Research Team

My research team consists of talented and hard-working doctoral students and staff from the fields of psychology, counseling, and mindfulness.

Wendy Guyker, Ph.D.

Research Team Co-Leader

Wendy Guyker, Ph.D., is a Clinical Associate Professor at SUNY at Buffalo and a Registered Yoga Teacher. Wendy teaches courses on research methods, assessment, psychopathology, and evidence-based mindfulness interventions. Her research interests are in veterans’ mental health, and mindfulness and self-care, with an emphasis on practical applications in both clinical and community populations. She is on the Editorial Board of Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. Wendy is a yoga teacher and board member for Yogis in Service, and she brings yoga-based tools to veterans at the Buffalo VA. She is also on the Board of Directors for Adoption STAR, a local not-for-profit adoption agency. In addition, she maintains a private practice, specializing in mindfulness-based interventions.

Research Team Doctoral Students

Evette Addai

Evette Addai, M.A.

Evette is a third-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology concentration in the UB School and Counseling Psychology Program. Her research focuses on how embodied self-regulation and mindful self-care behaviors can be used to manage emotions in stressful environments with multicultural populations. Her research interests include binge eating behaviors, mindful self-care, self-compassion, multiculturalism, and health psychology. Her qualifying paper studied medical residents’ self-care behaviors relationship to distress and depression. The results from this study will help inform resident well-being initiatives for the UB Medical Resident Well-Being Subcommittee. Her dissertation research will be a qualitative study of embodied self-regulation and self-care behaviors in African-American women. Evette received her BA in Psychology from University of Chicago, and her MA in Psychology in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Ashlye Borden, B.A.

Ashlye Borden, B.A., is a second-year doctoral student in the counseling concentration of the UB School and Counseling Psychology Program. Before joining the Positive Embodiment for Self-Regulation Research Team, she earned a bachelor’s degree in holistic psychology from Lesley University. She was also the finance manager and a volunteer for the Boston Chapter of Project HEAL, a U.S. non-profit that delivers prevention, treatment financing, and recovery support for people suffering from eating disorders. Her research interests include eating disorders, body image, and yoga and mindfulness-based interventions. For her qualifying paper, Ashlye will be conducting a confirmatory factor analysis of the Mindful Self-Care Scale – Brief.

Rachel M. Depner, M.S.

Rachel M Depner, MS., is a doctoral student in the combined School and Counseling Psychology Program, with a concentration in Counseling Psychology. Her qualifying paper, A Consensual Qualitative Research Analysis of the Experience of Inmate Hospice Caregivers: Posttraumatic Growth while Incarcerated, was published in the journal Death Studies in 2016. Rachel is also a clinical researcher at Hospice Buffalo, where she works towards improving care for people who are chronically ill and/or dying and their loved-ones through her research. Rachel’s clinical and research interests focus on adjustment to difficult or traumatic life events, as well as embodied self-regulation throughout the lifespan. Rachel’s current research evaluates the experiences of palliative care clinical staff, and her dissertation is titled, Exploring Intrapsychic Factors of Professional Quality of Life for Palliative Care Workers: The Role of Mindful Self-Care, Workplace Isolation, and Meaning Made. Moving forward, Rachel hopes to continue to facilitate positive growth and adjustment for others via her clinical work and research.

Esther E. E. Estey, MA, RYT

Esther is a doctoral student in the combined School and Counseling Psychology Program. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher and has an MA in Human Resources, and an MA in Counseling (with a specialization in child and youth counseling). She provides therapy, mindfulness, and yoga to veterans at the Buffalo VA, in addition to a yoga program for athletes struggling with food and body image issues at the University at Buffalo. As Adjunct Professor, she teaches graduate courses on clinical applications of mindfulness and counseling for trauma and abuse. She also maintains a private practice, specializing in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, and depression. Esther is involved in research on yoga and mindfulness for psychosocial disorders, trauma, and school-based yoga programs. She recently submitted manuscripts for publication on school-based yoga programs, mindful self-care, and self-compassion. She has been invited to present her research at the American Psychological Association National Convention. In addition to her involvement in qualitative research, she is conducting a randomized clinical trial on the efficacy of Eat Breathe Thrive: a community-based yoga program, which is designed to increase positive body image, awareness, and self-regulation in individuals with eating disorder symptoms.

Madilynn Rutherford, B.S.

Madilynn Rutherford, B.S.

Madilynn Rutherford, B.S., is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling concentration of the School and Counseling Psychology Program. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from Texas A&M University. During her undergraduate years, Madilynn conducted research on mindfulness-based interventions, culminating in an undergraduate research thesis titled, Panacea or placebo? A comparison of a brief mindfulness-based intervention and an active control intervention on neurogenic inflammatory response. Her primary research interests include mindfulness, embodied self-regulation, eating disorders, and yoga.

Stephanie Rovig, M.Ed.

Stephanie is a third-year doctoral student in the Ph.D. Combined School and Counseling Psychology Program, school psychology track. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in Elementary Education, a Masters of Education in Educational and Counseling Psychology, and is a certified K-12 Teacher and School Counselor. She is also a 200+ hour certified Yoga Instructor and a certified Eat Breathe Thrive Facilitator. Her research interests all stem from her principal career mission: to advocate for the use of mindfulness-based interventions in school settings, to educate students on developing a positive relationship with self and body. The research that Stephanie is currently engaged in examines eating disorder prevention efforts among Division I female student-athletes. In an attempt to effectively respond to female student-athletes’ high-risk of developing disordered eating behaviors, she is examining if enrollment in an undergraduate course that incorporates the Eat Breathe Thrive Program curriculum has preventative implications.

Kellie S. Talebkhah, M.S.

Kellie S. Talebkhah, M.S.

Kellie is a third year doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology concentration. Her focus is on emotion- and self- regulation, mindfulness, and positive embodiment practices such as yoga and exercise. Specifically, she is interested in how these practices influence prevention of and recovery from trauma, body/self dissociation, and body image concerns. Her interests are also in health psychology, the mind-body connection, stress adaptation, risk and resilience, and psychosocial disorders. Kellie’s qualifying paper was entitled, A controlled trial of a yoga-based prevention program targeting eating disorder risk factors among middle school females. Her dissertation focuses on the efficacy of a trauma-informed training for the yoga teachers of the Africa Yoga Project. This is in hopes of deepening the well-being of Kenyan communities by addressing their unique traumatic stressors through evidence-based practices.


Dr. Amy Fish

  • Body image, self-care, and eating issues among Native Americans

Dr. Itzel Orduna

  • Self-regulation and attachment issues in children and adolescents

Dr. Kelly Norman

Dr. Michelle Serwacki

Dr. Carla Giambrone

Dr. Jessalyn Klein

Dr. Amanda Smith

Dr. Lakaii Jones

Dr. Jennifer Piccolo

  • Best practices for the provision of effective resources, policies, and support for LGBTQ high school students

Dr. Melinda Cruz

  • Best practices for the disclosure of diagnostic information to the child or adolescent upon diagnosis with a learning disability

Dr. Sarah Rowland

  • Assessment of eating disordered behavior and etiology

Dr. Carolyn Andolina Casey

  • Prevention programs within schools

Dr. Christine Berry

Dr. Kristen Tarquin

Dr. Stephanie Grella

Dr. Tatyana Sapaleva

  • Health behavior, positive psychology, and prevention of mental illness