Learn more about the students whose work strengthens the SPARK Lab.
Jamie Kynn, MA, MSW -- SPARK Lab Director
Jamie Kynn is a first year doctoral student in the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. Jamie received their MA in Gender Studies from Central European University, and their MSW from Rutgers University. They have previously worked at The Center on Violence Against Women and Children and Education Development Center. Jamie's research has included human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and compassion fatigue in violence researchers. Their work mainly focuses on gender-based violence policies, program evaluations, assessments, trainings, and developing non-academic research dissemination media.
Morgan PettyJohn, MS, LLMFT
Morgan PettyJohn, LLMFT, is a fourth year doctoral candidate in Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. Morgan holds a masters degree in Couple and Family Therapy from Oklahoma State University. She has clinical expertise in treating trauma in children and adults, working with LGBTQIA+ couples, and conceptualizing the impact of systemic oppression on the lived experiences of clients. During her time at MSU, Morgan directed a screening program for intimate partner violence among couples seeking treatment, and trained multiple cohorts of therapists in how to conduct violence assessments safely and effectively. In 2019, Morgan was appointed by President Samuel L. Stanley to serve as the graduate research assistant for MSU's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup, which is charged with developing a strategic plan for creating a safer and more equitable community within the university. In 2020, Morgan was named Inspirational Woman Graduate Student of the Year for her work in these roles and on other projects within the university. Morgan's dissertation research is exploring the impact of exposure to sexual assault related content via social media on the mental health of survivors. You can follow her work via Twitter: @Morgan_Ellese, or on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Morgan_Pettyjohn.
Taylor A. Reid, BA
Taylor A. Reid, BA is a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development & Family Studies at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on intimate partner violence as experienced by sexual minority women, with added emphasis on the resilience these women display. She is particularly interested in understanding the power dynamics that occur in women’s same-sex relationships. Through mixed-methods research, Taylor strives to provide a platform for marginalized communities to tell their stories. She was previously awarded the Dean’s Assistantship in 2017 and has since served on multiple committees aimed at diversity as a representative for the LGBT community. Taylor manages SPARK's sexual orientation & gender identity portfolio.
Jenny Tanis, LMSW
Jenny Tanis, LMSW, is a second year doctoral student in the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. Jenny obtained her MSW from Grand Valley State University and is a licensed clinical social worker with experience in child welfare, reproductive and mental health, and academic advising and support for collegiate student athletes. Jenny’s research lands at the intersection of child maltreatment and maternal health. Both in policy evaluation and practice implications, Jenny is interested in how improving care, resources, support, and outcomes for birthing parents can reduce child maltreatment and improve the holistic health of families. In Fall 2020, Jenny was awarded with the Hiram E. Fitzgerald Engaged Scholar Fellowship, promoting the reduction of adverse childhood experiences that occur from conception to age five. Jenny is a project manager for SPARK collaborator, Dr. Joanne Riebschleger, and manages their collaborative projects on mental health.
Cassondra Jones is a first-year master’s student in the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. She, also, currently works as a Federal Grant Administrator at a Nonprofit in Detroit, Michigan. Previously, Cassondra assisted in the administration of a Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant focused on light-touch care coordination approach, with use goals to empower parents and caregivers of children ages 5 and under. Cassondra’s areas of interest are maternal health, early childhood, and intimate partner relationships. SPARK Lab is Cassondra’s first year field placement.
Brigette Thornes has been teaching English at Lansing Community college since 2009, after graduating from New Mexico Highlands University. She is the author of the Layna series and the middle-grade chapter book The Wheelers on Wheels. A passion for helping children and an interest in larger social issues motivated her to make the switch from teaching to social work. She is very excited to be in the program!
Lily is a senior in the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. After graduating and receiving her BSW, she plans to attend graduate school to obtain her MSW to better serve her population of interest: children and families. Working with the SPARK Lab will be her first experience in a research setting and she is excited for what she will learn and what she can contribute especially in the areas of child development, prevention and policy surrounding teen dating violence, mental health, and more.
Tamara Robaciu is a freshman at the College of Natural Sciences at Michigan State University studying Biomedical Laboratory Science. She intends to graduate with a BS degree and pursue medical school with the aim of becoming a practicing physician. The SPARK Lab will be her first research experience and she intends to combine the research skills and empathetic mindset obtained in the lab to work towards greater equity and equality in the healthcare industry.