DePTh Lab

DePTh Lab Director

G. John Geldhof, Ph.D.

Faculty page

Dr. Geldhof’s research focuses on the development of self-regulation across the lifespan and the relationship between intentional self-regulation and positive developmental outcomes (especially Positive Youth Development). Because of the contextualized nature of human development, he is also interested in the diverse ways thriving manifests in diverse cultural contexts.

Dr. Geldhof received his Ph.D. in Developmental and Quantitative Psychology from the University of Kansas and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University.

His current research program includes an emphasis on quantitative methodology, both as a tool for optimizing empirical work and as a research domain in and of itself. As a substantive topic, his quantitative research focuses on latent variable and multilevel modeling techniques.


Dr. Geldhof’s Current Students


Yue Ni, M.A.

Yue’s research interests focus on how different levels and settings in youth’s ecological contexts, like families, youth programs, and culture, can integrate to promote positive developmental outcomes among youth. She is particularly interested in the social and emotional development of youth who might be experiencing an adjustment in a new environment, like immigrant youth in the U.S. and migrant youth in urban China.

Yue graduated from East China University of Science and Technology with a B.A. in English and received her M.A. in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College.

Before starting her program at OSU, she worked as a researcher at an educational technology company in Shanghai, where she developed mobile applications for family education. Prior to that, she worked with a peer-mentoring program for recent Asian immigrant youth in Quincy, MA.


Lab-Affiliated Students

Linda Fenske, MS

Program: Human Development and Family Studies
Advisor: Shauna Tominey

Linda’s research focuses on identifying sources of strength and challenge for vulnerable youth. Currently, she is focusing on transgender and gender non-conforming youth in Oregon, researching the relationship between the way that these youth present themselves to people at school and their emotional and mental wellbeing, their feeling of efficacy, and whether they have a caring adult at school. Linda earned her Post-Baccalaureate B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences from Oregon State University, her M.A. in English from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her B.A. in English and Philosophy from Wake Forest University. Previously, Linda oversaw operations for the runaway and homeless youth overnight shelter of Jackson Street Youth Services in Corvallis, Oregon.


Alexis Merculief

Program: Human Development and Family Studies
Advisor: Megan McClelland

Alexis is interested in how executive function and self-regulation skills help young children succeed in school. She is especially interested in how self-regulation develops alongside language, culture, and identity formation in childhood. Alexis graduated with her B.A. in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University where she researched self-regulation in children with Autism. She is an Aleut tribal member and previously worked to promote health and well-being in American Indian/Alaska Native children through youth program development and implementation at the Seattle Indian Health Board.


Dakota Witzel

Program: Human Development and Family Studies
Advisor: Robert Stawski

Dakota is a stress researcher focusing on the impact of daily stress in the health and well-being of adults. Her current research focuses on how characteristics of daily stress such as family involvement is associated with emotional reactivity in midlife. Dakota is additionally interested in exploring the use of statistical techniques in longitudinal and intensive data analysis. Dakota graduated with her Bachelor of Science from Dixie State University in St. George, Utah in 2017 where she focused heavily on research in relationships and sexuality in emerging adulthood.



Asia Thogmartin, Ph.D.

Asia’s research centers on the impact of contextual factors on development across the lifespan. Her experiences growing up in South Africa and working as a criminal defense investigator shape her interest in multicultural, marginalized communities. Her current work focuses on the development of critical consciousness of multicultural youth living in poverty across the U.S.

Asia earned a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Art from Southern Oregon University and an M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Oregon State University. She will graduate with a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Oregon State University in June 2021.

Whether in her academic work, her art practice, or her family life, Asia finds inspiration in the intersection of diversity, creativity, and unconventional thinking—which are critical to effective learning.


Svea Olsen, Ph.D.

Svea’s interests focus on immigrant and refugee youth in the United States. Specifically, she seeks to understand how language brokering (serving as an interpreter or translator for family members or other adults) influences youth from diverse backgrounds in order to determine how schools and communities may best support them.

Svea earned her B.A. in Psychology from Lewis & Clark College with a focus on Spanish Language and Hispanic Studies. She received her M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Oregon State University.

Prior to coming to Oregon State, Svea worked at the Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale University to develop, implement, and evaluate a program promoting social and emotional development among diverse learners in early childhood education settings. Additionally, Svea is TESOL certified and has worked as an English as a Second Language educator for immigrant and refugee youth and adults.