Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Alex Busuito

Alex Busuito continues their dissertation research, which involves original data collection with parents who were maltreated as children. Maltreated parents are at high risk for maltreating their own children and Alex aims to identify the self-regulatory deficits that make caregiving especially difficult for these parents. Alex’s dissertation research is partially funded by a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. Alex is currently completing their clinical internship at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and is expected to graduate upon the completion of their internship in summer 2021. They have a total of four first-authored publications.

As a graduate student in the Child Clinical Psychology PhD program, Alex’s primary research interest has been identifying specific self-regulatory mechanisms that perpetuate the intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment. Alex’s mentors are Dr. Ginger Moore and Dr. Erika Lunkenheimer. Alex received advanced clinical training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has conducted several community trainings on trauma-informed education and parenting. Alex was inspired by this work as a community mental health clinician to shift their program research to focus on parents’ self-regulation in order to identify mechanisms of maltreatment that can be targeted to prevent child maltreatment. Alex attended Eastern Michigan University, where they received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology cum laude. After arriving at Penn State, Alex received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which provided three years of support in developing a program of research centered around identifying the effects of early adversity on infants’ physiological self-regulation. Alex received their Master of Science in Child Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Developmental Science in 2015.

The Strumpf Scholar Award will allow Alex the opportunity to focus exclusively on their dissertation research. Alex hopes that this program of research will guide a new generation of interventions that work for the highest risk families.