Loyola University Chicago

Children's Memory and Learning

Research Team

Meet the members of our lab!

Bianca Aldrich

Current: Doctoral Graduate Student, Developmental Psychology

Graduate: M.A. Developmental Psychology, Loyola University Chicago

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.

Grace Ocular

Current: Doctoral Graduate Student, Developmental Psychology

Graduate: M.A. Education, California State University Long Beach

About: Prior to starting graduate studies at Loyola, Grace earned a master’s degree in Education at California State University, Long Beach and has conducted research in children’s informal learning in aquarium settings. These experiences are what shaped her research interests in children’s science learning in informal settings. At Loyola, Grace contributes to research projects at the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. For her thesis, Grace is studying how middle school students understand and apply scientific practices (e.g., gathering data, representing and analyzing) about the changing ecosystem of the Gulf of Maine during a field trip experience. She is especially interested in students’ methods of inquiry when exploring different kinds of data representations. In her free time, Grace enjoys biking on the Lakefront Trail, being outdoors, and spending quality time with her cat, Kimchi, & friends.

Anele Villanueva

Current: Research Associate, Ciencia en Relatos

Graduate: M.A. Non-Clinical Communication Sciences

About: Anele Villanueva is a bilingual (Spanish-English) and bicultural (Chicana) Research Associate at Loyola University Chicago and has a master's degree in Non-Clinical Communication Sciences from Northwestern University. She has extensive experience using quantitative and qualitative methods and integrates a racial and ethnic equity lens when conducting research with families. She also has experience integrating the voices of community members in co-writing and co-designing partnership programs. Currently, she is managing a research project called Ciencia en Relatos, where she continues to use mixed methods to understand how Latine caregivers perceive science and nature and how Latine families with 3-5-year-old children engage in STEM across different activities including oral storytelling. In her free time, she enjoys reading books, dancing, and being outdoors (when the weather permits it!).

Chelsea Maldonado

Current: Research Assistant, Ciencia en Relatos

Graduate: M.A. Community Counseling

About: Chelsea Maldonado graduated with her M.A in Community Counseling at Loyola. She has been involved as a research assistant in Dr. Haden's Memory and Learning Lab for 4+ 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

Current: Project Coordinator

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

About: Riley gained an interest in children's learning during her time at Loyola as an undergraduate research assistant in the lab. As project coordinator, she enjoys being able to keep the team and projects organized while also building on her research experience and skills. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in the future. In her free time, Riley enjoys playing with her cat, Toast, binging TV shows, and going on long walks on the lakeside trails.

Milla Metlicka

Current: Research Assistant, TALES & LabVenture

Undergraduate: B.S. Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Interdisciplinary Honors Program, Minor in Dance, Summa Cum Laude, Loyola University Chicago

About: Milla became interested in children’s learning and memory as an undergraduate research assistant. She plans to continue developmental research in graduate school. In her free time, Milla enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles and playing with her cat.

Florencia Enriques

Current: Research Assistant, Ciencia en Relatos

Undergraduate: B.S. Neuroscience, B.S. Psychology

About: Florencia (Flor) was a Neuroscience and Psychology undergraduate student at Loyola and graduated in the fall of 2023. Flor was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has acquired 8+ years of experience caring for children of all ages, and the roles she has enjoyed the most as a caregiver include storytelling, pretend play, and creative project design, as well as teaching her native language, Spanish. After graduation, Flor plans to continue her studies in perception and cognition with a focus on children’s development, learning, and memory.

 Undergraduate Research Assistants  

Alberto Cueto

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Majors in Psychology and Spanish

About: Alberto is a junior undergraduate student studying Psychology and Spanish at Loyola. Alberto’s interest in research stems from his desire to give back and work with underserved populations, especially Latine communities. In his free time, Alberto loves to roller-skate around campus, spin vinyl records, cook, and explore Chicago with friends.

Andrea Romero

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Major in Psychology

About: Andrea is a senior undergraduate student studying Psychology at Loyola. She loves to learn about neuroscience and cognitive psychology, and her goal is to be a cognitive psychologist. In her free time, Andrea likes to be with her dog and go around the city with her friends.

Skye Peyton

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Majors in Psychology and Creative Writing

About: Skye is a senior undergraduate student studying Psychology and Creative Writing at Loyola. Skye is interested in studying research to better advocate for LGBTQ+ youth, and plans on pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, Skye reads fantasy books, writes fiction, and plays with her six dogs.

Elyse Hertzman

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Majors in Psychology and Healthcare Administration

About: Elyse is a junior undergraduate student at Loyola majoring in Psychology and Healthcare Administration. She is passionate about youth mental health and preventative education-based wellness. Elyse aims to pursue a Ph.D. in either Developmental, Cognitive, or Clinical Psychology. In her free time, Elyse likes to explore the city with her friends, write, try new foods, and spend time in nature.

Neva Lang

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Majors in Psychology and Dance

About: Neva is a junior undergraduate student at Loyola with majors in Psychology and Dance. She is intrigued by child development and its associations to children’s mental health and aims to pursue Clinical Psychology and research. At Loyola, Neva is an honors student and serves as a Co-President of the Loyola University Psychological Association, and as President of Loyola’s The Dance Company. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city with family and friends and spending sunny days by the water.

Katy Nyland

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Major in Psychology

About: Katy is a senior undergraduate student studying Psychology at Loyola. She is highly interested in Developmental Psychology and hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology in the future. In her free time, Katy enjoys art, photography, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family.

Anna Steinorth

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Major in Psychology

About: Anna is an undergraduate sophomore at Loyola with a major in Psychology. She is passionate about the different ways memory can be created, retained, and utilized for children. As Anna plans to become a clinical child psychologist, she aims to use this interest to help children learn, retain, and utilize coping mechanisms throughout their life. When she is not in class, Anna is an active committee member of the Department of Programming where she plans and hosts events around campus. In addition, her introverted side loves to read books, cook gluten-free food, and oil paint.

Eleanor Desing

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Majors in Psychology and French

About: Eleanor is a senior undergraduate student at Loyola. She is studying Psychology and French. She is interested in Developmental Psychology and children’s learning. In her free time, she likes to bake, watch movies, and spend time outside.  

Mariam Elhaje

Current: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Major in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience

About: Mariam is a third-year undergraduate student at Loyola University studying Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience. After graduation, Mariam plans on pursuing a Master's/PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience or Neuropsychology. She hopes to work with children to better understand the interplay between biology and psychology in children's development. In her free time, Mariam enjoys playing video games, reading novels, and watching soccer.