Current Doctoral Students

Current Doctoral Students

Mikael Rubin, MA

Mikael received his B.A. in Art History from McGill University in 2010, and an MA in Psychology from The City College of New York in 2015. While pursuing his MA  he studied PTSD and attention. As he was completing his MA thesis, he began to work as a research coordinator at the PTSD Research and Treatment Program at Columbia University Medical Center where he assisted with studies on treatment for PTSD. Mikael was admitted to UT Austin’s clinical psychology doctoral program in 2015 and is currently on clinical internship. His research focuses on attention and psychopathology, examining virtual reality and attention in the context of assessment and treatment for social anxiety disorder. In his free time, he enjoys making ceramics, cooking, and swimming.

Eric Zaizar, BA

Eric received his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014, graduating with departmental special honors in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. He is now a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at UT in his 5th year in the program. Broadly, his research focuses on leveraging insights from neuroscience for the treatment of psychopathology. To this end, he aims to test novel interventions for fear-related psychopathology that are based in cutting-edge learning and memory research. For example, he recently published a clinical trial in Psychological Medicine on the singular and combined effects of transcranial infrared laser stimulation (TILS) and exposure therapy on various pathological fear domains (Zaizar et al., 2021).  He is now initiating another clinical trial that will examine whether cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce fear of anxiety-related bodily sensations by disrupting fear memory reconsolidation. In his free time, he enjoys training and playing with his dog, cooking Mexican and Spanish food, music festivals, traveling, and watching international soccer matches.

Alban Foulser, MA

Alban graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015, where she received her B.S. in Psychology with a second major in German and a minor in Women’s Studies. After graduation, Alban worked as Lab Manager in Dr. Chris Beevers’ Mood Disorders Lab at The University of Texas at Austin, where she studied cognitive mechanisms of depression such as attention bias and working memory. She joined the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders in 2017, where her research focuses on enhancing assessment and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, particularly among people who have experienced interpersonal violence. She received her Master’s in Psychology at UT Austin in 2019, in which she developed and psychometrically tested a new measure of posttraumatic safety behaviors. Alban is currently a fifth-year student in Dr. Telch’s lab, where she is currently running a clinical trial designed to better understand shame. In her free time, Alban enjoys running, cooking, reading, and swimming.

Emma Siegel, MA

Emma graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Psychology in 2015. Following graduation, Emma worked as a research assessor in a PTSD and substance use lab at the VA San Diego Healthcare System on several NIH and DoD funded clinical trials. Emma was admitted to UT Austin’s clinical psychology doctoral program in 2017 and is a fifth-year student working with Dr. Telch in the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders. Her research interests include treatment outcomes and treatment enhancements for PTSD and anxiety disorders. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and attending live music shows.

Ciara A. McAfee, BA

Ciara graduated from Goucher College with a B.A. in Honors Psychology in 2014. After graduation, Ciara worked as a project coordinator for several of Dr. Tamar Mendelson’s NIH funded research projects at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public  Health. These projects focused on working with vulnerable populations in inner city Baltimore Maryland to address chronic stress, anxiety, and depressive disorders through third CBT and mindfulness techniques. Ciara is now on clinical internship during her fifth year at UT Austin and is co-mentored by Dr. Michael Telch and Dr. Robert Josephs. Her research focuses on trying to discern testosterone and cortisol reactivity profiles for individuals with social anxiety disorder and whether hormonal reactivity profiles change following treatment for PTSD. In her free time, Ciara enjoys cooking/baking, playing the violin, and woodworking.

Estrella Thomas, BA

Estrella graduated from Southwestern University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish. After graduation, Estrella worked as a clinical research assistant under Mark Powers, Ph.D. and Ann Marie Warren, Ph.D., ABPP in the Division of Trauma, Critical Care, & Acute Care Surgery at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. In this position, she co-coordinated multiple studies, including 3 federally funded research projects, assessing psychological and physiological outcomes among English- and Spanish-speaking individuals with traumatic injuries and women affected by absolute uterine factor infertility. Estrella is currently a third-year Clinical Psychology doctoral student under the mentorship of Michael Telch, Ph.D. in Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include investigating protective factors, preventative treatments, and interventions for English- and Spanish-speaking individuals with, or susceptible to, anxiety disorders or PTSD. In her free time, Estrella enjoys reading, cooking, baking, running, hiking, camping, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Caitlin Fischer, BA

Cate graduated from the University of Southern California in 2019, where she received her B.A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she was involved in research investigating trauma responses among child sexual abuse victims and childhood cancer survivors. Cate joined the University of Texas at Austin’s clinical psychology doctoral program in fall 2019. She is now a third-year student and is primarily interested in transdiagnostic risk factors and novel treatments for anxiety disorders and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Austin.