Former Graduate Students

Maria Brucato

Rachel Myer
Rachel received her PhD in Psychology from Temple University in 2022. As part of the Research in Spatial Cognition (RISC) lab, she worked on projects focusing on how spatial skills impact STEM learning. Currently, she works as an IRB Program Coordinator at Temple University where she focuses on ensuring that research involving human subjects is conducted safely and ethically.

Susan Benear 
Susan is a postdoctoral fellow at New York University working with Dr. Catherine Hartley on reward-motivated learning and memory in children and adolescents. She uses fMRI and computational models as well as behavioral methods to investigate how children understand the world and recall their experiences.

Kinnari Atit
Kinnari Atit received her PhD in Psychology at Temple University. She is a member of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC) and the Spatial Cognition and Action Perception Lab. Her graduate work focused on the role of gesture in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines. Her dissertation investigated if and how gestures and models can be used to teach novice undergraduates to read and understand two-dimensional diagrams, specifically topographic maps. Later, Kinnari was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside. She investigates how to improve students’ performance in STEM disciplines by improving their spatial reasoning skills, skills for visualizing and mentally manipulating objects.

Shannon Fitzhugh
Graduated in 2011 from Temple University.  Her initial work focused on mental rotation and training spatial skills in undergraduate students pursuing S.T.E.M. careers.  She helped establish the eye tracking lab for the SILC.  She then transitioned to collaborative project with the College of Education under the direction of Jennifer G. Cromley, examining the efficacy of teaching diagrammatic reasoning skills to high school students.  Using eye tracking before and after intervention, the team was able to demonstrate a shift in how students visually parse diagrams.  Dissertation work focused on the use of signalling techniques to help students integrate text and diagram information to create more holistic understanding of the material.  Use of signals resulted in a leveling of the playing field such that those with high background knowledge and low background knowledge performed equally on comprehension measures.  She left academia post graduation for industry and currently works at Vanguard as a Senior User Experience Researcher.

Nathan George
Nathan George received his PhD in developmental psychology from Temple University in 2014. As a member of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC) and the Temple Infant and Child Lab (TICL), he researched children’s developing representations of force and motion both in their language and in their reasoning about the physical world. His dissertation examined how children learn to navigate hierarchies in event structure, progressing from the encoding of forces in isolation to the formation of representations that encompass patterns of forces, such as those reflected in the terms help and prevent. Currently, Nathan is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University. His research centers on infants’ and children’s developing understanding of events and how they are represented in language.

Justin Harris
Justin received his Ph.D. in developmental psychology at Temple University in January 2014. Justin’s graduate work was done as a member of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC) and the Temple Infant and Child Lab (TICL). His research focused on spatial thinking in children. His dissertation investigated children’s and adult’s conceptions on events with multiple components of motion (i.e., how a ball will roll after two cartoon hedgehogs blow on it) and how performance on this introductory level physics task might be related to spatial thinking. Justin then went on to become the Program Manager of the Hall of Human Life® program at the Museum of Science, Boston. This program allows visitors to explore five environments: Communities, Time, Organisms, Food, and Physical Forces, to investigate how different factors influence the environment and the humans who inhabit it. He is now a stay-at-home dad.

Mark Holden
Dr. Holden received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Temple University, working under Dr. Thomas Shipley. After graduating in 2011 Mark worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Elizabeth Hampson at the University of Western Ontario. He then became an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Psychology at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Currently, he is an Instructor at the University of Calgary.

Corinne Holmes
Corinne was a graduate student in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at Temple University, and earned her Ph.D. in 2017. Corinne examined the effect of object rotation versus perspective taking on the formation and retention of spatial representations. In February 2017, Corinne began working as a Post Doctoral Fellow with Dr. Fiona Newell and the Multisensory Cognition Group at Trinity College in Dublin. She is now working at Facebook in Dublin.

Junko Kanero
Junko Kanero received her PhD in Developmental Psychology and Neuroscience at Temple University in 2016.  She then worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey, on the L2TOR project. The L2TOR (pronounced “el tutor”) project aims to design a child-friendly tutor robot that can be used to support teaching preschool children a second language by interacting with children in their social and referential world. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Program at Sabanci University, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Kristin Ratliff
Kristin Ratliff graduated from Temple in 2007 with a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. Her dissertation examined evidence for an adaptive combination model of human spatial reorientation. After graduating in 2007, she stayed with SILC as a Postdoctoral fellow until 2008. She then went on to be Adjunct Faculty at Villanova University in 2007, and Director of Education Research with SILC at the University of Chicago from 2008 to 2010. She is now the Project Director for the Research & Development Department at WPS in Torrance, California.

Jessa Reed
Jessa earned her Ph.D. in developmental psychology with a concentration in developmental psychopathology from Temple University in 2015. During her graduate training, Jessa investigated how rhythm fosters learning through two programs of research. The first explored how an arts-enriched pedagogical approach to early childhood education could support preschoolers’ emerging school readiness skills. The second examined the social contexts that best scaffold early verb learning. Her dissertation utilized interruptions to experimentally manipulate dyadic exchanges, in order to assess the role of adaptive contingency (defined as prompt and meaningful responses to socio-communicative bids). Currently, Jessa is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Ohio State University College of Medicine. There, she is studying the language development of young children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing with cochlear implants or hearing aids.

 Ilyse Resnick
Ilyse Resnick received her Ph.D. in Psychology at Temple University in May 2013. She also had a specialization in neuroscience and received a Teaching in Higher Education Certificate. Ilyse is a member of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC). Her graduate work focused on spatial cognition, analogical reasoning, and magnitude representation. Her dissertation investigated how people reason about large temporal, spatial, and abstract magnitudes. Ilyse was an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Canberra.

Alexandra Twyman
Alexandra received her B.S. in Psychology and Biological Sciences from the University of Alberta in 2006 and her Ph.D. from Temple University in 2011 under the mentorship of Dr. Newcombe. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Centre for Brain and Mind at the University of Western Ontario, Alex focused on examining the neural foundations of spatial orientation to relate the findings from the adult brain to a better understanding of the timecourse of brain development during early childhood. In 2016 she became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Currently, she is an Instructor at the University of Calgary.

Steve Weisberg
Steven Weisberg graduated from Temple’s BCS program in 2014 with a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. His dissertation examined the cognitive correlates of navigation ability, and the relationship between navigation strategy and navigation aptitude. Additional research he conducted has included understanding how people learn to use topographic maps, how people navigate using slope cues, and the relationship between gesture and spatial learning. He then worked with Anjan Chatterjee at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, where he studied how the brain processes spatial directions in images and language. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida.

Zoe Ngo
Zoe was a graduate student in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department with a concentration in Neuroscience at Temple University, working with Dr. Ingrid Olson and Dr. Nora Newcombe. She graduated in 2019. Her main research interests include relational and episodic memory, and memory development. She is currently a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in the Center for Lifespan Psychology.

Joy Ham

Former Post-Docs

Cristina Wilson
Research Associate at the CoRIS Institute, Oregon State University

Alina Nazareth

Allison Jaeger
St. John’s University Assistant professor

Andrea Frick
SNFS Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Fribourg

Kathyrn (Katie) Bateman
Research Associate at Create For STEM at Michigan State University

Kristin Gagnier 
Assistant Director of Dissemination, Translation, and Education, Science of Learning Institute, Johns Hopkins University

Tilbe Goksun
Associate Professor of Psychology at Koc University, Istanbul.

Jamie Jirout
Assistant Professor in the Educational Psychology and Applied Developmental Sciences Program , University of Virginia

Wenke Mohring
Senior Researcher, University of Basel

Daniele Nardi
Assistant Professor of Psychological Science at Ball State University

Victor Schinazi
Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bond University, Australia and Principal Investigator of the Early Detection of Health Risks and Prevention Module in the Future Health Technologies Program in Singapore

Xiaoang (Irene) Wan
Professor of Psychology at Tsinghua University

Elliott Johnson

Iva Brunec

Visiting Scholars

Mehtap Kuş

Mehtap Kuş, PhD, was a visiting research scholar working with Dr. Nora Newcombe. She completed her PhD. in Mathematics Education at Middle East Technical University, Ankara. She examined students’ spatial thinking processes in a Studio Thinking-based environment where students were engaged in geometry-rich art activities. Her research focuses on designing educational tasks to support students’ spatial thinking in the context of visual arts and mathematics education. Visit her personal website for more information about her studies and her artworks made in her free time:

Shawn (Xiao) Zhang

Lab Coordinators & Research Assistants

Sarah Hendericks
Previous Research Assistant

Sabrina Karjack
Graduate Student at the University of California, Davis

Elisabeth Boyce-Jacino
Graduate Student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston

Rebecca Adler
Graduate Student at Vanderbilt University

Mia Velazquez
Graduate Student at the University of Chicago

Ying Lin
Graduate Student at the University of Rochester

Alexander Boone
Postdoc at Oregon State University

Kelly Bower
HR Coordinator at BTG, plc

Raymond Crookes
Graduate Student at Columbia University; Principal Data Scientist at Southern Company

Kate Margulis
Graduate Student at Vanderbilt University

Shana Ramsook
Graduate Student at Penn State University

Paula Yust
Graduate Student at Duke University

Undergraduate Interns

Spring 2023
John Erardi
Linh Nguyen
Gigi Campos
Kara Storjohann
Aleena Ataher
Camille Strand
Kelleen Greenawalt
Abigail Losey
Asha Mir-Young
Caroline George
Sam Keen
Angela Paraska
Jordan King
Giavonna Zappone
Siena Christopherson
Willa Mazullo
Julia Chein
Salma Abdelgelil
Amaya Adams
Jiyeon Hwang
Carolyn Gnage
Jordyn Berry
Ashley Cole