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.

Ushara Mayarata

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

Jazelle Pilato 

Jazelle is a graduate student in the Behavior, Cognition and Neuroscience Ph.D program at AU with research interests investigating the cognitive and neural correlates of learning in STEM domains with a particular focus on the role various ecological contexts play in these processes. Prior to joining this program, Jazelle was an undergraduate student at Clark University, double majoring in biology and psychology. Her previous research investigated child development across ecological contexts. She specifically focused on the school setting and this research aimed to better understand how ecological contexts played a role in relationships in school, attitudes towards school and psychopathology.


Abigail Jackson

Abigail Jackson is a junior double majoring in Psychology and Secondary Education. In the future, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in Psychology or Education. She is from Columbia, Maryland and enjoys reading, painting, working with kids, and exploring DC. 

Madelyn Smith  
My name is Madelyn. I am a psychology major with a minor in creative writing and I love to read.

Jade Sosa


  • La’Nita M. Johnson

  • Nhi Dinh

  • Dira Hanifah

  • Zoe Carlini

  • Sophia Duke-Mosier

  • Alexis Godwin

  • Crissy Sak

  • Bailey Kroner 

  • David Godinez 

  • Lillie Hornung 

  • Emily Carlson

  • Ghelatia Araia 

  • Matt Wilkinson