About me

Leiden University
since 2020

Currently, I am completing my PhD in Developmental Psychopathology at Leiden University where I work with Prof. Dr. Anne-Laura van Harmelen. My research focuses on understanding how social support can help young people maintain or regain their mental health following acute stress exposure. At Leiden, I am part of the interdisciplinary Social Resilience and Security Program that seeks to better identify, prevent, and reduce the causes and consequences of transgressive behaviors in society.

New York University
2019 - 2020

Before moving to the Netherlands, I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant & Lab Manager in Dr. Catherine Hartley's lab at New York University where I investigated the cognitive mechanisms underlying age-related changes in value-based learning and decision-making.

At NYU, I could also follow my passion for scientific outreach and activism. As a member of the Scientist Action and Advocacy Network, I worked on social justice solutions, particularly around issues of juvenile justice. In addition, I got involved with the Neuroscience Outreach Group at NYU, led activities for the Word Science Festival, and gave introductory lectures on cognitive neuroscience to high school students across New York City.

University of Oxford
2018 - 2019

My work at NYU was driven by my interest in reinforcement learning theory, which was the focus of my research as a Graduate Research Assistant & Lab Manager in Dr. MaryAnn Noonan's lab at the University of Oxford. At Oxford, I studied how flexibly learning the causal relationship between choice and outcome changes across development.

University College London
2017 - 2018

I completed my MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London where I worked with Prof. Dr. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore to explore the development of social cognition during adolescence. Previous studies have shown that an individual’s ability to infer someone else’s mental state as well as the ability to draw on self-knowledge are still undergoing significant development during adolescence. Inspired by these findings, I investigated the effect of age on both perspective taking and self-referential processing and the relationship between these two variables.

At UCL, I was also able to follow my interest in resilience research as a Data Collection Assistant on the MYRIAD project, which focused on the use of mindfulness training to improve resilience and overall mental health in adolescents.

King's College London
Spring 2015

Motivated to gain a clinical perspective on the developing cognitive processes that are involved in social interactions, I joined King’s College London as a Visiting Scientist, where I worked with Prof. Dr. Eva Loth as part of the EU-AIMS project. This large interdisciplinary research project aims to identify new treatment and biological risk factors for children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Goethe University Frankfurt
2014 - 2017

Before my scientific interest shifted towards the first two decades of life, I completed my BSc in Psychology at Goethe University Frankfurt.

At Goethe University Frankfurt, I also worked as a Research Assistant in Prof. Dr. Melissa Lê-Hoa Võ's lab where I conducted research in the field of visual cognition. During this time, I was able to gain a range of valuable methodological experiences including using EEG, eye-tracking, and virtual reality. Through this position I came to realize that most research on visual search and scene perception was conducted within 2D environments. For my thesis, I therefore designed, conducted, and analyzed a series of three experiments, in which I used virtual reality to study how recall performance in a 3D memory test is influenced by the amount of semantic information given in a scene.

During my time as an undergraduate student, Germany turned into the epicenter of the European migrant crisis. In the spirit of promoting resilience following adverse life experiences, I joined Enactus Frankfurt and founded a project called “Hidden Stories”, which was geared towards refugees with the overarching aim of integrating them into local communities. During my time working with the refugee community in Germany, I learned first-hand about the importance of social support for people’s mental health and well-being following adversity, which continues to shape the research I am conducting today.