Meet the Lab

Graduate Students

Andrea Fidler, M.S.

Andrea is a fifth-year graduate student primarily mentored by Dr. Fedele in the Pediatric Behavioral Health Lab. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and minors in mathematics and childhood studies. After graduation, she worked on a research project examining sleep habits and treatment adherence in adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes and served as a surveillance / evaluation coordinator for a study that evaluated behavioral interventions targeting childhood obesity. She also received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Macau, a Special Administrative Region of China. Andrea is dually enrolled in UF’s collaborative Master of Public Health (MPH) program, specializing in biostatistics. Broadly, her research interests include understanding and promoting health behaviors among children. Her dissertation project is examining sleep disturbances among hospitalized adolescents and young adults with cancer and nonmalignant hematologic disorders.

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Rachel Sweenie, M.S.

Rachel is a graduate student primarily mentored by Dr. Fedele in the Pediatric Behavioral Health Lab. She is currently completing her predoctoral internship in pediatric psychology at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. She earned her bachelor’s degree in human biology and psychology from the University of Kansas where she was also an undergraduate research assistant in the Clinical Child Psychology Program. After graduating she worked as a clinical research assistant with the Behavioral Diabetes Research Team at Children’s National Medical Center. Rachel also served two years in the Peace Corps as a community health volunteer in eSwatini. She is broadly interested in psychosocial issues in pediatric chronic illness, with a current focus on health inequities. Rachel completed her master’s thesis examining subjective social status and health outcomes among youth with asthma and is currently working on her dissertation examining associations between caregiver and youth coping strategies, sociodemographic variables, and asthma outcomes.

Rachel Sweenie Photo

Sara Voorhees, M.S.

Sara is a fourth-year graduate student in the Pediatric Behavioral Health Lab mentored by Dr. Fedele. She graduated from Tulane University with a BS in psychology, where she worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Translational Psychological Science Laboratory. Her main project investigated social support preferences among patients with cancer. Sara then went on to earn her MS in psychology from Drexel University where she worked as a graduate research assistant in the Nezu Stress and Coping Laboratory. Her master’s thesis project examined psychological predictors of medication adherence in adult patients with asthma. Sara is broadly interested in healthcare communication and pediatric self-management, specifically within allergic diseases and asthma. Her dissertation project is investigating pediatric patient participation in food allergy encounters.

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Natalie Koskela-Staples, M.S.

Natalie is a graduate student mentored by Dr. Fedele in the Pediatric Behavior Health Lab. She will complete her internship at Nemours Children’s Health in the Pediatric Psychology Track during the 2023-2024 academic year. Natalie graduated Azusa Pacific University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in English. During her time at the University of Florida, Natalie completed her master’s thesis examining caregiver coping in pediatric sickle cell disease. She also received a TL1 pre-doctoral training grant, which allowed her to complete a qualitative study examining systems-level barriers and facilitators to physical activity engagement among youth with comorbid asthma and overweight and obesity. Natalie is currently working on her dissertation, which is examining family communication in pediatric asthma and its relationship to asthma self-management behaviors and outcomes.

Natalie Koskela-Staples

Manuela Sinisterra , B.A.

Manuela is a first-year graduate student in the Pediatric Behavioral Health Lab, primarily mentored by Dr. Fedele. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Medical Anthropology. After graduation, she worked as a research assistant on the Behavioral Diabetes Research Team at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. In that position, she worked across multiple behavioral interventions to help children, adolescents, and families manage type 1 diabetes. Manuela’s research interests include family functioning within the context of pediatric illness and the use of mobile health interventions to improve access to care and promote positive illness management in youth with chronic medical conditions.


Research Coordinators

Deborah Amburgey, B.S.

Deborah is the research coordinator for Implementing a Healthcare Provider Education Intervention in Rural Communities to Reduce Asthma Morbidity (CHAT; David Fedele, PI), which is an implementation of two healthcare provider education interventions to improve asthma outcomes in rural youth residing in Bradford County. Deborah works alongside Dr. David Fedele and graduate students within the pediatric behavioral lab to oversee study procedures. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Central Florida. Currently she is a member in both Dr. Fedele and Dr. Driscoll’s lab.

Amburgey Headshot

Debra McDonald, M.A.

Debra McDonald is the research coordinator of Applying Interactive Mobile Health to Asthma Care in Teens (AIM2ACT; David Fedele, PI), a mobile phone intervention designed to help teenagers better manage their asthma along with the help of a supportive caregiver. Debra works with Dr. David Fedele and other team members in the pediatric behavioral health lab to oversee the day-to-day operations, including planning, recruitment, consenting, data collection and analysis. She has a Master’s degree in English Education, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida. Currently, she is a member of the Pediatric Research Hub in the Department of Pediatrics at the College of Medicine, where she helps facilitate research that aims to improve the lives children, especially those with chronic illness.

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Lab Mascots

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