Meet Our Team
The SIESTA Project team is composed of hardworking, child-loving faculty, staff, and students. We strive to improve the lives of children and families like your own!
Dr. Cameron Neece
Dr. Cameron Neece is a Professor whose career has been devoted to supporting families of children with developmental delays and autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Neece has developed several interventions for families of young children with developmental disabilities. She has three young children of her own and in her free time enjoys going to the beach and spending time with her family.
Dr. Tori Van Dyk
Dr. Van Dyk is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Loma Linda University. Dr. Van Dyk’s research is focused on modifiable health behaviors such as sleep, diet, and physical activity. She is interested in these behaviors as targets for health promotion and intervention and studies how they relate to each other and other important health outcomes. She is interested in the intersection between mental and physical health and how health behaviors and outcomes impact emotional and behavioral functioning in youth. Dr. Van Dyk investigates these relationships using observational, longitudinal, and experimental methods. Further, she believes that collaboration within and between disciplines is vital when exploring these important health outcomes.
Dr. Aarti Nair
Dr. Nair is an Assistant Professor at Loma Linda University. Her current research interests are in the neural basis of social cognition deficits in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and early-onset psychosis. She is specifically interested in applying multimodal neuroimaging techniques (functional and structural MRI, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy) to examine changes in neural architecture affected by targeted interventions in these populations. Her research has been supported by grants awarded by Autism Speaks, Autism Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Dr. Catie Sanner
Dr. Sanner is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Loma Linda University. Her research interests include understanding psychosocial factors that impact health behaviors and the development of health behaviors interventions specifically targeting obesity for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Clinically, she has had the privilege of working with diverse and underserved pediatric populations in both inpatient and outpatient medical settings, and has developed a passion for working with youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Sydney Park, B.S.
Sydney is our project coordinator. She has earned her B.S. in Clinical Psychology with a minor in Child Development from Tufts University. During her time at Tufts, Sydney worked closely with children and families, through which she developed her passion in bringing mental health care to individuals of marginalized backgrounds. She is interested in studying trauma and the impact of the child-caregiver dynamic in treatment. In her free time, Sydney enjoys sunbathing, hanging out with her pet bird, caring for plants, and taking walks.
Mithila Mahale, M.A.
Mithila is a third-year Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology. She earned her Bachelor's from UC Riverside and her Masters from Loma Linda University. Her research interests include the neural basis of social cognition and executive functioning in neurodevelopmental disorders and targeted interventions, and is passionate about pursuing a career as a pediatric neuropsychologist. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and trying new food.
Katie Callaci, M.A.
Katie is a third-year Ph.D student in Clinical Psychology. She earned her Bachelor’s from Claremont McKenna College and her Master’s in Psychology from Loma Linda University. She is passionate about supporting individuals with ASD and their families. Her research interests in ASD include sleep, sensory processing, family dynamics, anxiety, and restricted repetitive behaviors (RRBs). In her free time, Katie likes to travel and do yoga.
Shaina Casey, M.A.
Shaina is a third- year PhD student. She is interested in health behaviors, family behaviors, and child emotion regulation in children with developmental delays. In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, cooking, and playing with her dog.
Abigail Zelaya, M.A.
Abigail is a bilingual third-PhD student in Clinical Psychology at Loma Linda University. She is interested in studying parenting behaviors of children with developmental disabilities and treatment adherence. In her free time, she likes to go camping, go to sports events, and try new foods.
Niki Bahri, M.A.
Niki is a third-year Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include understanding parents’ role in development of child adaptive skills and the impact of raising an individual with autism or other developmental disabilities on family functioning and dynamics. In her free time, she enjoys watching new mystery series, reading, and cooking new recipes.
Rhideeta Jalal, M.A.
Rhideeta is a third-year Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology. She is interested in applying multimodal neuroimaging techniques including functional MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy to examine the neural mechanisms underlying social cognition impairments in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and early-onset psychosis. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to museums, and playing the piano.