Infant Mental Health

Early Childhood and Family Research Lab Members « Return to Infant Mental Health Resources

Contact: 510.430.3170, imh@mills.edu

Monica Arguello Monica Arguello (MA ′17) is a graduate student in the Mills Infant Mental Health Master’s Degree Program. She came to Mills with a BA in psychology from the University of San Francisco. She became interested in the physical, social, emotional, and psychological development of children when she was an undergraduate. Monica brings to her studies at Mills experience working with children in a range of age and abilities. She is currently working at the Children’s School at Mills College. Monica enjoys research. She is also currently working as a research assistant for students completing their master’s degrees and plans to continue with research after completing her master’s degree.


Cayley Arndt (MA ’18) came to Mills with a BA in child, adolescent, and family studies from California State University, Bakersfield. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she became fascinated by the importance of the parent-child relationship and how it impacts future success. This interest and desire for more knowledge lead to the Infant Mental Health Master’s Degree Program. Cayley wants to learn more about the family dynamic and attachment during times of high stress due to abuse, poverty, homelessness, and teen parenting. After her studies, she hopes to pursue a career aimed at working on parent-child relationships in families that experience more vulnerability within the household dynamic.


Cherry ChanCherry Chan(psychology BA ’18) is on the accelerated infant mental health psychology major track (MA ’19). She came to Mills as a first-year student in 2014. Cherry works in the ECFR Lab to assist with faculty and student projects. As an international student from Hong Kong, she is interested in worldwide cultural differences in parenting and how those differences are associated with child-parent relationships and emotional development of young children in different cultures. She has strong interests in research and teaching, and plans to use her degrees as a starting point to pursue a doctoral degree in developmental psychology. 


Meredith GabrielMeredith Gabriel (psychology BA ’17) is on the accelerated infant mental health psychology major track (MA ’18). Meredith came to Mills as a first-year student. She is especially interested in attachment theory and child-parent relationships. She has worked in the lab assisting with student and faculty research. Meredith’s master’s thesis topic is parent conflict and its associations with developmental outcomes in young children. She plans to become a clinical psychologist working with families.


Sophie GoldbergSophie Goldberg (psychology BA ’17) is on the accelerated infant mental health psychology major track (MA ’18). She works in the ECFR Lab to assist with faculty and student projects. Her professional goals are to work with families, helping parents of children with special needs—especially those on the autism spectrum. She ultimately plans to use her master’s degree as a bridge to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical developmental psychology.


Steffani Kizziar Steffani Kizziaris in her second year of the two-year master’s program in infant mental health. Previously, Steffani worked as an executive in healthcare and nonprofit management. In this capacity, she ran a residential program for children and ultimately a large nonprofit with an annual budget of $42 million and serving over 500 vulnerable clients each year in a variety of community, outpatient, and residential care settings. She entered Mills with a deep interest in learning how to promote children’s flourishing and wanted to move from working from behind the desk to working in direct relationships with children. She is especially interested in understanding the mechanisms, risk, and protective factors involved in the intergenerational transmission of risk, with the goal of developing effective research-informed interventions. Steffani has been volunteering in the ECFR Lab since January 2016 (prior to becoming a graduate student) and is a research assistant for the Connected Emotions project, a large multi-faceted study of mothers and their four- and five-year-old children.


Kira Lewis Kira Lewis(psychology BA ’13) came to Mills after 10 years of preschool teaching experience. After volunteering at a crisis nursery and domestic violence shelter, she wanted to work in preventive mental health aiming to integrate early childhood education with psychology. In 2015, Kira completed her course work for the combined IMH MA and Early Childhood Special Education Teaching Specialist Credential. She is currently completing her thesis research. Kira works as a program director at Lotus Bloom, a local family and child resource center in Oakland that supports high-need families. At Lotus Bloom, she created a developmental playgroup for children with special needs and integrated infant mental health in the case management support of families, and she trains all the family advocates throughout the organization. Kira focuses on supporting children and their families in strength-based and culturally sensitive ways.


Kelsey NibbelinkKelsey Nibbelink (psychology BA, fall ’16) is on the accelerated infant mental health psychology major track (MA ’18). Kelsey transferred to Mills as a junior from California College of the Arts and has an extensive background in childhood development and in the importance of artistic expression in childhood. As an undergraduate, Kelsey assisted with graduate and faculty lab research. Her thesis project topic is attachment, caregiving, and early infant loss.


Kaija StaskoKaija Stasko (psychology BA ’19) is on the accelerated infant mental health psychology major track. She came to Mills as a first-year student in 2015, having previously taken courses at Pierce and Los Angeles Valley colleges. Kaija works in the ECFR Lab assisting with faculty and student projects. Her hope is to use her degrees as a beginning point in pursuing a doctorate in clinical or clinical developmental psychology. Her professional goals are to work as a child psychologist in a hospital or as a family therapist in a clinic.