Loyola University Chicago

Children's Memory and Learning

Research Team

Meet the members of our lab!

Dr. Graciela Solis

Current: Post-doctoral Fellow, Tinkering and Learning Engineering Stories

Graduate School: Phd in Developmental Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Undergraduate: BS Psychology, Roosevelt University/ BA English Literature, Roosevelt University 

About: Graciela is passionate about research and social justice. Her research adopts a sociocultural perspective encouraging the view that cultural communities must be examined within the context of meaningful activity and valued practices. Her research focuses on science education, narrative, pedagogy and child knowledge development, particularly among families of Mexican descent. Beyond research, she strives to give back to the communities she is a part of and seeks out environments that respect and value the experiences of non-dominant communities.

 Bianca Aldrich

Current: Doctoral Graduate Student, Developmental Psychology

Undergraduate: BA Psychology, Pacific University, Oregon

About: Bianca studies how parents can promote children's engagement in informal learning activities. She is especially interested in the role of autonomy for children's STEM engagement. In her free time, Bianca enjoys hiking, murder mystery novels, and boardgames.


Naomi Polinsky

Current: Doctoral Graduate Student, Cognitive Psychology, Northwestern University 

Undergraduate: Barnard College, BA Psychology

About: Naomi studies how young children problem solve and learn in informal learning settings, such as at children's museum and even at home when they play with cool new toys and touchscreen computers. She is curious about how parents, the instructions for the activity, and even how the design of the learning space or game help facilitate and promote children's ability to work through these challenging problems and games and ultimately complete the task knowing that they have the skills to solve future problems as well! When Naomi is not checking out cool new children's toys, she enjoys dancing, hanging out with friends, and trying all of Chicago's ice cream shops!

Gaby Perdomo

Current: Project Coordinator, TALES, TRAEL, & Ciencia en Relatos

Undergraduate: B.S. Applied Psychology, Cum Laude & Presidential Honors, New York University

About: Gaby’s interest in child-parent engagement and narrative building began through her research at NYU, and she hopes to further expand her understanding through her work with the TALES project. In addition to working in the developmental psychology field, Gaby is interested in mental health advocacy for underserved populations, including women and children of color. As such, she intends to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. When not in the lab, Gaby enjoys true crime podcasts, cooking, and hanging out with her pup, Juniper.


Chelsea Maldonado

Current: Graduate Assistant, TALES & Ciencia en Relatos; Masters Graduate Student in Community Counseling

About: Chelsea Maldonado is currently a graduate student in the M.A Community Counseling program at Loyola. She has been involved as a research assistant in Dr. Haden's Memory and Learning Lab for 3+ years and completed undergrad with a major in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. Chelsea is proficient in Spanish and is interested in research primarily focused on children of color to help advocate and promote social justice. In her free time, Chelsea loves to watch medical drama TV shows and spend time outside with her dogs. 

Riley George

Undergraduate: Loyola University Chicago, B.S. Psychology, Summa Cum Laude

About: Riley gained an interest in children's learning and development as an undergraduate research assistant. She plans to continue developmental research during graduate school. In her free time, Riely enjoys reading memoirs, photography, and painting

 Undergraduate Research Assistants  


Rachel Amegatcher

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Psychology Major

About: Rachel became interested in childhood learning and memory from tutoring with CPS kids at a local non-profit. She's passionate about conducting research in a cultural and intersectional way. She hopes to become a mental health provider with a focus on underserved communities in the city, including people of color. When she's not in the lab working, she loves to dance, write stories, and read.

Marcell Podsiadly

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Undergraduate in Psychology

About: Marcell is a Psychology major with a Neuroscience minor here at Loyola. She will be graduating in the Fall of 2022 with interests of pursuing medicine. She is interested in advocating for children with mental health issues to ensure a full life despite struggles they may face. Working in the lab, she gets to explore how parents and children interact with one another and how this interaction promotes learning in children. In her free time, Marcell likes to do puzzles and watch sitcoms on Netflix.

Ashley Song

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Major in Behavioral/Cognitive Neuroscience, Minor in Psychology

About: Ashley is currently a junior with a major in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology. She is interested in child development and developmental psychology, and hopes to pursue more research after her undergraduate studies. In her free time, she likes to play video games and watch mukbang videos.

Katy Nyland

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Major in Psychology

About: Katy is a junior at Loyola majoring in psychology. She plans to further her education in Clinical Psychology after she graduates in 2024. She is interested in developmental psychology as well as the relationship between physical and mental health. In her free time, Katy loves to travel, hike, do yoga, and watch true crime documentaries!

Milla Metlicka

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Major in Cognitive/Behavioral Neuroscience, Minor in Dance

About: Milla is a senior undergrad at Loyola with a major in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience and a minor in Dance. She is interested in child development and neurodivergent learning. At Loyola, Milla is also an Honors student and co-founder of Invisible Illness Awareness, an organization that aims to spread awareness about invisible physical illnesses. Additionally, Milla is the service director of Loyola's Dance Honors Society. In her free time, Milla enjoys doing puzzles and spending time with her cat.


Noor Arja

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Majors in Pyschology and Molecular/Cellular Neuroscience

About: Noor is a senior undergrad at Loyola majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience. She became interested in how children learn from her time as an intern and assistant summer camp teacher at Tuesday's Child. She is especially passionate about mental health and social emotional learning in children with behavioral and developmental challenges. Noor plans to continue her education to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time outdoors!