Suzy Armstrong

Suzy Armstrong, MEd, IMH-E (IV)

Suzy Armstrong works with the UT Dallas Center for Children and Families (CCF) as a Developmental Specialist and has been with the Dallas Preschool Readiness Project (DPReP) since October of 2013. She came to UT Dallas after working for over 30 years in the field of Early Childhood Intervention, the statewide program serving infants and young children with developmental concerns, where she worked in the ECI State Office for many years as well as directing two community ECI programs. She has a master’s degree in early childhood education and is endorsed as an Infant Mental Health specialist through the Texas Association of Infant Mental Health. She works as a home visitor for DPReP and as a developmental screener for CCF. In her time away from work, her primary interests revolve around the loves of her life — her two very precious grandchildren, as well as her husband, three adult children and their spouses, and her three spoiled dogs.

Ericka Ball

Ericka Ball, MA

Ericka Ball joined DPReP in July of 2013 as a Graduate Research Assistant. Her current roles include child assessment, coding, and data analysis. She is currently a second-year master’s student in the Psychological Sciences program and will be graduating in May of 2015, under the mentoring of Dr. Margaret Owen.

Ericka’s research interests include the relationship between physical discipline and various other factors, such as child behavior outcomes, parental depression, and racial/ethnic differences. She plans to obtain her PhD in clinical psychology and become a forensic psychologist, specializing in child abuse and neglect. During her breaks from school, she enjoys spending time with her fiancé, Franklin, and going home to Florida to see her family and friends.

Dawn Brinkley

Dawn Brinkley, PhD, Project Director

Dawn Brinkley received her PhD in psychological sciences from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2014. She joined DPReP in September 2013 as Project Director. As project director, Dr. Brinkley oversees the day-to-day administration of DPReP. Her general interests include parenting practices and child outcomes such as the role of parents in children and adolescents’ academic achievement and the role of mobile technology use in children and adolescents’ social and emotional development.

Patricia Cantu

Patricia Cantu, Child Assessor

Patricia Cantu joined the team as an undergraduate research assistant in November of 2016. Her roles in the project include administering child assessments and home visits. Patricia is double majoring in speech-language pathology and audiology and child development and will be graduating in May of 2019. Upon graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she wants to continue her education at UT Dallas. Patricia will either go to graduate school to obtain a master of science in communication disorders or in human development and early childhood disorders. She loves being around children and she plans to focus her education and future career with that in mind.

Leslie Castanon

Leslie Castanon

My name is Leslie Castanon, I recently graduated in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree from UTD in child learning and development and in psychology. I currently volunteer with Dallas CASA as a child advocate. I plan to pursue a graduate degree in social work or counseling, my overall goal is to pursue a career in which I can give a voice to children in need of help.

Ana Chavez

Ana Chavez, Bilingual Child Assessor

Ana Chavez received her MS in human development & early childhood disorders from UT Dallas. Her interests include evaluating and improving health literacy and increasing community awareness regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other childhood disorders. Ana will be beginning PA school in May 2018 and wishes to pursue a career in developmental pediatrics.

Erin Daily

Erin Daily, Graduate Research Assistant

Erin Daily joined DPReP in January of 2018 as a Graduate Research Assistant. She will graduate with a master’s degree in human development with an emphasis in early childhood disorders in August of 2018. Once she graduates, she looks forward to working with and helping improve the lives of children with special needs. Outside of this project, Erin most enjoys spending time with her husband and their 5 children.

Meg Denning

Meg Denning, BS

Meg Denning joined DPReP in January 2015 as a Graduate Research Assistant. She is a bilingual child assessor.

Meg is currently a second-year master of public health student at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Her research interests include maternal and child health, and in particular, child obesity prevention and adolescent sexual education. After completing her master’s degree, she plans on continuing to work in the maternal and child health sector. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, eating, and hanging out with friends and family.

Nety Duenas

Nety Duenas

Nety Duenas is an undergraduate student majoring in child learning and development with a minor in molecular and cell biology. She plans on graduating in Spring 2020 to pursue a doctorate of physical therapy to become a pediatric physical therapist. She has a huge passion for children and loves helping them in any way she can. Nety left the Children and Families Lab in 2019 to pursue graduate school.

Nazly Dyer

Nazly Dyer, PhD, Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Nazly Dyer received her PhD in psychological sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Dyer joined the project in August of 2009 as a Graduate Research Assistant and has held many roles on the project including project design, training, home visiting, data management and data analysis, coding, and supervising research interns. She currently is at the University of Houston-Downtown in a research position.

Her research interests include examining variations in parenting styles and associations with various family factors (e.g., risk factors and maternal depression) as well as child outcomes, such as school readiness and behavior problems.

Kathryn Forbes

Kathryn Forbes

Kathryn earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Mississippi (also known as Ole Miss) with minors in neuroscience and public policy leadership. She is excited to return to her hometown to earn her masters in psychological sciences at UTD. She hopes to someday earn her PhD in clinical psychology and to study how local policies affect mental health. Kathryn is passionate about decreasing the stigmas associated with depression and anxiety as well as promoting mental health awareness in her community.

Fiona Hall

Fiona Hall, Media and Special Projects

Fiona Hall joined UT Dallas’ Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program in 2017 after working in media and technology for 18 years. She continues to work at non-profit Behind Every Door, overseeing literacy and technology programming in underserved communities. Her academic interests include early childhood self-regulation, parenting and technology use.

Cindy Hong

Cindy Hong, Child Assessor

Cindy Hong is a master’s student in the psychological sciences program, graduating in August 2019. Her interests are in atypical development and neuropsychological testing. She plans to pursue a career as a child psychologist.

Maria Amalia Maese

Maria Amalia Maese, MA

Maria Maese joined DPReP in February of 2014 as a Graduate Research Assistant. She is a child assessor and is part of the mother-child interaction coding team.

Maria is completing her master’s in interdisciplinary studies. In the fall, she will start the master’s program in human development and early childhood disorders. Her interests are working with families and children. She also volunteers regularly with CCF. She enjoys helping people and spending time with her family.

Loris Memic

Loris Memic, Data Management

Loris recently concluded his master of science in applied cognition and neuroscience at The University of Texas at Dallas. He graduated from The University of North Texas in May of 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, where he has now returned as a Pre-Medical student. During his time in the ACN program, Loris completed a clinical internship at Clinical and Consulting Neuropsychology in Las Colinas; primarily conducting a neuropsychological assessment with visually impaired children and adults. As he is pursuing a career in medicine, Loris’ primary interest lies in pediatrics and how the role of non-pharmacological approaches can impact children with learning differences. Loris left the Children and Families Lab in the fall of 2019 to explore opportunities in the Los Angeles area.

Britain Mills

Britain Mills, PhD, Faculty Associate

Britain Mills received a BS in neuroscience from Texas Christian University and a PhD in human development from Cornell University. He is currently a faculty associate at the UTHSC School of Public Health, Dallas. His substantive research interests include culture and acculturation, neurocomputational models of higher brain function, the developmental psychology of memory, judgment, and decision-making, and how perspectives across these varied domains intersect in research on psychopathology and addiction in particular. He also has general methodological interests in structural equation modeling and its use in adjudicating questions about construct validity, operationalization, and instrument bias in psychological research.

Zach Monroe

Zach Monroe, Data Management and Child Assessor

Zach received his bachelor’s in psychology at The University of Texas at Dallas in 2018 and is currently furthering his education through the master of science program in applied cognition and neuroscience at UTD. His interests are focused on social psychological research, primarily in how people form relationships and interact with one another.

Craig Motsenbocker

Craig Motsenbocker, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Craig Motsenbocker joined DPReP in January of 2014 as an undergraduate research intern. His roles include coding, data management, and will soon begin home visits.

Craig will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in May of 2015. Once he graduates, he will begin applying to Occupational Therapy programs. His academic and career interests are tied to his passion for those with special needs, more specifically those with Autism. Aside from DPReP, Craig enjoys running and rock climbing.

Peris June Ng’ang’a

Peris June Ng’ang’a, BS

Peris June Ng’ang’a joined DPReP as an undergraduate student in January 2011. Her roles in the project have included assisting in coding, data entry, manuscript development, and the supervision of undergraduate interns. Her research interests include the home literacy environment and its associations with preschool readiness. She enjoys working with children and is aspiring to become a pediatrician. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, spending time with her family, and traveling.

Daniel Pacheco

Daniel Pacheco, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Program Director

Daniel joined DPReP in August of 2013 as a child assessor. Since then he has also helped with self-regulation data collection for The Bilingual Language Lab and has assisted with the creation of coding standards for two DPReP child-centered tasks. He has also engaged in other roles such as training, data analysis, and supervising both undergraduate and graduate student research assistants. Daniel’s research interests include the onset and persistence of externalizing behaviors, especially physical aggression, in children; the way executive function plays a role in the development of externalizing and problem behavior as well as the contextual factors that may influence child outcomes. Some of Daniel’s work can be found in Child Development, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and Deviant Behavior.

Priya Thomas

Priya Thomas, BS

Priya Thomas joined DPReP in December 2014. She is a child assessor and a parent assessor with the home visiting team. She has a Bachelor in Science from The University of Texas at Austin. Her interests include psychiatry and clinical psychology. When she’s not working, she enjoys reading, drawing, and dancing.

Brianna Turney

Brianna Turney

Brianna Turney joined the masters of psychological sciences program at UTD in August of 2018. After graduating from Southwestern University in December of 2016 with a BA in psychology and a minor in sociology, she worked as a caseworker in a rural community mental health clinic, primarily dealing with adults with mental health issues. Her interests include child maltreatment and adverse family circumstances, and how these issues contribute to the development of later psychopathology. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her fiancé and her dog, Zeus and watching Friends.

Tania Vuevlas-Barreto

Tania Vuevlas-Barreto, Home Visit Coordinator

Tania Vuevlas-Barreto graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas with a BS in speech pathology and audiology and a minor in psychology. She has been a part of the lab since January 2017 where she momentarily did the coding and is now going to be a home visit coordinator. She also has three years of experience working with the low-income Latino population of DFW under The Center for Children and Families. She plans to go to graduate school in the DFW area for a master’s in Communication Disorders. Tania left the Children and Families Lab because she was hired by ECI of Tarrant County in late summer of 2019 as an early intervention specialist.


We would like to thank all members of the DPReP team, both past and present, for their contributions to the study. Special thanks to Alexandra Abercrombie, Melissa Amos, Russell Ansley, Maria Barriento, Michaela Caughy, Laura Davila, Piper Younger Duarte, Carmen Gonzales, Jamie Hurst, Gabriella Jairala, Bunnoi Mcdaniel, Ana-Maria Mata-Otero, Cynthia Medina, Caroline Mejias, Claire Noonan, Tatiana Peredo, Helen Reyes, Jerry Roberson, Junie Shrestha, Kristine Tolentino-Plata, Obed Vaca, Adriana Villa, and Matthew Willoughby.