Dr. Emily Grossnickle Peterson

Dr. Emily Grossnickle Peterson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education and an affiliate faculty member in the Psychology Department and in the Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience PhD program. She has a PhD in Human Development (specialization: Educational Psychology) from the University of Maryland. In her research, Emily combines methods from educational psychology and cognitive neuroscience to investigate factors that support (or hinder) student learning in STEM disciplines. Before making a career change to pursue educational psychology, Emily studied to be a classical musician. She was the first women to study the tuba at the Royal Academy of Music in London, a world-renowned music conservatory founded in 1822.


Christine Bresnahan

Christine Bresnahan is interested in investigating the cognitive and neural mechanisms that contribute to learning differences. Prior to her position in the Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience Ph.D. program, she taught elementary special education. She earned her teaching degrees from Saint Joseph’s University in 2010, followed by an Education Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011.


La’Nita M. Johnson

La’Nita Johnson is currently a Graduate Research Assistant for both Dr. Emily Peterson and Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss in the School of Education. La’Nita is a Donald M. Payne International Development Fellow, pursuing a Master’s of Art in International Training and Education. Originally from Powder Springs, GA, La’Nita spends her free time running with DC Run Crew, exploring the city and finding her way to fun food and art festivals!


Nhi Dinh

Nhi Dinh is interested in developing an efficient data organization and analysis pipeline for longitudinal projects. Prior to joining the lab, she was a lab manager at the Relational Cognition Lab at Georgetown University, coordinated and conducted a NSF-funded neuroimaging research on STEM reasoning in high school students. Nhi graduated from Earlham College with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Film. She was born in Hanoi, Vietnam and raised in her hometown along with Houston and D.C.


Dira Hanifah

Dira is a senior at American University majoring in Psychology and Economics. She currently works with Zoe to create a teacher’s self-assessment on spatial learning and teaching in classrooms. She was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. During her free time, she loves traveling around countries and trying new foods.


Zoe Carlini

Zoe is a senior at American University studying psychology, education, and writing, and hopes to pursue educational psychology. Zoe grew up in Northern Virginia and in her spare time loves to sing and paint with watercolors.


Sophia Duke-Mosier

Sophia is an undergraduate senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in public health. She is from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, running, and learning to play the piano.


Ushara Mayarata

Ushara is an undergraduate freshman at American University and is majoring in biochemistry. He is from Rockville, Maryland and in his spare time, he enjoys playing sports and listening to music.