Doctoral Graduate Students

psychology phd program

Dr. Jane Roberts mentors students in the University of South Carolina’s School Psychology and the Clinical-Community Psychology PhD program. The Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Research Lab is currently accepting applicants from both programs. For more information on the University of South Carolina’s application procedures for these graduate programs, please see the School Psychology and Clinical-Community program descriptions.

If you plan to apply to work with Dr. Roberts you are encouraged to send a letter of interest (including a copy of your current CV and other relevant information) directly to Dr. Jane Roberts.

Dr. Roberts’ Current Doctoral Students:

Sara Matherly : Doctoral Student

Sara Matherly

Doctoral Student

Sara Matherly is a School Psychology doctoral student. She is currently doing an internship at Blythewood High School and North Springs Elementary School, as well as with Developmental Pediatrics at USC Medical School and Palmetto Richland Hospital. In the spring of 2019, she will be supporting the social skills classrooms as part of the assessment and consultation team and at Blythewood High School supporting the school psychologist. Sara completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated in 2007 with a B.S. in Psychology. After graduating Sara worked with Greensboro TEACCH on educating high school teachers who worked with adolescents and adults with autism to create evidence-based goals and assist with transitioning to the work place. Sara then worked as Project Coordinator for the Communication and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Lab at FPG Child Development Institute. During her time as Project Coordinator, she studied the role autism behaviors played in a child's ability to repair communication breakdowns. Her research interests include analyzing reciprocal communication skills, attention difficulties, social anxiety and biophysiological processes of children and adolescents with ASD and/or FXS, and differentiating autistic behaviors in FXS.


Jordan Ezell : Doctoral Student

Jordan Ezell

Doctoral Student

Jordan Ezell completed her BA in Psychology and Nutrition from Samford University in 2013. During her undergraduate career, Jordan interned at the University of London’s Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, assisting in face recognition trials in conjunction with the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings. Upon graduating, Jordan continued her work in developmental disabilities as a clinical trials associate at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, conducting medication trials with fragile X syndrome and autism. Her current research interests include pairing biophysiological processes and anxiety, differentiating anxiety in autism and fragile X syndrome and early detection and diagnosis. Please see her vitae.

Shannon O’Connor : Doctoral Student

Shannon O’Connor

Doctoral Student

Shannon O’Connor is a School Psychology doctoral student at the University of South Carolina. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati in 2013. As an undergraduate, Shannon worked as an intern at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. During her undergraduate career she also worked on a research grant through the Center for ADHD at Cincinnati Children’s that implemented study skills, social skills, and behavioral management of adolescents in local school districts. Upon graduating she joined the Autism Research Group at Cincinnati Children’s working as a research coordinator executing clinical trials in Fragile X Syndrome and Autism. Shannon’s current research interests include early detection and intervention for Autism spectrum disorders as well as accurate diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and other co morbid pathologies found in Autism and Fragile X Syndrome. Please see her vitae.

Carla Wall : Doctoral Student

Carla Wall

Doctoral Student

Carla Wall is a doctoral student in School Psychology at USC. She received her B.A. in English from Duke University and M.S. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. During her undergraduate career, she worked at the Wilbourn Infant Lab studying the role gesture plays in language development in infants and young children. While pursuing her master’s work, she explored how effortful control influences reading development in preschool, as well as how eye tracking can be used to improve measures of reading comprehension. Prior to matriculating at USC, Carla was a Developmental and Computational Social Neuroscience Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center, where she worked on projects geared toward the early identification and detection of Autism Spectrum Disorder and the development of new technologies to improve the lives of those with autism and their families. Carla’s current research interests include the early identification of autism as well as understanding the heterogeneity of symptoms in ASD and fragile x syndrome, particularly with regard to females.

Conner Black : Graduate Student

Conner Black

Graduate Student


Conner Black is a School Psychology doctoral student at the University of South Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Science with honors from Syracuse University in 2015. During his time at SU he worked in the Center for Autism Research in Electrophysiology under the direction of Dr. Natalie Russo investigating multisensory integration in both typically developing children and children on the autism spectrum. After graduation, he worked as a Lab Manager under Dr. Elizabeth Gunderson executing a longitudinal study examining the relationship between spatial skills and math. His current research explores the intersection and development between gesture and verbal speech in children with developmental disabilities.

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