Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Helen Tam

Helen Tam is a clinical psychologist specializing in pediatric neuropsychology in private practice in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area. In her role as a volunteer faculty member at NYU’s Child Study Center, she helps to coordinate the neuropsychological team’s research efforts. These efforts include two active studies investigating the utility of pediatric neuropsychological evaluations and the role of pediatric neuropsychology consultation in improving patient outcomes in an outpatient diabetes clinic. Additionally, Helen is a regular guest lecturer for New York University’s undergraduate Child and Adolescent Brain Development course. Helen completed a two-year position as a Pediatric Neuropsychology post-doctoral fellow at the NYU Child Study Center in August of 2016.

After defending her dissertation and completing a clinical internship at the University of Chicago, Helen received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Penn State. Her dissertation was titled, “Early Negative Emotional Reactivity, Cognitive Control, and Structured Home Environments on ADHD Outcomes,” and evaluated the longitudinal relationship between cognitive development, negative affect, environmental structuring, and ADHD. During her internship year, Helen conducted seminars and gave Grand Rounds presentations on topics pertaining to developmental neuropsychology. In February of 2016, she presented a poster on the neurocognitive profiles of a rare form of diabetes (monogenic diabetes) at the annual conference of the International Neuropsychological Society. She also served as an ad-hoc reviewer for the journal Psychological Medicine with Dr. Jenae Neiderhiser. Helen came to Penn State with a Master’s degree in Physiological Science from the University of California. She took that knowledge and applied it to her research interest of cognitive and affective neuroscience, with a focus on learning differences in children with ADHD. Specifically, Helen studied how the differing ways children learn help to explain some of the struggles seen in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during the acquisition of new skills. Her research efforts at Penn State resulted in two poster presentations at international conferences, a conference symposium, one first-author publication and several co-authored publications. Her primary mentors were Dr. Jenae Neiderhiser and Dr. Ginger Moore.

As a Strumpf Scholar, Helen used the scholarship funds to support her efforts in pursuing a multifaceted research program involving behavioral, cognitive, and psychophysiological branches of study. This allowed her to gain further insight on how we can best help children use information from the outside world to improve performance and behavior across multiple settings.