TRANSFORM- 2023 Summer Research Institute Teams

Team 1: Dan Wang, PhD, CFLE-P and Angela Harnden, PhD


Dan Wang, PhD, CFLE-P is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma. She has interdisciplinary doctoral training in human sciences with a specialization in global family health and well-being and a minor in quantitative, qualitative, and psychometric methods. Her research aims to understand how multiple contexts shape child and family outcomes and how scholars and practitioners can promote health and well-being among vulnerable populations. Dan Wang has three primary research areas related to vulnerable families, culture, and evaluative research. Her research highlights the importance of socioeconomic factors and families contributing to social and emotional outcomes. She discusses policy implications for developing early interventions for children exposed to trauma, building community resilience, and reinforcing social and economic support for vulnerable children.

Angela Harnden, PhD is the Project Director for the Oklahoma Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP) based at the University of Oklahoma. She has over 26 years of applied sociological experience from her work at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center where she managed national databases and served as a researcher and program evaluator for various state and federal grants and projects. Her expertise has focused on social demographics such as low-income and poverty, subsidized childcare and state government programs, and developmental disabilities as well as interdisciplinary program evaluation. Her applied sociological work and research has continued as she has worked to launch PCAP as a randomized control trial and case management program in Oklahoma over the past year and a half. PCAP is a well-established, evidence-informed case management intervention program that originated out of Washington State to help pregnant and parenting mothers who are struggling with addiction. This program and research are intended to improve the well-being of Oklahoma children, families and communities and provide a cost-saving analysis for state programs.

Team 2: Jessica Riggs, PhD and Amber Ziring


Jessica Riggs, PhD is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. She is a collaborative member of Zero to Thrive, a multidisciplinary university-based program focused on promoting health and wellness of families with young children facing adversity through research, training, and service. Within the department, Dr. Riggs oversees evaluations in the Infant and Early Childhood Clinic, a multidisciplinary training service that delivers trauma-informed treatment to children and their families, and in the Perinatal Psychiatry Clinic, providing assessment and intervention to peripartum parents and their young children. She also leads the Thrive with Your Baby Clinic, a universal promotion and prevention intervention clinic that capitalizes on the power of video review with parents of young children to promote early relational health. Her research focuses on identifying and supporting protective factors. She is an advocate for relationship-focused, trauma-informed practices across early childhood serving systems.

Amber Ziring is a social worker, public health professional, and a lactation consultant. She has worked with families in Central America, Syrian refugee camps, and in her home state of Oregon. Her work has focused on early childhood nutrition, child abuse prevention, kinship care and adoptions, youth suicide prevention, and children in emergencies.  Regardless of the program or its location in the world, Amber has found that all families have the same basic hopes and desires for their children. She is deeply invested in walking alongside families as they grow to thrive in their parenting journeys.

Team 3: Jacqueline Lechuga and Anahi Morales

Jacqueline Lechuga is a doctoral candidate in the Social-Cultural Psychology program at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Jacqueline has a master’s in Experimental Psychology, a graduate certificate in Quantitative Methods in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from UTEP. Jacqueline was a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. She was a victim advocate for survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence and is a suicide prevention gatekeeper. Her primary research interest is on various aspects of intimate partner violence, including attraction to bad partners, tolerance of a romantic partner’s abuse, and how to intervene. Her secondary research interests are in education and the psychology of sustainability. Jacqueline aspires to pursue a career in academia and establish a research laboratory to generate research that can be applied to improving individual lives and communities.

Anahi Morales recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology summa cum laude from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where she has accumulated two years of extensive research experience. Anahi completed an undergraduate honors thesis which focused on the association between inclusion-of-other-in-the self and biased evaluations of romantic partner’s negative behaviors. Anahi is currently a victim advocate at the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence emergency shelter where she provides individual case management to families who are actively fleeing homelessness due to domestic violence and sexual assault. Anahi will pursue a graduate degree in Developmental Psychology where she plans to research factors related to coping strategies and how they are affected by various stressors; specifically, negative family relationships (e.g. domestic violence). Anahi hopes to become a child clinical psychologist and collaborate with a non-profit organization to continue making an impact in the community.