Research Assistants

Daniela Alvarez

Daniela Alvarez, MARC U*STAR Fellow

Fall 2014 - present

Daniela is a junior majoring in psychology with a minor in biology. On June 2016 she was awarded the Maximizing Access to Research Careers - Undergraduate Student Training for Academic Research (MARC U*STAR) fellowship. She is currently working on a study examining the role of parent spatial talk on young children's developing spatial skills. Daniela is also developing her honor's thesis in which she will examine the relations between stereotype threat, spatial anxiety, and mental rotation ability in undergraduate students. Daniela plans on obtaining her Ph.D. in developmental psychology. Her research interests include individual differences, spatial abilities, educational policy, and pedagogy.

Email Daniela

Paulina Bollat

Paulina Bollat, Research Assistant

Summer 2015 - present

Paulina is a Psychology graduate at Florida International University. She is working on several project in the lab, such as Words in Space, the Neural Mechanisms of Physics Learning Project and on studies exploring children’s developing spatial abilities. She is currently working on graduate school applications and hopes to pursue a Ph.D., conducting research on the effects of social factors and stigmas on intimate relationships and self-esteem.

Email Paulina

Katiarina Rodriguez

Katiarina Rodriguez, Research Assistant

Fall 2017 - present

Katiarina is a senior at Florida International University pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in International Communications. After graduating with her bachelors she will pursue her PhD in Clinical Psychology. She will focus her research on the dynamics of depression and suicide, looking at it from a global perspective, in hopes of having a successful career in helping those struggling with mental health issues. While at PLSD, she will be helping out with the Neural Mechanisms of Physics study as well as helping with data collection for a mental rotation study with adults.

Email Katiarina

Lauren Shepard

Lauren Shepard, Research Assistant

Summer 2016 - present

Lauren is a junior at FIU majoring in Psychology and Communication Arts. After she graduates, she will pursue her Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology. She is interested in leadership in the workplace in correlation to personal activity. She is currently working on a project that compares traditional and modeling physics students in the PLSD lab.

Email Lauren

Evan Soto Harrison

Evan Soto Harrison, Research Assistant

Fall 2016 - present

Evan is a sophomore, currently dual majoring in psychology and computer science. He intends to pursue a master’s in computer science and a doctorate in educational psychology. His primary interests lie within the field of education, looking to further our understanding and application of psychological constructs within current educational models. He plans to research intellectually gifted and special education populations, trying to understand the interaction between social, emotional, and intellectual factors, and their influence in the development of motivation, mental health, and academic achievement. Currently, Evan is working on two studies; the first looks to examine a correlation between anxiety disorders in children and their ability to process emotional words and map them. The other study observes the effects of flipped classrooms on the development of spatial reasoning. His career interests include lecture, research, educational software development, and starting a private school for exceptional students.

Email Evan

Mellissa Wilmot

Mellissa Wilmot, Research Assistant

Fall 2016 - present

Mellissa Wilmot is an undergraduate senior currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology as well as a Certificate in Global Black Studies. She plans on obtaining her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. Her research interests include infant language acquisition as it relates to accents, second languages, vocabulary development and reading skills as well as the role of racial stereotypes and its psychological effect on children’s development. She is currently working on the Parent Talk Project which examines the role of parent spatial talk on young children’s spatial ability. Through this study she hopes to gain experience and knowledge on children’s spatial and language skills.

Email Mellissa

Nicolas Zapata

Nicolas Zapata, Research Assistant

Fall 2016 - present

Nicolas is a senior, majoring in Psychology and Political Science. He plans on earning a Psy.D with a focus on adolescent therapy and counseling. He is currently working on the Neural Mechanisms of Physics Learning Project, which compares students enrolled in traditional physics lectures and students in physics modeling classes.

Email Nicolas