Team

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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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Graduate Students

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Jason Griffin
My primary program of research is concerned with identifying and understanding how people on the autism spectrum process and interpret social signals (e.g., faces). I am particularly focused on elucidating biologically-based mechanisms underlying social behaviors like face recognition as well as social communication skills more broadly. To carry out this research, I use a mixture of psychophysical (i.e., eye-tracking), evidence synthesis (i.e., meta-analysis), and intervention approaches to understand these processes (and their change over time) across multiple levels of analysis. Infused throughout my work is a strong focus on statistically rigorous methodology, including multilevel modeling, hidden Markov modeling, and Bayesian inference.
PhD Student, Cognitive Psychology 
M.A., University of Colorado
jxg569@psu.edu
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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.

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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

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Hunter Mattern
Masters Student,
Developmental Psychology

M.A Experimental Psychology, Saint Joseph's University
B.A Neuroscience, University of Mount Union

hmm5712@psu.edu

I graduated from the University of Mount Union with a bachelor’s in neuroscience in 2019. My research was primarily focused on behavioral differences in individuals with autism spectrum disorder, with a specific focus on sex differences. I recently graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a master’s in Experimental Psychology.  There, I researched sex differences in social and emotional insight in adolescents, with a focus on individuals with autism spectrum disorder. My interest in continuing my research in autism with a focus on biological components such as eye tracking and fMRI drew me to the Scherf Lab. I am currently working on a project looking at differences in face processing in adolescents with and without autism using fMRI, and I also assist with the SAGA project. I am honored to be a part of the LDN and excited for what the next five years hold!

Full-Time Staff Members

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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.
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Lark Caboy
DASH
Project Coordinator


BS, Virginia Commonwealth University 

larkcaboy@psu.edu
I recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Biology. During my undergraduate career, I was part of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program — an NIH-funded biomedical research internship for underrepresented and disabled students. I was drawn to the LDN because I have been interested in exploring the psychological side of scientific research, and I hope to use the knowledge that I gain here to peruse a PhD in Human Genetics with an MS in Genetic Counseling, with an ultimate goal of becoming a genetic counselor. 
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Sara Silber
DASH
Research Associate


BS, Franklin and Marshall College 

sarapsilber@psu.edu
I am a recent graduate from Franklin & Marshall College with a major in Psychology and minor in Environmental Studies. I am from the DC area and have previous research experience at Children's Hospital in DC with Neuropsychologist Dr. Karin Walsh. Much of my undergrad research was focused on children on the Autism spectrum, and how contact with nature could be therapeutic for them.  I intend to apply for PhD programs in clinical or developmental psychology in the next couple of years to further explore my interests in social health, particularly in kids and kids with developmental disorders.  I am looking forward to working in the LDN with our amazing participants and team!
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Amanda Patterson
DASH
Research Associate


BS, Virginia Tech 

avp6199@psu.edu
I am a Virginia Tech graduate with a BS in Neuroscience. Prior to joining LDN, I worked as a post-baccalaureate researcher at NIH under the late Dr. Leslie G Ungerleider and former post-doc Jessica Taubert, now research fellow at The University of Queensland. My previous research consisted of visual processing of face and body expression recognition using fMRI and behavioral assessments. My current research with LDN will be focused on MRI imaging analysis with the DASH project. My future goals are to apply my data analytic skills and years of MRI and behavior research experience to a PhD program.

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
Maggie Benda
Daniel Contreras
Kristina Adams 
Russel Bauer
Sara Barth 
Susan Bowser
Andrea Cordero 
Nate Field
Sarah Laskowitz
Marlaina Laubach 
Postdoctoral Fellows
Chaia Flegenheimer, Ph.D.
Graduate Students Rotations
Jason Bendezu 
Leslie Doll
Jennifer Legault, Ph.D. 
Pan Liu, Ph.D. 
Graduate Students
Junqiang (Jacob) Dai. Ph.D.
Daniel Elbich 
Natalie Motta-Mena, Ph.D. 
Giorgia Picci, 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