About Us

Project CAPS (Child Adjustment to Parental Separation) is a research program at Wayne State University funded by the Department of Defense that aims to better understand the impact of military deployment on spouses and young children.

At Project CAPS we are currently studying the direct and indirect impact of deployment on well-being and psychological health. This will lay the groundwork for prevention and intervention programs for service members and their children before, during, and following combat deployments.

Meet our investigators:

Dr. Julie Wargo Aikins is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and completed a post-doctoral Fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles. Her research examines child and adolescent interpersonal processes and their impact on developmental outcomes. She has chosen to focus on social relationships, including those with parents, peers, and romantic partners, given their marked influence on youths’ trajectories of development.

Dr. Deane Aikins is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University. He received his PhD in clinical psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and completed a post-doctoral Fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles. Dr. Aikins is a neuroscience and clinical researcher interested in novel treatments of combat stress disorders, investigating both those who are resilient and those diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), both in Veterans and military families. He is particularly interested in determining dementia risks in aging Veterans. His research focuses on neuroplasticity as a model for conceptualizing traumatic stress responses, risk and resilience models of PTSD and potential approaches for PTSD treatment.

Meet our project manager:

IMG_1282Anna Smith is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan, where she earned her B.S. in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. At the University of Michigan, she gained experience as a research assistant in the Childhood Affective Behavior Lab and the Michigan Neurogenetics and Developmental Psychopathology Lab.  She currently works as the project manager of Project CAPS while she applies to clinical psychology PhD programs for Fall 2019. Her main research interests lie in studying how risk and protective factors interact to affect the development of children. Specifically, she hopes to identify factors that lead to resilient outcomes in order to better understand how to support children who experience adversity, such as community violence or socioeconomic disadvantage. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, and watching her favorite sports team (Go Blue!).

Meet our research assistants:

amanda-graduation-028.jpgCindy Kalian has worked as a research assistant in Drs. Julie & Dean Aikins lab at Wayne State University since January of 2017, while earning her BA in Psychology at Wayne State University. As a post-bac research assistant she has continued working in the lab as well as in the field, conducting home visits at Camp Pendleton and the surrounding area. She received her BA in Psychology in the spring of 2017 and will begin the MS Clinical Health Psychology program at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2018.  In addition she works as a research assistant in the Relationships and Individual Differences Lab where studies examine the role of insecurity in unhealthy relational choices. She is interested in understanding what factors contribute to resilience and positive adaptations as well as those which place individuals at risk for developing psychopathology and relationship difficulties. She spends her free time attending concerts with her husband, perusing used bookstores with her daughter, and going for walks at various nature centers with her son.

unnamed-e1522859207223.pngAngela Jakubik is a junior at Wayne State University majoring in Psychology and taking pre-med classes. She is interested in adolescent development; specifically how peer and family relations affect adolescent outcomes. After graduation, she plans on attending medical school and specializing in pediatric emergency medicine or geriatrics. When she has free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and going out to eat at new restaurants.


imageKatie Russo is a junior at Wayne State University pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Nutrition and Food Science. She is interested in the role of attachment in childhood and adolescent development, and how resiliency can impact outcomes.  After graduation, she plans on attending an Occupational Therapy program, and hopes to have a career assisting children with developmental disabilities. In her free time, she enjoys camping, hiking, running, lounging in her hammock, and playing with her cat.

20160531_180221 (2)Klaudia Marroquin is a senior college student who is majoring in Nursing. As she earned her A.S. in Mathematics, Natural Science, and Computer Science, she acquired a keen interest in Developmental and Behavioral Psychology. Her main research interests lie in discovering factors that affect the development of children and identifying factors that lead to resilience towards traumatic events during development. During her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and drawing.



Dominic Marroquin is a senior who has always been fascinated with Developmental and Abnormal Psychology. He is proficient in mathematics and is majoring in Electrical Engineering and plans to minor in Computer Science. He has a wide array of research interests including factors that influence behavior, emotion, and thought during early development. In his free time, Dominic enjoys geocaching, reading, and playing piano.