Research Assistants

Lab Coordinator

Vanessa Romo Ortega

Vanessa has recently graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Merced. She has been actively involved with the Interpersonal Development Lab for 2 years and loves contributing to research. She is intersted in developmental psychology and hopes to eventually attend Graduate School. During her spare time, Vanessa loves to go out to new places with her friends and family.

Current Undergraduate Research Assistants

Undergraduate students play a vital role in our lab as research assistants (RAs). Primary lab responsibilities for undergraduate RAs include interacting with parents and children, and administering experimental stimuli and procedures. RAs also assist in coding experimental and observational data, as well as recruiting families to participate in our research studies. 


Desiree Garcia

Desiree Garcia is a fourth year from Downey, CA. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Psychology. Desiree plans to attend graduate school to continue her studies in developmental psychology. On her spare time, she enjoys eating and traveling. 

Hilda Torres

Hilda is a 2nd year Sociology major from Montclair, CA. She is interested in understanding people and being able to be of service to them. She is very interested in developmental psychology and emotional intelligence. She plans to obtain an MA in Psychiatric or Hospice Social Work.  On her spare time, she enjoys dancing, reading, writing, and spending time with her friends and family.

Alexus Ramirez

Alexus is a fourth year at UC Merced from Clovis, California. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Cognitive Science. Alexus plans to attend graduate school in a doctoral program focusing on child development and language. She enjoys painting, playing soccer, and reading, when she has free time from school and work.

Lirio Rebolloso

Lirio is a fourth year from Crows Landing, CA. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. In her spare time, Lirio enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

Laura Jimenez

Laura is a fourth year student from Sacramento, CA. She is majoring in Psychology and is minoring in Spanish. She plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in developmental psychology or social work. During her free time Laura loves to watch That 70’s Show on Netflix or go to Quickly’s (taro is her favorite flavor). She loves traveling and hopes to one-day return to Spain.

Pranuthi Kanneganti

Penny is a fourth-year student from Santa Clara, CA. She is majoring in Biological Sciences with Human Emphasis. She hopes to attend medical school at her dream school, The University of California, San Francisco, or somewhere in California. She is interested in the field of Pediatric Oncology. She enjoys listening to music, playing basketball, spending time with family and friends, and tutoring other students. 

Itzcoatl Silva

Itzcoatl Silva (Izzy) is a 3rd year undergraduate student at UC Merced in CA, majoring as a psychology major. Izzy plans to apply for medical school and would like to work as a pediatric psychiatrist. When he is not in school he enjoys playing basketball, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Xitlali Sedano

Xitlali is a third year student who is from Sacramento, CA. She is majoring in biological sciences and minoring in Psychology. She plans to attend medical school and become a Neonatologist (a doctor that specializes in infants, specifically premature infants). Xitlali is apart of a pre-medical fraternity and works as a lead Resident Assistant. When not working or studying Xitlali enjoys watching Disney movies, spending time with friends, and being crafty. 

Ariana Sanchez

Ariana Sanchez from Dinuba, CA is a fourth year, Public Health major with a minor in Psychology. Currently volunteering in the Family Lab and Interpersonal Development lab on campus and an officer in the Public Health Society. She is interested in pursing a Masters Degree in Social Work to focus on teen pregnancy and the development of kids of teen parents. In her spare time she likes to spend time with her dogs, bake, and go to concerts. 

Cassandra Alviz

Cassandra is a fifth year student from San Diego, CA. She is double majoring in Biology and Psychology and plans on pursuing Medical School in hopes of becoming a Pediatrician. When she is not at school she enjoys dancing, traveling, swimming, and muy thai.