The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Graduate & Postdoc Alumni

Krystal Cashen

Krystal Cashen (BA, Psychology, Vassar College; Ph.D., Developmental Science, UMass Amherst) completed her doctoral degree in Developmental Science in 2020 at UMass Amherst working with Dr. Harold Grotevant. Krystal's research interests center around how experiences unique to diverse family contexts (e.g., adoptive families, LGBT-parented families) are associated with relational and identity outcomes in emerging adulthood. In addition to her research interests, Krystal is interested in the integration of diversity and inclusive teaching practices in undergraduate psychology courses. In August, 2020, Krystal began a postdoctoral research and teaching appointment at the University of Kentucky, under the mentorship of Dr. Rachel Farr.

Rachel Farr

Rachel Farr joined the Rudd program in February 2011 as a postdoctoral research scholar and was promoted to research assistant professor in 2012. With her colleagues in the program, Rachel is working with the MTARP data set on several research projects related to openness arrangements among birth and adoptive families, particularly as adoptees enter adulthood and as related to their personal relationships (i.e., with their adoptive parents and siblings). A central question in this work regards how adoptees conceptualize “family” in adulthood and how primary tasks of adulthood (e.g., entering long-term romantic relationships, marriage, establishing a career, having children) are influenced by adoptees’ ongoing relationships with adoptive and birth family members.

Prior to her postdoc, Rachel’s graduate work at the University of Virginia (UVA) included a large study of over 100 adoptive families from across the United States, headed by lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parenting couples, all of whom had completed domestic infant adoptions. The study examined the ways in which parental sexual orientation impacts child outcomes, parenting, and family dynamics in adoptive families with young children. With funding from the American Psychological Foundation’s Placek Award, a second wave of this study has been underway since the spring of 2013 now that children are school age. Rachel traveled across the country to visit participating families, and she has worked with a team of graduate and undergraduate students at UMass Amherst and UVA to collect, manage, and analyze the data. She is helping advise the master’s thesis research of Marykate Oakley, who is seeking to explore how lesbian and gay parents socialize their children about having same-sex parents and how this socialization is relevant to children’s well-being. Rachel also advises approximately 10–12 undergraduate research assistants each semester in the Rudd Adoption Research Program, which typically includes at least 1–2 honors thesis research projects. For example, under Rachel’s leadership, undergraduate senior Emily Crain presented her honors thesis at two national conferences in 2014 about experiences of microaggressions, feelings of difference, and resiliency among children with same-sex parents. 

Quade Yoo Song French

B.S., Psychology, University of California San Diego; M.A., Clinical Psychology, California State University Northridge; Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, UMass Amherst

Quade Yoo Song French completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at UMass in 2014. In his doctoral disseration, "The Lived Experience of Adoption: Do Current Conceptualizations Reflect Changing Realities?" he examined the impact of the social environment and communication within the adoptive family on the development of adoptive identity and racial and ethnic identities in college-aged adopted persons. using longitudinal data collected from a series of in-depth interviews with mentors from the Adoption Mentoring Partnership, Dr. French and a team of undergraduate research assistants identified non-verbal communication patterns and adopted persons' abilities to "read through the lines" of communication with their adoptive parents as key components of how adopted persons understand and experience adoption themselves. Other findings highlighting the role that adopted individuals have in initiating and directing communication with their adoptive parents as key components of how adopted persons understand and experience adoption themselves. Other findings highlighting the role that adopted individuals have in initiating and directing communication with their adoptive parents about adoption expand current perspectives that conceptualize communication about adoption within adoptive families as unidirectional, from adoptive parents to their adoptive children. This current research suggests that adopted persons are not passive recipients but active agents in communication about adoption.

Dr. French is now a licensed Clinical Psychologist at the University of Southern California Student Counseling Services center where he provides individual, as well as group therapy. He has forged a strong working relationship with the University's Cultural Centers, as he leads the Men of Color therapy group on campus, and is a liaison to the Asian/Pacific American Student Services group. He continues to apply his experiences gained while with the Rudd program in areas of racial and cultural identity development, as well as family systems relationships. Dr. French is also a primary clinical supervisor for doctoral interns. He has continued research within the domain of clinical psychotherapy in university counseling centers, focusing on the experiences of students of color in therapy settings, as well as researching the impact of diverse clinical interventions on student populations.

Karin Garber

B.A., Psychology, Scripps College; Ed.M. and M.A., Psychological Counseling, Teachers College, Columbia University; M.S., Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, UMass Amherst

Karin Garber completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at UMass in 2017. Her dissertation, “Intraracial and Intraethnic Microaggressions Experienced by Korean American Internationally and Transracially Adopted Persons,” focused on the covert slights that Korean adoptees experience from other non adopted Asian and Asian American individuals. This work was a triangulation mixed methods study constituting three studies: Study 1 encompassed a qualitative method wherein thematic analysis was used to delineate intraracial and intraethnic microaggressions themes from focus groups comprised of young adult Korean American adoptees; Study 2 then used these themes to create a quantitative assessment of the types of intraracial and intraethnic microaggressions experienced by Korean American adoptees. This assessment was then used to determine how these types of microaggressions predict mental health and emotion-related outcomes with Korean American adoptees. Further, ethnic identity and coping strategy were analyzed to determine if certain variables buffer the relationship between intraracial and intraethnic microaggressions and mental health and emotion-related outcomes. This research has implications for understanding how Korean American adopted individuals negotiate, understand, and experience complex relationships with their same race and ethnicity non adopted counterparts. Karin completed her clinical internship at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s Counseling and Student Development Center, and a postdoctoral residency at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. In 2019, she was appointed Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Pacific Psychology and Comprehensive Health Clinics at Pacific University in Portland Oregon.

Holly Grant-Marsney

B.A., Neuroscience and Behavior, Mount Holyoke College; M.S., Ph.D.,  Clinical Psychology, UMass Amherst

Holly Grant-Marsney completed her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with a Child, Adolescent, and Family concentration at UMass Amherst in 2014. She subsequently completed her clinical internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of New Hampshire. While at UMass, she successfully defended her dissertation, entitled "Emotion in Adoptive Narratives: Links to Close Relationships in Emerging Adulthood," and is preparing this work for publication. Results of this research indicated that both negative and positive affect in the personal adoption stories were associated with emerging adulthood relationship qualities outside the family. Negative affect in the adoption stories recounted by young adults was related to anxious and avoidant attachment styles with close others. On the other hand, positive affect in the adoption stories was related to greater relationship satisfaction.  This research shows one way in which adoption can have lifelong meaning and demonstrates how feelings about adoption can relate to views of close relationships outside the family in emerging adulthood. Findings of this study will help assist researchers and practitioners understand the application of the adoption narrative in their work, and the translation of adoptive identity into relationship concepts. Her research interests include close relationships and attachment in the adoptive family, adoptive identity and narratives, particularly in adolescence and emerging adulthood. Despite the distance, she remains very much involved with the Minnesota-Texas Adoption Research Project. Holly is now Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Bridgewater State University (MA).

Jessica Matthews

Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Jessica A.K. Matthews served as post-doctoral research scholar for the Rudd Adoption Program from 2017 - 2020. In addition to her own research on adoptive families, she was responsible for managing the undergraduate research laboratory, as well as working on the dissemination and translation of adoption related research for general audiences. She began projects concerning adoptive sibling relationships, and birthfather relationships within the Minnesota Texas Adoption Research Project sample. Jessica received her PhD from Tufts University in Child Study and Human Development in 2017 working with Professor Ellen Pinderhughes. While attending the University of California, Berkeley as an undergraduate, Jessica majored in psychology and political science where she became interested in adoption. Jessica has been studying adoption, international adoption in particular, for the past ten years. Jessica's dissertation research concerned the maltreatment experiences of previously adopted children in the U.S. foster care system, though most of her graduate work focused on early emotion regulation, identity formation, and the ethnic-racial socialization of international and transracial adoptees. Additional research interests include the complexities of transracial adoption, special needs adoption, and the development of children who do not regularly experience parental care worldwide. Jessica is a transplant from California, and she and her husband, Jonathan, now live in the greater Boston area with their daughter and their three dogs.

Danila Musante

A.B., Psychology, Harvard University; M.S., Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, UMass Amherst

Danila Musante completed her doctoral degree in the Child, Adolescent, and Family concentration in clinical psychology at UMass in 2014 and is a licensed psychologist practicing in California. She completed her clinical psychology internship at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School and her post-doctoral fellowship at Montclair State University's Counseling and Psychological Services. She currently works at the College of Marin, a community college in California.

Marykate Oakley

A.B., Psychology, Princeton University; M.A., Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University

​Marykate Oakley is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at UMass. She recently completed her master’s thesis, titled “Diverse Family Socialization: The Relationship between Gay and Lesbian Parenting Strategies and Child Behavioral Adjustment.” MK works predominately with Dr. Rachel Farr and Dr. David Scherer on the Contemporary Adoptive Families Study, and she is also the co-chair of the Clinical Psychology Faculty-Student Diversity Committee. This year, MK presented her research at the Sixth Annual Rudd New Worlds of Adoption Conference as well as at the APA conference in Washington, D.C. Her broader research interests include adolescent development, mentoring, and family systems, particularly within the LGBT population.

Lynn Von Korff

B.F.A., Boston University; M.B.A., University of Minnesota; Ph.D., Family Social Science, University of Minnesota

Lynn Von Korff, MBA, Ph.D. is a Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Family Social Science, University of Minnesota and former postdoctoral scholar with the Rudd Adoption Research Program at UMass Amherst. She received a BFA from Boston University School of Fine Arts, an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and her Ph.D. in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota. Lynn provides data consultation for MTARP. She is especially interested in identity development among adolescent and young adult adoptees and is also examining the relationships between children's mothers by birth and adoption. She teaches Introduction to Quantitative Family Research Methods and oversees a blog about family research methodology.

Yesel Yoon

B.A., Psychology, University of Maryland; M.S., Clinical Psychology, UMass Amherst

Yesel Yoon, PhD is a recent alum of the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at UMass Amherst. She worked primarily with Dr. David Scherer and Dr. Harold Grotevant. Yesel's research interests include psychological well-being and identity development in emerging adults. She is influenced by socio-ecological and developmental perspectives and her research programs has been built around three areas: emerging adulthood, the influence of family systems, and psychological health. Her dissertation study examined the role of adoptive identity in the development of career identity in both college and non-college enrolled emerging adults over time. Furthermore, Yesel is dedicated to increasing knowledge and sensitivity to diversity and multiculturalism in psychology. Yesel is one of the founding members of the Diversity Committee in the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (SSCP), a division of the American Psychological Association. At UMass, she taught an advanced undergraduate seminar for psychology majors, devoted to advancing student's knowledge about topics related to diversity and multiculturalism in psychological research and practice. 

Yesel is currently a senior staff psychologist at Pace University in New York City. She serves as the group specialist and in this role, she supervises doctoral interns in the provision of group psychotherapy and she leads her own interpersonal process group. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Montclair State University Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and an APA-accredited doctoral internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago Counseling Center. Her clinical interests include mindfulness-based interventions, identity development, psychological well-being, life transitions, and multicultural/diverse social identities. She hopes to continue integrating her background in research and teaching into her active and multifaceted clinical practice.