Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Student Spotlights

Undergraduate Student Spotlights

Maria Elder (’25)

I am specifically interested in the role parents may play in children’s development and outcomes in life.

Lindsay Aluquin (’24)

I am interested in parental feeding practices and how they influence child eating outcomes in three- to six-year-old children.

Kelsey Evans (’24)

I am interested in the different associations between early childhood trauma and later outcomes.

Marie Swab (’24)

My passion lies with promoting mental health and wellness to help justice-involved individuals reintegrate into society with new skills and improved functioning.

Istneydina Thomas (’24)

My goal is to become a faculty member at a university investigating diversity-promoting initiatives and ways to reduce community stereotypes and discrimination.

Sharleen Banatte (’24)

Music has a transformative ability that transcends reason… I joined the Pitch Exploration Lab because I wanted to better understand how we as individuals and a society interact with music.

Jihee Lee (’24)

I always had a desire to help people. I realized how little people acknowledge the importance of mental health and decided I want to help people heal.

Erin (Karen) Guo (’23)

I want to contribute to the field of sleep research by expanding our understanding of how parental behaviors influence infant sleep and their potential impact on an infant’s future development and health.

Tori Young (’23)

I learned how much sport involvement can affect the development of youth in a negative or positive way depending on a person’s own lived experiences.

Kiara Brown (’22)

I want to help individuals adapt to and actively engage with clinically-relevant processes that reflect, in part, the broader characteristics of their environment/community.

Maddie Skjefstad (’22)

I love working with kids, which prompted me to pursue being a research assistant in Dr. Bierman’s lab. She does really amazing work on interventions for children and it has been amazing to be part of it.

Victoria Francois (’22)

My goal with research is to amplify the voices of Black girls, so our lived experiences can be centered and understood.

Michael Hopkins (’22)

Research is a fantastic opportunity to join something much larger than yourself and help empower all ranges of people.

Jessica Santucci (’22)

The education I gained from my HDFS classes and participation in research has been invaluable in shaping my future aspirations to continue engaging in pediatric research!

Megan Suomela (’22)

Through my future research contributions and clinical work, I hope to be able to make a positive impact to the lives of those who may have been previously overlooked in the mental health care setting.

Emma Dine (’22)

I am incredibly passionate about working with children and improving their lives in any way I can.

Anthony Licciardone (’22)

I encourage any undergraduate student who aspires to conduct research to get involved with a lab.

Colette Hyde (’22)

In a future career working with children, I would be committed to ensuring their well-being and meeting their emotional and developmental needs to help them succeed.

Julianna Strati (’22)

What I really like about research is that even as someone so young, I can contribute to the larger body of scientific work.

Sydney Thiem (’22)

I believe that my lab experiences have taught me valuable skills like time management, organization, and problem solving.

Jordan Sigler (’22)

I am really interested in how the brain influences human behavior.

Caitlin Williams (’21)

My experiences in research and applied mental health work have helped me understand the social and environmental factors influencing access to health care.

Nicole Smith (’21)

For my honors thesis, I was interested in the mother-infant relationship and the mother’s emotional availability.

Carrie McMahon (’21)

My undergraduate research has allowed me to learn a lot, which can inform my research methods in graduate school.

Nikolina Nonkovic (’20)

From my research experience, I have learned a lot about myself, my work ethic, my boundaries, and my strengths.

Olivia Romano (’20)

Something I love about research is feeling like I am actively, positively contributing to my society by helping to understand the health problems that we are facing.

Shadane Johnson (’20)

I am really interested in identity, so the thesis and the lab work are good stepping stones toward what I want to research in the future.

Anna Herwig (’20)

Because I am a triplet myself, I really enjoyed talking with participants on the phone as part of the PA Twins Project.

Marley Billman (’20)

I have enjoyed the flexibility of my mentors at PSU in letting me explore my interests and take a project idea and make it my own.

Nandrea Burrell (’20)

With the right people around you, you can do things you never thought you would.

Melissa DeWoody (’19)

I really enjoyed the opportunity to gain more research experience with real world data and learn about the difficulties of math applications to longitudinal datasets.

Laura Shillingsburg (’19)

As a result of the research and clinical opportunities I have had, I plan to apply to graduate programs in child clinical psychology.

Jennifer Phillips (’19)

I plan to study the connection between parents and their children’s psychological functioning.

Emily Ellis (’19)

I would like to continue investigating the influence of genetics and the environment on the development of children.

Lucas Vankeuren (’19)

As a non-psychology major, one of the best parts about working in the Child Study Center is the use of an amazing technology, eye-tracking, which allows us to gain insights that could not be found before.

Heidi Fanton (’19)

Through working as an undergraduate research assistant in Drs. Teti and Caron’s labs, I have discovered that I really enjoy doing research.

Jenelle Richards (’18)

For being such a large campus, Penn State has a way of making everyone feel like an individual. There is something here for everyone!

Jacqueline (Jackie) Tucker (’18)

Research has allowed me to explore my interests further and to enhance my education outside of the classroom.

Chang (Jenny) Zhao (’17)

By working with Dr. Dawn Witherspoon, I learned that valuable qualities of a developmental scientist are self-initiation, detail orientation, and accomplishing things in a timely manner.

Tim Groh (’16)

My favorite thing about Penn State is the breadth of opportunities that it has and the challenge it presents in leaving it up to you to pursue those opportunities and forge your own experiences.

Alyssa Palmer (’16)

I’ve definitely learned the value of mentorship and having multiple mentors.

Gretchen Perhamus (’16)

It has been extremely rewarding to work directly with children and see their progress over time. I feel like I’m making a difference with them.

Jennifer Daniels (’14)

Working in Dr. Neiderhiser’s lab has been a great experience because it is a good balance between my psychological and medical interests.

Joonyoung Park (’14)

As an international student, in addition to learning research skills, working in the Context and Development Lab has helped me improve my communication skills as well as helped my adjustment to studying abroad.

Stephanie Tarle (’13)

I have enjoyed being part of a longitudinal study because it allows me to stick with the same kids and see how they progress over time. My research experience at the Child Study Center not only helped me academically, but also shaped my research interests and future career plans.

Michael DePaul (’13)

I knew I needed research experience, but didn’t expect to enjoy it so much! Working under graduate students is something every undergraduate should do.

Anjali Gowda (’10)

My work with maltreated children and children with various mental health disorders taught me to be so patient. It’s an amazing experience. I love it! My experiences at the Child Study Center heightened my interest in the field and I feel I couldn’t get these clinical experiences in many other labs [and] never imagined having them as an undergrad!