Ph.D Students

Kathryn Adams

Concentration: Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience
Mentor: Abigail Marsh
304 White-Gravenor
Email: ka741@georgetown.edu

Katie joined the Graduate Program in 2018 to work under the mentorship of Abigail Marsh. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the Pennsylvania State University in Psychology and Neuroscience. During this time, she was a research assistant in the Child Brain Development Lab. Post-graduation, Katie went on to become a postbaccalaureate research assistant under the mentorship of James Blair at the Center for Neurobehavioral Research. She is interested in using brain imaging to understand empathy and emotion processing with specific focus on disfunction in these processes.  


Rob Cortes

Concentration: Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience
Mentor: Adam Green
305 White-Gravenor
Email: rac114@georgetown.edu

Rob is a National Science Foundation and Patrick Healy fellow who joined the Graduate Program in 2018 to work under the mentorship of Adam Green in the Laboratory for Relational Cognition. He earned his B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy at Georgetown University, where he worked as a research coordinator and studied the cognitive mechanisms that support creative thinking. He is broadly interested in understanding and enhancing human cognition. His current research project focuses on utilizing brain stimulation to enhance various cognitive abilities and reveal the core functional brain networks that support them.


Richard Daker

Concentration: Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience
Mentors: Adam Green & Ian Lyons
305 White-Gravenor
Email: rjd107@georgetown.edu

Rich joined the Graduate Program  and the Laboratory for Relational Cognition in 2016 to work under the guidance of both Adam Green and Ian Lyons. Before coming to Georgetown, Rich worked at ideas42, a non-profit behavioral design lab that applies behavioral science to do social good. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University in 2015 with a B.A. in psychology and a certificate in neuroscience. While at Princeton, he was a research assistant in the Human Working Memory Lab where he studied the effects of stereotype threat on working memory. He is primarily interested in using both behavioral and neuroscience methods to study how social and emotional factors affect cognition.


Mia Hendricks

Concentration: Human Development and Public Policy + MPP
Mentor: Fathali Moghaddam
403B White-Gravenor
Email: mjh354@georgetown.edu

Mia joined the Graduate Program in 2017 to work under the mentorship of Fathali Moghaddam. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University and a master’s in Forensic Psychology from George Washington University. While at George Washington, she supported counterterrorism research at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism in the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division and at National Defense University within the College of International Security Affairs. Her research interests focus on understanding the effects of terrorism and immigration on decisions involving national security and human rights.


Caitlin Hines

Concentration: Human Development and Public Policy
Mentor: Rebecca Ryan
303 White-Gravenor
Email: cth36@georgetown.edu

Caitlin joined the Graduate Program to work under the mentorship of Rebecca Ryan in 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Texas and a master’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from George Mason University. During her master program her research focused on public school pre-kindergarten and the school readiness of children living in poverty. Her current research interests include parenting and early childhood education.


Jane Hutchison

Concentration: Human Development and Public Policy
Mentors: Ian Lyons & Deborah Phillips
303 White-Gravenor
Email: jeh288@georgetown.edu

Jane joined the graduate program in 2016 to work under the mentorship of Deborah Phillips and Ian Lyons. She graduated from Western University with a B.A. in developmental cognitive neuroscience in 2015. While at Western, she worked as a research assistant in the Numerical Cognition Lab where she studied how children acquire numerical and mathematical skills from both neural and behavioral levels of analysis. At Georgetown, she is interested in early childhood math learning and implications for educational policy.


Matthew Leitao

Concentration: Human Development and Public Policy + MPP
Mentor: Kostadin Kushlev
311A White-Gravenor
Email: mrl118@georgetown.edu

Matthew recently joined the Graduate Program in 2019 working under Kostadin Kushlev. Before arriving, he received his Master’s degree at California State University, Northridge with his research focusing on the interactions of people with technology. His current research lies at the intersection of psychology and technology with his interests seeking to understand the social perception of technology, and the effects of relationships mediated through technology. 


Alyssa Mikytuck

Concentration: Human Development and Public Policy + MPP
Mentor: Jennifer Woolard
306K White-Gravenor
Email: amm293@georgetown.edu

Alyssa joined the Graduate Program and the Georgetown Community Research Group in 2015.  As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, she worked as a Lab Manager for the Community Psychology lab.  Following graduation, she worked as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy and performed research in conjunction with Virginia Commonwealth University.  Her research interests broadly focus on adolescents and their families interaction in legal contexts.  Alyssa received her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Virginia and a Post-Baccalaureate Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University. 


Anne Partika

Concentration: Human Development and Public Policy
Mentor: Anna Johnson
303 White-Gravenor
Email: ap1546@georgetown.edu

Anne joined the Graduate Program to work under the mentorship of Anna Johnson in 2018. She previously served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Slovakia and studied early care and education policy and program implementation at Child Trends. Her current research interests focus on access to early care and education and how participation in early care and education programs can impact children’s well-being and school readiness, particularly for children in vulnerable populations. Anne received her B.A. in Psychology from the College of Wooster. 


Shawn Rhoads

Concentration: Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience
Mentor: Abigail Marsh
304 White-Gravenor
Email: sr1209@georgetown.edu

Shawn is a National Science Foundation fellow in the Laboratory on Social and Affective Neuroscience and joined the graduate program in 2017 to work under the mentorship of Abigail Marsh. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in both Physics and Psychology from the University of Southern California, he worked as laboratory manager at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain. Shawn studies how the human brain encodes information about our social world; and how the neural mechanisms that sub-serve social cognitive and affective functioning (e.g., mentalizing, empathy) interact to promote prosocial decision-making and behavior.


Joscelin Rocha-Hidalgo

Concentration: Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience
Mentor: Rachel Barr
413 White-Gravenor
Email: jr1679@georgetown.edu

Joscelin joined the Graduate Program in 2017. Prior to joining the program she was lab manager for the Georgetown Early Learning Project. She graduated from Berea College in May 2016 with a double major in Psychology and Child Family Studies with a concentration in Child Development and a minor in French. Her research interests are bilingualism and language acquisition as well as how children learn from media and technology.


Sylvia Rusnak

Concentration: Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience
Mentor: Rachel Barr
413 White-Gravenor
Email: snr30@georgetown.edu

Sylvia joined the Graduate Program and the Georgetown Early Learning Project in 2015. Her past studies have focused on the elements of social interactions that influence infants’ preferences for social partners and learning from video recordings of these partners. Her research interests include infants’ learning and memory processes with respect to media sources. She received her B.A. in Psychology and English, as well as a Minor in French, from Cornell University. 


Owen Schochet

Concentration: Human Development and Public Policy + MPP
Mentor: Anna Johnson
303 White-Gravenor
Email: os188@georgetown.edu

Owen joined the Graduate Program to work under the mentorship of Anna Johnson in 2016. As an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, he was a research assistant in the Rochester Baby Lab, and following graduation he studied international and domestic education programs and policies at Mathematica Policy Research. His graduate research is focused on the application of rigorous evaluation methods to study the quality of publicly-funded early childhood education programs and policies designed to support school readiness and the optimal development of at-risk children.


Mike Slipenkyj

Concentration: Human Development and Public Policy
Mentor: Ian Lyons
402 White-Gravenor
Email: mss335@georgetown.edu

Mike joined the Psychology department in 2019 to work with Ian Lyons. He received his Bachelors of science with an honors specialization in psychology from the University of Western Ontario. After graduating Mike worked in the Numerical Cognition Laboratory, focusing on the study of symbolic number representation in children and adults using fMRI. Mike is broadly interested in the development of symbolic number processing and how these skills relate to mathematics ability. He is also interested in understanding how other factors (e.g. computational context, math anxiety) influence symbolic number representation and how cognitive neuroscience can be used to improve educational policy. 


Sam Steimle

Concentration: Human Development and Public Policy
Mentors: Rachel Barr and Rebecca Ryan
311A White-Gravenor
Email: ss4352@georgetown.edu

Sam joined the graduate program in 2019 to work under the mentorship of Rebecca Ryan and Rachel Barr. After receiving her B.S. in Psychology from Fordham University, she worked as a research assistant at MDRC. There, she implemented and evaluated social programs related to children and families in low-income communities. Her current research interests involve continuing to analyze the unique stressors that affect this vulnerable population, and exploring interventions that promote positive child development and outcomes via a two-generation approach. 


Adam Weinberger

Concentration: Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience
Mentor: Adam Green
305 White-Gravenor
Email: abw58@georgetown.edu

Adam joined the Graduate Program and the Laboratory for Relational Cognition in 2015. He earned his B.S. in Neuroscience at Union College, where he conducted research on inattentional and change blindness. Following graduation, Adam worked on the development of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures at Evidera, a health research organization. He is interested in human creativity, intuitive illusions, and the role intelligence plays in decision-making. Adam has ongoing research to investigate individuals’ ability to spatialize information through mental models.