Research Assistants

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-11-21-11-am Samantha Cardona
Research Assistant

Hello, my name is Samantha! I am a 4th year UCLA student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Applied Developmental Psychology. In the future I hope to become a pediatric occupational therapist. My interest for child development began when I was 11 years old, on the day my first and only sister was born! My interest in children quickly grew over the years and was solidified after my first developmental psychology course at UCLA. Working as a research assistant at the Baby Lab has provided me with the opportunity to learn hands on about how research is conducted. Because of all the friendly and brilliant people at the Baby Lab, I have truly enjoyed working here! Outside of the lab, I enjoy spending my free time with family and friends, but my absolute favorite thing to do is travel!


Krista Frakes
Research Assistant

Hello! My name is Krista and I am a third year Psychology major and Spanish minor at UCLA. I have greatly enjoyed my time in the UCLA Baby Lab, particularly, interacting with young children and learning about cognitive process in children. I have had many opportunities to work with children around the world and I feel that my experiences have given me useful skills that contribute to my lab experience. Working at the UCLA Baby Lab has taught me a lot about conducting research studies and I really value my time there. Outside of the lab, I am also part of TEACH UCLA where I help educate underprivileged children on public health and I and hoping to continue on the pre-med track to become a Pediatrician in the future!


Cynthia Garcia
Research Assistant

My name is Cynthia Garcia, I am a fourth year Psychology major and Applied Developmental Psychology Minor. My research interests involve language development in infants, particularly bilinguals. I am a McNair Research Scholar and is currently working on an independent research project in the Baby Lab, investigating how language background of infants influence their visual attention and their awareness to pragmatic cues in a word learning task. Aside from being a research assistant in the Baby lab I am also on the Marketing and Finance team of the Undergraduate Research Journal of Psychology at UCLA. I ultimately aim to obtain a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and become a professor to educate and inform others how to foster development in children. When I’m not in class or participating in extracurricular activities, you can find me spending time with family and friends!

Shiyang Helen Lu
Research Assistant

Hi! This is Shiyang Lu from Shenzhen, China (feel free to call me Helen). I am a third-year Psychology and Linguistics double major and I speak English, Mandarin, and a little bit of Italian. I can also understand Cantonese. I am interested in child language and cognitive development and I plan to go to graduate school in Psychology. Petting adorable kittens, binge-watching Netflix, and spending time with my family and friends are my three keenest pastimes.


Jelina Luu
Research Assistant

Hello hello! My name is Jelina and I am a fourth year Physiological Science major. Because I am constantly surrounded by my little cousins, nephews, and nieces, I have grown to enjoy working with children. Understanding how children develop was something I wanted to learn more about and joining the UCLA Baby Lab has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge on child development. The time spent in here is so much more enjoyable when working in such a positive environment! Outside of the lab, I enjoy drawing, singing, and watching football on my spare time. I am also the Referrals Director of APA Health CARE and a Care Extender at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center. In the future, I hope to enter the healthcare field as a Physician Assistant and to specialize in Pediatrics.


Nancy Nguyen
Research Assistant

Nancy is a fourth year Sociology student, as well as a spoken word artist, tea aficionado, and an ardent fan of Macklemore. She is particularly fascinated in learning about child development and psychological disorders. In addition, this intriguing field of study strongly drives her to attend graduate school and further her education to become a clinical psychologist. Once that is set, Nancy plans to open up her own clinic to provide psychological services to kids and adolescents in underprivileged communities. Aside from her work at UCLA, she takes pleasure in stargazing, capturing kodak moments, and training for Mount Everest ;D

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Crystal Nguyentan
Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Crystal Nguyentan and I am a fourth year Psychobiology major. I’ve always been interested in psychology and found a special place in my heart for developmental psychology– specifically how infants’ cognition and perception develops. Being a research assistant in the UCLA Baby Lab has taught me so much about research and to apply what I’ve learned in class to the real life studies we do. Not only do the infants make this lab worthwhile, but the people within this lab are extraordinary, pushing me to learn everything I can while creating a welcoming environment for anyone that walks through the door. Outside the lab, I work at CVS as a pharmacy technician and am a part of a dance group on campus called ICARUS Contemporary Dance Company. After graduation, I hope to go to school for pharmacy to work with people of all ages.


Hannah Pulido
Research Assistant

Hello! My name is Hannah and I am a fourth year student working towards my B.S in Psychobiology. I chose to be a part of the Baby Lab because my passion for developmental psychology is (almost) as great as my passion and curiosity for children. I plan to pursue medical school and find my career in pediatrics. Working in the baby lab has shown me the endless possibilities of the minds of infants and continues to spark my curiosity all the time!


Renee Reinberg
Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Renee and I’m a fourth year Psychology major with a minor in Film and Television. I have been babysitting and volunteering with children for years and have always loved working with young kids. During a psychology class on child development I was offered the chance to work at the UCLA Baby Lab and I have been so glad to have this opportunity to understand and conduct research studies involving children. I hope to become an occupational therapist and continue working with children and young people in the future.


William Tsai
Research Assistant

Hello everyone! This is Will Tsai, and I’m a second year Psychobiology major hoping to study medicine and become a Pediatrician in the future. What draws me to children the most is their joy, curiosity, and wide-eyed stare downs. I’m extremely fortunate to be a part of the UCLA Baby Lab, where every day I’m gaining more insight on both the joys and the challenges that come with working with children. When I’m not in the lab or not studying (which is more often than I should be…), you can find me on the basketball courts or rock wall, jamming out on the cello, guitar, ukele, trombone, or piano, sitting on the couch reading a book, …. but most likely… asleep in my warm, comfy, cozy bed.


Evelyn Vazquez
Research Assistant

Hi! I’m Evelyn Vazquez and I am a 4th year Psychology student. I have always loved working and being around children. I was especially interested in psychological disorders and cultural influences in development. The opportunity to work in the UCLA Baby Lab has not only given me a chance to work in a research setting, but learn from the amazing people around me as well. I hope to pursue my education and get a PhD, eventually becoming a child psychologist. Outside school, I work as a secretary for UCLA Meeting Room Services. I also love to volunteer at animal shelters, go to Disneyland, read, and do yoga.


Sheila Wahezi
Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Sheila Wahezi and I am a 4th year Psychology major here at UCLA. I grew up with my mother running her own day care service and volunteering when she worked as a teacher at the local pre-school, and have loved working with young children ever since. I hope to become a social worker one day, and working at the UCLA Baby Lab has definitely helped to fuel my passion for psychology so much more. It has been very rewarding assisting in the research of Dr. Scott Johnson and working alongside the rest of the team. Outside the lab, I work as a Lead Instructional Consultant at the Campus Library Instructional Computing Commons (CLICC), am involved in the United Afghan Club, and volunteer as a counselor for UCLA UniCamp.

unnamed-1 Frances Yang
Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Frances, and I am a 4th year Cognitive Science major and Applied Developmental Psychology minor. Through my internship at the Megan Daly Infant Developmental Program, I spend much of my free time caring for infants and toddlers. My minor courses have focused on multiple domains of infant development, such as cognitive, perceptual, and language development. Naturally, my passion for working with infants and learning about their development lead me to the UCLA Baby Lab. With the guidance of the brilliant faculty and student mentors at the lab, I continue to learn so much about infant development. Upon graduation, I hope to earn my Masters in Teaching and become an elementary school teacher.


Michelle Yeghyayan
Research Assistant

Hi there! My name is Michelle and I am a fourth-year Psychobiology Major and English Minor at UCLA. I’m so happy to be a research assistant in the UCLA Baby Lab as I have loved working with children ever since I was a kid myself. Outside of the lab, I volunteer as the Pediatrics Department Coordinator in the Ronald Reagan Medical Center through the Care Extender Program. I also take care of infants and toddlers as a Student Teacher at the UCLA Early Childcare and Education Center. In my spare time, I love to read, ride bikes, and travel. After I graduate from UCLA, I hope to go to medical school so I can fulfill my dream of specializing in pediatrics as a physician.


Bryan Zhong
Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Bryan Zhong and I am a Psychobiology major at UCLA. The topic of implicit learning has always fascinated me and working here at UCLA Baby Lab has given me a glimpse into different implicit learning mechanisms infants use to understand the world. The capability infants have towards learning truly amazes me and I aspire to continue research in this field of Psychology.

Brianna Andrade
Research Assistant

My name is Brianna Andrade and I am a third year Psychology major and Chicana/o Studies minor. I enjoy listening to music, dancing, and going to the beach. I am also very passionate about working with children because of their imagination, innocence, and creativity. Prior to joining the UCLA Baby Lab I had experience as a Los Angeles Student Educational Outreach (LASEO) mentor for youth at Berendo Middle School, and as a K- 6 summer school tutor in my hometown in Fresno. Because I enjoy being surrounded by children, my experience at the UCLA Baby Lab has been amazing! I have gained a deeper understanding on child development and have met the friendliest, down-to-earth people along the way.

Shivani Rao
Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Shivani Rao and I am a third year Pre-psychology major. I’ve loved being around children for as long as I can remember and am very interested in learning more about their development. I’m so glad I get the opportunity to do that in a hands-on and dynamic way at the UCLA Baby Lab. Outside of the lab and school, I enjoy painting, film and cooking. I’m very excited to learn as much as I can here in the baby lab for the rest of my time here!