Amy Whitesel

Project Director - Assistant Research Professor of Psychology

George Washington University


AmyAmy received her doctoral degree in Social Work from Howard University in 2008. Amy also is a licensed clinical social worker in the State of Maryland. The title of Amy’s dissertation is Post Adoption Adjustment of Birth Fathers: The Effects of Relationships with Birth Mothers and Family. Amy has been working in the field of social work, particularly foster care and adoption, for the past 12 years. When not working on research, Amy conducts adoption home studies and post placement services for prospective adoptive families. Amy joined the Early Growth and Development Study in 2002 as the Recruitment Supervisor. For Phase 2, she is the Project Director and is responsible for oversight of the assessment team at each data collection site as well as overall management of the day to day aspects of the study.




Alyssa Rayhel

Project Manager

Prevention Science Institute, University of Oregon


AlyssaAlyssa received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Disorders & Sciences from the University of Oregon in 2007. Shortly after graduating, Alyssa began a career in research as an interviewer for a study that involved working with the Oregon foster care community and families involved with Oregon social services. While continuing her work on other research projects, she also joined the Early Growth & Development Study (EGDS) as an interviewer in August 2008. Over the years Alyssa has progressed into different roles within the EGDS which include: participant recruitment, data management and assessment coordination. In July 2014, Alyssa transitioned into the Project Manager role for the University of Oregon site. She works closely with Principal Investigator, Dr. Leve, and manages all of the Early Growth & Development Study projects at the UO. Alyssa enjoys working with the EGDS participants and team members across sites. She is interested in continuing to expand her knowledge about child development and family dynamics.



Megan Hooley


Prevention Science Institute, University of Oregon


meganMegan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the University of Oregon in 2012. She will begin a Master’s program in Couples, Family, and Human Services with a specialization in Prevention Science in the fall of 2015. Prior to joining the Early Growth and Development Team, she was employed by the city of Eugene where she worked on a broad range of issues within the local community, including child abuse and neglect and domestic violence. During this time, she also completed an internship with another local research agency, working with foster children and families in the community. Megan’s role on the Early Growth and Development Team will be to contact adoptive families for participation across multiple projects as well as schedule interviews. She is excited to get to know all of the amazing adoptive families that make this research possible.  




Allison Mitchell

Lab Manager and Phone Interviewer

The Pennsylvania State University


AllisonAllison received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Schreyer’s Honors College at The Pennsylvania State University in 2009. In the fall of 2009, Allison began working on the Early Growth and Development Study. In 2014 she graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Masters of Social Work and is a licensed social worker. Allison’s main duties include keeping track of study data, interviewing adoptive parents and birth parents, and looking after the day to day aspects of the study at the Penn State site.






Lizzy Utterback


Prevention Science Institute, University of Oregon


LizzyIn May 2007, Lizzy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. Throughout her college years she worked with families involved in the foster care system. After relocating to Eugene, she joined the Early Growth and Development Study team in September 2008. Lizzy is passionate about ensuring that families have the necessary resources to be as healthy as possible and enjoys being a part of a study that aims to help families through research.







Denise Ford


University of California, Riverside


DeniseDenise earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon. She spent 18 years at the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) interviewing, recruiting, coding and coordinating home, school and laboratory assessments. She conducted more than 2000 interviews and observations during her time at OSLC. Denise has been working with the Early Growth and Development Study since it began in 2002. She is a member of the research teams at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities the Pennsylvania State University and the University of California at Riverside. She also spends her time improving the lives of outdoor/feral cats by Trap-Neuter-Return.





Sally Guyer


Prevention Science Institute, University of Oregon


sallySally joined the Early Growth and Development Study in December 2007. Sally has worked extensively with the EGDS data sets including cleaning, scaling, organizing and distributing files for the investigators.  She also maintains the project data documentation and oversees the school and teacher data collection.  She works with the cross-site data management team to ensure consistency in the distributed data sets.  Sally has worked on numerous research projects since 2000 and has experience in multiple roles of data collection.






Brian Carper

Computer Programmer

Prevention Science Institute


brianBrian has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh. After supporting a research project for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for two and a half years, Brian moved to Eugene, Oregon in autumn 2007 to begin work for the Early Growth and Development Study. Brian programs the computerized interviews for the project, designs the study websites, maintains the interviewers' laptops and manages the study data.  Brian currently resides in Canada, where he works remotely for the EGDS team.