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Former Students

Former students and their biographies:
I have been fortunate to work with so many fabulous students and colleagues on a variety of research projects and collaborations. Below is a list of individuals whom I have had the pleasure of working with.

Justin Caouette

ustin is a former student from the Berger Institute for Work, Family, and Children. He is currently in his second year at UC Davis in the Human Development Ph.D. program. His research there involves studying how adolescents and young adults think and feel about social experiences they have with peers and how these thoughts relate to anxiety.

Jonathan Wai

Jon graduated from CMC in 2002.  We wrote a paper together on the competitive world of Scrabble players.  After completing his doctorate in Psychology at Vanderbilt University, he is currently a research scientist at Duke University, where he studies the development of intellectual and creative talent.  He also writes the blog “Finding the next Einstein: Why smart is relative” for the magazine Psychology Today and currently serves on the board of directors of the MATHCOUNTS foundation.

Courtney Dern

Courtney was a student at Claremont McKenna College and is currently teaching at the
KIPP DC: LEAP Academy working with Kindergartners where she helps the children learn to read. Tentatively, she plans to teach for another year and then return to school to earn a higher degree in early childhood education.

Marciana Vequist

 Vequist worked for me as a reseach assistant at Claremont McKenna College. Currently, Marciana has her Ph.D. in Psychology and practices as a licensed psychologist in community mental health. Her work involves individual, group and couples therapy with adults and she specializes in helping people navigate mood problems, life changes, and relationship issues, among others.

Jon Strahl

Jon graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2007. His life has led him on many life-changing adventures - spanning from teaching English to Muslim school children in Indonesia, to residential energy efficiency in Portland, to studying at the University of Hawaii in the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP). After, he entered into Stanford University's graduate program in International Policy Studies focusing on energy and environment and conducting research with the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development. Currently, Jon hopes to find a job in Seattle focusing on cleantech sectors, international devleopment or micro financing.

Kellan London

Kellan and I collaborated with each other at the Berger Institute as well as for his dissertation on idea generation and evaluation in brainstorming groups. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2006 while interning at Disney-ABC, eventually landing a full-time position there. Kellan is currently a Talent Management Consultant where he oversees projects related to talent management, learning and development, leadership and diversity. 

Myles MacDonald

As an undergraduate, Myles studied psychology and economics. After his junior year, he had realized his heart was in law. Thus, he is currently completing an internship in Beijing, China working for a law firm there. Upon his return, he intends to enter into a law school where he plans to study litigation and appellate law. After law school, Myles hopes to serve as a clerk for a court of appelas judge where he would practice appellate law.
Lisa Marin

Lisa is an Assistant Principal at International Polytechnic High School were she is actively involved in a number of ongoing projects within the high school. Some of these projects include the construction of new buildings for students, partnering with the Verizon Foundation to bring websites and technology to the classroom for students and teachers to enhance the educational process, and programs that offer teacher training workshops in project-based learning.

David Miller

David is currently a doctoral student at Northwestern University. As an undergraduate at Harvey Mudd College, he obtained his B.S. in Mathematical Physics. It was at this time that he worked with me to investigate whether formal  spatial training among gifted STEM students could improve long term educational outcomes. This research was presented at the 2011 Association for Psychological Science  and awarded the Student Research Award, a summary of which can be found on APS's website here.     


Joni Sasaki

oni was an undergraduate at CMC and an academic advisee of mine. She
is currently in her final year as a doctoral student at University of California - Santa Barbara in their Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Her research interest, broadly defined, is the interaction of religion and culture. More specifically, Joni examines  how the effect of religion on thought and behavior may depend on individual and situational moderators, including cultural background, genetic tendencies, power, and mood. As a graduate student, she has an extensive research and publication background, that of which can be found on her professional website. She is currently on the job market for a research position focusing on her area of interest.

Amanda Saw

Amanda is a former student at Claremont Graduate University who completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology in 2011. As a part of the Web Interface for Statistical Learning (WISE) at CGU, she was interested in learning principles and applying and evaluating learning technologies. Additionally, Amanda conducted mathematical education research at UCLA's  Human Perception Laboratory. She is currently a Research Assistant at the Office of Research and Planning at Crafton Hills College where she conducts institutional research and improves services, instruction and programs of the college.

Ela Uskup

Ela and I had worked together on her senior thesis while she attended CMC in addition to taking classes with me. She is currently working at an IT consulting firm in Chicago as their Marketing Manager. In this position, Ela takes an extrospective approach towards company campaigns as they relate to clientelle interests. Aside from working, Ela also finds time to volunteer for organizations like Feed My Starving children for children in Africa.  

Dana Weiser

Dana is currently in her final year in the Interdisciplinary Social Psycology Ph.D. program at the University of Nevada - Reno. Her dissertation work focuses on intergenerational transmission of infidelity. Specifically, she is interested in how the experience of a parental infidelity relates to offspring's own relationship beliefs and infidelity behaviors. Her intent after graduation is to get into academia


Abby Woodruff

Abby is a former student from CMC. Currently, she is currently teaching 6th and 7th grade math and science, in addition to also being a physical education teacher in San Jose. She teaches classes in both Spanish and English and labels teaching as the most rewarding thing she has ever done. She is extremely passionate and selfless when it comes to ensuring a positive educational future for the children she teaches. Later in life, she aspires to enter law school to become a Supreme Court justice.

Katherine Wernet

Katherine was a student at CMC who worked for me as a Research Assistant, graduating in 2011. After graduation, Katherine was awarded a CMC externship in the summer where she had worked for a fellow CMC alumun in a talent agency located in downtown Los Angeles where she worked on  the set of an independent film as well as script supervised. After 4 months there, she  had left the agency to pursue work for a bigger talent agency. She currently works as an assistant for Levine Okwu Erickson - a prestigious talent management company and feels it is a great fit to her interests.

Sandy Koch

Sandy Uyekubo Koch was one of my first students at CMC. Her senior thesis was on work-family conflict.  She is now Dr. Koch, working as an I/O psychologist in Washington, DC. The beautiful baby is Brandon Koch.



Simay Ikier

Heather Butler is an assistant professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills.  She LOVES it there.  She conducts research on cognitive bias in everyday thinking and in the legal system.  Her paper on the real-world implications of critical thinking was heavily sited by the ETS's report on the assessment of critical thinking.


Erin Kappenberg

Erin is currently working for the Department of Army as a Research Psychologist. She plays a central role in building a new program focused on promoting a more comprehensive behavioral health picture of Soldiers and their Units. In combination with other key initiatives, her program looks to transform behavioral health care in the Army.


Daniel Martinez

I chaired Daniel Martinez’s master’s thesis at Cal State San Bernardino. He is now Dr. Martinez and Associate Dean of Institutional Research at Riverside Community College. He is shown here with his daughter Megan.

Patrick B. Williams



Patrick Williams completed his Master's with me, investigating the effect of visuospatial skills training on calculus performance among high-achieving high school students. His dissertation work looked at the effects of compassion based meditation practice on psychophysiological signals of trust and altruism, using fMRI and game theoretical paradigms. Patrick continues his research into novel meditation interventions, at the University of Chicago, where he works as a post doctorate fellow at the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience.

Karrie Aldrich

Karrie was a psychology major at CMC and worked three semesters at the Berger Institute.  She joined Teach For America after college and taught bilingual kindergarten in Houston. Since then, she has worked for Teach For America and the Houston Independent School District implementing programs to incentivize excellent teachers to work in the lowest-performing schools and improve their retention long-term.  She is currently applying to a  doctoral program in School Psychology to return to her interests in student learning.


Iris Beltran Gonzalez


Iris worked for me as a research assistant at Claremont McKenna College.  She later received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a Child and Family emphasis, from Arizona State University. Iris enjoys her clinical work with children and adolescents who have a variety of diagnoses, including mood disturbances, PTSD, personality disorders, psychotic spectrum disorders, eating disorders, conduct problems, and developmental disorders. As a bilingual therapist, Iris is also passionate about working with bilingual families and Latino youth.











Nirant Gupta

Nirant worked with me as a research assistant on Project Aries while an undergraduate at Claremont McKenna College, where he also interned at the White House and was named a Truman scholar. After graduation, Nirant began his career as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, after which he joined the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the Financial Services for the Poor group.