Research Assistants

Meet our lab members!

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



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 Megan VanDuinen, and I am a junior majoring in Psychology. This will be my first semester as a research assistant for Dr. Gillath’s lab, so I’m very eager to expand my knowledge in social psychology! I am particularly interested in close relationships and attachment theory, and plan to continue my learning in graduate school for Counseling Psychology. Outside of the lab, I love yoga, watching reality tv with my friends, and painting. I also work at the University Career Center, and volunteer in my spare time. 

I am Utsavi, undergraduate freshman. I am majoring in visual arts and psychology. I want to do this lab just to have the experience of doing research and gain more knowledge upon the subject. Some of my hobbies are reading, baking and painting.  

Elsey is a senior at the University of Kansas, seeking a degree in Psychology with a minor in Journalism and Human Sexuality. I addition to her work in the lab, Elsey is in the process of completing her Honors Thesis Project with Dr. Omri Gillath. Her research interests include the role of attachment theory and emotion regulation in the development of personality disorders. ​After graduation, Elsey plans to attend graduate school to obtain her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, watching movies, and napping.

I am a senior at KU majoring in Psychology and Korean. It is my first time working in a psychology lab! I am interested in I/O Psych, specifically Personnel Psychology. While this lab doesn’t align with my research interest exactly, I am excited to gain experience and better understand how to properly conduct research in Dr. Gillath’s lab. In my leisure time, I enjoy listening to music, eating ice cream, and playing volleyball.


I am a junior at the University of Kansas on a Nursing track. I have an interest in this lab because I want to study the factors impacting close relationships. I am excited to help out in the Gillath lab as a Research Assistant. In my free time, I enjoy being outside hiking or hammocking, reading, and finding new food places around town!

My name is Tyler Sarovich, and I am a sophomore majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience. I am from Chicago, Illinois and I am excited to be a part of Dr. Gillath’s Lab. My interests are the neural plasticity of the brain and detailed neural imaging systems. I hope to earn my PhD in clinical neuropsych and work to help people with severe brain injuries. My background in football has lead me to learn further about the brain and those injuries that affect the brain. In my free time I enjoy exercising, fishing, and golfing. 

My name is Ellie Sorkin and I am a senior at the University of Kansas. I am getting my degree in psychology with a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies. I joined this lab to further develop my research skills and my psychology career as I grow from an undergraduate to a graduate student. I am interested in how close relationships impact mental health, as well as attachment theory and abnormal psychology. Post-graduation, I plan to get my master's in clinical mental health counseling. 
Outside of my studies, I enjoy painting, watching TV, taking care of my plants and animals, and spending time in nature with my dog.

My name is Elizabeth Kehoe, and I am currently a senior at KU. I am studying psychology with an aspiration to become a clinical child psychologist. More specifically, my interests include developmental psychology and neuropsychology. I joined Dr. Gillath's Lab because of my passion for research, to gain a deeper understanding of relationships, and to explore potential topics to study in graduate school. In my free time, I am usually studying Japanese, reading, or spending time with friends.

Hi, I'm Julia! I'm from a small town near Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I grew up with my small family of four. I originally came to KU to study pharmacy but later found my passion in the neuroscience/psychology field. Observing and studying human behavior and social interactions has always fascinated me, so I'm thrilled to be part of a lab that pursues discoveries in these areas. Outside of research, my hobbies include practicing yoga, hiking, and spending time with my friends' doggos. 

My name is Jessie Riggs and I am a junior double majoring in Psychology and Political Science with a minor in Spanish. This is my first semester working in research here at KU and I am eager to work with the Gillath lab and expand my knowledge while gaining experience in the realm of psychology. I am interested in social psychology and abnormal psychology, particularly interested in social interaction, mental illness, and attachment theory. Some of my other hobbies include baking, working out, true crime documentaries and podcasts, listening to music, and enjoying my time with family and friends!

My name is Nicole Phelps, and I am a sophomore majoring in political science and psychology from Madison, Wisconsin. This will be my first semester working in a research lab. I am incredibly eager to expand my knowledge in the field of social psychology, particularly in how close relationships are formed. I joined Dr. Gillath's lab in the hope of exploring the route of psychological research and how it could contribute to other fields of study. I hope to attend law school in the future and my hobbies include working out, running, reading, hanging out with my friends, and playing with my dog Layla

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