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Lab Researchers


Graduate Students


Ashley Ezpeleta is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Human Development area of the Department of Educational Psychology. Ashley received her B.A. in Psychology from Miami University (Ohio) in 2019. Prior to joining the LCD Lab, she was a lab manager for Dr. Ed Hubbard’s Educational Neuroscience lab at UW-Madison. Broadly, Ashley studies the comprehension and understanding of words or text by looking at the relationships between word meanings, memory, and attention. She is interested in the role that context, prior knowledge, and different types of language structures (such as similes and metaphors) have in this process. Ultimately, she hopes to apply her work to school settings by fostering academic achievement and performance in reading or science. Ashley is being advised by Dr. Haley Vlach.


Melina Knabe is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in the Human Development area of the Department of Educational Psychology. Melina received her B.S. in Neuroscience from Washington and Lee University in 2017. Her research investigates the cognitive processes that support early word learning in single- and dual-language learners. Specifically, she studies how desirable difficulties can optimize children’s long-term retention of worlds in the context of educational materials. Melina is being advised by Dr. Haley Vlach.


Yi Tong is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Human Development area in the Department of Educational Psychology. Yi received her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies and Psychology from UW-Madison in Fall 2019. Yi’s research interests primarily lie in the study of children’s language learning processes with a focus on educational applications. She is interested in how children’s prior knowledge and experience with language shape their learning and how they use contextual cues to facilitate word learning. Yi is being advised by Dr. Haley Vlach.


EzgiEzgi Melisa Yüksel is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Cognitive Psychology area of the Psychology Department. Ezgi received her B.A. from Middle East Technical University in Psychology and her M.A. in Cognitive Psychology from Bilkent University. Her main interest is how we train learning and memory processes. She is also interested in whether we can change people’s learning strategies to make them better learners.


Lab Manager


Kaitlynn EllisKaitlynn Ellis is the lab manager of the LCD lab. She earned a B.S. in Neurobiology and Psychology with a certificate in Digital Studies from UW Madison, and plans on attending graduate school in the field of Developmental Psychology. In her free time he enjoys biking around Madison and spending time with family and friends.


Undergraduate Research Assistants


Aayush Agrawal is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD Lab majoring in Neurobiology and Psychology. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, he plans on attending medical school. In his free time, he enjoys baking sweets, painting shoes, and walking outdoors.


Alexia Bales is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD Lab. She is pursuing a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as Health Promotion and Health Equity. After receiving her bachelor’s from the School of Education, she hopes to attend graduate school to study Speech and Language Pathology. She enjoys listening to nutrition podcasts, spending time with her friends and dog, and waterskiing for the Shermalot Ski Team and UW Waterski and Wakeboard Club.


Bryn Hermanson is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. She is a senior pursuing degrees in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies, as well as a certificate in Disability Rights and Services. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, she plans on attending graduate school for school psychology. She enjoys her time working with children, spending time with her friends, and being a part of the Wisconsin Competitive Cheer Club.


Cailin Inman is a lab assistant in the LCD lab. She is a senior pursuing a degree in psychology and a certificate in education and educational studies. Cailin is planning to continue her education; she wants to earn her Master’s degree in either clinical counseling or social work in order to become a family and marriage therapist. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going for walks, kayaking, watching movies, and trying new food.


Katelyn Iverson is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab pursuing a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, as well as Psychology. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans on attending graduate school to pursue a career in school psychology or school social work. She enjoys working with children, reading, spending time with friends and family, and taking walks with her dog.


Kaylin Gruen is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD Lab. She is pursuing a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as certificates in Education and Educational Services, and Disability Rights and Services. Kaylin is planning on continuing her education through graduate school, where she will study Speech and Language Pathology. In her downtime, Kaylin enjoys spending time being active outdoors, drinking coffee, and reading.


Olivia Goulette is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab pursuing a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, with a certificate in Education and Educational Services. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans on attending graduate school to pursue a career in speech language pathology. In her free time she loves to read, be out on the water, and spend time with friends and family.


Stephanie ZumbaStephanie Zumba is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. She is currently a freshman, and is interested in learning more about psychological research. She grew up bilingual and earned the Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish. In her free time she enjoys playing the trumpet and exploring Madison with her friends.


Sydney Olmsted is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD Lab majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders, with certificates in Disability Rights & Services and Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school for Speech Language Pathology. Sydney enjoys reading, spending time outside, cooking, and collecting plants.


Zechun ZhaoZechun Zhao is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. Zechun is currently a sophomore studying Psychology and Statistics. In her free time she enjoys cooking, swimming, and hanging out with friends.


Lab Alumni


Sophia Africano
Leena Abu-Zahra
Violet Allscheid
Carly Babino
Amanda Babler
Emma Backlund
Ben Barmore
Rachel Beletti
Lauren Belfer
Emily Bero
Molly Bodziak
Maddie Bohrnstedt
Catherine Bredemann
Ashley Carfagno
Kayla Conklin
Adam Cook
Phoebe Crumpton
Courtney Cullen
Elizabeth Duchow
Katherine Dunne
Taylor Dworak
Karissa Ebert
Brooke Effinger
Brittany Fahres
April Feng
Katie Fischer
Emily Fradin
Britney Fredrick
Emma Fricke
Nicole Fugate
Maggie Gallagher
Hannah Georgeson
Annie Grabowski
Ellie Grant
Clara Haeffner
Jessie Handler
Alexis Hosch
Rebecca Herrmann
Brynn Hesselberg
Kayla Hui
Natalie Jacobson
Meghan Kappelman
Chris Karuza
Anna Katz
Emily Katz
Megan Kaul
Nikki Key
Jichan Kim
Rebecca Kish
Nicole Klans
Mariah Klingeisen
Alanna Koritzinsky
Aaron Kremsreiter
Carla Kraft
Melissa LaMeer
Sarah Langer
Jenna Langmeier
Emma Lazaroff
Lauren Lennon
Kimberly Lieberman
Raizel Lieberman
Kylie Lowen
Frances Madden-Gardeniers
Ana Masad
Maddie Masters
Madeline McDonnell
Samantha McGarvey
Stephanie Meder
Madison Mellen
Natalie Mickola
Hailey Miller
Hilary Miller
Tyra Mills
Jordan Minick
Natalie Miselem
Nena Nakum
Nigel Noll
Tayler Nowak
Bethany Patrick
Malery Peat
Lexi Peterson
Aly Pfaff
Nicole Pierick
Francesca Przlomski
Molly Pugh
Tinea Reuter
Caitlin Rhoten
Jessica Riegert
Melissa Rosenfeld
Dorie Ross
Marissa Saffrin
Annie Salcedo
Chloe Santiago
Hailey Sawtelle
Hailey Scandin
Natalie Schaffhauser
Maddie Schebil
Lauren Schilling
Lindsay Schoff
Christina Schonberg
Jamie Seward
Tess Shinbaum
Nathan Simon
Kayla Siok
Erika Smithrud
Paige Sprague
Ellise Suffill
Ada Terman
Ben Thomas
Emily Utic
Elena Valentyn
Aly Verson
Matthew Walczak
Ellen Weber
Sarah Weber
McKenna Wenzel
Laura Wintheiser
Rachael Wooten
Carly Wunrow
Amber Wyman
Allie Yingst
Wenqui Zhou