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Open Rank Faculty

Psychology Graduate Students

a copeland

Aquilla Copeland

BA in Psychology, MA in Psychology, M. Ed in School Counseling, FAU
Ed.S. in Mental Health Counseling

Email: acopela5@fau.edu

Mentor: Gizelle Anzures, Ph.D.

In her research, Aquilla looks forward to exploring the neurological aspects that enable humans to visually process socially relevant information, especially the recognition of races in faces.

“I look forward to developing professional relationships and conducting research that will help explain the visual processes and visceral cognitions that underpin racial discrimination, microaggression, and implicit bias.” ~Aquilla Copeland, 2021


s gnall

Samantha Gnall

B.A. Psychology from Wilkes University and M.S. Experimental Psychology from Georgia Southern University

Email: sgnall2021@fau.edu

Mentor: Chad Forbes, Ph.D.

Samantha’s research interests include impression formation, stereotype transmission, and women in STEM. More specifically, I am interested in examining how biases impact women’s pursuit of STEM fields as well as the biological components of social group perceptions.

“I'm looking forward to working with the amazing faculty and collaborating with the other students here at FAU as well as further developing my research skills.” ~Samantha Gnall, 2021


j thompson

Jordan Thompson

University of South Florida (B.A. in Psychology, Minor in Aging Studies)

Email: jordanthomps2021@fau.edu

Mentor: Geoffrey Wetherell, Ph.D. 

Jordan is broadly interested in political psychology, with an emphasis on identity fusion in political parties and collective and individual responses to in-group norm violations.

“I am most excited to continue my research and meet new people who are just as passionate about research as I am. I looking forward to learning and teaching in a science-focused, innovative environment!” ~Jordan Thompson, 2021



Samantha Gott

Mentor: Nancy Jones, Ph.D.
Harvard University – HarvardX, Online Learning Initiative of Harvard University, Certificate in The Fundamentals of Neuroscience.
Florida Atlantic University, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
Florida Atlantic University, Certificate in Applied Mental Health Services.
Florida Atlantic University, Certificate in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Email: sgott2016@fau.edu  

Samantha is a first-year Ph.D. student and teaching assistant at Florida Atlantic University. Her current research is in developmental neurophysiology, analyzing electroencephalography in infants. Hobbies of hers include beach volleyball (playing and coaching), enjoying time with friends and family and exploring nature. 

“I am looking forward to the opportunities, putting in the work to achieve my passion, and making new friends. I am reminded everyday of how blessed and grateful I am to be where I am. I hope to contribute to this field as much as it has inspired awe and wonder in me.” ~Sam Gott, 2020


mary page james

Mary Page James

Mentor: Brett Laursen, Ph.D.

BA Psychology, Stetson University
MA Psychological Studies with a Certificate in Sport and Exercise Psychology,  Seton Hall University
Email: mleggett2020@fau.edu

Mary Page is a first-year doctoral student who aspires to become a professor at a liberal arts institution after finishing her degree. Her research interests include peer relationships, body image concerns in children and adolescents, and gender role development. She is currently working on a study predicting the formation of friendships and qualitative analysis of gender roles. Mary Page is a dog mom to an Australian Shepherd named Emmy and enjoys playing soccer in her spare time.

“I am excited to gain practical experience and knowledge as a researcher and teaching assistant to provide new evidence to the literature surrounding developmental psychology and become an effective teacher who inspires her students' passion for psychology.” ~Mary Page, 2020



Lindsey Riera-Gomez

Mentor/ Lab: Teresa Wilcox, Ph.D.
Email: Lrieragomez2018@fau.edu
Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology, Florida State University

Lindsey is interested in studying the mechanisms behind cognitive development in infants. She is captivated by the behavioral and neural dynamics of parent/ child relationships and identifying factors of that relationship that may be essential to the healthy development in early childhood. She is also looking to identify risk factors that may inhibit such development. In her free time, Lindsey enjoys taking advantage of two of Florida's best features: the beach and theme parks!

“I am so excited to have the chance to study at a university with such extraordinary faculty and innovative research projects. FAU is dedicated to the advancement of science and I can't wait to contribute to such an important mission.” ~Lindsey, 2020



Layaly (Lulu) Shihadeh 

Mentor: Monica Rosselli, Ph.D. / Neuropsychology Lab
Email: lshihadeh2017@fau.edu
Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University 

Layaly began volunteering at Dr. Rosselli’s Neuropsychology lab which in turn inspired her to further her career in neuropsychology by applying to and joining the Ph.D. program in Experimental Psychology at FAU. Her interests include cognitive impairment and Dementia. She is currently leading a project on the Evaluation of the Acculturation Scale and is also involved in the Fit2Drive study and the Keryx study. 

I am most looking forward to having the opportunity to work for first hand on research projects and studies with experts in the field of neuropsychology.” 



Megan Smithwick

Mentor: Alan Kersten, Ph.D.
Email: Msmithwick2014@fau.edu
B.A. in Psychology, Florida Atlantic University 

Megan is interested in researching perception and memory for events. Her hobbies include baking, playing video games, and spending time with her cat, Sierra.

“I am looking forward to strengthening my research skills to prepare for a career in the industry.”





Lauren Olson

Mentor: Andrzej Nowak, Ph.D.
Email: lolson2020@fau.edu
B.A. in Psychology, University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee.

Lauren is a perpetually curious academic who is interested in studying how the dynamics of societal, group and personal gender beliefs relate to self-concept, behavior/expression, and threat response. Lauren is also invested in creative pursuits, using free time to compose music, write fiction, bake, and perform at local conventions in cosplay.

“I'm anticipating collaborating with faculty and other students on interdisciplinary or dynamical research, and looking forward to developing applicable teaching methods through my assistantship.”



Ori Simon Yarden

Mentor: Carmen Varela, Ph.D.
Email: oyarden2017@fau.edu
B.A. in Psychology from FAU
M.A. in Experimental Psychology from FAU

Ori is currently studying the role of the Thalamus in Sleep & Cognitive Flexibility in a rodent model in the laboratory of Dr. Carmen Varela.





emily her

Emily Nicole Herrmann

Mentor: Brett Laursen, Ph.D.
Email: eherrmann2014@fau.edu
Bachelor of Arts from FAU
MA program entered in 2019

Thesis: TBD

Emily enjoys playing tennis, board games, and baking. She spends most of her free time with her animals and loves playing with kids. Her research interests include developmental associations of weight concerns, developmental psychopathology, and influence within close relationships. 


emily ahne

Emily Jacqueline Ahne

Mentor: Monica Rosselli, Ph.D. / Neuropsychology Lab (Davie)
Email: eahne2014@fau.edu
Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience with a  minor in Psychology Magna cum laude.
Ph.D. program entered Fall of 2019

Thesis: The effect of mindfulness on response inhibition and early affective word processing.

Emily is interested in exploring the effects of mindfulness through focused-breathing inductions on neural indices of response inhibition and early affective word processing. Emily is using electroencephalography (EEG) in the lab that she works to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the benefits of mindfulness through focused-breathing. Aside from studying mindfulness in a research setting, Emily also partakes in regular mediation in her personal life. She has found that focusing on the breath can ease the process of engaging with the high-stress situations that may result from attending graduate school.



Sharon Faur

Mentor: Brett Laursen, Ph.D.
Email: sfaur2019@fau.edu
Bachelor of Science, University of Florida
Program: Experimental Psychology Ph.D., entered 2019 

Thesis: TBD

Sharon's research interests include peer relationships, parent-child relationships, and interindividual differences. Sharon's hobbies include baking, reading, and writing. 


morgan Morgan Cope 

Mentor: Michael Maniaci, Ph,D. / Social-Personality and Romantic Relationship Lab
B.S. in Psychology, Ursinus College
Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (entered in 2019)

Thesis: The emergence of close relationship construals: An action identification approach 

Morgan is interested in the intersection of the self and dynamical processes in romantic relationships. Outside of school, you will most likely find her painting, running, weightlifting, writing, or with friends. 



Jacqueline Stotler

Mentor: Teresa Wilcox, Ph.D. / Infant Cognition Lab (coordinator)
Email: stotlerj2016@fau.edu
BECE (Bachelor's Early Care and Education),  summa cum laude, FAU -- May 2018  
Ph.D. program entered 2018 

Thesis: Infants’ sensitivity to gestures by humans and anthropomorphic robots

Jacqueline has been the lab coordinator for the Infant Cognition Lab, headed by Dr. Wilcox since it's opening in Fall 2018. Her research interests include infants' perception and interpretation of agents (both human and nonhuman) and their actions in a variety of social contexts. Specifically, she's interested in social communication strategies, like gesture use. She's also interested in how this differs in populations of infants that are at-risk for developmental delay. When she's not in the lab, Jacqueline likes to bake and spend time with her family (especially her dog, Scout!). 



Michelle K. Tulloch 

Mentor: Erika Hoff, Ph.D. / Language Development Lab
Email: mtulloch2018@fau.edu
BS in Psychology and MA in Linguistics, both from the University at Buffalo in Amherst, NY 
Ph.D. program entered in 2018 

Thesis: Predictors of Code-Switching in Young Spanish-English Bilinguals 

Michelle’s interests in research always stem from language. She strives to investigate the way language variation affects language development, pulling from her background in sociolinguistics and her current work investigating bilingualism in South Florida. Outside of her research, she loves gaming, playing D&D, and traveling to Denmark to visit her partner. 



Jasmine Chan

Mentor: Teresa Wilcox, Ph.D. / Adult NIRS Lab
Email: chanj2018@fau.edu
B.S. Psychology at Texas A&M University
Ph.D. program entered 2018

Thesis: Repeatedly Processing Attributes of Products Impacts Purchasing Performance: An fNIRS Study

Jasmine's concentration is in process priming and examining its impact on purchasing decisions. To obtain answers to this research question, she is collecting functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) data in the frontal and temporal lobes. She has been doing research on this topic for three years now and is planning to expand her research to other types of priming. Additionally, when she is not working on her research she likes to dance in her free time.



Brian Edward Escobar. Nickname - "Esco"/ "Besco"
Mentor: Sang Wook Hong, Ph.D.
Email: bescobar2018@fau.edu
B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with a specialization in Social Sciences from Penn State University.  Minor in Psychology from Penn State University
Program: Experimental Psychology Ph.D. (entered 2018) 

Thesis: Decoding of Face Stimuli in Basic Facial Expression and Anti-Expression Conditions 

Brian's research interest involves the encoding and perception of faces.  His hobbies include working out, video games, cooking, cigars, dancing, photo editing, playing chess, visiting our nation's national parks, leather tooling, taxidermy, pointillism, tatebanko, foraging, shooting/marksmanship, working on cars, performing stand-up comedy, and lying about his hobbies to appear as a more interesting and well-rounded individual.



Yosun Yoon

Mentor/Lab: Sang Wook Hong, Ph.D.
MA & BA Psychology, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, South Korea
Research Assistant, Chungnam National University, Deajeon, South Korea
Ph.D course in Graduate Neuroscience Training Program, 2018

Thesis: Individual Difference in Binocular Rivalry Dynamics

Yosun is interested in visual information processing, binocular rivalry, and brain imaging techniques. Currently, under the instruction of Dr. Sang Wook Hong, she is investigating the mechanism of binocular rivalry by focusing on individual differences in rivalry dynamics. In her spare time, she enjoys learning how to analyze big-data sets with a glass of beer.   


stark Emily Stark

Mentor: Elan Barenholtz, Machine Perception and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory 
FAU email estark2017@fau.edu
Bachelors Degree in Mathematics from Austin Peay State Univesity
Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology from Florida Atlantic University
Ph.D. Program entered 2017 

Thesis: Volatile Biomarker Discovery of Emotional State using Advanced Data Mining and Machine Learning

Emily's interest in experimental psychology comes from her undergraduate training in statistics, detecting explanatory patterns. Her focus shifted to chemical gas sensing, or robotic olfaction, during her Master's research when she worked in close collaboration with the Biomedical Sensors Lab at the University of Warwick. She is now pursuing a Ph.D. combining both interests to find potential biomarkers of emotional state. In her free time, she enjoys the company of her three dogs, volunteering in the Juvenile Court System, and camping.



Robert L. Altman

Mentor/Lab: Brett Laursen, Ph.D.
Email: raltman2017@fau.edu
BS in Psychology from Armstrong State University (2014); MS in Experimental Psychology from Georgia Southern University (2017)
Ph.D. program, entered Fall 2017

Thesis:: "Direct and Indirect Pathways from Loneliness to Peer Experiences" 

Robert is originally from Savannah, GA; where he also attended Armstrong State University from 2010 to 2015 (which was consolidated with Georgia Southern University in 2016). Robert attended Georgia Southern University from 2015 to 2017 where he earned his MS in experimental psychology. His thesis investigated the predictors of academic achievement and persistence among undergraduate students. Robert has been at FAU since fall 2017 where he studies peer relationships and sociometry in Dr. Brett Laursen's lab. He has taught sections of Human Development for the department of psychology since the spring of 2020 and enjoys working with students who are motivated to learn. In his personal time, Robert enjoys fencing (a hobby he picked up during his time at Georgia Southern University). He currently serves as an instructor to new fencers in the Florida Atlantic University Fencing Club.



Fernanda Arruda 

Mentor: Dr. Monica Rosselli/ Neuropsychology Lab
Email: farruda2016@fau.edu
B.S. in Psychology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro- Brazil; M.A. in Experimental Psychology from FAU. 
Ph.D. candidate at FAU- entered the program in 2016. 

Thesis: Neuropsychological and biomarkers profile of Cognitively normal participants who progress to MCI and of MCI who progress to dementia within 3 years

Fernanda is a Ph.D. candidate at FAU, with expected graduation in the Summer of 2021. She has clinical experience in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Neuropsychology and 7 years of experience working with Neurorehabilitation in the Sarah Network of Rehabilitation Hospitals in Brazil, where she worked with children and adults with acquired brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases. Since 2016 Fernanda has been involved in an NIH funded longitudinal study related to early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD), at the Mount Sinai Medical Center (MSMC) in Miami Beach, in collaboration with the University of Miami and the University of Florida. In this project, she has worked as a psychometrician, managing datasets, and has worked on several publications. Her master's thesis topic regarded functional assessment of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and AD examining differences between European Americans and Hispanic Americans. For her dissertation, Fernanda is examining the Neuropsychological and biomarkers profile of Cognitively normal participants who progress to MCI and of MCI who progress to dementia within 3 years, investigating possible differences between ethnic groups. Fernanda is very passionate about Neuropsychology with a broad knowledge of cognitive development and its related disorders, having focused in the last years on aging and abnormal aging. One of her strongest assets is her combined clinical and research experience.



Joseph Williams

Mentor: Robin Vallacher, Ph.D. and Andrzej Nowak, Ph.D.
Email: williamsjose2016@fau.edu
Graduated from the University of Dayton in 2015
Entered the Ph.D. program in 2016

Joseph's dissertation is about the sentiment of tweets during the 2020 presidential election.  His other research interests include developing computer simulations of social interactions, particularly concerning the dynamic social impact theory.