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Team Director

Desiree W. Murray, PhD | CV

Desiree W. Murray, PhD is a Senior Research Scientist at UNC’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a Research Associate Professor in the School of Education and Department of Psychiatry. She has over two decades of experience in school mental health research, primarily developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based programs to prevent social-emotional and behavioral difficulties in children and youth. Her work has been supported by over 12 million dollars in federal funding from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the National Institute of Health (NIH). As part of her work with the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) at ACF, she led development of a co-regulation model by which caring adults can support youth in developing self-regulation and other competencies, a framework that is informing national programs and practices for youth-serving agencies. Dr. Murray’s more recent work has integrated ecological momentary assessment to further understand youth’s emotional wellbeing and coping strategies in the context of stress.

Dr. Murray is also a licensed clinical psychologist who regularly provides trainings in social-emotional programs for educators who serve children and youth. With UNC colleagues, she developed Be CALM, a universal program for secondary students that teaches mindfulness-based social-emotional skills and has shown promising effects in two studies. Prior to joining UNC in 2014, she served as the Associate Director of the Duke ADHD Program. In her free time, Dr. Murray enjoys reading and doing yoga and is an avid swimmer.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Keadija Wiley, PhD

Keadija is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at UNC’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, working primarily on the Be CALM Counselors project. She received her PhD in 2023 in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she also received her MS in 2020. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2016. Keadija’s work has focused on contexts that support African American youth’s development, specifically through the function of parent-child interactions by exploring issues of race and racism among African American families. She hopes to use her research to improve the lives of marginalized youth and families. In her free time, Keadija enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and dog.

Research Staff

Monique Villamor – Graduate Research Assistant

Monique is a graduate research assistant with the UPSIDE Team. She is currently pursuing an MPH with a concentration in Health Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before starting school at UNC, she completed her BS and MS in Psychology at the University of North Florida, where her practicum with Early Head Start sparked her passion for community-based research. Her professional goals include improving policies and programs focusing on school health and maternal & child health. During Monique’s free time, you can find her reading a good book or spending time with her dog, Rory.

Hannah Netschytailo – Research Assistant

Hannah is a research assistant with the UPSIDE Team. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and Psychology with highest honors. Hannah is interested in how childhood adversity impacts future behavior and how various factors can promote resilience. She plans to apply to clinical psychology Ph.D. programs in hopes of furthering her studies and helping those who have experienced adversity and trauma. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and trying new foods.

John Pagen – Research Assistant

John is a research assistant with the UPSIDE Team. He graduated from Kansas State University in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a business minor. From a research perspective, John is broadly interested in digital communication (social media, text messages, etc.), self-regulation, school-based interventions, and public policy informed by psychological research. He plans on applying to clinical psychology Ph.D. programs to explore how these topics can be utilized to both prevent negative mental health outcomes and promote positive mental health outcomes among adolescents. In his free time, John enjoys making music, watching Dario Argento movies, and reading about psychology.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Aveena Khanderia

Aveena is a research assistant with the UPSIDE Team. She is a student at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Economics and Health Policy & Management at Gillings School of Global Public Health. Aveena is interested in how social determinants of health impact access to affordable healthcare for low-income and minority populations. She plans to pursue a career in healthcare consulting, working to help transform and accelerate the growth of healthcare incubators by applying quantitative methods to improve patient outcomes. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and trying new adventure sports.

Past Team Members

McKenna Roudebush, Elis Matos, Daniel Soki, Priya Patel, Amy Webster