MEET THE TEAM
THEODORE E.A. WATERS, PH.D.
Curriculum Vitae: theo-waters-cv-2021
Dr. Waters is an Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University Abu Dhabi and a Global Network Associate Professor of Psychology in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. He received his PhD from Emory University in 2013. His research focuses on the development, organization, and impact of attachment representations and representations of self/identity across the lifespan.
RUI YANG, PH.D.
Rui obtained her Ph.D. from the Developmental Psychology program of New York University. Her research focuses on understanding parenting and child's gender development in Chinese context. She has been the coordinator of a multi-cohort 10-year longitudinal study with over 1100 families in Nanjing, China. With Dr. Waters, Rui will explore how early maternal care quality affect Chinese children’s attachment secure script, and their gender development (e.g., masculinity).
STEFANIA VACARU, PH.D.
Stefania earned her doctorate degree in Developmental and Experimental Psychology at the Donders Institute in The Netherlands. Over the past years, Stefania has investigated the role of early attachment relationships for socioemotional and cognitive development. Her interdisciplinary approach has been marked by the integration of diverse psychological and biological metrics, encompassing both clinical and normative study populations. Her primary objective has been to discern the extent to which the prenatal and postnatal early-life caregiving environment contributes to variations in child development, both optimal and suboptimal. In the forthcoming years, Stefania is looking forward to examining the emergence and the role of secure attachment scripts. In her free time, Stefania plays tennis and dances salsa.
YUFEI GU, M.S.Ed.
Yufei Gu is a PhD student in Developmental Psychology at New York University - Abu Dhabi Global PhD Program, co-mentored by Dr. Theodore Waters and Dr. Niobe Way. She pursued her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Interactive Media at NYUAD and her Master's Degree in Learning, Science & Technology at University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. She has been working on the coding of mother-child interction videos during infancy. She conducted her bachelor's capstone project on the relationship between infants' attachment security level and their later development of interpersonal relationships. Yufei is interested in the relationship between children's early childhood experience with caregivers and their mental health, academic performance and peer relationships later in life.
Graduate Research Assistant & Lab Coordinator
Vic is a graduate of New York University Abu Dhabi. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minors in Social Research & Public Policy, Art History, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. Her Capstone Project focused on assessing maternal sensitivity and culturally-specific parenting variables as predictors of child secure attachment scripts in a Chinese context. Vic hopes to explore developmental psychology in a clinical setting and work in providing culturally sensitive psychotherapy for children and adolescents. In her spare time, Vic enjoys hiking, cooking, and yoga.
CONNIE KANGYING CEN
Connie is senior at New York University Abu Dhabi with a major in Psychology and minors in Theater & Philosophy. Her capstone project aims to develop and validate a measure of the psychological factors underlying a positive subjective experience of motherhood. Connie hopes to explore the intersections between the arts, spirituality, and applied psychology after she graduates, in particular, dance & movement therapy.
Kimberly is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health from New York University Abu Dhabi. Her capstone project explores early childhood attachment and its effects on memory in adult relationships. After graduating, Kimberly hopes to pursue her interests in childhood education and trauma recovery to support at-risk children in the United States, Middle East, and beyond. In her freetime, Kimberly enjoys the outdoors, playing basketball, and traveling.