and tribal nations in Texas. Marisol holds a BA degree from the University of Puerto Rico, a MA in Counseling from the University of Houston, and a Graduate Certificate from Harvard University and the Italy Ministry of Health on Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery. She is an NCTSN CCCT Facilitator and member of the Affiliate Advisory Group. She serves as a member of the Advisory Board of La Red Por los Derechos de la Niñez de Puerto Rico. She is the co-founder of Expertus Soulutions, LLC which provides training and consulting services focused on enhancing quality of care and competency through the use and implementation of best practices and trauma-informed care. She is a state and national speaker and trainer on matters of trauma, trauma informed care transformation, unaccompanied minors, and children mental health.

Barker, Alex

Alex Barker (They/Them) is a young professional who began their career as a youth peer support specialist at FMRS Health Systems Inc., located in southern West Virginia. Through the agency, Alex joined the NCTSN Youth Task Force, now the Young Adult Collective, and has used their lived experience as a tool to increase the quality of services provided to youth and young adults. Now working in Raleigh, NC as the Outreach Coordinator with the Capital Area Teen Court Program, Alex continues to share their knowledge and experiences inside the NCTSN and beyond. Outside of work, Alex serves on the board of directors for Safe Schools NC, a non-profit dedicated to resourcing teachers passionate about supporting LGBTQ+ youth in their classrooms. Additionally, they have partnered with NC State University on a research initiative addressing the professional development needs of 4-H program staff as they pertain to serving youth identifying in the LGBTQ+ community. In 2019, Alex received the Youth Advocate of the Year Rockstar Award from Youth Move National. Alex is currently pursuing their MSW  and plans to use this degree in addressing needed systems changes that will impact service delivery for youth and young adults. 

Margaret Balustein

Margaret Blaustein (she/her), PhD, is a clinical psychologist whose career has focused on the understanding and treatment of complex childhood trauma and its sequelae. With an emphasis on the importance of understanding the child-, the family-, and the provider-in-context, her work has focused on identification and translation of key principles of intervention across treatment settings, building from the foundational theories of childhood development, attachment, and traumatic stress. Dr. Blaustein is co-developer of the Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC) treatment framework (Kinniburgh & Blaustein, 2005), and co-author of the text, Treating Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents: Fostering Resilience through Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competence (Blaustein & Kinniburgh, 2010 / 2018). She is currently Director of the Center for Trauma Training in Needham, MA, and is past Division Director for Trauma Training and Education at The Trauma Center at JRI. She is actively involved in local, regional, and national collaborative groups dedicated to the empathic, respectful, collaborative and effective provision of services to this population. Dr. Blaustein has been involved in various NCTSN-funded projects since the network’s inception.

Shannon Crossbear

Shannon Crossbear (she/her) articulates her purpose as "to demonstrate and promote gentle healing." She expresses her commitment to healing through her work in the world. Her own community and family history propelled her to develop leadership to address disparities that have led to poor outcomes for friends and relatives. Shannon’s work has included facilitating and consulting with the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Georgetown University, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the Surgeon Generals Conference on Children’s Mental Health. She has worked with tribal and non tribal communities in providing technical assistance to Systems of Care and Circles of Care utilizing traditional interventions and the promotion of culturally congruent and trauma informed practices. Shannon has worked in communities throughout the contiguous United States and Alaska, as well as within Canada, to address systemic change for improved out comes for children and their families. Ms. Crossbear has facilitated and supported practices and services that include the provision of culturally-cemented early childhood; parenting programs; supports for transition age youth, young adults, and families with mental health and substance abuse issue. Ms Crossbear is skilled in trauma-informed community engagement. She has worked with supporting organized stakeholder voice and representation at local and national levels through various behavioral health initiatives.

Nancy Fitzpatrick

As funded CAT III site Project Director, in addition to successfully administering SAMHSA grant funding and providing oversight of the implementation of the project, a school-based therapy initiative that serves children, ages 3 to 18, who have experienced various types of trauma. Nancy also developed the trauma awareness training for the project on (1) how to recognize trauma; (2) how to respond to trauma; (3) how to create trauma-informed systems for children; and (4) how to manage secondary traumatic stress. Nancy successfully administered these trainings to over 300% of the first-year target population goal. As a Steering Committee member and an Affiliate Advisory Council member with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and as a national advisory board member of the TRANSFORM (Trauma and Racism Addressed by Navigating Systemic Forms of Oppression using Resilience Methods) Program with Washington State University, Nancy works closely with trauma-focused research professionals and evidence-based intervention providers to promote awareness and create transformative training tools to develop trauma-informed systems of care. She is a passionate advocate for the homeless, for those who suffer with mental illness, and for children impacted by trauma. Nancy continues to use her unique skill set and commitment to learning to maximize every effort in developing solutions for at-risk populations. Nancy also serves as the Health Committee Co-Chair for the Milwaukee Section of the National Council of Negro Women.

Chase Giroux

Chase Giroux (they/them), LMHC, has over 20 years of experience working in the field of community mental health and local non-profit agencies. After attaining their degree in counseling, Chase became a therapist trained in TF-CBT and ARC. They specialize working with children and families who exhibit a complex trauma response through a variety of interventions. Chase is passionate about building strong and resilient communities so that all children and families can thrive by utilizing a trauma-informed and culturally-responsive lens. After spending time in buddhist monasteries, practicing mindfulness in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, Chase was inspired to make this beautiful practice accessible to as many people as possible. Becoming trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and a certified Koru mindfulness trainer has allowed Chase to share this practice in a more secular context. Chase lives with their family in Northampton, Massachusetts, where they can be found playing and coaching sports in her community, hiking, and meditating.

Janice Hicks-Ulrich

Janice Hicks-Ulrich (she/her), LPC, has been licensed in the State of Oklahoma for 17 years. Janice is the Project Director for the NCTSI III grant project Guarding the Future at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma. Guarding the Future utilizes a variety of trauma-informed, evidenced-informed treatments for children, adolescents, and families, including EMDR and the culturally-adapted TF-CBT model Honoring the Children, Mending the Circle. Janice has extensive treatment experience with children, adolescents, families who have experienced trauma through 20 years of practice in the foster care system and in inpatient psychiatric hospital settings.

Hirsh-Wright, Allegra

Allegra Hirsh-Wright (she/her/hers), LCSW, works within the Department of Clinical Innovation at Maine Behavioral Healthcare. She is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of trauma-informed care, secondary traumatic stress (STS), burnout, and professional resilience. Allegra has authored multiple resources on the topics of STS, compassion fatigue, and resilience, including fact sheets, a national website, STS Core Competencies for Supervisors, and a chapter on STS and compassion fatigue in national guidelines for pre-and post-natal treatment of women with substance use disorders. In addition, she has expertise in direct clinical practice as well as training, supervision, and implementation of multiple evidence-based child trauma treatment models, and is a nationally certified TF-CBT clinician, clinical supervisor, and consultant. Allegra sits on multiple statewide committees all working towards improving trauma-informed care across Maine and is a member of the University of Kentucky’s Secondary Traumatic Stress Innovations and Solutions Center National Advisory Board and a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Affiliate Advisory Committee. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the University of Southern Maine’s School of Social Work.

Stephen Hydon

Stephen Hydon (he/his), EdD, MSW, is a Clinical Professor at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. He directs the School Social Work Program, one of the largest in the country, with over 200 students each year earning credentials to practice school social work in public school settings. Recently, Stephen was funded to co-lead a team of experts in the fields of education and secondary trauma to create a one-of-a-kind online learning platform for educators experiencing secondary traumatic stress called STAT: Hydon also serves as a liaison to the TDNC Committee of the NCTSN, as part of his role on the CAT II Trauma Services Adaptation Center for Hope, Wellness and Resiliency in Schools. Lastly, he is President of the American Council for School Social Work, a national association dedicated solely to the profession of school social work.

Kay Jankowski

Kay Jankowski (she/her), PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Director of the Dartmouth Trauma Interventions Research Center and Director of Psychology Services in the Department of Psychiatry at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. She has focused most of her career on trying to improve the lives of at-risk and trauma-affected children, teens, and families. Kay is currently leading a number of projects including a 5-year SAMHSA sponsored grant (Project LAUNCH Upper Valley) aiming to “meet young children and families where they are” through integrating mental health services and trauma-informed care into 7 pediatric sites, as well as child care centers and businesses in a tri-county area. She is a co-principal investigator on a 5-year DHHS ACF Regional Partnership Grant implementing an evidence-based enhanced care coordination model, called Wraparound, to families with substance use disorder in her community and building infrastructure to enhance coordination between systems. She is also co-lead on a new Category III NCTSN grant called Project TIDD, improving care for children and youth in New Hampshire with trauma and intellectual and development disabilities. The project aims to improve services for trauma-affected children with autism and intellectual disabilities, as well as youth with gender diverse and transgender identities. Kay has led many research projects over the years, including developing and testing new treatment interventions, disseminating evidence-based treatments for traumatized children and youth into “real world settings” and transforming child serving systems, including NH Division for Children, Youth and Families to bring a more trauma-informed approach to care and services for children and families. Kay is a certified trainer in TF-CBT.  She also trains and supervises psychology and psychiatry trainees, and has always maintained a clinical practice within the Department of Psychiatry. Kay is also a mom to two teenage and young adult children and enjoys all the natural beauty that northern New England has to offer in her spare time.

Diane Lanni

Diane Lanni (she/her) is the lead trauma coach for the Safe and Sound program at UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, MA. She works in the FaCES clinic where she provides peer support to foster care families and trains others in the trauma coach role. Recently, she has taken on the additional role as Educational Navigator, where she helps ensure foster children are receiving appropriate school services. She pulls from her decade of experience as a foster parent for the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts. She was awarded Foster Parent of the Year and had roles as a hotline, respite, and an unrestricted foster home caregiver. She has 3 biological children, 2 guardian children, and many transition age youth for whom she is their continued support person. Diane also owns and operates 2 restaurants where she employs with transition age youth. Diane is also active within the NCTSN and is currently a co-chair for the Resource Parent Curriculum Committee. She is a trained lived experience co-facilitator for the Resource Parent Curriculum and has adapted this material for use in a one on one setting in her role as a trauma coach. Diane is most passionate about promoting the idea of foster parents as professionals and providing them with proper training and support.

Meghan Marsac

Meghan Marsac (she/her), PhD, is a pediatric psychologist and a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. She serves as the site PI for the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress (Category II). Her program of research centers on medical trauma includes conducting grant-funded studies to identify predictors of emotional and physical outcomes in the context of acute or chronic medical conditions, developing and validating assessment tools, and creating and evaluating programs to promote recovery and/or adjustment to medical conditions in children and families. Meghan is a leader in the field of pediatric medical trauma, having published over 65 academic articles and 10 chapters on this topic. She has co-authored a book for parents to use to help support their children through medical care as well as to care for themselves: Afraid of the Doctor, Every Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Managing Medical Trauma ( Meghan currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology and Journal of Traumatic Stress. She has given hundreds of talks on understanding and promoting adjustment to injury and illness in children and their families. She is the CEO of the Cellie Coping Company ( which has distributed over 2000 coping kits to families with children with medical conditions. In addition, Meghan specializes in training medical teams in the implementation of trauma-informed medical care. Clinically, she implements evidence-based practices to facilitate families' management of medical treatment and emotional adjustment to challenging diagnoses and medical procedures.

Antron McCullough

Antron McCoullough (he/his), MBA, doctoral candidate, started his career in child welfare back in 2006 while earning his BA degree. During this time, Antron interned in Washington DC for three years before migrating over to Seaside, Oregon for a one-year internship. While in Oregon, he traveled across the United States speaking on child welfare trauma, policies, and other challenges that are faced by those in the system and those emancipating out of the system. By the end of that internship, he began working with Sony Corporate while obtaining his MBA degree from Saint Leo University (SLU). It was at this time that Antron switched his career to work in higher education, however, he continued to be a consultant on trauma and child welfare issues. Currently, he is an AssistantDdirector for the University of Florida Heavener School of Business, completing his DBA (Doctorate of Business Administration) at SLU with his dissertation topic titled “The Relationship Between Funds Spent on Child Welfare Programs During the Budget Decision Making Process Between the Number of Youth and the Amount of Time They Receive Services While in the System.” Antron enjoys making sure that child welfare youth, teens, and young adults have the services and resources available to them throughout their journey as they look to create positive self-development for themselves throughout their life. His mantra is, “a successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” 

Kelly N. Moore

Kelly Moore (she/her), PsyD, is a clinical psychologist licensed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She currently is the Principal Investigator and Program Manager for the Children’s Center for Resilience and Trauma Recovery (CCRTR), a SAMHSA funded, Category III Center of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. This center works to provide training and consultation to mental health providers and advanced students in evidence-informed assessment and treatment of complex trauma in children ages 0-10, along with their caregivers. Kelly is also a certified instructor for Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Training, and Youth Mental Health First Aid. She oversees the Rutgers CCRTR Mental Health Awareness Training Program, a SAMHSA funded project focused on training educators, law enforcement, clergy, and parents in QPR and Youth Mental Health First Aid. As a practitioner, her clinical expertise is in the treatment of trauma and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents with a specialty in the treatment of PTSD and OCD. Additionally, Kelly has worked in efforts to disseminate evidence-based treatments and develop trauma-focused programs in community mental health in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Her work has focused on identifying facilitators and overcoming barriers to implementation of evidence-informed practice and implementing trauma-informed care with multidisciplinary teams.

Tooru Nemoto

Tooru Nemoto (he/his), PhD, is Research Program Director at the Public Health Institute (PHI). Before joining PHI, Tooru was Associate Professor of the Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco. He has been engaging in substance abuse and HIV prevention studies and service projects for under-served and stigmatized populations, such as transgender and gender non-binary people, men who have sex with men, and sex workers in the US and Asian countries, such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia. He has been awarded a number of grants and service contracts from NIH, SAMHSA, CDC, HRSA, and private foundations. As Project Director, he recently completed a 5-year SAMHSA funded project providing trauma-informed care and prevention services targeting Asian youth in Alameda County. He co-authored a number of research papers in the field of substance abuse and HIV prevention and health promotion for under-served sexual, gender, and racial minority groups in peer-reviewed journals.

Carmen Rosa Noroña

Carmen Rosa Noroña (she/her), LICSW, MSW, MS. Ed., IMH-E® Infant Mental Health Mentor-Clinical, is from Ecuador where she trained and practiced as a clinical psychologist. In the US, she obtained MA degrees in social work and early intervention. For over 25 years, Carmen Rosa has provided clinical services to young children and their families in a variety of settings including early intervention, home-based and outpatient programs. She currently is the Child Trauma Clinical Services and Training Lead at Child Witness to Violence Project and is the Associate Director of the Boston Site Early Trauma Treatment Network at Boston Medical Center. She is a Child-Parent Psychotherapy National Trainer, an expert faculty of the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood Training (DC: 0-5) and one of the developers of the Harris Professional Development Network Diversity-Informed Tenets for Work with Infants Children and Families Initiative ( and of the Boston Medical Center Family Preparedness Plan. Her practice and research interests are on the impact of trauma on attachment; the intersection of culture, immigration, and trauma; diversity-informed reflective supervision and consultation; and on the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based practice in real world settings. She is a former co-chair of the Culture Consortium of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and has adapted and translated materials for Spanish-speaking families affected by trauma. Carmen Rosa has also contributed to the literature in infant and early childhood mental health, diversity, and immigration.

Gilbert Reyes

Gil Reyes (he/him), PhD, was born and raised in California, where he lived until he finished college at University of California Santa Barbara. Before switching his major to psychology, Gil was involved in the performing arts as an actor, director, and musician/vocalist. His interests in psychology focus on human development (especially attachment theory and behavior) and emotional disturbance (especially trauma). Gil completed his doctorate at the University of Colorado with a dissertation examining the intersection of trauma, attachment security, shame, and sensitivity to rejection. Upon graduating, he began a tenure-track academic appointment in the Disaster Mental Health Institute within the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of South Dakota. There he remained for 6 years, became married to his wonderful spouse (April), gained wonderful maturational experiences, and was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. Gil moved back to Santa Barbara in 2005 and worked as an Associate Dean in the School of Psychology at Fielding Graduate University until 2013. Since then, he has mainly worked as a consultant, except for a brief stint as Behavioral Health Director for a Native American tribal government. Gil began his involvement with NCTSN when he was a co-investigator for the Terrorism and Disaster Center at the University of Oklahoma. He has contributed to a number of projects and training programs through the NCCTS at UCLA, and recently joined the Louisiana State University’s Terrorism and Disaster Center (TDC-4). He also has been among a NCTSN Affiliate Members for several years and is currently serving on the Affiliate Advisory Group.

Kelly Sullivan

Kelly Sullivan (she/her), PhD, is a Licensed Psychologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center and has worked at the Center for Child and Family Health (CCFH) for more than 14 years. She directs their NCTSN project and a project to improve services to families impacted by domestic violence and co-directs projects that provide post-adoption support and trauma-informed training for schools. She is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and is a Level II Master trainer in PCIT. She facilitates the workshop, “Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma,” for foster, kinship, and adoptive caregivers and trains facilitators of this curriculum. She has also worked with Project Broadcast, an initiative to bring trauma-informed practices to NC’s child welfare system, since it began 2011 and is dedicated to assisting all types of agencies to become more trauma-informed.

Veronica Willeto-DeCrane

Veronica Willeto DeCrane (she/her), is Diné (Navajo) of the Many Hogans Clan and born for the Mexican Clan. Her maternal grandparents are of the Tangle Clan, and her paternal grandparents are of the Bitter Water Clan. She was raised in Ojo Encino, New Mexico on the Navajo reservation and now lives in Billings, Montana with her husband and children. Veronica has worked in education and youth development for over ten years in the areas of school turnaround, parent and community engagement, youth leadership development, afterschool programs, cultural responsiveness, systems change, and behavioral and academic supports. Veronica is a Training and Technical Assistance Manager for the National Native Children’s Trauma Center (NNCTC). Through a collaboration with the Tribal Youth Resource Center, she manages trauma-informed and healing-focused training and technical assistance for tribal youth programs and tribal juvenile healing to wellness courts. She also supports the NNCTC’s child welfare work in partnership with Casey Family Programs, co-facilitates a nationwide Trauma Resilient Schools Peer Learning Network with the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, leads the NNCTC’s Youth Advisory Council, and contributed to the adaptation of Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency model into a culturally-congruent curriculum for tribal youth. In addition to her work with the NNCTC, Veronica is a Multi-Tiered System of Support Coach with the Montana Office of Public Instruction and serves as the Vice-President of the Montana Afterschool Alliance Steering Council.

Vargas-Haskins, Wanda, PhD

Wanda Vargas-Haskins, (she/her), PhD, is currently the senior psychologist at New York Presbyterian’s Family PEACE Trauma Treatment Center. She dedicates herself to improving the safety and well-being of children and caregivers who have been exposed to trauma. Wanda was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States at the young age of 3, where she was raised in the community of Washington Heights. She earned her PhD in the combined Clinical and School Psychology program at Hofstra University where she developed an interest in maternal stress and mother-child dyads. Her career began in St. Barnabas Hospital’s Safe Start program, testing the effectiveness of using Child-Parent Psychotherapy as a treatment for young children exposed to violence. In 2011, she became a clinician at New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Family PEACE Trauma Treatment Center to continue working with the underserved population of Latino/a/x young children and their parents exposed to trauma in Washington Heights and Inwood. Over the years, Wanda’s passion for working with families has grown into a dedication and commitment to affect change both directly and on a systemic level. Through her leadership at Family PEACE, she has been working on creating a trauma-informed approach to identifying at-risk young children and developing programming that is client-centered and culturally attuned to the needs of the community. She dreams of one day being able to break the intergenerational transmission of trauma for our nation’s children.

New York Presbyterian Hospital New York , NY 10032
(646) 317-5515

Jennifer Velten

Jen Velten (she/her), MA, LPC, ACS, CCTP, graduated John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2015 with an MA in Forensic Mental Health Counseling and became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2019. She is licensed in the State of New Jersey with 7 years of experience working with youth and families in the mental health field. Jen became licensed as an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) in 2020. Jen additionally became certified as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional in 2021. She was a school counselor for 3 years as well as a clinician with Care Plus in the Child/Family Division for the past 7 years.  Jen has extensive training on trauma treatment modalities for youth. She has been trained in Prepare/Enrich, CBT, TF-CBT, ARC, and most recently EMDR. She is a trained trauma-informed specialist and is certified in PFA and YMHFA. She has focused her expertise on helping children and adults to overcome complex trauma experiences as well as work with the LGBTQ+ community. Jen is the Coordinator for the Bergen County Traumatic Loss Coalition (TLC), and is a professional trainer that provides seminars and consultation services on mental health topics to help improve social and emotional functioning for youth. Jen most recently became a certified trainer on the Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma. Jen is also an Adjunct Professor of Social Psychology for Ramapo College of New Jersey.