Lab Members

Faculty Members

Hilary Barth, Ph.D. is a psychological scientist working within the broad area of human cognition and development. Main areas of interest are mathematical cognition; thinking and learning about number, space, time, and probability; social cognition; and decision making. She is director of the Yellow Lab. [Faculty Page; Publications]

Anna Shusterman, Ph.D. studies the relationships between language and conceptual development, primarily representations of space and number. Her lab uses behavioral methods to explore cognitive development and language acquisition in young children. She is also interested in the effects of atypical linguistic experience on conceptual representation. She is director of the Blue Lab. [Faculty Page; Publications]

Lab Coordinators

Leah Vaidya is the full-time Yellow Lab Coordinator, working part-time in the Reasoning & Decision Making Lab with Dr. Andrea Patalano. She graduated from Tulane University in 2020 with a B.S. in Psychology and minors in English and Math. She is interested in how children think about and develop math skills. As an undergraduate, she studied the effects of selective attention on the relationship between socioeconomic status and science knowledge in preschool-age children. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school in developmental psychology.

Kelsey Kayton is the part-time Yellow Lab Coordinator, working primarily in the Reasoning & Decision Making Lab with Dr. Andrea Patalano. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2020 with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She is broadly interested in the biases in judgment and decision making that influence how people see themselves and others. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school in cognitive or social psychology.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sierra Eisen is a postdoctoral fellow in the Blue and Yellow Labs. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Virginia. She is broadly interested in how children learn STEM skills through physical and digital play and how adults can support children’s educational experiences. Her dissertation examined parent-child interactions during physical and digital spatial play and the impact of a spatial play intervention.

Research Assistants

Blue Lab

Josie Catalano ’21 is a Psychology and Anthropology double major. She has worked with children as a summer camp counselor and after-school tutor in her hometown of Albany, NY. Outside of class she is involved in Wesleyan’s running club and participates in Wesleyan’s food rescue program. She hopes to pursue a career in early childhood development as a clinical psychologist.

Niko Christian ’21 is a major of the College of Social Studies, a prospective history double major, and a prospective government minor. He is a director within Wesleyan’s Every Vote Counts chapter and a member of Ujamaa-Wesleyan’s Black student collective. He has worked with children in his hometown of Las Vegas and intends to continue to do so with summer workshops and initiatives.

Claudia Ferrara ’21 is a Psychology major with a minor in Education Studies. She is involved in tutoring programs at local Middletown Schools, plays club soccer, is involved in Wesleyan Political Magazine, and is a campus photographer. Outside of Wesleyan, she has spent three summers working at schools in Massachusetts helping children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). She is interested in early childhood development and hopes to pursue a career in the field.

Danielle Gozzo ’21 is a prospective Psychology major and native Connecticut resident. While in high school, she helped fifth-grade students run to be elected as CT Kid Governor. She has worked as a tutor for both WesReads and the Ascend program while at Wesleyan, helping elementary school students with reading and homework. She is interested in evolutionary and cognitive psychology. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys horseback riding and hiking with her dog.

Lydia Paddock ’21 is a Psychology and Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies double major. She has worked with children as a babysitter and at a summer camp in Long Island since the age of fourteen. Outside of class she is a rower on the Wesleyan Women’s Crew team. She also participates in club volleyball and in Terpsichore. She hopes to pursue a career in childhood counseling psychology.

Emma Trapani ’21 is a Neuroscience & Behavior and Italian Studies double major from Rockport, ME. Coming from coastal Maine, Emma worked with kids as a sailing instructor for three years. In high school, she volunteered in a preschool which served low-income families. Through this work, she realized her love for young children and the impact which family has during early childhood development. At Wesleyan, Emma is part of the Cross Country and Track teams, the Wesleyan Doula Project, and the Wesleyan Women in Science organization. After her time at Wesleyan, Emma hopes to pursue a career in women’s health as an APRN Midwife.

Yellow Lab

Caro Montano ’21 is a Psychology major and French minor with an International Relations certificate. She is interested in numerical perception in children, as well as social psychology. She is deeply fascinated by both the developing mind and public policy, and hopes to intersect law and applied research in the field of child development and psychology towards promoting progressive public policy. She loves being around children, and has spent her summers working as a camp counselor. Aside from being a research assistant, you can catch her at a concert, soaking up some sun on Foss Hill, or organizing for climate action with the Sunrise Movement.

Sarah Aduke Ohiomah ‘21 is a Psychology major. Currently, she is interested in the construction of thought processes in early childhood and how these cognitive abilities during youth lead to more advanced social and problem solving skills during adulthood. In the future, she hopes to become a psychotherapist for young children and adolescents. She joined the Cognitive Development Lab because she believes that developmental psychology is a very important field in helping us understand how individuals grow and adapt to different stages of life. She is also an advocate for Mental Health Awareness, especially among adolescents and young adults. Outside of psychology, Sarah loves to stay active as she is the captain of the intramural volleyball team, WeSpike; she also loves to run and practice yoga.

Abby Wolk ’22 is a prospective Science in Society and Psychology double major with a Data Analysis minor. On campus, she is is the founder of Wesleyan’s Students Demand Action, advocating for common sense gun safety, and is a member of the Women’s Varsity Lacrosse team. Outside of school, Abby enjoys playing with puppies and coloring. Additionally, she loves being around children and has spent time as both a math tutor and volunteer assistant coach for elementary and middle schoolers. After taking Developmental Psychology with Professor Barth, Abby became fascinated with better understanding the way children think and behave, inspiring her to join the Yellow Lab.

 Lauren Barragan ’21 is a Psychology major. She is interested in the measurements of stress in early childhood as well as how developmental research can help those with different neurodiversities. She is taking American Sign Language at Wesleyan, and in the future, hopes to use both ASL and psychology in a career with children. On campus she loves to express herself through music and being active. She is a member of an a cappella group, on the club rugby team, and has acted in second stage productions.

Alumni