Team

Suzy Scherf
Biography
Principal Investigator, Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience
Associate Professor of Psychology,
Penn State University
814-867-2921
suzyscherf@psu.edu
I got my undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science and Masters Degree in psychology at Occidental College and went on to get my PhD in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh under Dr. Charles Perfetti. I did my postdoctoral training under Dr. Beatriz Luna at the University of Pittsburgh and under Dr. Marlene Behrmann at Carnegie Mellon University.
 
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Post-Doctoral Researcher 

Chaia Flegenheimer
I got my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at Vassar College and went on to get my PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under Dr. Jennifer McDermott. I am interested in the development of social processing in typically-developing and special populations. 
Post Doctoral Research Assistant
PhD, University of Massachusetts 
Amherst
czf281@psu.edu
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Graduate Students

Junqiang (Jacob) Dai
I am focusing on using multi-level neuroimaging methods to explore how puberty influences the development of the neural mechanisms underlying face processing in adolescence, and how this newly emerging neural profile might potentially predict current or later social development. I am also interested in applying this theoretical approach to studying the neural manifestation of social processing in atypical populations, such as those with autism.
PhD Student, Developmental Psychology
M.A., Penn State University 
jbd5326@psu.edu
Jason Griffin
My master’s thesis examined how autistic traits influence social motivation and attention during neuropsychological assessment. Currently, I am working on a project in Suzy’s lab that aims to improve face processing (as measured with eye-tracking technology) in adolescents diagnosed with autism by implementing a computer-based intervention. Finally, I am interested in utilizing neuroimaging methods  to study brain-behavior relationships in typically-developing individuals and children with autism.
PhD Student, Cognitive Psychology 
M.A., University of Colorado
jxg569@psu.edu
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Brittany Woodruff
Short Biography
Masters Student,
Neuroscience
BS, University of Richmond
birttany.woodruff.cfd111@gmail.com
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Myles Arrington
PhD Student,
Developmental Psychology
BS, University of Maryland 
mna41@psu.edu

Before coming to Penn State, I earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. I was drawn to the lab due to my interests in understanding facial processing systems and individual differences in recognition proficiency. In particular, I plan to study how processing systems change over development and interact with the environment and context children are in to produce individual differences. I am currently working on a project looking at facial recognition in young adults.

I am a Neuroscience graduate student in the lab currently working on the FREA project, as well as my own thesis. Prior to coming to Penn State, I completed a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Psychology and a concentration in Neuroscience at the University of Richmond. After graduation, I worked at the Faison Center for Autism as a Teaching Assistant and decided to continue my education and pursue research in this field. Currently, I am focusing on sex differences in complex and basic emotion recognition in typically developing young adults with varying degrees of autism-like traits

I am a Neuroscience graduate student in the lab currently working on the FREA project, as well as my own thesis. Prior to coming to Penn State, I completed a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Psychology and a concentration in Neuroscience at the University of Richmond. After graduation, I worked at the Faison Center for Autism as a Teaching Assistant and decided to continue my education and pursue research in this field. Currently, I am focusing on sex differences in complex and basic emotion recognition in typically developing young adults with varying degrees of autism-like traits

Brittany Woodruff
Masters Student,
Neuroscience
BS, University of Richmond
birttany.woodruff.cfd111@gmail.com
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I am a Neuroscience graduate student in the lab currently working on the FREA project, as well as my own thesis. Prior to coming to Penn State, I completed a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Psychology and a concentration in Neuroscience at the University of Richmond. After graduation, I worked at the Faison Center for Autism as a Teaching Assistant and decided to continue my education and pursue research in this field. Currently, I am focusing on sex differences in complex and basic emotion recognition in typically developing young adults with varying degrees of autism-like traits

Full-Time Staff Members

Maggie Benda
DASH
Project Coordinator
BA, George Washington University
814-863-5626
mub1267@psu.edu

I graduated from the George Washington University with a B.A. in Psychology and English in May 2018. I work as the Project Coordinator for the DASH Project and have been at LDN since June 2018. My research interests lie in understanding the neural mechanisms of child/ adolescent social cognition and how disruptions in cognitive functioning are related to the development of psychopathology. I intend on pursing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

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Gordon Bill
SAGA
Project Coordinator
MA, New York University 
gcb5142@psu.edu
Prior to joining the Scherf Lab, I earned my Psychology MA from New York University. My past experience with eye-tracking software and inpatient work with autistic adolescents led me to discover the SAGA study. I now serve as the project’s primary coordinator. When this study is complete, I plan on using the skills I’m acquiring to pursue a PhD in neuroscience focusing on perceptual development.
Daniel Contreras
SAGA 
Game Programmer 
814-863-7389
dbc5477@psu.com
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From the warm city of Hermosillo in México, I completed my bachelor's in computer science while working as an automation engineer and teaching video game programming at the University of Sonora. While comfortable, I was not satisfied and quit everything to pursue a career in video game design by getting a Diploma in Game Design from the Vancouver Film School in Canada. In the lab, I'm the main programmer and game designer for Teenage Pet Detective, a video game that develops the user's social skills based on scientific research.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Alanna Cioffi
DASH
Research Assistant 
amc7322@psu.edu 
I am a senior graduating with a B.S. in Psychology from the College of Liberal Arts. I have been a R.A. in the Lab of Developmental Neuroscience since Fall 2019. After Penn State, I plan to get my masters in Neurological Occupational Therapy.
Gillian Capichioni
FREA
Research Assistant 
glc5199@psu.edu 
I am a senior in the College of the Liberal Arts studying Psychology on the Life Sciences track. This is my second semester with the LDN, and I’m excited to continue working on the FREA project. After graduation this May, I plan on entering a Master’s in General Psychology program with the ultimate goal of earning my PhD in the future to pursue my own research interests. 
Gabby Solaroli
DASH
Research Assistant 
gms5738@psu.edu
I am a junior in the College of Liberal Arts studying Psychology (Neuroscience Option) and minoring in biology. I am a new addition to the Lab of Developmental Neuroscience and cannot wait to learn more about the developing brain. After Penn State, I plan to attend graduate school to become a clinical psychologist or a PA in psychiatry.
Caitlin Williams
FREA
Research Assistant 
cmw6174@psu.edu
I am a senior studying Psychology (Neuroscience option) and Biology. This is my fourth semester in the Lab of Developmental Neuroscience, and I have worked primarily on the FREA project. After graduating in May, I hope to complete a dual PA/MPH Master's program.
Sydney Mingle
FREA
Research Assistant 
Sam762@psu.edu
I am a senior majoring in Psychology (Life Sciences Option) and minoring in Deafness and Hearing Studies. My interests are the cognitive/social implications of Deafness, as well as Autism and related disabilities. Next year I hope to attend an audiology (AuD) graduate program and become a practicing audiologist. 
Nicole Lemmond
FREA
Research Assistant 
nvl5208@psu.edu
I am a junior in the College of Health and Human Development studying Biology Behavioral Health, with a minor in Psychology. I started working in the Lab of Developmental Neuroscience last semester and am excited to see what our research will lead to! I am not entirely sure what I want to do after Penn State, but something in the healthcare field. 
Alexis Gumble
FREA
Research Assistant 
aug1081@psu.edu
I am a junior in the Eberly College of Science studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. After I complete undergrad, I plan on attending medical school to become a neurologist. Due to this being my ultimate goal I am very excited to be in my second semester with the Lab of Developmental Neuroscience.
Shae Solenske
DASH
Research Assistant 
sss5795@psu.edu 
I am a junior in the College of Liberal Arts with a major in psychology. I have been with LDN for a few months now and I have greatly enjoyed not only the experience but the knowledge I have gained as well. I can’t wait to further my knowledge and continue to work with great people and families. After completing my degree at Penn State I plan on working for the government in a behavioral science unit and potentially get my masters degree in behavioral studies.
Jordan Sigler
SAGA
Research Assistant 
jes6521@psu.edu 
I am a Junior pursuing a B.S. degree in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience and Kinesiology. I first joined LDN as a sophomore and have been fortunate enough to work on the SAGA project since then. I look forward to developing more research-related skills and learning about the human mind. After college, I plan to attend graduate school to pursue my interests in neuropsychology or health and human development.

Alumni

Full-Time Staff
Kristina Adams 
Russel Bauer
Sara Barth 
Susan Bowser
Andrea Cordero 
Nate Field
Sarah Laskowitz
Marlaina Laubach 
Graduate Students
Daniel Elbich 
Natalie Motta-Mena, Ph.D. 
Giorgia Picci, Ph.D.
Caitlin Ting 
Mirella Maggi 
Indira Turney
Leslie Doll 
Graduate Students Rotations
Jason Bendezu 
Leslie Doll
Jennifer Legault, Ph.D. 
Pan Liu, Ph.D. 
Caitlin Ting, Ph.D.
Mirella Magi, Ph.D.
Indira Turney, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Kayleigh Adamson
Holly Albaugh
Sarah Albert
Melissa Armitage
Mikayla Borusiewicz
Brian Brady
Janelle Copek
Dillon Costantini
Kate Dent 
Kevin Dougherty
Alex Dufford
Nchewi Imoke
Nadia Khan
Aarya Mehta
Andrea Mitchell-Meyer
Erin Sacksteder
Tally Sepot
Justin Stiffler
Ashley Unger
Samantha Williams
Caren Yameogo
Samantha Warmkessel

Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience   |   814-863-5626  |  scherflab@gmail.com  |