OUR

TEAM

Get Involved

Interested in working with us? Fill out the lab application (click here) and submit one letter of recommendation, sent by the letter writer directly to Drs. Zottoli & Daftary-Kapur (Zottoli.msulab@gmail.com). The number of students accepted each term will vary according to  lab needs. 

Prospective PhD students should apply to the MSU Clinical Psychology  doctoral program, listing Dr. Zottoli  and/or Dr. Daftary-Kapur as your desired mentor. 

DIRECTOR

Tina Zottoli, Ph.D

Dr. Zottoli is a NYS licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Montclair State University. She teaches Forensic Psychology in the Undergraduate program and Psychometrics, Criminal Forensic Assessment and Psychological Science and the Law at the graduate level. Dr. Zottoli's scholarly interests lie primarily in adolescent decision making and legal competencies, and her research program is presently focused on plea deal decision making and wrongful conviction by guilty plea. In her clinical practice, Dr. Zottoli provides consultation, forensic evaluation, and expert testimony across a range of criminal and civil domains.

 

Dr. Zottoli's CV

MSU Faculty Profile   

Clinical Practice

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CO-DIRECTOR

Tarika Daftary-Kapur, Ph.D

Dr. Daftary-Kapur is an Associate Professor of Justice Studies at Montclair State University. She teaches Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice, and courses on Plea Bargaining at the undergraduate level. Her interests lie primarily in adolescent decision making and legal competencies presently focused on plea deal decision making and innocence in plea bargaining. Dr. Daftary-Kapur’s secondary focus is on prosecutorial decision making. She has worked and consulted with jurisdictions around the country on their juvenile and criminal justice policies. 

 

Dr. Daftary-Kapur's CV

MSU Faculty Profile

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DOCTORAL STUDENTS

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Conor Hogan

Conor Hogan is a sixth year PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program, forensic emphasis. His research interests are varied and include the effects of implicit bias on legal decision making, legal competencies and the assessment and treatment of child sex-abuse offenders and victims. His master’s thesis examined grooming -like behaviors in child-on-child sexual abuse cases and his dissertation will focus on the guilty plea experiences of adults charged with sex offenses.

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Ryan Schneider

Ryan Schneider is a fifth year PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program, forensic emphasis. His research interests center on legal decision making, contributors to wrongful conviction and the etiology of criminal behavior. His master’s thesis examined the influences of potential trial sentence and plea discount on  guilty plea decisions of mock guilty and innocent defendants. Ryan's clinical interests include forensic mental health assessment and treatment of individuals with criminal offending histories. 

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Lauren Grove

Lauren Grove is a fifth year PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program, forensic emphasis. Her research interests are in juvenile justice, false confessions, juvenile transfer and waiver, and mental health in justice involved populations and her clinical interests are in forensic mental health assessment, expert testimony, and treatment for justice-involved youth. Lauren is conducting  a nation-wide survey on guilty plea practices  in cases involving juvenile defendants.

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Tristin Faust

Tristin Faust is a fourth year PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program, forensic emphasis. Tristin’s research interests are in adolescent and adult legal decision making, juvenile legal competencies, and false confessions. Her master's thesis explores how innocent and guilty mock defendants use evidence to estimate likelihood of conviction at trial. Tristin’s clinical interests are in forensic mental health assessment and treatment for justice-involved individuals.  

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Aliya Birnbaum

Aliya Birnbaum is a second year PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program, forensic emphasis. Aliya’s research interests are in adolescent legal decision making, juvenile justice policy reform, parental involvement in youth legal decision making, and race in the legal system. Her master's thesis examined the impact of attorney race on parental acquiescence to attorney plea bargain recommendations in a juvenile justice setting. Aliya’s clinical interests are in forensic mental health assessment and treatment for justice-involved youth.

Julia Stratton

Julia Stratton is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Clinical Psychology program, with a forensic emphasis. Julia’s research interests include wrongful convictions, plea deals, legal and risky decision-making, and criminal justice policy reform. Julia's clinical interests include forensic mental health assessment, risk assessment, expert testimony, and treatment for justice-involved individuals.

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

Miguel Murillo | MA student; Clinical psychology, forensic specialization

Julia Stratton | MA student; Clinical psychology, forensic specialization

Jamie Buren | MA Student; Clinical psychology, forensic specialization

Twisile Kalinga | MA Student; Clinical psychology

Drew Melancon | MA Student; Clinical psychology, forensic specialization

Brandon Shintani | Senior, Ridgewood High School

Kimberly Echevarria | MA student; Clinical psychology, forensic specialization

Latisha Robinson | MA student; Clinical psychology, forensic specialization

Sarah Hitchcock |  MA student; Clinical psychology, forensic specialization

Stephanie Salmento | MA student; Clinical psychology

Olivia Costello | BA student; Psychology 

DOCTORAL ALUMNI

Jennifer Bartlett

Jennifer Bartlett graduated from Montclair State University in August of 2022. Her dissertation explored the relationship between trauma exposure, trauma symptoms, and the likelihood to accept a plea deal when innocent. Currently, she is a post-doctoral fellow at a state psychiatric hospital conducting forensic assessments full-time (e.g., competency to stand trial assessments). She ultimately plans to work in a private practice conducting forensic assessments and providing individual evidence-based therapeutic services.

LAB ALUMNI

Yaritza Diaz, BA/MA '17 | Victoria Gehring, BA '18 | Rossol Gharib, BA '19 | Christina Lagomarsino, MA '19 | Sohil Malik, Edison High School | Kimberly Perez, (Ramapo College) BA '18 | Daniel Salazar, BA '18 | Elizabeth Tahan, MA '18 | Sarah Hitchcock, MA '21 | Ashlyn O'Halloran, BA '20 | Rosemary Ventura, BA '19  | Ayna Virk, (Purdue University) BA '20  | Alexandra Arnold, MA '20  | Emma Jehan, MA '21  | Abby White, MA '21 | Amanda Palardy, MA '21 | Amy Albin, MA '22 | Allison Echeverria, (Loyola) BA '20 | Zoe Ferguson, Columbia High School Olivia Kramer, Columbia High School | Kathryn Derby, MA '22 | Nicole Smith, MA '22 | Whitney Dartnell, PhD '22