Graduate Students

FacultyGraduate Students


Miranda EvansMiranda Evans, B.S.

 Miranda graduated cum laude with honors from Oglethorpe University in 2017, with her BS in psychology. As an undergraduate she did independent research that explored risk factors for maladaptive coping in college students. She is currently an applied developmental Phd student working in Dr. Matt Scalco’s lab. Her research interest is in environmental factors, particularly relationship factors, that act as risk or protective factors for the development of psychopathology in children and adolescents. 


Megan GoldfarbMegan Goldfarb, M.A. 

Megan Goldfarb, MA, LPC received her B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University and her Master of Arts in Counseling from John Carroll University in Ohio. Over her ten year career, Megan has worked with hundreds of clients navigating the process of recovery. Her experience includes working with adults with substance abuse and addiction disorders, bi-polar and anxiety disorders, depression, and schizophrenia, and those who have experienced trauma and natural disasters throughout the world. She's also worked in a variety of settings, first in the community as a case manager, then as a community college instructor, and most recently as a drug addiction counselor at a local rehab. In between, she's studied everything from mate selection in spiders to suicide in Samoa. But her interests have always lied in the biological underpinnings of mental illness and behavior. She joined Dr. Elliott Beaton's SCAN Lab in the Fall of 2016.


Jessica Grande

Jessica Grande, M.S.

Jessica graduated Magna Cum Laude from Loyola University New Orleans in 2009. As an undergraduate, she completed her practicum at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital, where she worked with veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress (PTSD). After graduation, Jessica worked as the administrator for UNO’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), as well as Project Coordinator for the Teen Driving Project under the supervision of Dr. Robert Laird. Currently, Jessica is an Applied Developmental graduate student, working in the Families in Transition (FIT) Lab under the supervision of Dr. Laura Scaramella. Her research interest includes the influence of parenting on children’s adaptive behaviors that promote academic success. Jessica’s current research examines interactive effects of temperament and parenting in the development of social skills during early childhood.


 Diana Hobbs Diana Hobbs, M.S.

Diana Hobbs graduated cum laude from Austin College (2012) with her B.A. in psychology and minor in biology. As an undergraduate, she studied the effects of herbal supplements on rat behavior and assisted in laboratory research examining non-stimulant drug treatments for ADHD using animal models.

She is currently working towards her doctorate in Applied Biopsychology in her primary laboratory with Dr. Gerald LaHoste. There, Diana is examining the effects of the Rhes protein in animal models (genetic & non-genetic) of Huntington’s disease. Specifically, she is interested in behavioral differences involved with cognition, learning, and memory.

Diana has additionally served as a research assistant in the Stress, Cognition, and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) Laboratory with Dr. Elliott Beaton. Diana is highly proficient in a variety of computer-based research tools including: imaging editing software (Photoshop), experimental design environments (E-Prime 2.0), neuroimaging tools (ITK-Snap and Mango), and neuroimaging analysis (Brain Voyager QX and SPM). Applying these skills to her interests in cognition, learning, and memory, Diana has built adaptive tasks examining spatial working memory based performance and assisted colleagues regularly in stimulus edits and task troubleshooting.


Chloe HuffChloe Huff , B.S.

 Chloe received her B.S. in psychology from Louisiana State University in 2017. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in the Memory and Cognition Laboratory, with focus on eyewitness testimony, as well as more general emotion and memory research. While living in Baton Rouge, she worked at the Crisis Intervention Center as an Advanced Call Specialist. A New Orleans native, she returned home to pursue her Master of Science in Applied Psychology. 


Not PicturedSamantha Kennedy, B.S.





Ade MaraisAde Marais, M.A. and M.Ed.

 Ade received her B.A. in Secondary English Education from Nicholls State University. She also received her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in curriculum planning and evaluation of adult programs as well as her M.A. in Linguistics and Rhetoric & Comp from the University of New Orleans. Ade was also knighted (MBE) for her work in English public schools for advocating correct placement for special population students.

With over 16 years of experience in working in secondary and post-secondary schools, Ade joined the SCAN Lab in Fall 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Elliot Beaton. Using functional MRI, Ade is studying the neurocorrelates of empathy and theory of mind in in children diagnosed with chromosome 22q11.2DS and autism against their typically-developing counterparts. Her interests lean toward identifying an emergence of physiological and psychophysiological patterns that may result in schizophrenia.


Kayla McCalebKayla McCaleb, M.A.

Kayla McCaleb graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with her B.A. in Psychology in 2015 and her M.A. in General Experimental Psychology in 2017. As both an undergraduate and graduate student, Kayla has worked on a variety of projects spanning diverse areas in Psychology; however, her primary interests have always concerned the brain and nervous system and how abnormalities at these levels can contribute to impairment and psychopathology.

She is working towards her Ph.D. in Applied Biopsychology at UNO and serves as a Research Assistant in Dr. Chris Harshaw’s lab. They are very excited to get this new lab up and running! Currently, she is working on her thesis, which involves studying the interrelation between the thermal and social functions of Oxytocin. 


Molly Miller

Molly Miller, M.S.

A native of Kansas, Molly received her Psychology from the University of New Orleans, where she was the recipient of the S. Thomas Elder Most Promising Undergraduate Researcher award. She is currently working under the direction of Dr. Sonia Rubens on a new study designed to assess risk and resilience in youth exposed to trauma or chronic stressors. Her research interests include examining how childhood trauma contributes to the manifestation of aggression, anxiety, and callous-unemotional traits, particularly among justice-involved youth.


Eric Rawls

Tejal Patel 





Danielle Powell

Danielle Powell





Ashley Sanders

Ashley Sanders, M.S.

Ashley received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Loyola University New Orleans in May 2011. Prior to completing her bachelor’s degree, Ashley worked as a laboratory assistant in the Aquatic Microbiology Laboratory studying the diatom Chaetoceros. In June 2011, she began her post-baccalaureate studies in psychology at the University of New Orleans. The following year, Ashley joined the Youth and Family Stress, Phobia, and Anxiety Research Laboratory as a research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Carl Weems. She also began working with Drs. Christine Powanda and Rafael Salcedo as their assistant psychometrician. In August 2013, Ashley joined the Stress, Cognition, and Affective Neuroscience Lab as a research associate, and later as the lab coordinator. She is currently an Applied Biopsychology graduate student in the SCAN lab under the supervision of Dr. Elliott Beaton. There, she examines the effects of stress and anxiety on children with genetic disorders, such as chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.


Cynthia SergiCynthia Sergi

As a New Orleans native, Cynthia is proud to say that she received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of New Orleans in 2016. She worked with Dr. Beaton in the S.C.A.N. lab as an undergraduate student. Currently, she is working towards her Master of Science in Applied Psychology here at U.N.O. Her research interests are in the biological aspects of behavior, such as how psychopathologies relate to brain structure and functioning.


David Stephenson

David Stephenson , M.S.

David received his B.S. in psychology from the University of Alabama Birmingham. As an undergrad, he studied and worked extensively with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in their ability of facial recognition and eye tracking. He then received his M.A. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where his thesis project looked at personality traits like anxiety and acceptance could influence pain perception through visual media.

Since coming in to the SCAN Lab with Dr. Elliott Beaton, David has been continually developing skills and ideas concerning the assessment of children with 22q11.2DS. He has helped create a data-base system for the lab, developed computerized cognitive tasks, and is trained on multiple neuroimaging analysis programs (eg. BrainVoyager QX, SPM, and others). His current research interests lie in investigating visuospatial and memory integration modalities and how these process can be impaired in children at high risk for disorders.


Megan Zeringue

Megan Zeringue, M.S.

Megan graduated with a B.S. in Psychology, Summa Cum Laude with Honors from Spring Hill College. She is interested in adolescent development and the relationships between adolescents and their families. She joined Dr. Laird's Families & Teens Lab in 2014.