Cognitive & Brain Science Students
Brianna Cairney is a 6th year doctoral student in Dr. Heather Lucas's Brain and Memory (BAM) Lab. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington and spent three years conducting EEG/ERP and eye tracking experiments in an autism research lab prior to coming to LSU. Her current research investigates the effects of co-speech gesture on memory and learning using behavioral and ERP methodologies.
Felicia Chaisson is a 6th year doctoral student and NSF GRFP Fellow in Dr. Heather Lucas’ Brain and Memory Lab. She is also a United States Marine Corps veteran and received her BS in Psychology and BA in Sociology from LSU in May of 2017 and MA in Psychology from LSU in 2021. Her research interests broadly include cognitive control, depth of processing, episodic memory, and anxiety/stress, as her current research investigates the effects of acute stress on the ability to monitor, assess, and regulate memory encoding and retrieval of information using both behavioral and electrophysiological methods (including measures of EDA and EEG). Outside of school, she enjoys running, yoga, playing video games, and being outdoors.
Brandon Eich (he/him) is a 5th year student in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences program in the Beck Visual Cognition Lab. He received his B.S. from University of Missouri St. Louis and his M.A. from Louisiana State University. His research interests include visual memory and attention with a specific interest in how visual attention is captured and used during different cognitive tasks. Outside of school, Brandon enjoys playing Disc Golf, hiking, and playing with his dog Misha.
Stan West is a 4th year graduate student in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences program working with Dr. Chris Cox. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from LSU. During this time, he worked with Dr. Heather Lucas and examined the effects of gesture-accompanied speech on associative memory. Currently, he studies the neurocognitive representations of semantic knowledge, with particular applications to language development and learning. Additional research interests include how taxonomic and thematically related concepts might be processed differently in the brain.
Stephanie Lopez (she/her) is a 4th year Cognitive and Brain Sciences Doctoral Student in Dr. McDonald's Psycholinguistics lab. She received her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Cognitive Science with emphases in psychology and linguistics from the University of Georgia in 2019, and her M.A. in Psychology from LSU in 2023. Her research interests include the influence of native language and bilingualism on cognition and perception, the neural correlates of sentence processing, and the effects of infant- vs. adult-directed speech on language acquisition. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her friends, pilates, and playing with her cat.
Matthew Jimenez is a 4th year cognitive and brain sciences student working in Dr. Elliott's lab. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of California, Davis in 2020. At UC Davis he worked in the Janata lab as an RA researching music memory. His current research interest are how multimodal integration effects music memory and perception. When he is not in working on schoolwork he enjoys watching movies with his wife, going on walks with his dog, and trying new foods from different cultures.
Alex Lawriw is a 3rd year student in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences program working under Dr. Christopher Cox. He received his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Dayton in 2018. Upon graduating, he spent some time at Monarch Center for Autism, teaching children on the autism spectrum in 1-on-1 settings. His current research interests lie within understanding how the hippocampus and other sub-cortical regions potentially represent semantic information. In his free time, he enjoys working out, hanging out with friends, and playing video games.
Rachel Evans is a 3rd year student in Dr. McDonald's lab. She received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Alabama in 2021. Her undergraduate honors thesis focused on how mother-child interactions affect primary language acquisition in toddlers. The focus of her current work for her master's is second language acquisition using artificial language. Her general interests include linguistic relativity, second language learning, and the neural correlates of language acquisition. Outside of school, she likes to read, spend time outside, and hang out with friends.
Chloe Kindell (she/her) is a 3rd year psychology student in Dr. Lucas' Brain and Memory Lab. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Florida Southern College in 2019, with a minor in studio art. Her research interests include eye movements, EEG, and memory formation. Her hobbies outside of the classroom include art, baking, and tie dye.
Tom Tomshe (he/his) is a 2nd year Cognitive and Brain Sciences psychology student in Dr. Beck's Visual Cognition Lab. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Louisiana Tech University in 2020, working under Dr. Jane Jacob in the EEG Working Memory Lab. He then worked as lab manager in Dr. David Osher's Cognition and Brain Circuitry Laboratory at The Ohio State University from 2020-2022 before coming to LSU as a doctoral student. His research interests include visual working and long-term memory, individual differences, and their role in everyday attention. Outside of school, Tom likes swimming, gymnastics, reading, playing pool, and hanging out on the riverwalk.
Piper Bordes (she/her) is a 2nd year graduate student in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences program working under Dr. Katie Cherry. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelors degree in Psychology and minor in Sociology in the spring of 2022. Upon graduating, she received the Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher Award for her work on Age, Emotion Regulation and Cognition After the 2016 Flood with Dr. Cherry. Her research interests include post-disaster recovery and resilience and healthy aging. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and pets, traveling, and drinking PJ’s Coffee.
Lauren Schiro (she/her) is a 2nd year graduate student working with Dr. Emily Elliott in the EARS Lab. She received her undergraduate degree in Brain and Behavioral Sciences from Purdue University in 2022. Her research interests include development of working memory and attention in children and adolescents, as well as individual differences in cognition. Outside of research, she enjoys trying new restaurants, taking walks and visiting botanical gardens, reading, and listening to music or attending concerts.
Joana Montelongo is a 1st year graduate student in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program working under Dr. Katie Cherry. She received her BA in Psychology and MA in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. Her research interests include healthy aging, well-being, and adaptation to age-related changes in the everyday life of older adults. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with family and friends traveling, hiking, dancing, and biking.
Commitment to Diversity
We encourage applications from individuals with diverse racial, ethnic, and/or cultural backgrounds. Baton Rouge is a racially diverse city and our work in the greater Baton Rouge community allows us to provide clinical services to and conduct research with racially diverse individuals in our community. We take great pride in this diversity. Furthermore, our program is deeply committed to fostering a learning environment that supports cultural and individual differences and diversity. Additionally, “Diversity is fundamental to LSU's mission and the University is committed to creating and maintaining a living and learning environment that embraces individual difference. Cultural inclusion is of highest priority” (see entire LSU Diversity Statement).