Current Graduate Students

| Cindy M. Meston, Ph.D. | Current Graduate Students | Former Graduate Students | Research Staff | Lab Scrapbook |


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Ariel B. Handy, B. A.
Graduate student

E-mail: arielbhandy@utexas.edu
Curriculum Vita 
[PDF]

Ariel was born and raised in Vermont. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont where she majored in psychology and Spanish. During her time there, she worked in UVM’s Sexual Health Research Clinic researching the influence of emotions and sexual arousal on decision making in risky sexual situations. Upon graduating, she moved to Vancouver, British Columbia to research mindfulness as treatment for low sexual desire and sexual quality of life in cancer survivors at Vancouver General Hospital. She entered UT Austin’s Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory in the fall of 2015.

Ariel’s research interests focus on the measurement of female physiological sexual response. Her program of research spans topics such as using advanced statistical models to better understand nuanced trajectories of vaginal blood flow, and developing methods for measuring understudied aspects of sexual arousal (e.g., vaginal lubrication). Her research also incorporates neuroendocrinology and looks specifically at hormonal modulation of physiological sexual response.

Ariel enjoys riding her bicycle, cooking, and spending time with her partner, dog, and bird.

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chelsea_photoChelsea D. Kilimnik, M.Sc.
Graduate student

E-mail: chelseakilimnik@utexas.edu
Curriculum Vita 
[PDF]

Chelsea Kilimnik was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where she completed her Bachelors degree at the University of Winnipeg studying Psychology and Creative Writing. Her undergraduate thesis, conducted under the supervision of Dr. Paul Trapnell, was on the role of nonconsensual sexual experience (NSE) histories and identification of these experiences in women’s sexual satisfaction and implicit attentional biases. Chelsea completed a Master’s degree in Health Psychology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada under the supervision of Dr. Terry Humphreys. Her thesis examined the role of NSE history and identification in sexual consent attitudes and sexual affectivity. Since beginning her doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at UT in the Fall of 2015, Chelsea has continued her program of research in NSEs and identification by examining the impact on sexual well-being, proposing novel methods of studying and classifying NSEs, and assessing processes of schema and identity reformation in the maintenance of psychosexual distress as well as treatment targets for improving sexual well-being.

Chelsea’s research interests are the psychosexual correlates of NSEs and sexual violence, identity formation and meaning making, sexual schemas, and accessible interventions for improving post-NSE adjustment. She has volunteered with a number of organizations dedicated to the support of individuals with sexual violence experiences, including crisis and outreach centres, Tack Back the Night initiatives, and committees for policy development on ending sexual violence. Chelsea’s other interests include swimming, sailing, kayaking, coffee, writing, and reading.

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Bridget Freihart, M.S.W.
Graduate student

E-mail: bfreihart@utexas.edu
Curriculum Vita 
[PDF]

Bridget Freihart was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from New York University and a Master’s degree in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Since entering the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory in Fall 2017, she has focused on examining dyadic predictors of sexual satisfaction as well as developing and validating psychometric tools within the field of sexuality. Most recently she has taken a dyadic psychophysiological approach to studying sexual satisfaction, and has investigated the role of physiological linkage in couple-level experiences of sexual well-being.

In her free time, Bridget enjoys singing and playing piano, crafting elaborate cheese plates, and talking about the Rolling Stones.

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Courtney Crosby, M.A.
Graduate student

E-mail: clcrosby@utexas.edu
Curriculum Vita 
[PDF]

Courtney was born and raised in central Texas. She completed her Bachelors degree at The University of Texas at Austin in 2015 and entered the Sexual Psychophysiology and Evolutionary Psychology Laboratories in the fall of 2017. Courtney’s research focuses on studying the role of evolutionary theory on the behavioral correlates of human sexuality. Specifically, her research focuses on studying individual differences in sexual disgust and the influence of sexual arousal on an array of psychological outcomes.

Courtney hopes to use her research to educate public policy about the theoretical framework of evolution, and the importance of sex education more broadly.

Courtney’s other interests include yoga, trying new restaurants, playing with her dog, visiting coffee shops, and traveling.

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Mackenzie Sears, B.A.
Graduate student

E-mail: mackenzie.sears@utexas.edu

Mackenzie Sears was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She completed her Bachelors degree at the University of Texas at Austin with a major in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy. During her time as an undergraduate student, she worked as a research assistant in the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory and The Lifespan Development Laboratory. She also completed an undergraduate thesis evaluating the role of shared environmental influences on depression in child and adolescent twin pairs.

Mackenzie joined the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory as a graduate student in the Fall of 2019. She primarily researches sexual functioning and satisfaction within romantic relationships. More specifically, her current research evaluates relationship satisfaction and sexual intimacy in couples who have been impacted by sexual trauma or nonconsensual sexual
experiences.

When Mackenzie is not in the lab, she enjoys trying new restaurants in Austin, cooking,
traveling, and having game nights with her friends.

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