Research Assistants

Lab Coordinator

Vanessa Romo Ortega

Vanessa is a 3rd year undergraduate student at the University of California, Merced majoring in Sociology and minoring in Psychology. She is interested in educational psychology and plans to pursue an MA in Child Development at the California State University, Sacramento. She loves helping students learn and has tutored children of all ages. 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. 


Gioavanni Almanza








Christopher Dahill

Chris is a 4th year student that grew up in Fresno, CA. He is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Public Health. He plans to pursue a degree in Clinical Psychology and wants to work with adolescent populations. In his spare time, Chris loves to read, play games, and go on backpack trips with his father. 


Nancy Godoy

Nancy is a fourth-year student from Los Angeles, CA. She is majoring in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. Nancy plans to obtain an MA in Social Psychology so that she can assist and council young parents. When she's not at school, Nancy enjoys spending time with her son and watching Criminal Minds. 




Jaspreet Johal

Jaspreet Johal is a 3rd year student from Hilmar, CA. She is a Human Biology major with a minor in Psychology. She hopes to pursue medical school or graduate school to obtain a Ph.D.  In her spare time, Jaspreet enjoys playing volleyball with her friends and family and traveling to new places. 




Kiranjeet Kainth

Kiran is currently a 3rd year student from Ceres, CA. She is majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Psychology. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuro-psychology or go to Medical School to further the study on the human brain. In her spare time, Kiran loves to play tennis, watch horror movies and Criminal Minds, and most importantly spend valuable time with her family and friends.  



Yarelin Moya

Yarelin is in her fourth year at UC Merced and transferred from San Diego, CA. She is majoring is Psychology and plans to attend graduate school so that she may obtain a degree in either clinical or developmental psychology. When she is not working or at school, Yarelin enjoys spending time with her friends playing board games, planning fun outings, and writing poetry.



Katerina Rocker Heppe

Kat is a 3rd year student from Humboldt County, CA. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and plans to pursue an MA in Child Development and Therapy to provide counseling to mentally and physically disabled children.  Katerina plays soccer and serves as captain of the UC Merced women’s team.  She enjoys traveling, hiking, and riding horses. 



Camella Taylor

Camella Taylor is a 5th year student from Castro Valley, CA. She is double majoring in Psychology and Human Biology and plans on pursuing a Ph.D in Neuro-psychology or an area involving the brain. When she is not at school she enjoys drawing, taking road trips with friends, or volunteering with animals.