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Victoria FlemingPhD Student, Human Development & Family Studies


Tori’s research interests include seeking ways to improve the well-being of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. Specifically, she is interested in the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of aging adults with IDD. As for the family, Tori is interested in looking at the quality and bidirectionality of interactions between family members.

Currently, she is researching whether physical activity has a protective effect on cognitive decline in individuals with Down Syndrome (DS). She is assessing how different physical activity levels (sedentary and moderate) associate with cognitive functioning and biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease (amyloid beta). Also, she is looking at service utilization and awareness of caregivers of individuals with IDD and dementia.

Education and Relevant Experience

Tori received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. Before starting graduate school, Tori worked in the Hartley Lab as a research intern. Her duties included participating in study visits, data entry, reading literature, and developing an understanding of different software (SPSS, ActiLife, etc.). The lab has two major studies: family outcomes in ASD and aging in DS. Much of Tori’s lab work related to the family outcome study, while her research focused on the aging in DS study.

Awards and Recognitions

Recipient of a University of Wisconsin–Madison Graduate School Fellowship

Recipient of SoHE STAR award

Selected Publications

Fleming, V., Gambetti, B., Drastal, K., Christian, B., Handen, B., & Hartley, S. (April 2020). Physical Activity, Cognitive Functioning, and Amyloid-β in Adults with Down Syndrome. Poster presentation at School of Human Ecology Graduate Visit Day, Madison, WI.

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, HDFS 517, Couples Relationships

Degree Program

  • Human Development and Family Studies Graduate Program