Lab director

Rachel Wu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Wu received two Bachelor’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, a Masters from University College London, and a PhD from Birkbeck, University of London. She also has a Fine Arts degree from Middlesex University. Dr. Wu’s research focuses on learning and attention to maximize cognitive agility from infancy to aging adulthood. In her free time, she paints, sculpts, plays the violin and piano, and sings. [CV]


Lab manager

Leah Ferguson

Leah graduated from CSU Monterey Bay in 2017 with a BA in Psychology. Her interests vary from neurodegenerative diseases to social psychology and social stigmas. She wishes to pursue graduate school for Sociology with an emphasis in Criminology, contributing research on social reform and reentry processes in order to improve life after prison and reduce recidivism rates. In her spare time she likes to go to the park or hike with her lab, Cali, drink coffee, read new books, and cross stitch.


Graduate students and graduate collaborators

Austin Moon

Austin graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2017 with a B.S. in Cognitive Sciences and a B.A. in Education Sciences. His research interest includes visual search, attention, and perceptual learning using computational modeling, EEG, and deep learning techniques. During his spare time, he likes playing video games, learning how to play the keyboard, and working out with his two cats.

Pamela Sheffler

Pamela graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a BS in psychology and a minor in music. She is interested in motivation, learning, and achievement outcomes across the lifespan. In her free time, Pamela enjoys playing the violin, swimming, and watching classic films.

Isabela Perez

Isabela is a PhD candidate in social psychology. Her research investigates how educational and health disparities emerge. She has a passion for learning about the processes involved in addressing inequalities through community-based research and service. Outside of academic work, Isabela enjoys dancing, roller skating, discovering new foods, and learning new languages.


NSF REU program participants

Elizabeth Fletes

Elizabeth is majoring in Biology and is interested in cognitive neuroscience as well as developmental psychology. Aside from being a devotee of romantic comedy movies, Elizabeth enjoys trying new trendy foods, dancing, playing the piano, and baking.  

Tania Rodriguez

Tania is majoring in Psychology at Cal State Fullerton. She is interested in cognitive aging and learning in adulthood to delay or even prevent cognitive decline in underrepresented populations. Her hobbies include watching crime documentaries, going on nice walks with her sister, spending time with family, and cooking Mexican food.

Sarina Alavi

Sarina is graduating with a BA in Psychology and Education. Her research interests include developmental psychopathology, learning and memory, positive psychology/education, and achievement/interventions for at-risk youth. She loves to do volunteer work, travel, and go to music festivals and concerts. She hopes to earn her PhD and become a university professor.

Angel Zhong

Angel is double-majoring in Psychology and English and minoring in Writing. Her research interests include cognition, learning, social ecology, and the intersections of the humanities and psychology. In her free time, she enjoys writing, reading, drawing, and jamming out to her favorite Spotify playlist.

Christina Kwon

Christina is interested in developmental psychology and psychopathology. In her free time, she likes to spend quality time with her family and friends and babysit. She also really enjoys spending time home alone with her dog, watching movies and documentaries, eating, and read fiction novels.

Marlene Barrios-Espinoza

Marlene is a Psychology major interested in Developmental and Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys bullet journaling, baking, going to the beach, and creating music playlists.

Andrea Hernandez

Andrea is majoring in Psychology, as well as Law and Society. She is interested in exploring all different aspects and applications of psychology. In her free time, Andrea enjoys going to the beach, watching movies, and playing guitar.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Mahima Bollapragada

Mahima is majoring in Psychology and aspires to work in clinical psychology. She hopes to attend grad school after she graduates from UCR. In her free time she enjoys hiking, cultural Indian dance, and watching scary movies.

Nataly Tejeda

Nataly is majoring in Neuroscience to learn more about how our brains work. She wants to attend graduate school in the future. Aside from constantly studying, Nataly enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering in several organizations. Some of her favorite hobbies to do in her free time are watching medical dramas, baking, dancing, and walking her dog.

Rachel Liu

Rachel is majoring in Biology at UC Riverside and hopes to pursue graduate school after she graduates from UCR. She is interested in various fields such as ophthalmology, cognitive sciences, cardiology, and orthopedics. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, playing the piano, and watching movies/tv shows with her sister.

Mandy Liu

Mandy is a Psychology major, and is interested in cognitive/behavioral psychology, specifically with how it applies in mental health issues. Her hobbies include hanging out with friends and family, hiking, and going on spontaneous adventures in her free time.


Select Collaborators


Select Alumni

Christine Dang
Randolph Muñoz
Giahnu Nguyen
Alex Duong