Research Assistants

Ariel Aguero

Ariel Aguero, Research Assistant

Spring 2016 - present

Ariel is an undergraduate senior studying towards a major in psychology and minor in statistics. His research interests gear towards language development and acquisition. More specifically, he hopes to pursue a PhD in developmental psychology in order to investigate the developmental roots of statistical learning mechanisms, individual differences in language acquisition, and language deficits in those with intellectual disabilities. At the moment he is working on Words in Space, an honor's thesis seeking to understand the role of language in guiding infant attention to locations in space.

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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.

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Elizabeth Arango

Elizabeth Arango, Research Assistant

Spring 2017 - present

Elizabeth is an undergraduate senior working towards a major in psychology. She is interested in learning more about children's language development and plans on pursuing a Masters in Speech Language Pathology, focusing on children with a speech delay or assisting adults with speech recovery. She is currently working on Parent Talk, which examines children's language and spatial acquisition.

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Paulina Bollat

Paulina Bollat, Research Assistant

Summer 2015 - present

Paulina is a recent 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.

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Sergio Marquez

Sergio Marquez, McNair Scholar

Summer 2015 - present

Sergio is a senior at FIU and is currently studying Psychology, with a minor in English. Sergio hopes to eventually graduate with a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology. Within the realm of Organizational Psychology, he is most interested in studying the subfields of self-regulation (motivation) and leadership, since he is most curious to observe how those facets manifest within the context of the workplace. More specifically, thanks to the PLSD lab, Sergio has become interested in spatial ability and language, and seeks to investigate the roles that language and communication play in both self and group motivation. Sergio would like to also consult for companies on the side, and achieve a balance of academia and applied work.

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Nadine Ramirez

Nadine Ramirez, Research Assistant

Spring 2017 - present

Nadine Ramirez is currently a Junior pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She aims to one day become either a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist while focusing on depression and treating that. The areas of research Nadine is interested include developmental psychology as well as research on depression and the physical effects that has on the brain. Nadine hopes to gain research experience during her involvement in the developmental research lab and use that information to further conduct her own research on how the development of a child affects the development of depression and other mental illnesses later in life.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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