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Meet the Lab

PANDA Lab 2016 

(Left to Right) Ashley Muskett, Jordan Albright, Angela Scarpa, Deanna Swain, Reina Factor

Angela Scarpa (Principal Investigator)

Dr. Scarpa received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Southern California in 1993. She is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at Virginia Tech, Founder and Director of the Virginia Tech Autism Clinic, and Director of the VT Center for Autism Research. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialized training in individual and group behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapy for children, families, and adults. Before coming to Virginia Tech, she held faculty positions at the University of Georgia and Eastern Washington University and obtained postdoctoral training at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Her general interest is in child and adolescent mental health, with over 20 years of experience in the study of developmental psychopathology. Currently, her work is focused on children, adolescents, and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). She is generally interested in emotional and social development in ASD, including the intersection of both biological and socializing influences. She is also interested in evidence-based treatment approaches and early screening for ASD, as well as other factors that impact the emotional lives of people with ASD. On a personal note, she has four children in middle and high school, one dog, and two cats. She loves chocolate, walking, and anything Disney!


Deanna Swain (5th year graduate student)

Deanna grew up in the south, completed her undergraduate work in Boston and worked in Nashville at Vanderbilt before heading to VT. She is interested in understanding the impact of parent stress (both via self-report and physiologically) in families with children with ASD. Additionally, she is interested in studying the mechanisms of change in mindfulness-based treatments to optimize parent and child outcomes. She enjoys traveling and experiencing new ideas and cultures as well as working out, cooking, making arts and crafts, and especially loves being outside.


Reina Factor (4th year graduate student)

Reina is originally from sunny Southern California. She completed her undergraduate degree at Emory University and worked at UCLA for two years before beginning school at VT. Her research interests focus on the diagnosis and treatment of children with ASD, specifically exploring the role of family members (parents and siblings) in treatment effects. Reina enjoys reading, watching Disney movies, eating all things chocolate, and obviously looking at pictures and videos of adorable pandas!


Jordan Albright (2nd year graduate student)

Jordan is originally from Saint Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology, completed coursework towards her master's in Clinical Child Psychology at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and worked at UCLA for a time before coming to Tech. She is primarily interested in exploring the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions that address emotion regulation and social skill deficits specific to Autism Spectrum Disorder. In her free time she loves spending time with her husband and their two dogs. She also enjoys reading, hiking, snacking, and napping.


Ashley Muskett (2nd year graduate student)

Ashley is originally from Springfield, VA. She is the oldest of 5 siblings and somewhere in the middle of 32 first cousins! Some of her research interests include emotion regulation issues for minimally verbal children with autism, effective interventions for minimally verbal children and support for families of children with autism. When she is not doing work related things she enjoys reading, writing fiction, swimming, boxing and trying new restaurants. She did her undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech as well. Before beginning graduate school she spent a year working with kids on the autism spectrum at nearby Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement center. 


Angela Dahiya-Singh  (1st year graduate student)

Angela is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Davis where she developed an interest in the autism field. After spending some time working as an ABA therapist, she pursued her Master’s degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, CA, where she also gained some clinical and research experience at UCLA. Her research interests include parenting & family stress and its impact on treatment outcomes of children with ASD. She also is interested in examining mental health disparities among families of diverse and rural/low-income communities and hopes to focus on implementing new interventions for this population. In her free time she likes spend time with her friends and husband, travel and explore new cities whenever she can, take pictures, cook/bake, and try new foods/restaurants.