Research Team



Rachel Rodgers, Ph.D.
Dr. Rodgers received her Ph.D. training at Toulouse University in France. Dr. Rodgers’ interests are in the area of body image, disordered eating and adolescent/young adult psychopathology, in particular focusing on sociocultural influences on body image and eating concerns. Her research aims both to examine socio-cultural determinants of health-related behaviors but also to generate research which may inform public policy. She is the author of over 200 journal articles and book chapters.
Debra Franko, Ph.D.

Dr. Franko obtained her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from McGill University, completed post-doctoral training at Beth Israel Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is currently the Associate Director at the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and a former Visiting Scholar in Psychology at Wesleyan University. She received a Distinguished Fellow Award from the Institute for Advanced Study at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.  Dr. Franko’s work in eating disorder prevention spans 3 decades, where her focus has been on understanding risk factors for eating disorders and developing and testing prevention programs. Her most recent work has involved the design of internet- and mobile-based programs to decrease risk and improve body image in adolescent girls and young women. Dr. Franko has been particularly interested in prevention for Latina girls and women, a group at risk for developing eating disorders. She is a Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders where she served on Board of Directors for the past 5 years and is on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Eating Disorders and Body Image: An International Journal of Research.  Dr. Franko is a member of the International Advisory Board for the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders based at the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Franko received the 2015 Lori Irving Award for Excellence in Eating Disorders Prevention and Awareness from the National Eating Disorder Association. She has authored over 120 peer-reviewed publications in the area of eating disorders, body image, and prevention and co-authored the book Unlocking the Mysteries of Eating Disorders: A Practical, Life-Saving Guide to Your Child’s Treatment and Recovery.
Jessica Edwards George, Ph.D.


Dr. Edwards George is a licensed psychologist and school psychologist who specializes in pediatric psychology, specifically children and families with gastrointestinal illnesses, food allergies, and internalizing disorders. Dr. Edwards George’s primary research interests lie broadly in the areas of dietary adherence and psychological and behavioral correlates of adherence to medically necessary dietary regimens in pediatric populations, such as children with gastrointestinal disorders and food allergies.

Graduate Students

Laura Fischer, M.S.

Laura Fischer is a PhD student in Counseling Psychology and a member of the APPEAR research team at Northeastern University. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Rhode Island and went on to work as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She received an M.S. in Psychology from Drexel University and worked for the National Alliance on Mental Illness before pursuing a doctoral degree at Northeastern University. Laura’s primary research and clinical interests include the treatment of anxiety disorders, as well as factors affecting identity development and body image among college-age individuals.
Katherine Laveway, M.S.

Katherine Laveway is a Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology and a member of the Applied Psychology Program for Eating and Appearance Research (APPEAR) team. She received her M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University and her B.A. in English and Music from Wellesley College. During her master’s training, Katherine gained clinical experience working in inpatient and outpatient settings at UMass Memorial Medical Center. Katherine’s research interests include body image and eating concerns among queer and trans individuals. She is particularly interested in sociocultural constructions of gender, experiences of weight stigma, and the impact of social media on the psychological health of young adults.  
Genevieve Peck Nowicki

Genevieve is an M.S. student in Applied Psychology at Northeastern University. She holds a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavior from Simmons University, and previously worked as a Clinical Research Assistant at Mclean Hospital’s Center for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Research (CDASR), studying the neural underpinnings of depression. Her professional interests include mental health advocacy and investigating sociocultural factors that influence disordered eating, such as weight stigma and the internalization of appearance ideals. In addition, she is interested in studying the role that experiences of uncertainty may play in the development and maintenance of eating disorders, and using this to guide systems-level interventions. In her spare time, Genevieve enjoys baking and spending time with her dog, Waffles.
Isabella Sereno, M.A.

Isabella “Isa” Sereno has been a PhD student in the Counseling Psychology program at Northeastern University since the Fall of 2020. Isa received a BS in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and an MA in Counselor Education, Clinical Mental Health Track, from Virginia Tech. Isa worked as a treatment coordinator at the Latinas y Niño’s Center in Casa Esperanza Inc., a substance abuse residential program for Latinx women in recovery and their children, where she worked closely with monolingual Spanish-speaking women and their families. Isa also worked as a clinical research coordinator II at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cancer Outcome Research and Education program (CORE), helping conduct research in palliative care for patients diagnosed with advanced cancer and their caregivers. She is a part of the APPEAR lab and is working under the mentorship of Dr. Jessica Edwards-George and Dr. Rachel Rodgers. Isa will be completing her advanced fieldwork practicum at Martha Eliot Health Center/Boston Children’s Hospital. She is fluent in Spanish and is interested in understanding racial and ethnic disparities that affect the caregiver experience within health settings, particularly parents of children with complex care needs.
Revathi Tripuraneni
Brief bio to be added.

Undergraduate Students

Angelica Fiuza

Angelica is a fifth year undergraduate student at Northeastern. She majors in Health Science with minors in Spanish, Biology, and Global Health. After she graduates, she plans to go to medical school where she hopes to work as an OB/GYN and pursue an MPH. In conjunction with her interest with working with children and completing a public health dialogue in summer of 2018 where there was a focus on women’s health, it led her to join the APPEAR Lab during the fall 2018 semester so that she can further explore the role of social determinants of health. She is excited to be a part of the team and explore the different literature surrounding eating behaviors and body image.
Giliana Busler

Giliana is an undergraduate second year studying in the Nursing program at Northeastern University. She has been passionate about Psychology ever since high-school, and is looking into adding a minor. She hopes to go to graduate school and pursue a career as a Nurse Practitioner after she graduates. She has been recently volunteering with girl scouts and children who present a lot of body image issues. Giliana sought out to explore the background to this very complex topic which led her to join the APPEAR team.
Elisa Danthinne

Elisa is a fourth year Industrial Engineering student. Curious about the intersection of eating disorders and public health, she joined APPEAR her freshman year and has been involved ever since on a number of projects surrounding policy, business, and perception in the US, France, and Japan. Besides working for a cause close to her heart, Elisa’s favorite things about APPEAR are the supportive community, meeting snacks, and dance parties at ICED. 
Helen Bujold

Helen Bujold is a second-year Honors Physical Therapy student, with a minor in psychology. She is from Vermont and spent two years in her early teens living in Finland. She joined the APPEAR team through an Honors Early Research Award focusing on the Body Positivity movement on Instagram in early 2019. Since then, the study has expanded, and she is very excited to continue her time with APPEAR and be a part of the exciting advances in this field of research.   
Ritu Amarnani

Ritu Amarnani is a third year undergraduate student at Northeastern University, majoring in Health Sciences and minoring in Biology and Nutrition. This summer, she will begin applying to medical school to pursue a scientific career, specialty still unknown. Her freshman year, she began applying to research labs, where she discovered a love for learning and the empirical aspects of scientific data. The APPEAR lab combined her interests of data analysis and reading into a project she could contribute to and be excited about.


Carli Fink

Carli graduated from Northeastern’s M.S. program in College Student Development and Counseling in 2019, and currently works as a Career Strategist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She is fascinated by questions of how life experiences shape human development, and is particularly interested in applying research to improve high-achieving students’ mental health, relationships, educational experiences, and professional trajectories. Carli holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and education, and brings previous work experience supporting students’ health and wellness, academic success, and identity development. She has been involved with the APPEAR team since October 2017.
Geneva Driscoll

Geneva graduated from Northeastern with a Psychology major and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She hopes to pursue a career in clinical psychology with a specialization in eating disorder treatment. Her passion for understanding and challenging body image and disordered eating issues led her to the APPEAR lab and she is excited to be a part of the team and contribute to the research.
Breana Marchwinski

Breana is an MSW student at Simmons University, studying clinical social work. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Art History from Boston College, where she worked on research related to learning and evaluative conditioning. She also has experience working in the field of suicide prevention. Breana is excited to be researching body image and eating disorders through APPEAR, and is currently focusing on the experiences of sexual minorities.
Megan Alam

Megan graduated from Northeastern in May 2021 with a B.S. in Health Science with Honors and a minor in Biology. She is currently applying to medical school and hopes to pursue a career in primary care or women’s health. Wanting to explore the intersection of non-traditional racial identities and body image, Megan joined the APPEAR team during the winter of 2020. She is excited to be a part of the team and learn more about eating and appearance research.
Cate Navarrete

Cate Navarrete is a 17-year-old high school senior living outside of Washington, D.C. She is the founder and Executive Director of Body Positive Alliance, a non-profit organization advocating for the acceptance, fair treatment, and representation of all bodies regardless of physical ability, size, gender, race, or appearance. Additionally, she hosts “Generation Body Positive,” a podcast in which she speaks with different activists, influencers, and friends about their own experiences with identity, diet culture, body image, and more. Cate has been involved with the APPEAR Research Team since October 2020. 
Maddie Steele

Maddie graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia, where they helped with research in a developmental psychology lab and volunteered often in the Charlottesville community. Maddie is interested in studying eating disorders and body image issues in the LGBTQ+ community, which led them to volunteering with APPEAR. They hope to attend a graduate program in Clinical or Counseling Psychology in the near future. 

Elizah Becker

Elizah is a 2021 Northeastern graduate, having majored in Health Science and minored in biology. She is now in pursuit of a physician assistant (PA) career and has a strong passion for women’s health and reproductive rights. This interest initiated from her first Northeastern co-op where she worked in gynecology and eating disorder treatment. Elizah joined the APPEAR team in September of 2020 and has since been working on a body image study regarding pregnant and postpartum representation on social media.

Rachel Buder

I am a psychology major and nutrition minor at Simmons University, graduating in 2022. After I graduate, I plan on obtaining my either my Ph.D or my Psy.D to further my career and ultimately become a residential eating disorder therapist. My past internships include the Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association (MEDA), in Newton, during the summer of 2020, and Ai’ Pono, on the island of Maui, during the summer of 2021. At MEDA I helped build their new website, wrote grant applications, and helped construct therapeutic programs. My time at Ai’ Pono was spent as a psychology technician where I supported patients in Activities of Daily Living functions, provided individual support to patients through check-ins, and led group therapies in nutrition, art therapy, and food demonstration. I am very excited to be a part of the  APPEAR lab to further explore the role nutrition plays in the psychology behind eating disorders.

Past Members