Lab Members

Dr. Lisa Fazio, Principal Investigator

Ph.D. in Psychology from Duke University

My research is concerned with how to improve student learning using basic principles from cognitive and developmental psychology. I examine simple knowledge such as history facts, as well as more complex forms of knowledge such as mathematics. My research informs basic theories about learning and memory, while also having clear applications for classroom practice.


Min Kyung “Clair” Hong, Graduate Student, 2020

B.A. in Psychology from Duke University

I graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Economics in 2015. During my time at Duke, I worked with Dr. David Rubin and Dr. Roberto Cabeaza on various memory studies such as examining neural correlates of involuntary memory in patients with PTSD. Currently, I am a first year graduate student at Vanderbilt University, and my journey for memory research continues with Dr. Lisa Fazio and Dr. Sean Polyn.  My research interest lies in identifying ways to improve encoding of memory and building computational models of memory retrieval processes.


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Taylor Boothby, Lab Manager

B.A. in Psychology and Child Development from Vanderbilt University

I graduated from Vanderbilt in 2017 with a double major in Psychology and Child Development. As an undergraduate, I worked with Dr. Tedra Walden to research attitudes toward stuttering. In the future, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in School Psychology. I’m excited to learn more about learning and memory with the Building Knowledge Lab!



Tess Levinson, Honors Thesis, 2018

I am a Peabody student majoring in Special Education and Cognitive Studies. I have always been fascinated by how people learn, and I am honored and excited to be able to work in the Building Knowledge Lab, helping develop our understanding of this process. I’ve always loved working with children, and I know that my experiences in the lab will help me with whatever path I take.






Mimi Zhang, Honors Thesis, 2019

I am a junior majoring in cognitive studies and neuroscience. The past year long experience in Building Knowledge Lab confirms my research interest in learning and memory. I am excited to be an honors student since this semester, which provides me an opportunity to do my own project in learning and memory.






Sara Ernst, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2018

I am a senior studying Communication Studies and Spanish. I’m on track to enter a career in journalism and am very excited to be working in the Building Knowledge Lab, specifically on our project on fake news. I come from an editorial background, so I feel fortunate for this opportunity to grasp a more multi-faceted approach to the social impact of news and knowledge.


Naomi Forbes, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019

I am a junior double majoring in A&S Psychology and Medicine, Health, and Society. Being a part of the Building Knowledge Lab has allowed me to explore my interest in the developing mind and gain a deeper understanding of the research process. In the future, I intend to attend law school with a focus in medical law.





Raquel Gibson-Starks, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2018

I am a senior in Peabody College studying Child Development. After graduation I plan to go to nursing school to obtain my Master’s degree and eventually work in a children’s hospital as an advanced practice nurse. Working in the Building Knowledge Lab allows me to use the skills that I have spent the last three years developing and I am so thankful for this experience!







Ian Kilpatrick, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2018

I am a senior double majoring in Cognitive Studies and MHS and double minoring in Financial Economics and HOD. I am thrilled to be working in the Building Knowledge Lab investigating the different ways people learn and utilize that learning. I am also thankful to be able to learn more about the research process in general. My experiences in the lab will benefit me greatly as I pursue my goal of attending graduate school in the field of Clinical Psychology.


Amy Lee, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2017

I am a senior majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience. Having attained experience teaching children in previous years, I realized how much I enjoy this field. Being able to research in the Building Knowledge Lab to further contribute to the learning methods of children is an opportunity I am very thankful for. After graduation, I hope to continue my studies in medical school and eventually become a doctor in pediatrics.



Rachel Perry, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2018

I am a senior majoring in Human & Organizational Development and minoring in Psychology. I have always been interested in developmental learning processes and memory and I’m excited to be exploring these topics further through the Building Knowledge Lab. This semester I will primarily be working on a study that investigates how teaching styles effect students’ perceptions of their teachers. I’m excited to have the opportunity to gain research experience and also learn more about a topic that I’m really interested in through my work in the Building Knowledge Lab!


Raunak Pillai

Raunak Pillai, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019

I’m currently a junior studying Neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. I’ve always been intrigued by the way people learn and the basis of human memory, whether through my coursework in psychology classes, or my own personal experience developing and optimizing study habits. I’m excited to see what my first year in the Building Knowledge Lab holds!


Reagan Wilke, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019

I am a sophomore A&S Psychology student minoring in HOD on the Health and Human Services track. I am so excited to be able to work in the Building Knowledge Lab to learn more about learning and memory, and also to get to work with kids. I still have a while to go before graduation, but I am most passionate about adolescent mental health and well-being, so I know the experiences that come with the opportunity of working in this lab will be helpful in any career path I choose.




Iliana Yanes, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2020

I am a Peabody student majoring in Child Development. I am so excited to be an undergraduate research assistant in the Building Knowledge lab because I want to go into education policy. I believe the that the first step to educating is to understand how children learn new information, so we can teach them the way they learn best!