University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Lab Members

Lab Director
Nairán Ramírez-Esparza, Ph.D.
NairanRamirez_uconnBackground With Mayan CalendarI was born in Mexico and I lived in Puebla, Mexico until my mid-twenties. I moved to the United States to do my Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Texas, Austin. Then I did postdoctoral work at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences in the University of Washington in Seattle. I joined the social psychology faculty of the University of Connecticut in 2012. Moving around between two countries and spending time living in different areas of the United States have inspired many of my research questions. For example, while living in Austin Texas and interacting with fluent bilinguals I did a study looking at how bilinguals change their personality when they change languages. Now I am the director of the LAB-C-Lab where we continue answering questions about the influence of culture and language on different areas.
Gloriana Rodríguez-Araúz
IMG_8557My name is Map Of Costa Rica With FruitsGloriana and I come originally from San José, Costa Rica.  I earned my B.A. in psychology in 2007 in University of Costa Rica and my M.A. in 2010 from Central Connecticut State University.  At present I am a fifth-year PhD student working with Dr. Ramírez-Esparza. Broadly speaking, my interests revolve around cross cultural variations in food attitudes and the effects of culture on social interactions. My current project explores how the way we think about food is related to well-being and how that relationship varies across Latin American and Euro-American cultures. In the picture I am at Conchal beach, one of the most beautiful of Costa Rica.
Elif Gozde Ikizer
IMG_3265I am aIstanbul fifth year graduate student working with Nairan Ramirez-Esparza. I graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Bogazici University in 2010 and a M.A. in Psychology from Koc University in 2013, both in Istanbul, Turkey. I am interested in the interaction of culture with stigmatized social identities, different abilities and experiences of bilinguals, and social psychological interventions.
Shu Jiang

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I was born in Huzhou, China and graduated from Xi’an Physical Education University with a degree in Sport Psychology (minor in Literature). I went to Springfield College, USA where I did my Master’s in Counseling Psychology. I spent two years working closely with collegiate student athletes on performance enhancement, academic and personal issues, organizing and facilitating workshops for sports teams covering mental skills. Meanwhile, my growing fascination with language and cognition also inspired me to expand my academic scope. My research interests are behavioral change, psycholinguistics, and self-talk. I love classical music, painting, and writing. Looking forward to learn more and contribute to the field at UConn.

Undergraduate Research Assistants
Ashlyn Liu
IMG_8327Photo of pinned Nanjing on a map of Asia.My preferred name is Ashlyn and I come from Nanjing, China. I am a Psychology major with minors in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. I studied in University of Amsterdam, Netherlands in Fall 2016 as an exchange student, during which I had a great time exploring world culture. My research interest primarily includes the interconnection between linguistic traits and culture, and the cognitive interface of language and music. Outside school, I am a (big!) soccer fan and I enjoy classical music a lot.
 Tamsen Bertz 
 11181336_10153423995156660_6848806500862895383_nMassachusetts state road map with Interstates, U.S. Highways and state roads. All elements on separate layers for easy editing.Hi! My name is Tamsen and I am from a small town in central Massachusetts called Northborough. I am about 35 minutes outside of Boston, and I love going into the city for all the fun things it has to offer. I am very interested in clinical psychology and hope to have my own private practice one day specializing in child and family therapy. I love traveling and exploring new places and cultures. I cook all the time and am always up for trying new foods and techniques. I try and spend as much of my free time as I can outside, whether it is at the beach, hiking a mountain or skiing. I never miss a Patriots game, and I always know how Boston sports teams are doing. I absolutely love being a student at Uconn, and look forward to what my future holds!
Livingston Cortez
img_0553-1Beautiful photo of a map of Republic of Ecuador and the capital Quito .

Hey there! My name is Livingston and I am an undergraduate student double majoring in Psychology and Spanish. I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and came to the United States when I was 4 months old. I enjoy the outdoors and animals, as well as learning about different cultures. I am interested in child and developmental psychology, and intend to be a child psychologist working in my private practice. My research interests focus on how culture plays a role in the interactions and behaviors of people. I plan to go to graduate school to expand my knowledge and interests. I am very delighted to have the opportunity to be conducting research at the University of Connecticut.

Victoria Herr

My name’s Victoria Herr and I come from a small town called Union, Connecticut. I am a senior at the University of Connecticut majoring in psychology and molecular and cell biology. I plan on attending graduate school someday pursuing either research or clinical psychology. Some of my research interests include topics in psychology such as social influence, cognitive biases, and self-concept. My hobbies include board games, traveling, watching sports and playing non-athletic sports. I also enjoy eating ice cream and playing with dogs.

Cynthia Gong

I am an undergraduate student came from Shenzhen, China and double majoring in Psychology and Linguistics. I am interested in how cultural background and language use play the role in social interactions. I love music and have played the violin for 15 years so I am also interested in music psychology. I also love watching sports and spend most of my free time on traveling.

Angela Jaramillo

Hello! My name is Angela Jaramillo and I was born in Stamford, Connecticut. I am an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience. I am bilingual in Spanish and English with parents that immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia and Peru. I am interested in abnormal and social psychology and hope to continue working in labs pursuing research. I love traveling, experiencing other cultures, reading, yoga and photography. I am happy to have the opportunity to work in the lab for UConn and in the future I plan on attending graduate school to continue conducting research. 

Giulia Savino

Hi my name is Giulia. I live in Glastonbury, Connecticut best known for our apple orchards. I was born in the US however my mom was born in Italy which makes me a dual-citzen. That is where the spelling of my name come from! I am currently a Senior majoring in psychology with a minor in neuroscience. After undergraduate I hope to go to medical school with hopes of becoming a psychiatrist. Some of my interests include cooking and traveling. I hope to travel around Europe after I graduate college.


Tanya Rao

Hi! My name is Tanya and I am a junior PNB major. I was originally born in Montreal, Canada but was raised in Shrewsbury, MA which is a town in central Mass that is around 40 minutes away from Boston. I am very interested in abnormal and behavioral psychology. After undergraduate, I hope to attend dental school. I absolutely love traveling and immersing myself in new cultures and of course trying new and exciting foods. I am also a huge fan of the Boston Celtics and Patriots. 

Natalia Lebrija

My name is Natalia Lebrija. I was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. when I was two years old. Even though I’ve lived in Connecticut for the majority of my life, my Mexican roots have always been very important to me. Both of my parents are Mexican and the majority of my family still lives there. I strongly believe that being raised with this multicultural background played a huge role in my self development and I largely attribute my interest to social psychology to this. At UConn, I’ve loved getting involved in a lot of different clubs, including NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and Big Brother Big Sister, which are the two I am the most heavily involved in. I am really looking forward to being a research assistant, and seeing where my Psychology career takes me.

 Maria Fernandez Gomez

Currently doing her Psy.D. at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania







Carlos Rosario
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Carlos works as the outreach coordinator for a federally qualified health center, providing access to healthcare to the under-served population as well as migrant and seasonal farm workers.


Meghan Gwara
Meghan works for  a nonprofit organization called iCAN (International Children’s Advisory Network), which works with kids and research/medical professionals to improve pediatric healthcare and clinical research.
Selin Ozlem Goktas
IMG_7608Selin works as a research associate at the National Center for PTSD and Yale University.