Lab Members


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Dr. Amy Needham, Principal Investigator

Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Amy Needham’s research has explored many questions in our three main areas of study. One question that has been of interest to her for a number of years is how infants find boundaries around objects. Her current questions particularly focus on perceptual and motor learning in infancy.

Email: Telephone: (615) 322-8380




Dr. Maninderjit (Mandy) Kaur, Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Delaware, 2016, Ph.D. (Biomechanics and Movement Sciences)

University of Connecticut, 2013, M.S. (Kinesiology)

Post Graduate Institute- India, 2009, B.S. (Physical Therapy)

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. My research interests are in better understanding motor development as well as devising interventions for infants and children with motor deficits.


Sarah Wiesen, Graduate Student

Vanderbilt University, 2014, M.S. (Developmental Science)

University of Notre Dame, B.A., 2012 (Psychology)

I am a doctoral student focusing on cognitive development. I am especially interested in exploring how facilitating early reaching experience affects various areas of infants’ perception. I am inspired by the curiosity with which infants and toddlers view the world, and I find research with this age-group to be incredibly fulfilling.


Darcy Smith, Masters Student (2018)

Vanderbilt University, 2016 (Psychology & Philosophy)

I am a second year Masters student in Child Studies in the empirical track. Before beginning my Masters studies I studied the comparison of in-person and online social support in Dr. Cole’s lab. I also work in Dr. Zald’s Affective Neuroscience labon Dopamine Neuromodulation Study, where I study individual differences in decision making in adults. I am interested in learning more about how young children learn how to understand and manipulate their surroundings, and in gaining research experience in developmental psychology.



Lauren Malachowski, Lab Manager

Davidson College, B.S., 2016 (Psychology)

I’m a recent college graduate hoping to pursue a higher-level degree in Developmental Psychology. I’m fascinated by the minds of developing infants, and I’m particularly interested in the influence of various toys, technologies, and baby “contraptions” on cognitive and social development. I’m excited to learn more about infant development and to gain lots of hands-on research experience this year!


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Savannah Diamond

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2020 

I am a sophomore majoring in Cognitive Studies on the pre-medical track. After graduation I plan on attending medical school and hope to become a neonatologist. I love working with children; I babysat and worked at a summer camp all throughout high school. This will be my first time working closely with infants and I cannot wait to learn more about babies and their development!

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Laura Green

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2020

I’m a sophomore majoring in Child Studies and minoring in Human and Organizational Development. I am particularly interested in early intervention for children with disabilities and am on a pre-occupational therapy track. I am excited to assist in the Infant Learning Lab and learn more about the development of babies.

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Charlotte Jeanne

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019

I am an undergraduate student majoring in Child Development and minoring in Medicine, Health, and Society. I am working in the lab on an honors thesis which will be finished in the spring of 2019. I am not certain about what I’ll be doing after graduation, but I know that I will be working with children!

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Doreen Li

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2020

I am currently a sophomore majoring in Child development, and I plan to go to nursing school and work as a pediatric NP. Over this past summer, I interned at a children’s hospital in Nepal. I worked with nurses in the ICUs and learned so much about taking special care of preterm infants! I am excited to gain research experience and learn more about child/infant development through assisting in the lab!

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 Abigail Phillips

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2020

I am a sophomore double majoring in Child Studies and Psychology with the hopes of becoming a pediatric occupational therapist. I am particularly interested in developmental psychology and children who have disabilities. I love working with kids and can’t wait to learn more about infants this semester!


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Lindsey Rae

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019

I am a junior majoring in Medicine, Health, and Society and minoring in French! After undergrad I hope to go to medical school, but I am unsure of what I want to specialize in yet. I’m excited to be working with children in this lab, and I’m hoping that it will shed ligh t on what I want to pursue in the future!


Katie Swift

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2020

My name is Katie Swift and I am a sophomore majoring in Severe Special Education and minoring in Child Development from Orange County, California! I am interested in working with infants mainly because I plan to go into Early Childhood Special Education. Right now I volunteer as a buddy at the Susan Gray school and nanny for a 1 year old when at home. I am excited to work in the lab to help research and better understand infants!

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Tara Webster

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2020

I am a sophomore from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and majoring in Child Development. After graduation, I plan on attending nursing school in hopes of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner. My passion for working with kids stems from their endless creativity, laughter, and energy. I am thrilled to be working in the Infant Learning Lab to assist in the research and learn more about infant development.












Georgia Wilson

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2018

I am a senior majoring in Psychology and Economics and pursuing the pre-med track. I have always been fascinated by infants’ abilities to observe and make sense of the world, and I am excited to begin my second year working in Dr. Needham’s lab.