Lab Members

Dr. Susan Gelman
Heinz Werner Distinguished University Professor
Professor of Psychology and Linguistics
University of Michigan

Curriculum Vitae

Bio

 

 


Hannah Meloche
Lab Manager
Hannah received her B.A. in Psychology and Linguistics from the University of Michigan. Her future plans are to earn a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and become a speech therapist. In her free time, she enjoys studying languages, trying new foods, and volunteering at speech clinics. Growing up, she wanted to be a veterinarian, and her favorite book was The Rainbow Fish.
Giulia Elli
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Giulia completed her undergraduate studies in Italy, receiving her BA in Psychology from the University of Milano – Bicocca and her MSc in Cognitive Science jointly from the University of Trento and the International School for Advanced Studies. She completed her PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University working with Dr. Bedny and Dr. Landau. Giulia is interested in how our sensory, linguistic, and social experiences shape what we know about the world – the things and people living in it and the events they partake in – and how this knowledge is organized in the mind and brain. As a child, Giulia wanted to be both a stand up comedian and an op-ed writer. Her favorite books were The Barbapapa series and Linnea in Monet’s garden.
Rachel
Rachel Fine
Graduate Student, Curriculum Vitae
Rachel received her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Elmhurst College. She served as the English Language Learner Special Education Specialist for the School City of East Chicago, IN and later became the lab manager for Dr. Sian Beilock at the University of Chicago.  She investigates how children and adults perceive non-discrete identities (for ex.being multiracial, gender non-conforming or a dual national) and how this relates to their beliefs about race, gender and nationality.When Rachel was young, she wanted to be an ambassador. Her favorite books were the Nancy Drew series.
Danielle
Danielle Labotka
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Danielle received her B.A. in Comparative Human Development and Anthropology from the University of Chicago. She is now a graduate student in developmental psychology. Her research interest lie in children’s language development and its relation to social cognition.When Danielle was young, she wanted to be a justice of the Supreme Court, and one of her favorite books was Stellaluna.
Chelsea McGhee
Graduate Student
Chelsea received her BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Penn State University. She is currently enrolled in UMich’s joint Women’s Studies and Psychology PhD program. She studies social binaries (primarily the gender binary and the mind-body dualism), aiming to demonstrate their detriments and what possibilities emerge when we think beyond them. Folded into this research is a desire to understand how language creates meaning and produces social categories. As a child, Chelsea wanted to be both an artist and a forensic scientist. Her favorite books were The Boxcar Children series and Eve Bunting’s In the Haunted House.
Ella Simmons
Graduate Student
Ella received her B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2019. She is now a graduate student in Developmental Psychology interested in examining how children learn about the world around them, and how they organize the information they uncover. When she was younger she wanted to be a student for the rest of her life. Her favorite book as a child was Good Night, Gorilla.
Laura Soter
Graduate Student
Laura received her BA in Philosophy and Cognitive Science from Carleton College in Minnesota. She is now working towards her PhD in Philosophy and Psychology. She is broadly interested in topics at the intersection of ethics, epistemology, and social cognition, including the cognitive and affective factors that influence our moral decision-making, the relationship between moral judgment and action, and how adults and children think about philosophical concepts like moral responsibility.
When she was younger, she wanted to be Mia Hamm, and she loved anything by Shel Silverstein.
Solangel Troncoso
Graduate Student
Solangel Troncoso received her B.A. in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University. She is a graduate student in the joint Psychology and Women’s Studies PhD program. She is interested in gender concepts and development, specifically in the context of Latino families. When Solangel was young, she wanted to be a lawyer, and she currently loves watching sitcoms such as The Good Place and Superstore.

 

Valerie Umscheid
Graduate Student
Valerie received her B.A. in Cognitive Science and Educational Studies from Carleton College. She is interested in how children use language to better understand their social and educational worlds. As a child, Valerie wanted to be a marine biologist and she loved the books The Kissing Hand (by Audrey Penn), Mole’s Hill (by Lois Ehlert), and The Bird, the Monkey, and the Snake in the Jungle (by Kate Banks and Tomek Bogacki).

Research Assistants

Kat Black
Undergraduate Student
Kat is currently a sophomore at the University of Michigan with majors in Psychology and Philosophy. She has always loved working with kids and hopes to one day be a lawyer and to advocate for abused and neglected children. In her free time Kat enjoys reading, going to the gym, and watching Netflix. Her favorite books as a child were Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Shayna Brown
Undergraduate Student
Shayna is majoring in psychology and hopes to work with kids when she graduates, specifically kids with special needs! In her free time she likes to watch Netflix, eat good food, and hangout with her friends. When she was younger she wanted to be famous, as a singer, but really just famous of any type when she grew up. Her favorite childhood book was Junie B Jones – the one about the fish because she had a great memory reading it with her dad and that lasted forever.
Madelyn Brunvand
Undergraduate Student
Madelyn is intending to graduate in April 2022 with a degree in Psychology. She is interested in Developmental and Social Psychology and would like to pursue research in these areas in graduate school and her career. In her free time she enjoys being active in her faith community and making music with her friends. As a child, Madelyn wanted to be a teacher. Her favorite book was The Kissing Hand.
Athena Bryer
Undergraduate Student
Athena Bryer is a junior at the University of Michigan double majoring in Psychology and Gender & Health. She plans to go on to graduate school for either her Masters in Marriage and Family counseling or her Masters in Social work with a focus on Sex Therapy and Sex Education. She is also being accompanied through undergrad by her pet Betta Fish named Eli. Growing up she wanted to one day adopt a pug (this hasn’t changed). Her favorite childhood book was Where the Sidewalks Ends by Shel Silverstein.
Logan Burley
Undergraduate Student
Logan is a junior at the University of Michigan double majoring in psychology and women’s studies. He plans on going on to graduate school for either social or clinical psych following graduation. He’s primarily interested in gender and gender nonconformity.
Jenny Choy
Undergraduate Student
Jenny is intending to graduate in April 2022 with a major in psychology and minors in creative writing and education. She plans to attend graduate school in education and hope to earn a teaching certificate in Elementary Education. In her free time, she is involved in many children’s clubs such as Kid’s Kitchen, Operation Educate Children, Dance Marathon and KGrams. She also loves skiing and scuba diving. Her favorite childhood book was the girl who fell from the sky.
Lydia Duong
Undergraduate Student
Lydia is currently a junior, intending to graduate in May 2021 with a degree in Neuroscience. When she was little, she wanted to become a hairdresser since she loved doing her little sister’s hair. After graduation, she is planning to take a gap year to work and travel abroad before (hopefully!) attending medical school to become a pediatrician. In her spare time, she loves trying new restaurants, reading, and playing with her dog. Her favorite books as a child were the Junie B. Jones series and anything by Robert Munsch.
Miranda French
Undergraduate Student
Miranda is a sophomore planning to graduate in 2022 with a B.S. in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. After graduating, she plans on going to either PA school or dental school and intends to focus on pediatrics. In her free time, she likes to cook, swim, and spend time with friends and family. When she was little, she wanted to be an ice cream truck driver and to own an aquarium. Her favorite things to read as a child were the Junie B. Jones books!
Claire Guang
Undergraduate Student
Claire will be graduating from Carleton College in June of 2021, with a degree in Psychology and minors in Cognitive Science and Chinese. She’s interested in psycholinguistics, developmental psychology, and perceptual research. Outside of school, she spends her free time drawing, watching forensics shows, and spending time with friends. As a child, Claire wanted to be a veterinarian and/or a fairy. Her favorite childhood books were the The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Amelia Bedelia, and the Magic Tree House series.
Briana Hay
Undergraduate Student
Briana is a sophomore majoring in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience. After graduation she hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career working with kids. She loves playing basketball, running and reading. The Junie B. Jones books were her favorite as a child.
Ella Kanter
Undergraduate Student
Ella is currently a freshman thinking about pursuing a dual degree in Spanish and Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience. In her free time, she likes to travel, do yoga, solve crossword puzzles, and try new foods. As a child, Ella wanted to be a movie star. Her favorite childhood book was Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.
Alyssa Knecht
Undergraduate Student
Alyssa is a junior planning to graduate in 2021 with degrees in Psychology and Biology, Health, & Society. After graduation, she hopes to attend PA school and eventually have a career working with children. In her free time, she likes to read and listen to music. Growing up, she wanted to be a doctor, and her favorite books were anything from the Biscuit (the dog) series!
Marisa Launstein
Undergraduate Student
Marisa Launstein is planning to graduate in 2021 with a degree in both Psychology and German. After graduating, she hopes to spend some time in Germany teaching English, and later pursue a career in counseling back in the US. In her free time she enjoys watching sitcoms and hanging out with her cat, Lucy. As a child, Marisa wanted to be a professional figure skater, and her favorite book was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
Sophie Martel
Undergraduate Student
My name is Sophie Martel and I am a current junior and planning to graduate in 2021 with a psychology degree. I am specifically interested in developmental psychology, family, and animal behavior. My favorite animal is a dog. In my free time I like to run, bake, and watch the TV show Friends. My entire childhood I wanted to be a veterinarian and work with animals, however now that I am in college and have found a love for psychology I hope to work in a way that intersects animals with this field. My favorite childhood book was “Franny B. Kranny There’s a Bird in Your Hair,” by Harriet Lerner.
Aviva Nemeth
Undergraduate Student
Aviva is planning to graduate in April 2021 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Education. She hopes to eventually be a preschool or elementary school teacher. In her free time, she enjoys teaching Hebrew and taking long walks.
As a child, Aviva wanted to be an actress. Her favorite book was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
Zoe Patinkin
Undergraduate Student
Zoe is a sophomore from Chicago majoring is Gender and Health, which is on the pre-med track with a focus on Women’s Studies. Zoe hopes to mesh her interest in medicine and passion for female empowerment to one day become an OB/GYN. In her free time she loves to read, do yoga, waterski, eat sushi, travel, and listen to music.
Maria Samboni
Undergraduate Student
Hi my name Maria Camila Samboni. I am a Psychology major and a senior transfer student from Miami, Florida. I am a Research Assistant studying the ways in which children think about boys and girls at the Conceptual Development Lab. I also currently hold a position as social chair with the Undergraduate Psychology Society and therefore organize social bonding events. On the weekends, I volunteer with Special Youth Outreach training athletes for athletic competitions and work at the Michigan League catering special events. Some of my hobbies include baking, working out, dancing, watching tv shows, and going out with friends.
Maria Scavnicky
Undergraduate Student
Maria is currently a freshman planning to graduate in 2024 with a degree in Psychology. After undergrad, she hopes to attend graduate school and earn a PhD in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she loves to travel, listen to music, spend time with her dog, and watch Game of Thrones. As a child, she always wanted to become an elementary school teacher, and her favorite book was Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola.
Fatima Uddin
Undergraduate Student
Fatima Uddin is intending to graduate in May 2022, with a degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. After graduating, she plans on attending medical school to become a pediatrician which is what she wanted to become as a child. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. Her favorite childhood books were Junie B. Jones and Harry Potter.
Sally Valcarcel
Undergraduate Student
Sally is a transfer student from Miami, FL currently majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition & Neuroscience. She’s interested in clinical and abnormal psychology. After graduating she plans to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience with a focus on psychopharmacology. In her free time she likes to dance, go to music festivals with her friends, workout, take naps & travel. Her favorite books as a kid were the Magic Tree House series & The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
Wolvy
Undergraduate Student
Wolvy is a senior at the University of Michigan studying Psychology. He is especially interested in learning how children think about the world around them. He hopes to attend graduate school in Psychology in the future.When Wolvy was a child, he wanted to be a lab mascot. His favorite book was Navigating the Social World by Dr. Susan Gelman.
Not Pictured
Apoorva Asthana
Undergraduate Student
Apoorva is a junior majoring in cognitive science with a concentration in computer science. After graduating, she plans to work for a non-profit for a year and then attend medical school. In free time, Apoorva enjoys dancing and working with her student organization, Project RISHI, to promote the sustainable growth and development of Indian villages.
Kathryn Chang
Undergraduate Student
Katie is a freshman intending to graduate in April 2022 with a major in psychology or anthropology. She plans to attend medical school and hopes to eventually earn a Ph.D. In her free time, she is part of the University of Michigan Men’s Rowing team and enjoys being a part of the Tae Kwon Do club.