Lab Researchers


Postdoctoral Scholars


Christina Schonberg is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the LCD Lab. They earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University in 2011 and graduated with a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from UCLA in 2018. Christina studies the interaction between early word learning and conceptual development and is working on a joint project between the LCD Lab and the Lupyan Lab (UW-Madison Department of Psychology).


Ellise SuffillEllise Suffill is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the LCD Lab and Lupyan Lab. She moved to UW-Madison after completing her PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Ellise is interested in how children learn concepts and how language helps children categorize objects in the world. She is also interested in how (or whether) people come to have the same concepts as each other.


Graduate Students


Ashley Ezpeleta is a first-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 fifth-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.


Emma Lazaroff is a Ph.D. candidate in the Human Development program in the Department of Educational Psychology, and will be graduating during the 2021-2022 school year. Emma received her B.A. in Psychology from Quinnipiac University and was a lab manager at Boston College prior to pursuing her Ph.D. Her research investigates how children use cognitive supports, such as analogy and language, to learn about STEM concepts. In particular, her interests lie in determining how these concepts can be organized to help children retain and generalize information. She is passionate about conducting research that has significant implications for education policy and practice. Emma is being advised by Dr. Haley Vlach.


Yi Tong is a second-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 second-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


Ben BarmoreBen Barmore is the lab manager of the LCD lab. He earned a B.S. in Human Development & Family Studies and Psychology from UW Madison, and plans on attending graduate school in the field of Developmental Psychology or Education. In his free time he enjoys going camping with friends, exploring natural areas around Madison, and cooking.


Undergraduate Research Assistants


Grace Boettinger is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. She is currently a senior studying Psychology and Communications, with a certificate in Education & Educational Services. In her free time Grace enjoys cooking, reading, and watching The Bachelorette with her friends!


Perri Cochin is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. She is currently a Junior Honors student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders major, and is also pursuing a certificate in Education and Educational Services. In her free time she enjoys running, spending time with family and friends, and listening to music.


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.


Paige Leistner is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. She is a junior majoring in Human Development & Family Studies and Psychology. She plans on continuing her education in either Cognitive or Developmental Psychology in order to ultimately counsel children or conduct her own research. In her free time she loves spending time with family and friends, exploring Madison, and staying active.


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.


Katheryn Saavedra BallesterosKatheryn Saavedra Ballesteros is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD Lab. She is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education and Spanish, with a certificate in Chicanx and Latinx Studies. After completing her undergraduate studies Katheryn plans on becoming an educator, and then pursuing a graduate degree in Educational Psychology. In her free time she enjoys painting, making jewelry, working out, and cooking.


Karlie VolkKarlie Volk is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. She is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Rehabilitation Psychology. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a career in school psychology. In her free time, Karlie enjoys Badger sports, spending time with family and friends, and being active.


Amy Wang
Amy Wang is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD Lab. She is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Psychology and Education Studies. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school for Educational Psychology or Cognitive Psychology. She enjoys interacting with young children and has been working in a daycare part-time for the past two summers. Outside of studying, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, drinking coffee, and trying out new food.



Jiaxin Wang is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD Lab majoring in Psychology and Economics. After graduation she plans to study Educational Psychology or Clinical Psychology in graduate school, and hopes to become a clinical social worker. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, playing drums, and spending time with her family and friends.


Natalie WormanNatalie Worman is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. She is interested in Occupational Therapy and plans to major in Spanish and Biology. Outside of studying and spending time with family, Natalie enjoys working with kids, doing ceramics, running, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.


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.


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.


Lab Alumni


Sophia Africano
Leena Abu-Zahra
Violet Allscheid
Carly Babino
Amanda Babler
Emma Backlund
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
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
Jamie Seward
Tess Shinbaum
Nathan Simon
Kayla Siok
Erika Smithrud
Paige Sprague
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