University of Wisconsin–Madison

Human Development Graduate Students


Maame Adomako is PhD student in the Human Development area. She received a B.A. from Central Michigan University, where she double majored in Psychology and Sociology with a Youth Studies Concentration. Her professional and research experiences are aimed toward enhancing leadership and diversity among adolescents in education. Her skills include multicultural programming, tutoring and mentoring high and middle school students.

Research Interests:

Maame is former scholar of the Summer Education Research Program at UW-Madison during which her research focused on the racial and ethnic differences in student satisfaction of college on a predominantly white campus and the implications of social and academic adjustment for students’ satisfaction with college. Currently advised by Dr. Brad Brown her research interests include examining the transition processes among underrepresented students in higher education. Specifically, she explores the impact of social and academic experiences on identity development and achievement.


  • Acevedo-Polakovich, I.D., Cousineau, J. M., Quirk, K.M., Gerhart, J.I., & Adomako, M.S.(2013).  Toward an asset orientation in the study of U.S. Latina/o youth: Biculturalism, ethnic identity, and positive youth development. The Counseling Psychologist (4) 41
  • Adomako, M.S., Brown, B.B., & Yang, C. (April, 2013). What Explains Ethnic Differences in Satisfaction Among Students on a Predominantly White Campus. Poster presented at the 2013 Society for Research in Child Development Conference. Seattle, WA.
  • Adomako, M.S., Smith, J., & Garrison, A. (November, 2012). Breaking the Silence: LGBTQ Allies on Campus. Poster presented at the 2012 American Association of Criminology Conference. Chicago, IL.


Isabella Starling Alves is a graduate student in Human Development area in the Department of Educational Psychology. She is interested in the integration between neurosciences and education, and has experience working on developmental disorders, with focus on developmental dyscalculia.


  • M.A. Neurosciences, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil
  • B.A. Psychology, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil

Research Interests:

Isabella is interested in numerical cognition, especially in the association between nonsymbolic and symbolic magnitudes processing. Currently, she works on nonsymbolic ratio processing, on the LAMBDA project (


Haase, V. G., & Starling‐Alves, I. (2017). In search of the moral-psychological and neuroevolutionary basis of political partisanship. Dementia & Neuropsychologia, 11 (1): 15-23.

Júlio‐Costa, A., Starling-Alves, I., Lopes-Silva, J. B., Wood , G., & Haase, V. G. (2015). Stable measures of number sense accuracy in math learning disability: Is it time to proceed from basic science to clinical application?. PsyCh journal, 4(4), 218-225.

Haase, V. G., Júlio-Costa, A., Lopes-Silva, J. B., Starling-Alves, I., Antunes, A. M., Pinheiro-Chagas, P., & Wood, G. (2014). Contributions from specific and general factors to unique deficits: two cases of mathematics learning difficulties. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 102.

Pinheiro-Chagas, P. , Wood, G., Knops, A., Krinzinger, H., Lonnemann, J., Starling-Alves, I, Willmes, K., & Haase, V. G. (2014). In How Many Ways is the Approximate Number System Associated with Exact Calculation?. PLoS one, 9, e111155.


John Binzak is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology department studying the cognitive and neural development of math abilities in children. He previously attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison as an undergraduate student completing his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Neurobiology. After Graduating in 2010, he decided to focus on how the field of neuroscience could inform and learn from the practice of education. While completing his M.Ed. in Mind, Brain, & Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he studied child cognitive development and worked at CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) on teams developing digital media for Education.  Before returning to UW he worked at Northwestern University managing fMRI research studies on the neural development of dyscalculia and dyslexia in children.


M.Ed. Mind, Brain, & Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2012

B.S. Psychology & Neurobiology, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2010


Angie Calvin is a doctoral student in the Human Development area of the Educational Psychology department. She received her BA in psychology from Southern Illinois University and her MS in Developmental Psychology from Illinois State University. Her research broadly focuses on peer relationships during adolescence.


  • BA, Psychology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
  • MS, Developmental Psychology, Illinois State University, Normal, IL

Research Interests:

Currently, Angie is collaborating with Dr. Brad Brown’s Peer Relations Study Group on a project investigating how parents’ behaviors and peer management strategies impact adolescents’ behavior with peers. In addition to an interest in parenting behavior, she is also strongly interested in the study of adolescents who are victimized. She presently assists Dr. Amy Bellmore on a research project examining mentions of bullying events on Twitter. Both these projects help accomplish her overarching goal in understanding how relations with parents and peers influence adolescents’ psychosocial adjustment.


Leandro Chernicoff is a graduate student in the Human Development area. He is interested in the development of cognitive, affective and behavioral skills to foster well-being and alleviate suffering. This started as a personal quest, and for the last six years he has collaborated as Academic Director of AtentaMente, a Mexican nonprofit focused on teaching these very skills to adults, children, and teens. He is also a physicist and a full-time professor at UACM, one of three public universities in Mexico City, teaching college level math and physics for the last 14 years.


  • B.A., Physics, UNAM, Mexico.
  • M.S., Physics, UNAM, Mexico.

Leandro has developed a curriculum to promote attention, emotion regulation as well as prosocial behavior, conducting research to assess its efficacy. Different variations of this curriculum are being developed and implemented for the general public, the workplace and in educational settings in Mexico.

Through an iterative process of curriculum development, implementation and research, he hopes to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based well-being training program.


Catherine DeBrock is a first-year doctoral student in the Educational Psychology graduate studies program. Catherine earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014, where she first became involved in educational research. After joining a cognitive neuroscience laboratory at the Beckman Institute, she began more hands-on work at a laboratory in the Educational Psychology department for research on bullying and peer victimization. Upon finishing the prerequisites for her psychology degree, she enrolled in courses geared toward teacher training, including courses on educational psychology, policy, and practice. Catherine now works in the Learning, Cognition, and Development laboratory with Haley Vlach studying Human Development.

Research Interests:

Catherine’s research stems from her desire to contribute to the betterment of educational practice, both in the classroom and at home. Catherine studies the cognitive development of young children, and through this research she attempts to answer questions about how certain teaching and training methods influence a child’s memory, conceptualization, and performance in learning tasks, especially concerning early literacy.


Radhika Gosavi is a graduate student in the Human Development area. Over the past few years, she has done research on various topics including synesthesia, social neuroscience and cognition, dance cognition, and visual neuroscience. In 2008, she founded an educational non-profit organization, Beyond the Book, to spread holistic learning methods and motivate children to enjoy learning in the villages of India.


  • Education B.S. in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Neuroscience and minor in Psychology, 2013, University of California, San Diego

Research Interests:

Putting together her experiences, Radhika is passionate about doing research in the field of Educational Neuroscience. She is particularly interested in studying the relationship between learning and synesthesia.


  • Rouw, R., Case, L., Gosavi, R., & Ramachandran, V. (2014). Color associations for days and letters across different languages. Frontiers in Psychology, 5.
  • Case, L. K., Gosavi, R., & Ramachandran, V. S. (2013). Heightened motor and sensory (mirror-touch) referral induced by nerve block or topical anesthetic. Neuropsychologia51(10), 1823-1828.


  • Gosavi R, Chang V, McGivern R, Pineda J. Embodied Cognition and Sex Differences in Singular versus Combined Tasks During Visual Tracking and Emotion Recognition. Society for Neuroscience 43rd Annual Meeting, San Diego, November 2013


Zachary Grulke is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Human Development area.  After high school, Zac joined the United States Marine Corps where, as an Infantryman, he learned the value of running water and electricity.  Upon his End of Active Service, he studied Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for a year, then transferred to Edgewood College.  Once there, his research interests began to unfold as he conducted research regarding sound symbolism.  After graduating, Zac was accepted into Ed Hubbard’s Educational Neuroscience lab where he is developing his research goals and skills


  • S., Psychology, Edgewood College, Madison, WI

Research Interests:

Zac’s research interests orbit learning in autism.  Specifically, he is interested in how joint attention (paying attention to what others are focused on) can facilitate learning for a myriad of skills as well as what changes occur in the brain through successful interventions.


  • Grulke, Z. & Spector, F.  (2013, April).  The Shape of Sounds.  Poster presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting in Boston, MA.


Pauline Ho is a first year PhD student in the Human Development area of the Educational Psychology department. Her research at UC-Irvine have primarily focused on investigating effective pedagogies for teaching English and discipline-specific knowledge to diverse student learners. In addition to research, Pauline has a variety of experiences working with students, including peer mentoring, scholarship advising, and academic tutoring. She was recently named as a 2017 Leaders & Legends honoree by the Who’s Who in Asian American Communities.

Research Interests:

Following the work that she had already began as an undergraduate, Pauline’s research interests now focus on investigating factors that influence underrepresented students’ college transition in higher education. She received Honorable Mentions for the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship in 2016. She also received Honorable Mentions for the Ford Predoctoral Fellowship in 2017.


  • B.A. Education Sciences, University of California, Irvine, 2017
  • B.A. Social Policy and Public Service, University of California, Irvine, 2017


  • Ho, P. & Stillwell, C. (2018, March). ELLs Interviewing ELLs: Contributing Data to Discussions of Higher Education. Paper presented at the 2018 American Association for Applied Linguistics Annual Conference.
  • Ho, P. (Accepted). Exploring the Impact of Learning Assistants on ELL’s Writing Outcomes. Paper accepted by the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Convention & English Language Expo 2018.
  • Ho, P., Nili, A.N., Reimer, L.C. (2017, April). Using Coh-Metrix to Analyze Writing Cohesion in Introductory Courses with and without Learning Assistants. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2017 Annual Meeting.
  • Ho, P., Su, P & Nili, A. (2016, May). Using Coh-Metrix to Analyze Writing Cohesion in Introductory Courses with and without Learning Assistants. Poster presented at the annual Data Science Initiative Spring Symposium, “Fostering Literacy and Learning with Text and Data Mining,” Irvine, CA.
  • Ho, P., & Su, P. (2016, May). Investigating teaching practices in writing 39A classrooms for English as Second Language (ESL) Learners. Research presented at the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Annual Symposium, Irvine, CA.


Ron Hopkins is a first-year graduate student in the Human Development area of Educational Psychology. His academic background is primarily in the historical, theoretical, and philosophical foundations of human reasoning. Throughout his undergraduate and graduate career at the University of West Georgia he served as the Research Coordinator for the psychology department’s Research Laboratory. He trained undergraduates on research methods and provided in-class demonstrations of EEG equipment for psychology classes. While earning his Master’s degree in Psychology, he worked as a graduate assistant in the Distance and Distributed Education department, training and assisting faculty members in developing online courses.


  • A. in Psychology, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA.
  • A. in Psychology, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA.

Research Interests:

Ron is interested in mathematical cognition, particularly how students come to associate meaning to the symbols and rules of symbol manipulation necessary for mathematics. He is especially interested in how these associations influence reasoning and how these associations change over time. This involves trying to understand the nature of processes underlying symbolic meaning and mathematical knowledge in the hopes of developing methods for identifying problems and designing effective interventions.


  • “Situated Mathematical Cognition and Epistemology in Algebraic Reasoning: Implications for Young Learners”   Student Psychology Annual Research Conference University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA: April, 2014 “Ethical Epistemic Methodology in the Social Sciences” Midwinter ConferenceAPA Division 24, Atlanta, GA: March, 2014
  • “What is the Cognitive Science of Mathematics?” Invited Presentation for Foundations of Neuroscience CourseUniversity of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA: November, 2013
  • “Semiotics, Semantics, and The Linguistic Turn in Philosophy”   Invited Presentation for Language and Culture CourseUniversity of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA: October, 2013
  • “From Zero to Infinity: Paradoxical Cognitive Metaphors and Number Theory” Student Psychology Annual Research Conference University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA: April, 2013
  • “The Convenient Relativist: The Question of Plastic Epistemology” North Georgia Student Philosophy Conference Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA: December, 2012
  • “Thought and Identity: Cognition, Education, Society and Authenticity” Student Psychology Annual Research Conference University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA: April, 2012
  • “Learning Orientations: Changing Educational Perspectives” Student Psychology Annual Research Conference University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA: April, 2011


Julie Johnson is a doctoral student in the Human Development area of the Educational Psychology program of UW-Madison. During her Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Master’s program at Ohio State University,  she examined service-learning as a catalyst for college student moral & cognitive development. She presented at the NASPA region IV-E conference in 2009 where she integrated service-learning research with development theory to examine and critique undergraduate service-learning courses and proposed better theory-to-practice programmmg.

Seeking hands-on leadership programming experience, Julie served as an AmeriCorps member working with a conservation program aimed at developing civic engagement among young adults. She also served as an instructor at Indiana University’s Outdoor Education Center facilitating leadership development, group development, and personal growth programs in outdoor challenge settings for children and adults of all ages.

A growing curiosity in non-violent conflict resolution and peace studies brought Julie to UW Madison’s Human Development program to work with Dr. Robert Enright – an academic leader in moral development and forgiveness education. Julie is currently working on various research projects aimed at understanding the developmental nature of forgiveness.


  • Hunt, J.C., Kim, J. & Enright, R. (2013, November). Cross-cultural analysis: The Enright Forgiveness Inventory in Ukraine. Poster presented at the annual Association for Moral Education conference, Montreal, Quebec.
  • Hunt, J. (2014, May). Because after all, a person is a person, no matter how small. Healthy Classroom Symposium.Lecture conducted from University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.


Melina Knabe is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Human Development area of the Department of Educational Psychology where she is advised by Dr. Haley Vlach. Melina graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Neuroscience and minor in Philosophy from Washington and Lee University in 2017. Growing up in Berlin, Germany, she is highly interested in the impact of diverse language backgrounds on cognitive development and educational outcomes, as well as their rich associations with society and culture. In addition, Melina has a keen interest in promoting women in the STEM fields and a passion for dance, traveling, and spending time with people.


  • Bachelor of Science (major: Neuroscience (Honors), minor: Philosophy), Neuroscience Program, Washington and Lee University, 2017.

Research Interests:

Melina is interested in children’s language and cognitive development, with a special focus on bilingualism. Under the auspices of Dr. Haley Vlach, she intends to investigate the effect of bi- and multilingualism on memory and cognitive control functions, as well as academic outcomes. Additional questions of interest include how word and second language learning proceed, and what the most effective ways of implementing language education are. These questions are motivated by a desire to apply cognitive psychology to educational practices and policies.


Served as a teaching assistant for a Nutritional Neuroscience and Statistical Methods & Research Design course at Washington and Lee University in the fall of 2016.


Sarfert, K. S., Knabe, M. L., Gunawansa, N. S., & Blythe, S. N. (in print). Western-style diet induces object recognition deficits and alters complexity of dendritic arborization in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex of male rats. Nutritional Neuroscience.

Knabe, M. L., Sarfert, K. S., Gunawansa, N. S., & Blythe, S. N. (under review). Western-style diet alters neuronal morphology in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex of ovariectomized female rats with and without estradiol.

Knabe, M. L., Sarfert, K. S., & Blythe, S. N. (manuscript in preparation). Cafeteria-style diet impairs memory and increases risk of metabolic syndrome.

Knabe, M. L., Blythe, S. N., & Whiting, W. (manuscript in preparation). Does language translate to executive functions? Investigating the bilingual advantage in cognitive control.


Virginia Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Richmond VA (May, 2017)

  • Knabe, M. L., Blythe, S. N. “Language Translates to Executive Functions: Investigating the Bilingual Advantage in Inhibitory Control”

Science, Society and the Arts Conference, Lexington VA (March, 2017)

  • Knabe, M. L., Blythe, S. N. “Language Translates to Executive Functions: Investigating the Bilingual Advantage in Inhibitory Control”

Virginia Academy of Science Fall Undergraduate Research Meeting, Richmond VA (October, 2016)

  • Knabe, M. L., Blythe, S. N. “Language Translates to Executive Functions: Investigating the Bilingual Advantage in Inhibitory Control”

Biology Seminar Series, Lexington VA (December, 2015)

  • Knabe, M. L., Sarfert, K. S. “The Central and Peripheral Effects of Estrogen and Diet-Induced Obesity”

American Physiological Society: “Physiology and Gender”, Annapolis MD (November, 2015)

  • Pogrebna, V., Knabe, M. L., Blythe, S. N., Toporikova, N. “A Tale of Two Diet Experiments – Investigating Interactions Between Diet and Reproductive Hormones”

Summer Research Scholars Seminar Series, Lexington VA (June, 2014/2015)

  • Curtiss, S., Knabe, M. L., Sarfert, K. “A Diet to Remember: From McDonald’s to Memory Loss”
  • Knabe, M. L., Sarfert, K. S., Guider, J., Caldwell, T., Maxiova, A. “The Effects of Diet-Induced Obesity on Physiology, Behavior, and Fertility”

Virginia Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Richmond VA (May, 2015)

  • Knabe, M. L., Sarfert, K. S., Blythe, S. N. “Food for Thought: Cafeteria-Style Diet Impairs Memory and Increases Risk of Metabolic Syndrome”

Science, Society and the Arts Conference, Lexington VA (March, 2015)

  • Knabe, M. L., Sarfert, K. S., Blythe, S. N. “Food for Thought: Cafeteria-Style Diet Impairs Memory and Increases Risk of Metabolic Syndrome”

Society for Neuroscience Conference, Washington D. C. (November, 2014)

  • Knabe, M. L., Sarfert, K. S., Blythe, S. N. “Food for Thought: Cafeteria-Style Diet Impairs Memory and Increases Risk of Metabolic Syndrome”


Mary Cate Komoski is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology Department, Human Development Area. She received a B.Ed. in Child Development and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill in 2013. She then worked as a kindergarten teacher at a Title I school in Durham, North Carolina for two years. She now studies and works as a part of Dr. Robert Enright’s Forgiveness Lab.

Research Interests:

Mary Cate’s interests focus on the relationship between early-life trauma and later juvenile criminal behavior, specifically focusing on family conflict and trauma. Her interests also extend into trauma-informed systems and what role they should play in juvenile delinquency.


Lisa Mulcahy is a graduate student in the Human Development area of Educational Psychology. Before coming to UW-Madison, she worked as a paraeducator, an afterschool program coordinator, and a teacher.

Research Interests:

Epistemic cognition, metacognition, complex reasoning, culture and cognition, ill-structured problem solving, place-based learning, rural education, curriculum design.


Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Middlebury College

Teaching Experience:

Teaching Assistant: Research Methods in Psychology (UW-Madison: Fall 2016, Spring 2017)


Amy Niu is a first year PhD student in Human Development Area in the Department of Educational Psychology. Prior to her attending to U.S., she was involved in a volunteer program and working as a middle school teacher in China. This experience helped to acquaint her with the social dynamics of adolescent peer relations. She was intrigued by how the clash between teacher or parent expectations and peer demands can undermine healthy adolescent development.


  • A. Changchun University of Science & Technology

Research Interests:

Working with Prof. Brad Brown and other members of the Peer Relations Study Group, her research interest currently centers on the association between the social networking sites (SNS) use and international students’ adjustment to college life in U.S. In her first year project, she will mainly examine (1) how international students build their identities in online settings (e.g. facebook) as a transition strategy (2) how they balance their relations with their old friends which are left behind in their home country and new connections which are established after they arrived on campus by participating in different social networking sites.


Nigel Noll is a first year PhD student in the Human Development program.  Prior to pursuing a PhD, Nigel taught middle school and high school science in urban school settings.


  • Ed., Educational Research, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio
  • S., Biology, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio

Research Interests:

Nigel’s research interest is category learning and human development.  Specifically, he is interested in how categorization facilitates children’s abilities to perform various cognitive tasks. Nigel currently studies children’s pattern learning across instructional contexts with Dr. Chuck Kalish in the Study of Children’s Thinking Lab. In addition, he conducts research in the Learning, Cognition, & Development Lab with Dr. Haley Vlach.


Chelsea Olson is a graduate student in the Human Development Area of Educational Psychology. She received a B.A. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a part of Dr. Amy Bellmore’s research group.

Research Interests:

Her research interests include peer relationships, peer victimization, cyber victimization, and mental health outcomes. She’s also interested in investigating social media and victimization on those platforms. She’d also like to examine anti-bullying prevention and intervention programs, with a long-term goal being to help develop an effective anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying program.


Hannah Oury is a Ph.D. candidate in the Human Development Area of Educational Psychology. She is a member of the Enright Forgiveness Lab.  Hannah earned a BA in Psychology, as well as minors in English and Biblical Archaeology, at Wheaton College, IL. Her current research interests include Forgiveness Education and its application in elementary and secondary school settings, and child and adolescent hope and emotional well-being. In her free time, Hannah enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, ice cream, and spending time with friends and family.

Research Interests:

  • Forgiveness and child resiliency
  • How people understand the idea of human “inherent worth”
  • Forgiveness Therapy and its applications for trauma victims


  • George, Limberger, Loynachan, Case, Oury, & Rueger (2015, August 9) The Mediating Effects of Self-Esteem in the Relationship Between Attributional Style for Positive Events & Depression. Poster session presented at the 2015 Annual American Psychological Association Conference, Toronto, ON, 2015.


Kelsey Schenck is a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences area of the Educational Psychology department. After receiving her BS in Education in 2013, she taught 6th and 7th grade mathematics for 4 years in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas working with both ends of socioeconomic spectrum. While completing her M.Ed, she studied the effectiveness of Project-Based Learning in mathematics. Kelsey is currently working with her advisor, Mitch Nathan, studying directed action and dynamic gesture.


  • Ed. Mathematics Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas-Arlington, 2016
  • S. Middle Grades Math/Science Education, Texas A&M University, 2013

Research Interests:

Kelsey’s research stem from her experiences as a teacher working with many diverse student groups, particularly English-Language Learners and Special Education students, and her desire to contribute the to betterment of educational practice. She is interested in looking at the role of gesture and spatial reasoning in classroom interventions.


Elizabeth Toomarian is a PhD student in the Educational Neuroscience Lab. Her interest in bringing together cognitive neuroscience and education was sparked in large part by her involvement in a major reading remediation study in San Diego public schools. She administered auditory and visual reading interventions informed by neuroscience research to second grade students who exhibited normal or delayed/impaired reading abilities. She also conducted research full-time for two years in the Developmental Neuroimaging Lab at UC San Diego. Her projects there included studies of the neural correlates and developmental trajectories of emotional face processing, cognitive control, and non-symbolic math processing.

Research Interests:

Liz is currently investigating the spatial representation of fractions on the mental number line. Her research employs both behavioral and functional neuroimaging methods.


  • Toomarian, E., Han, J., Adamo, M., Haist, F. (2013). Evidence for the Development of the Extended Face Network, Executive Function, and Response Inhibition: An fMRI Study of the Emotional Go/No-Go Task. Journal of Vision, 13(9), 596-596. DOI: 10.1167/13.9.596
  • Toomarian, E.& Hubbard, E.M. (under review) “Stimulus Characteristics and Strategic Variability Modulate Spatial Representations of Fractions.”
  • Haist, F., Wazny, J.H., Toomarian, E., Adamo, M. (2015) “Development of brain systems for non-symbolic numerosity and the relationship to formal math academic achievement.” Human Brain Mapping, 36: 804–826


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2014-2017


Alexandria Viegut is a Ph.D. student in the Human Development area studying children’s cognitive development and mathematical learning. Before coming to UW-Madison, her interest in children’s learning was sparked by experiences volunteering in classrooms and as a math tutor. Alex’s prior research has investigated how preschool children develop an understanding of number. She currently works with Percival Matthews in the Math Education Learning and Development lab.


  • A., Psychology, University of Notre Dame, 2017

Research Interests:

Alex’s research interests are motivated by a desire to improve children’s educational outcomes and enjoyment of math. She is broadly interested in the role of different representations of math concepts in children’s learning, including symbols, gestures, and visual depictions. Her current work focuses on training programs that could help children employ their nonsymbolic perceptual processing abilities to support their understanding of mathematical symbols like fractions.


Lai Wong is a graduate student under the tutelage of Professor Robert Enright.  She received a B.S. in Business Administration, cum laude, at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.  During the years of working in a government for developing, implementing and monitoring equal employment opportunity and affirmative action policies and programs, she has developed an interest in research in ethics education as well as evidenced based educational policies and programs.  Her current research interest aims at applying theories of human development from philosophy* and psychology by using qual itative and quantitative research methodologies.  She hopes to promote healthy and pro-social development in human beings by improving educational resources, curricu lums and policies.  Her research topics include moral agency, moral motivation, moral identity and excellence in human development.

Lai is particularly interested in the philosophy of Aristotle, Dewey, William Damon, Buddhism and Confucianism.

Research Interests:

In the upcoming year, I will focus on implementing the research project, “attributes of teachers in K-12” while I will continue working on the just and merciful community project.  I also plan on continuing the exploration of moral agency in the Ph. D program· in the future.


  • Aguinaga, A., Ben, A. G., Hamman, L. E., Lindemann, A., & Wong, L. (May 23, 2014).  Crossroads of pink cobblestone around the ivory tower: female students reflect on their career journey.  Presentation at the Tenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.
  • Wong, L.(October 24, 2013).  The sustaining power of moral agency in positive youth development.  Presentation atAssociation of Moral Education Conference, Montreal, Canada.
  • Enright, R., Wong, L., Hirshberg, M. & Jiang, L. (November 8, 2012).  Just and merciful community.  Poster presentation at Association of Moral Education Conference, San Antonio, Texas.

Manuscripts in Preparation:

  • Enright, R., Wong, L., Hirshberg, M., & Jiang, L. (in prep.).  Just and merciful community.
  • Wong, L. (in prep.)  Moral agency: the sustaining power of positive development.