Past Lab Members

Pedro Abreu

Former Research Assistant

Pedro completed his B.A. in Psychology from Lehman College, and was involved in other leadership positions including an internship with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (BOLD) program. Pedro wanted to gain research and clinical experience with children, as he works to continue his graduate studies in developmental psychology. He is particularly interested in learning more about the impact brain development has on children’s behavior. He hoped that by becoming a research assistant with the ISLAND lab, he would learn more about the roles of a researcher and learn more about infants' neurocognitive development.

Anna Lindner

Former Research Assistant

Anna graduated from Calvin College in 2016 with a B.A. in Spanish and History. She then spent a year as an Administrator/ English Language Teacher at the Literacy Center of West Michigan as an AmeriCorps volunteer, where she connected with Spanish-speakers and expanded her knowledge of non-profit administration and data management. She received her M.A. in the Media, Culture, and Communication program at NYU: her research interests include critical race and gender studies.

Jessica Rickel

Former Research Assistant

Jessica graduated in 2017 from Syracuse University with a B.A. in psychology where she was involved in cognitive neuroscience research at the Center for Autism Research and Electrophysiology. Jessica is currently a master's student at NYU in the Human Development and Social Intervention program specializing in research methodology. Her research focuses on factors in the early life environment that influence the trajectory of neurocognitive development and impact later academic achievement. She is dedicated to using scientific research to better understand how to serve disadvantaged populations and advocate for social change. She is excited to be at the ISLAND Lab because of the diverse educational backgrounds and experiences of our research team. There is always something new she learns- whether it is knowledge, a skill, or a perspective.

Julia Moses

Former Research Assistant

Julia is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Prior to working with ISLAND lab she worked with Latino Family Engagement and Language Development (L-FELD). After taking a class on Behavioral Neuroscience, she realized that she was very interested in learning about how brain chemistry effects behavior and vice versa. The neurocognitive aspect of research is what interests her in ISLAND. Julia is very excited to research and expand her knowledge with the lab.

Clarice Robinson

Former Research Assistant

Clarice is a Master's student at New York University (NYU), studying Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy. She graduated from Texas Woman's University in 2012. Upon graduating, she joined Teach for America and taught Pre-Kindergarten in Helena, Arkansas. Prior to becoming a student at NYU, Clarice taught as an English Language Assistant through the Council of International Educational Exchange (CIEE) program in Madrid, Spain. Clarice's experiences as an educator have cultivated her commitment and passion to advocate for high quality child development, education and public health as means of social justice. She is excited to be apart of the research assistant team in the ISLAND Lab where she hopes to expand her knowledge and research experience in the field of child development and language acquisition.

Olivia Sidoti

Former Research Assistant

Olivia is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology with a minor in American Sign Language at NYU Steinhardt. Having previously worked in The Neuroscience and Education Lab at NYU, Olivia is excited to join the ISLAND Lab to continue learning about different factors that contribute to early childhood development and gain more research.

Annissa Saleh

Former Research Assistant

Annissa is Puerto Rican/Lebanese and was raised in Costa Rica prior to moving to New York City. She is currently attending NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in ``The Brain through Childhood`` with an emphasis on trauma and development. She is now working at both the ISLAND Lab and the Latino Family Engagement and Language Development Lab as a research assistant. Her career aspirations include becoming a child therapist with a specialization in positive psychology and therapy. She is beyond happy to be an ISLAND team member and work on infant neurocognitive development.

Sandra Elena Alcaraz

Former Research Assistant

Sandra is currently pursuing a B.A. in Psychology at NYU College of Arts and Science along with two minors, Chemistry and Studio Art. As a student on the Pre-Health Track, she aims to become an OB/GYN in the future. As a Research Assistant, she hopes to learn and understand better how language and family structure develops and becomes evident in Early Childhood Development, as well as enhance her research skills.

Liana Magaliff

Former Research Assistant

Liana holds a BS in Neuroscience with a focus in Psychology from Muhlenberg College. With a keen interest in infant development and language acquisition, she is excited to join the ISLAND lab to enhance her skills in all aspects of clinical research protocols and to learn how parents can better support their babies. She is currently pursuing a career as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Together with her work within the March of Dimes, Liana hopes to bridge the disciplines of clinical research and neonatology & maternal-child health in order to promote optimal healing and cognitive development of infants at risk.

Rahil Kamath

Former Research Assistant

Rahil is a senior at Columbia University pursuing a B.A. in Psychology. He previously worked as a research assistant at the Columbia Social and Moral Cognition Lab, where he helped conduct research on the development of morality in children, specifically regarding social perceptions of individuals implicated in the criminal justice system. At the ISLAND lab, he is interested in research regarding the influence of socioeconomic status and other cultural factors on early neurocognitive development. After graduation, Rahil hopes to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Emelie Beattie

Former Research Assistant

Emelie is a junior at Macalester College pursuing a B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in community and global health. Prior to working at the ISLAND lab, Emelie became interested in public health, specifically maternal and child health, through her coursework as an undergraduate. As a research assistant at the ISLAND lab, Emelie is excited to understand how family systems as well socioeconomic status have the ability to influence early neurocognitive development.

Ivelisse Pedreira Garcia

Former Research Assistant

Ivelisse just graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Rίo Piedras Campus, and got her bachelor's degree in Psychology. She has previously worked with Dr. John Jost in a collaborative project between the University of PR and the Social Justice Lab at NYU focused on Puerto Rican's perceptions of the political status of the island. She hopes to refine and diversify her research knowledge and abilities by assisting in the ISLAND Lab. Specifically, she is interested in maternal mental health and its influences on infant language acquisition for both monolinguals and bilinguals.

Olivia Clancy

Former Research Assistant

Olivia is a senior at NYU Steinhardt pursuing a B.S. in Applied Psychology. Prior to working with ISLAND lab, she conducted research at NYU's Child Study Center where she became interested in how early life experiences can influence maladaptive behavior in adolescents. She is excited to be part of the lab where she hopes to continue developing her research skills and learning more about neurocognitive psychology.

Caitlin Rogoff

Former Research Assistant

Caitlin is a high school student who attends Mamaroneck High School in Westchester. Her role in the lab was to help aid in small tasks, as well as experimental procedures. She is interested in child language development, specifically how parent child interactions impact language development. By working and assisting in the ISLAND Lab she hoped to expand her knowledge on both research procedures and language development.

Buyong Joo

Former Research Assistant

Buyong graduated from the Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt minoring in Business studies. She is interested in exploring the expressive treatments for children such as art and music therapy and finding the early diagnosis for children without traumatizing them. She is passionate about changing the perception of mental illness in our society, especially in underserved countries. By working in the ISLAND lab she hoped to improve skills to be a good researcher and to learn more about neurocognitive psychology with the hands-on experiences in the lab.

Judith Konamah

Former Research Assistant

Judith Konamah is a Senior pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Baruch College with a major in Psychology and a minor in Communications. She previously worked as a research assistant in the Baruch Dynamic Learning Lab where she helped conduct research on memory and social influences. She also volunteered at Elmhurst hospital where she worked with children with different mental disorders and developmental challenges. She is interested in learning about how one's environment and the behaviors of others influence emotional development. She joined the ISLAND lab to further pursue and learn new things about her research interests.

Stefani Wiloejo

Former Research Assistant

Stefani is a junior at NYU Steinhardt pursuing as B.S in Nutrition & Dietetics and Global Public Health. She has previously done research regarding the effect of milk pasteurization towards infants' glucose levels. Findings of this research has made her interested to understand how early life styles, both consumption habits and social influences, can affect infants future behavior. She joined ISLAND Lab to continue improving her research skill and learning more about neuropsychology.

Carol Galloway

Former Research Assistant

Carol received her Master's Degree at New York University (NYU) studying Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with B.A.s in Psychology and Spanish in 2018. During her undergraduate career, Carol worked on several research teams that focused on family dynamics, child psychopathology and language development. In joining ISLAND, she hoped to continue honing her research skills and understanding the effects of parenting on child neurocognitive development, particularly in underprivileged communities.

Sarah Harris

Former Research Assistant

Sarah will be a sophomore at Colgate University this Fall with an intended double major in Psychology and Educational Studies. In her psychology classes at Colgate, Sarah developed a passion for understanding both how one’s environment impacts their behavior and how one’s behavior influences the environment that they interact with. Sarah spends most of her extracurricular time working with children in volunteer-based clubs. She continues to pursue this work with children in the field of psychology by immersing herself in developmental psychology.

Ariel Gianukakis

Former Research Assistant

Ariel will be a senior at Wake Forest University where she is majoring in Psychology with Biology and Environmental Studies minors. At Wake Forest, Ariel works in a psychology lab researching the formation of help-seeking behaviors in children of different backgrounds. She enjoys working with infants and young children through coaching and volunteer programs. Ariel is hoping to pursue a career in child clinical psychology. She is interested in learning more about infant neurocognitive development and excited to gain research experience at the ISLAND lab.

Leslie Gaines

Former Research Assistant

Leslie just graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in theatre. During her senior year, Leslie worked in a psycholinguistics lab where she helped collect, process, and present eye-tracking data. She also has experience working with children on the autism spectrum and recently interned at Blue Sky Autism, a charity in London providing early intervention services to children on the autism spectrum and/or experiencing developmental delays. She is excited to be a part of the ISLAND Lab and to learn more about child developmental research.

Karina Kozak

Former Lab Manager

Karina graduated in 2014 with a BA in Psychology from Drew University. Following undergraduate studies she joined Teach For America and taught high school science in rural Arkansas. Her experience inspired questions about the impact of stressful environments on the development of self-regulation. She is very excited to work in the ISLAND Lab where she hopes to sharpen her data analysis skills and learn of ways to empower parents to support their infants.

Nick Tong

Former Research Assistant

Nick is currently in his senior year of the Applied Psychology program at New York University. Prior to his membership at ISLAND lab, Nick was a research assistant at ROSES, a research-based intervention program oriented towards youth criminal justice and gender issues.
Nick is interested in the effects of stressors associated with socioeconomic status, and how they pertain to psychological and physiological well-being. As a research assistant at the ISLAND lab, Nick hopes to see how the knowledge attained regarding infant development can inform better policy-making.

Fernanda Alonso

Former Research Assistant

Fernanda is a second-year Master’s student in the Neuroscience and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She graduated from the University of Chile with a B.S. in Speech and Language Pathology. She is very passionate about children’s brain development in the first years of life. Her research interests include cognition, speech, and language in children. Besides being a Research Assistant in the ISLAND Lab, she is also a Teaching Assistant for the Cognitive Neuroscience Course at Teachers College.

Makenzie Bayless

Former Research Assistant

Makenzie is a first year Master’s student in the Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness program at NYU. She recently graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science and Psychology. In addition to being a Research Assistant in the ISLAND Lab, Makenzie is a Graduate Assistant for the Office of the Associate Dean for Students at NYU’s College of Arts of Sciences.

Makenzie finds great value in community service and advocacy work. For years, she has been highly involved with The Family Resource Network of New Jersey - an organization devoted to supporting individuals and their families who are living with epilepsy, autism, intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities, and chronic illnesses. Further, Makenzie was a Behavior Assistant in a contained classroom with four students on the autism spectrum. With this being her first experience in a research lab, Makenzie is very excited for the opportunity and looks forward to understanding how stress in a child’s early home environment impacts their cognitive development.