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


Catherine DeBrockCatherine Bredemann is a fifth-year Ph.D. student and doctoral candidate in the Educational Psychology graduate studies program in the Human Development area. Catherine earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014, where she first became involved in educational research. Her interests in cognitive development specifically lie in the study of how certain teaching and training methods influence a child’s language learning, memory, and performance in learning tasks. Catherine also intends to examine how developmental theory can be applied to teaching practices and educational materials, such as storybooks and educational apps, in order to improve young children’s learning in the classroom and in the home. Catherine is being advised by Dr. Haley Vlach.


Melina KnabeMelina Knabe is a second-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. Melina is interested in the effect of language learning history on early word learning and memory development. In addition to studying multilingualism, she intends to investigate individual differences in children’s ability to intentionally forget information. Ultimately, she hopes to apply her work to second language learning in the classroom. Melina is being advised by Dr. Haley Vlach.


Emma LazaroffEmma Lazaroff is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Human Development program in the Department of Educational Psychology. Emma received her B.A. in Psychology from Quinnipiac University and was a lab manager at Boston College prior to pursuing her Ph.D. She is interested in how children use categories to learn about aspects of science and mathematics, as well as how they generalize this knowledge to increasingly complex concepts. In particular, her interests lie in determining how these concepts can be organized to help children most effectively synthesize information. Emma is being advised by Dr. Haley Vlach.


Lab Manager


Alexis HoschAlexis Hosch is the lab manager of the LCD lab and recently earned her B.S. in Psychology and a Certificate in German from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She plans on attending graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in either developmental or clinical psychology. In her free time, she enjoys going to farmer’s markets, playing sports, and trying new foods with friends.


Senior Thesis Students


NathanNathan Simon is a senior research assistant in the LCD Lab at UW-Madison. He is double majoring in History and Psychology. He plans to complete a dual JD/Ph.D program after undergraduate education with a goal to be an attorney in either education or criminal law. In his free time, Nathan enjoys long-distance running, freelance photography, and going on road trips to national parks. Nathan received the Hilldale Fellowship to support his senior thesis work.


Undergraduate Research Assistants


Leena Abu-ZahraLeena Abu-Zahra is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. She is currently a sophomore majoring in neurobiology with the intention of attending medical school for obstetrics and gynecology in the future. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, spending time with friends and family, and traveling.


Phoebe CrumptonPhoebe Crumpton is research assistant and a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Communication Sciences and Disorders. After she graduates, she plans to take a gap year and apply to graduate schools for Speech-Language Pathology. In her free time, she enjoys singing in an A cappella group on campus, attending fitness classes, and spending time with her friends and family.


Karissa EbertKarissa Ebert is a research assistant in the LCD lab and is a junior at UW-Madison. She is studying Rehabilitation Psychology with plans for certificates in Gender and Women’s Studies and Global Health. After earning her undergraduate degree, she hopes to attend graduate school for occupational therapy. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and writing.


Brooke Effinger
Brooke Effinger is a research assistant and rising senior at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is majoring in psychology and human development and family studies. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue developmental psychology and a future career in pediatric counseling. She enjoys working with children, and in her free time, she enjoys exploring the shops and restaurants of Madison, spending time with friends and family, and being active.


Brynn HesselbergBrynn Hesselberg is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab and a junior majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She plans on continuing her education to become a Speech-Language Pathologist or Audiologist. She loves to volunteer with Special Olympics all year round, whether it be working at or participating in their sporting events. In her free time, she loves to hang out with friends and family, make art, and do hot yoga.


Anna KatzAnna Katz is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab. She is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Psychology. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to become a licensed therapist or social worker. Outside of school, Anna loves to do yoga and spend time with her family, friends, and her beloved dog.


Maddie MastersMaddie Masters is a research assistant in the LCD Lab and a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. After graduation, she plans to attend a Physician Assistant program and specialize in pediatrics. In her free time she enjoys hanging out at the terrace, spending time with family, and volunteering at the Children’s Hospital.


Nena Nakum
Nena Nakum is a research assistant in the LCD lab and is beginning her senior year at UW-Madison. She is studying neurobiology and psychology. After earning her undergraduate degree, she hopes to continue her education in medical school. Nena loves children and has been working with kids for the past 6-7 years through nannying and child care. In her free time, you will find Nena hanging out with friends and family, watching movies, and being outdoors as much as she can.


Malery PeatMalery Peat is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab and a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She plans on attending graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology with the ultimate goal of working with NICU patients with swallowing disorders. She has always loved working with children and is excited to continue to do so in the future. In her free time, she loves to explore Madison, discover new music, and spend time with family and friends.


Nicole PierickNicole Pierick is a research assistant in the LCD lab. She is a senior at UW-Madison completing a B.S.in Psychology, with plans of pursuing a PhD in School Psychology. She also works as a research assistant for the ABC Support Program and as a behavior technician for children with autism. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, video games, live music, and spending time with her dog.


Jessica RiegertJessica Riegert is a research assistant in the LCD lab and a senior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders as well as receiving a certificate in Education and Educational Studies. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology. Jessica loves working with children and has been teaching swim lessons to children ages 3-12 for almost 8 years. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, and spending time with family, friends, and her two kittens!


Natalie SchaffhauserNatalie Schaffhauser is an undergraduate research assistant majoring in Psychology. She has a special interest in Education and the Criminal Justice System. She hopes to attend graduate school for Clinical or School Psychology and one day conduct her own research. She enjoys hiking, hanging out with friends and family, and spending time at the lake in her free time.


Maddie SchebilMadeline (Maddie) Schebil is a research assistant in the LCD lab and is a Junior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is majoring is Communication Sciences and Disorders with a certificate in Education Policy Studies. She hopes to attend graduate school to become a Speech Language Pathologist. Maddie loves to spend time with her friends and family, cook, and watch documentaries!


TessTess Shinbaum is a research assistant in the LCD lab and a junior at University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. In the future, Tess plans to attend graduate school to become a Speech-Language Pathologist for children. Tess has always had a passion for working with children and is excited to turn it into a career. When she isn’t studying, Tess loves to write, shop and spend time with friends, family and her two dogs.


Yi TongYi Tong is currently a junior at University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies. But she is planning to graduate next spring semester. She likes to interact with young children and is very interested in children’s language learning. She also plans on attending graduate school in educational or developmental psychology after graduating from college. In her free time, she likes to read, write, play piano, drink tea, and spend time with her family and friends.


Elena ValentynElena Valentyn is a research assistant in the LCD lab and is a current sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is studying Neurobiology and is receiving certificates in the Health & Humanities and in Integrated Studies in Science, Engineering, and Society. She plans to attend medical school and become a pediatric neurologist. In her free time, she loves reading, running, and hanging with family and friends.


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.


Laura WintheiserLaura Wintheiser is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is majoring in Rehabilitation Psychology with a certificate in Health and the Humanities. After graduation, she plans on taking a gap year to get more experience in her field before she applies to graduate school for Educational Psychology or Sports Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys working out, being outside and spending time with friends and family.


Natalie WormanNatalie Worman is a freshman student and 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.


Amber WymanAmber Wyman is a fifth-year senior majoring in Rehabilitation Psychology. After earning her BS, she hopes to further her education by attending graduate school for occupational therapy with an emphasis in animal-assisted therapy. When she is not in class, she is involved with multiple organizations: Survivor’s Best Friend, Pre-Occupational Therapy Student Organization, Alpha Phi Omega, Diverse – OT, and Advocates for Diverse Abilities. Outside of school, she shows her 10-year-old horse, Mercury, competitively on the Arabian horse circuit. She also recently adopted a puppy named Mickey and plans to get him certified as a therapy dog. When she’s not with her pets, you can find her sipping chai lattes at coffee shops, attending music concerts, and or traveling.


Wenqi ZhouWenqi Zhou is an undergraduate research assistant in the LCD lab and is a current junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is studying Education Studies and is receiving a certificate in Mathematics. She plans to further her education in graduate school relative to statistics in education. She loves working with children and has spent two summers together with foreign children to teach English. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, learning new languages and spending time with family.


Lab Alumni


Carly Babino
Sophia Africano
Violet Allscheid
Amanda Babler
Emma Backlund
Rachel Beletti
Lauren Belfer
Emily Bero
Molly Bodziak
Maddie Bohrnstedt
Ashley Carfagno
Kayla Conklin
Adam Cook
Courtney Cullen
Elizabeth Duchow
Katherine Dunne
Taylor Dworak
Brittany Fahres
April Feng
Katie Fischer
Emily Fradin
Britney Fredrick
Emma Fricke
Nicole Fugate
Maggie Gallagher
Hannah Georgeson
Annie Grabowski
Ellie Grant
Jessie Handler
Rebecca Herrmann
Kayla Hui
Natalie Jacobson
Meghan Kappelman
Chris Karuza
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
Madeline McDonnell
Samantha McGarvey
Stephanie Meder
Madison Mellen
Natalie Mickola
Hailey Miller
Hilary Miller
Tyra Mills
Jordan Minick
Natalie Miselem
Nigel Noll
Tayler Nowak
Bethany Patrick
Lexi Peterson
Aly Pfaff
Francesca Przlomski
Molly Pugh
Tinea Reuter
Caitlin Rhoten
Melissa Rosenfeld
Dorie Ross
Marissa Saffrin
Annie Salcedo
Chloe Santiago
Hailey Sawtelle
Hailey Scandin
Lauren Schilling
Lindsay Schoff
Jamie Seward
Kayla Siok
Erika Smithrud
Paige Sprague
Ada Terman
Ben Thomas
Emily Utic
Aly Verson
Matthew Walczak
Ellen Weber
Sarah Weber
McKenna Wenzel
Rachael Wooten
Carly Wunrow
Allie Yingst