Meet the Team!
Elizabeth Redcay is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the director of the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Science from UCSD and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in MIT's Brain and Cognitive Sciences department before starting at UMD.
Assistant Research Professor
Heather Yarger is an Assistant Research Professor in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. Heather previously worked as a pocdoctoral associate in the DSCN Lab from August 2018-May 2021. She received her Ph. D. in Clinical Science at the University of Delaware in 2018 under the mentorship of Mary Dozier. She completed her clinical internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Child and Family Therapy and Behavior Management Clinics. Heather’s research has focused on identifying risk and protective factors of dysregulation in childhood, evaluating the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving parenting quality in high-risk populations (e.g., Child Protective Services involved parents, parents adopting internationally), and understanding the complex presentations of mental health diagnoses in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Sarah Dziura is a postdoctoral research associate in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience lab. She received a Ph.D. in Psychology, concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, from George Mason University in 2018. While at George Mason, she worked in Dr. Jim Thompson’s Computational Social Neuroscience Group (CSNG) lab. Sarah’s graduate research focused on the perception and neural representation of non-verbal social stimuli and the link between this and social behavior, in particular relating to social networks and network information. She is currently investigating the effect of social context during naturalistic processing.
Kathryn is a graduate student in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science PhD program. After receiving her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Williams College in 2016, she conducted electrophysiology and eye-tracking research as a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience at the Yale Child Study Center for two years. She is interested in examining the neural markers of social interactions in children who are typically developing and children who are on the autism spectrum.
Junaid is a graduate student in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science PhD program. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a dual major in psychology and art, and went on to get a Master’s of Science in Experimental Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience from Seton Hall University. He has remained an active researcher in social and affective neurosciences since his MS. Through his work with Drs. Elliot Berkman and Jennifer Pfeifer at the University of Oregon, he has co-authored numerous fMRI papers ranging in topics from self-referential processing in autism, to the neural substrates of inhibitory control training. Before starting at UMD, he worked in Dr. Chandan Vaidya's Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Georgetown University, examining executive function dysregulations that cut across pediatric psychiatric disorders. He is currently working on a few projects examining the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying social interaction, and how social contexts impact emotional experiences.
Victoire Alleluia Shenge
Quentin Leifer is a graduate student in the Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation MS program. Per graduated from Stony Brook University in 2020 with a psychology degree and concentrations in mathematics and philosophy. Quentin’s research primarily focuses on using psychometric methodologies for disability assessment. Per is currently involved with projects ranging from INTENT VR to data reduction in assessment batteries, as well as per master’s paper research in special interest assessment.
Postbaccalaureate Research People
Paige is a lab manager in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2021 with a B.S. in psychology and B.A. in English. During her time at UMD she was a research assistant in the Laboratory for the Study of Child and Family Relationships and the Neurocognitive Development Lab, where she completed an honors thesis exploring relations between episodic memory and internalizing and externalizing behaviors in childhood. In the future, she plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.
Aparajita is a lab manager in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. They graduated from Syracuse University in 2022 with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in physics, where they worked in Dr. Natalie Russo's Center for Autism Research and Electrophysiology lab and completed a thesis project in autism diagnostic criteria and anxiety. Aparajita is also a member of the American Psychological Association Division 33 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, and works as a community partner with the Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education. In future, they would like to continue in autism advocacy and pursue further study in autism and cognition.
Matt is a post-baccalaureate RA with the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. He also works as an RA with Dr. Jeremy Purcell and the Laboratory for the Neurodevelopment of Reading and Language. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2020 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences (General Biology) and a minor in Neuroscience, and he also worked in the DSCN lab as an undergraduate RA. Since then, he has worked as a post-bac fellow at the National Institute on Aging in the Magnetic Resonance Physics of Aging and Dementia Unit, using quantitative MRI techniques such as myelin water fraction to characterize changes in human brain microstructure across age. In the future, he plans to pursue a PhD program in social/affective cognitive neuroscience.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Lexie is a junior Genetics and Cell Biology Major on the premedical tract. She volunteers at the Branchville Fire Company and is a member of the Phi Sigma Sigma Fraternity. She is passionate about continuing her work with individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities following her soccer buddies work and the program she created within high school.
Ian is a junior pursuing a Neuroscience degree. He was part of the SIGNA program his freshman and sophomore year, which inspired him to learn more about the brain and its influence on human behavior. Ian is also part of the Pure Performance Foundation, a developing nonprofit organization intended to provide therapeutic martial arts training to veterans in order to help them adjust to civilian life.
Esha is a junior pursuing a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. She was part of the Scholars program at UMD her freshman year. Her interest in research piqued after shadowing at the MRI research center at Jefferson University. After graduating, she plans to go to graduate school to further her interest in psychology and neuroscience.
Daniel is a sophomore pursuing a B.S in Psychology on a pre-medical track. He became very passionate about research and advocacy for individuals with disabilities after participating in a developmental psychology research study his senior year of high school.
Riley is a junior pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and Family Science. Alexis was apart of the Global Public Health Scholars Program during her freshman and sophomore years. She is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, and is an intense early intervention technician for children with autism. In the future, Riley hopes to go to graduate school and further her experiences regarding counseling, therapy, or social work.
Olamide is a senior undergraduate research assistant pursuing a dual degree in Psychology and Criminology and Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology. After graduating from UMD, she plans on getting a master's degree in social work with a children and family concentration. She hopes to obtain her licensure and become a psychotherapist in order to help adolescents and at-risk youth.
Mia is a senior Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience major. She is in the University Honors program at
UMD and plays trumpet in the Mighty Sound of Maryland, UMD’s marching band. She is also the
president of the Maryland Ski Team, a club where students ski race against other schools in the area.
After graduating, she plans on pursuing a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and conducting research in the
field full time.
Malini is a senior majoring in Neuroscience on the Cognitive and Behavioral track. She is very passionate about cognitive neuroscience and the intersection between neuroscience and psychology. After graduating, she plans on pursuing a PhD in clinical neuropsychology. She aspires to practice clinical neuropsychology at a teaching hospital.
Anna is a sophomore majoring in psychology and on the pre-med track. She volunteers with the Red Cross and in a Pediatric Emergency Room. She is passionate about inclusion and education and hopes to apply those ideals to medicine one day. She also loves to dance and teaches DanceFit classes at UMD's gym on campus.
Skyler Sauma is a junior at the university of Maryland pursuing a degree in psychology and a minor in neuroscience. Outside of the lab, Skyler is a part of a sorority on campus as well as a member of the club soccer team.