Who We Are

Director

Dr. Danielle Dick is the Director of COBE and a professor in the Psychology Department at VCU. She researches how genetic and environmental influences contribute to the development of patterns of substance use and related behaviors, such as childhood conduct problems and depression, and how people can use that information to inform prevention and intervention. Her work integrates developmental and clinical psychology, behavior genetics/twin studies, and statistical genetics/gene identification. To learn more about her research visit the EDGE (Examining Development, Genes, and Environment) lab website.

 

Undergraduate Research Director

Dr. Amy Adkins is the Director of Undergraduate Research with COBE and an assistant professor in the Psychology Department. Her primary research interests focus on understanding genetic and environmental risk factors underlying risky alcohol use and related problems. More globally, she is interested in the etiology of college behavioral and emotional health outcomes. Through her work with the College Behavioral and Emotional Health Institute, Dr. Adkins seeks to integrate research findings into prevention/intervention programming and university policy. She also has a deep passion for teaching and enjoys working with a team of undergraduate researchers each semester.

 

 Administrative Director

Marcie Walsh, MSW, is the Administrative Director of COBE and in her final year of the educational psychology PhD program in VCU’s School of Education. In her role as Administrative Director, Ms Walsh supports efforts to translate COBE faculty research into programming for students, the university community, and the broader Richmond region. Examples of current programming include the COBE Connect lunch series, the Science of Happiness and Flourishing classes, as well as the THRIVE living-learning community. Ms Walsh’s research interests focus on the factors that influence students’ academic engagement and motivation in the higher education setting. She is currently completing her dissertation study of undergraduate students’ writer identity in the transition from high school to college.

 

Community Engagement Director

Patricia (Patsy) King, MSAP, is the Director of Community Engagement for COBE and a passionate advocate for advancing evidence-based prevention and early intervention solutions that address the increasing behavioral and emotional health needs of the adolescent/young adult population. COBE and Spit for Science represent a unique opportunity for VCU to excel in the development of research based activities that will directly impact both the undergraduate students on campus as well as the greater community of local middle school, high school and college students. Ms. King has extensively researched the role that formal mindfulness and yoga training can play in building resiliency and emotional regulation skills in students and hopes implement transformative strategies that enhance the academic, social and emotional learning environment at VCU and in greater Richmond schools.

Media Specialist

Craig Zirpolo is an award-winning photographer, videographer and journalist who joined COBE as a media specialist shortly after graduation from VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in 2015.

Craig produces and hosts the Why Science? podcast in collaboration with National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the ALT Lab at VCU as well as translating published research from VCU into blogs and other media, promoting and documenting research and events, managing the COBE website and social media accounts and supporting COBE in all other media-related tasks.

 

Project Coordinator

Tenesha Coates Lewis is the Project Coordinator for Dr. Danielle Dick’s laboratory within the Department of Psychology. She joined the EDGE Lab in 2016 and is responsible for its overall scientific management and administration.

Tenesha has dedicated over a decade toward establishing a career in fighting health disparities, particularly those affecting children and adolescents. While in her undergraduate studies, she volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House and also co-founded a non-profit organization aimed to assist the at-risk youth in her community. After graduation from Duke University, she began a NIH fellowship in the Social and Behavioral Research Branch, which studied the potential for implicit biases held by healthcare professionals as they decide courses of treatment for their patients. Tenesha is an advocate for the health and well-being of all persons, regardless of cultural background or socioeconomic status. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health (MPH) and plans to continue on into a Ph.D. program in Developmental Psychology.