Research Assistants

Meet our lab members!

Below, you will find more information about each of our RAs in more detail:



My name is Garrett Girard and I am a junior pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Japanese Language and Culture. After having taken Social Psychology with Dr. Gillath, I became interested in the area of Psychology and am excited to have the opportunity to work as a volunteer in his research lab and broaden my scope of Psychological Studies in preparation for graduate school. After I graduate I plan to go to graduate school to obtain a doctorate for Counseling Psychology, though my current emphasis has yet to be determined.

Outside of the Department of Psychology, I am very involved here at KU. I am on the Quidditch Team, I am training in the AROTC program to become an officer in the Army, and I frequently attend meetings with the JSA and KU Swing clubs.

I’m a junior majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Kansas. Post undergrad, I plan to continue my studies at graduate school for a doctorate in Neuroscience with an emphasis in neuropathology. My interests in research include social influences on behavior, brain disorders and trauma, and neuroscience in the nature of dementia and its effects in the human brain. I am a research assistant in Dr. Omri Gillath’s Social Interactions Lab. When I’m not doing that, I enjoy horseback riding, painting, and reading a good book.

My name is Olivia Moran. I am a Junior pursuing a degree in Psychology. I am from Green Bay, Wisconsin. ​

My name is Megan Carlson and I am a senior majoring in psychology and minoring in philosophy. I am from Topeka, Kansas and I am interested in studying abnormal psychology. I plan on attending graduate school where I can focus on disorders like borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder. I wanted to learn more about social relationships, attachment, caregiving and the overall mechanisms of behavioral systems to aid in my ability to understand research pertaining to abnormal psychology.

My name is Levi Wakeman, I am a freshman majoring in Applied Behavioral Neuroscience. I’m from Lakewood, Colorado and I am interested in the psychical properties of human behavior. I plan on attending medical school after college and becoming a forensic psychiatrist and hopefully reforming the prison system into something more beneficial to society. I am fascinated with developmental psychology and social psychology, and what they can teach me about the people who surround me. Attachment theory is one of the most captivating theories I have discovered so far in my career in college and I’m excited to see where my research will take me! When I’m not in the lab I am rock climbing or reading a good book. 

My name is Maggie Mullen and I am a sophomore majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and minoring in Sociology. My research interests are altruism in human beings and the neurological basis of criminal behavior. I am interested in how some people can lack empathy while others find great joy in practicing compassion. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school. Outside of school and the lab I enjoy running, watching Chopped with my roommate, and hanging out with friends!

My name is Andy Tyler, and I am a Junior majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience. I am excited to be assisting with research in the Gillath lab, because the lab's focus on close relationships particularly interests me. A word that greatly defines me is reserved; This specifically means that I'm thoughtful, but I do not easily communicate that I am. The concept of attraction in superficial to intimate relationships runs across my mind relentlessly. This is because someone's perceived attractiveness impacts their agency and confidence--two things I largely worry about attaining. Outside of KU, I'm a big Pokemon fan and I like going to see the Royals play. I also like spending time with my dogs and showing them my favorite TV shows and movies.

My name is Marian Boor. I am an exchange student from Slovakia. At my home university – Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic I am a freshman. I study psychology and my main interest is in neuroscience. I am fascinated by the connection between the mind and the brain. This will be my first semester working in Dr. Gillath´s lab and I am very delighted to gain valuable knowledge of working on research. Outside of school, I enjoy long-distance hiking, literature, and movies.  

I am a passionate italian student in Neuroscience who wants to give her contribution, with enthusiasm and curiosity as drivers. I am an exchange student here in Lawrence, so I will be part of the Gillath's lab just for one semester, but I will try to take the best from this experience in order to be a better researcher in the future

My name is Vaughn Gessley. I’m a junior majoring in Psychology and Environmental Studies. I plan to attend a graduate program focusing on Environmental Psychology. My research interests include the relationship people have with the global environment and natural systems. This will be my second semester as an RA in the lab. Outside of research, I work with the KS Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden and the KU Beekeeping Club and enjoy hiking, climbing, and running. ​

Hello! My name is Mara Justesen and I am a junior studying Behavioral Neuroscience. I am interested in uncovering the secrets of the brain in relation to mental illness. By gaining a better understanding of common illnesses such as depression and anxiety I hope to one day pave a better path towards treatment. As my first semester in the lab, I am ecstatic to get my feet wet learning where my strengths lie. Outside of the lab I enjoy going on adventures with my dog Finley and dancing with my friends!​

I am a senior at KU and my major is psychology. This semester I am working with the Gillath lab as a research assistant. I previously spent a semester working at Disney World and in my spare time I like to read.

My name is Alex and I am a Junior Behavioral Neuroscience major here at KU. I have been in Dr. Gillath’s lab as a research assignment for 2 semesters. When I’m not in the lab, I like to watch movies with friends (homework permitting). My hobbies include playing guitar, watching/playing soccer, CrossFit, and skiing. I am also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

My name is Jennifer Duepner and I am a sophomore at the University of Kansas. I am currently majoring in Human Biology on the pre-med track. This will be my first semester working in Dr. Gillath’s lab and I am super excited to begin researching and broadening my knowledge of psychology and social interactions! Outside of the lab, I love volunteering, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and eating ice-cream.

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