Lab Members

If you are interested in joining the lab in Spring 2018, please complete the application.

Spring 2018 Lab Members

Jacqueline Alonso Blanco

Jacque is currently a senior at the University of California, Santa Cruz pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Her research interests lay in identifying cultural values that aid or hinder the academic motivation and resiliency of Latinx students in hopes to inform and develop new culturally relevant educational programs. Because of this, her ultimate goal is to obtain a PhD in Psychology. Outside of Dr. Byrd’s lab, she is the assistant coordinator for Cultivamos Excelencia and an academic advisor at a local high school. She enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and playing sports.

Kattie Alvarez

Kattie Alvarez

My name is Kattie Alvarez from Los Angeles, CA, I am currently a third year at UCSC with a double major in Psychology and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. I didn’t know that Psychology was for me till I started applying to colleges the summer before my senior year of high school. However, it wasn’t till the beginning of my third year that I also developed an interest in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies with an emphases in Native Studies. I love to explore and learn about different topics, which is why I wanted to expand my horizons and do something more than just psychology. I have done research of my own and in other classes but this will be my first time working in a research lab. I am really excited and looking forward to being part of this group! After UCSC I hope to go to graduate school for criminology and after do a bit of traveling. Outside of school, I love to hang out with my friends, read, and go on adventures!

Amber Austin

Amber C. Austin

Amber is a fourth year psychology major with a minor in education. Prior to working in Dr. Byrd’s School Climate Lab, she worked under then Ph.D candidate Toni Wilson researching colorism within African American students in high schools and colleges. She aspires to pursue her Ph.D in Clinical Psychology and/or a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy after graduation. With her graduate degree or degrees, she hopes to work with youth of color – specifically African American youth – as a counselor focusing on and researching mental health. Amber eventually wants to open her own practice and a nonprofit organization for at risk youth, in her hometown of Los Angeles

Charisse Battey

Charisse is a fourth year double major in sociology and psychology. Her research interests lie in understanding how centrality influences individuals perceptions of racial colorblind socialization. Outside of lab, Charisse spends much of her time volunteering with a local organization called YouthSERVE. In her near future, Charisse aspires to obtain her Masters degree in social work, so that one day she can become a licensed clinical social worker.

Sneha Bentley

Sneha Bentley

Sneha is a third year psychology student whose research interests include working with youth (children through college aged young adults, especially of color), and striving for a socially just world. In addition to Dr. Byrd’s lab, Sneha is active within her community in various capacities – she works as a resident assistant at College Nine, volunteers at CARE, and works with children and young adults at her church, to name a few. One day, she will be in graduate school to further her psychology experience. In her spare time, Sneha enjoys practicing kickboxing, being with her loved ones, and singing.

Alexis Brown

Alexis Brown

Alexis is a second year Psychology Major and Literature minor at the University of California Santa Cruz. She is planning to attend a Clinical Psych PhD program and ultimately aspires to be a Clinical Psychologist. In her spare time she volunteers with three year old children and veterans.

Alison Calewarts

Alison is a fourth year at the University of California Santa Cruz studying psychology and education. After graduation she plans on taking a gap year before applying to grad school for clinical psychology with aspirations of becoming a school psychologist. She has past experience working on the leadership team for summer camp and Girl Scouts San Diego and is currently working part time. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with dogs and going to the beach.

Mia Castillo

Mia Castillo is a Latinx Womxn as well as a first generation student who has just transferred to UCSC. Mia Castillo is a third year Intensive Psychology major who is passionate about social issues, intersectional feminism as well as combating and raising awareness for sexual violence, discrimination, and stereotypes concerning WOC. Mia hopes to earn a PhD in clinical psychology so she can dedicate her life to providing adequate and destigmatized mental health services to underserved communities and identities. When Mia is not busy studying or doing research, she enjoys watching movies, spending time with friends and exploring nature.

Corina de la Torre

Corina De La Torre

Corina De La Torre is a senior at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Preferring the use of she/hers pronouns, she is pursuing her bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Feminist Studies with the concentration in Law, Politics and Social Change and is expected to graduate Spring 2017. Her career goal is to become a Feminist Studies professor at a university where she can conduct her own research. Her research interest lies within the inequalities of marginalized communities, administrative violence and psychological effects of the Prison Industrial Complex. Focusing on racial minorities, undocumented workers and the LGBTQIA+ communities with low socioeconomic backgrounds, her ultimate goals is to achieve a dual PhD in both Psychology and Feminist Studies. She feels it is important and crucial to bring in a Feminist perspective into social sciences to become inclusive with other forms of knowledge and awareness of heteropatriarchy of institutions and structured systems, even more so with our new president in office. This being one of her first participation in lab research, Corina is thrilled and excited to see what is in store for her. Outside of Academia, Corina enjoys to spend time with her family and close friends as well as attending social movement events and exploring the bay area.


Isha Desai

Isha Desai is a fourth year double major finishing her degrees’ in Intensive Psychology and Digital Arts. She is interested in pursuing a career as a clinical therapist, but hopes one day to take part in global mental health issues. Outside of school she is the President and founder of a mental health awareness organization nationally known as Active Minds UCSC. She is very passionate about education her Santa Cruz community about stigma and bridging the realities of what mental health is perceived to being and what it actually looks like today. As a new member of this lab she really hopes to learn about the intersectionality’s that make up a student’s identity, more so, how those intersections effect the students in a school climate.

Mark Fares

Mark Fares

Mark Fares is a fourth year Intensive Psychology major. He has many research interests, including varying areas of cognitive and social psychology, but his passion is culture and identity, as well as the ways those elements and others interact and are affected by technology. He hopes to attain a PhD in psychology and use his abilities to contribute further in the world of academia and research. Outside of psychology, Mark enjoys relaxation time involving video games, music, movies; most any form of artistic media.

Jennifer Fineman

Jennifer Fineman

Jennifer Fineman is a third year general psychology pre-law student. She aspires to become a family law attorney and focusing on children of divorce. She is currently editor in chief of the Odyssey Online and is Founder and President of the Pre-Law Society. With her graduate degrees and interest in divorce, she hopes to make a legal and psychologically alleviating impact to families of low income communities where ever she may choose to practice.

Caitlyn Galvan-Rodriquez

Caitlyn is a fourth year Psychology major at UC Santa Cruz. She is interested in both Developmental and Social Psychology. Currently, she works full-time for one of the largest non-profit organizations in the County. Specifically, she supports individuals in recovery from drugs and alcohol. She aspires to work with adolescents who have been referred to the juvenile court system. In her free time she enjoys kick boxing, yoga, and spending time with family and friends.

Esmeralda GalvanEsmeralda Galvan

My name is Esmeralda Galvan and I am a third year psychology and sociology major. I am interested in the aspects of psychology that deal with society norms and how that affects people, as well as mental disorders. Other than psychology my other interests are petting dogs, playing the ukulele, music, films and exploring.

Casey Hansen

Casey Hansen is a fourth year Intensive Psychology major at the University of California, Santa Cruz with an interest in areas of clinical and developmental psychology, and LGBTQ+ studies. They currently also work as a Residential Counselor at Haven of Hope, a group home for foster youth age 14-18 years. Casey hopes to attain a PhD in Clinical Psychology in order to further support teenagers and young adults, as well as to contribute to research involving queer youth. In their free time, Casey enjoys videogames, music, horror movies, and spending time with dogs.

Stephanie Hyland

Stephanie is a fourth year intensive psychology student interested in social psychology, specifically within a school environment. She aspires to go into the field of school or industrial organizational psychology with a rounded understanding and multicultural perspective of mental health and it’s relationship to the experiences that people face.

Aside from being a literature reviewer in the Byrd Lab,  she has previously volunteered with the student advisory board under UCSC’s Counseling and Advisory Services, has a field study internship at Laurel St.  Adult Daycare Center, and is currently involved as a member of Psi Chi while continuing to tutor as an MSI instructor for Psych 1.


Nassa Jumpholwong

Nassa is fourth year Intensive Psychology major at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to working in Dr. Byrd’s School Climate Lab, she also worked with Professor Barber’s Cognition & Aging lab at San Francisco State University and Su-hua Wong’s Infant Development Lab here at UCSC. Her goal is to obtain a Clinical Psychology PhD with a concentration in Neuropsychology, or pursue a graduate degree studying Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Her research interest ranges from studying how the brain affects the behavior of a person undergoing illness – chronic or not – and trauma, from children to adults. She is also interested in studying how Asian Americans perceive and cope with depression, other mental illnesses, and trauma over time by comparing first and third generations and beyond.

Ultimately, she hopes to provide a better insight on the relationship between brain and behavior, as well as social differences between cultures, and contribute to research that could possibly help create a better classification of mental illness beyond the DSM criteria. Outside of Dr. Byrd’s lab, she works at the Activities Office as part of tech crew and is a residential advisor in College Nine & Ten.

Amber Kan

Amber Kan is a fourth year student majoring in psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. After graduating, she plans to attend graduate school and pursue a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology. Her ultimate career goal is to work in human resources and help to increase worker motivation. In addition to being a member in Dr. Byrd’s research lab, Amber volunteers at the Nueva Vista Community Center, as well as at the Walnut Avenue Early Childhood Education Center. 

Jessica Macias

Jessica Macias

My name is Jessica Macias and I am a fourth year Psychology Major at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I still have a lot to learn about the many aspects of Psychology so I am looking forward to participating in this lab. My overall goal is to gain a better understanding of racial school climates and microaggressions. Some of my other interests include hiking, painting and reading.

Rosa Maciel

Rosa Maciel

Rosa Maciel is a fourth year Psychology major from Oakes college. She has been fascinated by psychology since before middle school and college only made her fall in love with it so much more. Her interest for psychology has led her to explore many opportunities such as this research assistant position and also work as a part time substance abuse counselor Encompass Recovery Services. Her long term goal is to attend Grad school and eventually become a Clinical Psychologist. Outside of psychology she also enjoys reading, watching movies, and hopes to explore the world.

Corrine Muccio

Corrine is a fourth-year Intensive Psychology major at UC Santa Cruz. Prior to joining Dr. Byrd’s lab, Corrine worked as an intern at the Manhattan Family Justice Center in New York City, working with victims of crime and violence. She also spent time as an intern at Broome County Family Court; Butler & Butler Law Offices; Hogan, Sarzynki, Lynch, Surowka, and DeWind, LLP; and the New York State Attorney General’s Office. She has years of experience as a care provider working with people with disabilities. In her spare time, she has been volunteering her service at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. She plans to earn her PhD in Forensic Psychology, work intimately with law enforcement, and eventually gain a position with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. Her hobbies include singing, pottery and sculpting, swimming.

Rebeca Najaro

Rebeca Najaro

My name is Rebeca Najarro and I am a 2nd year Psychology and Sociology double major from Merrill College. It is my first year as a Peer Educator at the Counseling and Psychological Services at UCSC. As a Peer Educator, our goal is to able to reduce the stigma surrounding psychological disorders on college campuses through outreach and educational workshops. Other than my love for Psychology, I am also passionate about the inclusion and empowerment of people of color. I am the current co-chair of Unión Salvadoreña de Estudiantes Salvadoreña (USEU). Our mission is to empower the Salvadoran/Latino community (and allies) through education. Every week we hold informative meetings about the politics, history, and culture of El Salvador and Latin America. Last year, USEU gave me the amazing opportunity to go to Washington D.C. I attended a conference with Rodrigo Mendez, current USEU co-chair, held by the “Center for Community Change.” We spoke about the recent deportations of hundreds of thousands of Central American immigrants. We acted as a voice for Latin youth and advocated for a stop to the deportation of our people. I am also a part of the Academic Challenge Program, a program at UCSC that introduces freshmen to research. Since last year, I have been interested in how the recent rise of an “anti-immigrant sentiment” has led to scarce resources and lack of opportunities for many undocumented students pursuing high education.

Crystal NavarroCrystal Navarro

Crystal Navarro is a fourth year intensive psychology student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is interested in social psychology, specifically the intersectionality between gender, class, and race. In the Spring of 2015, she presented research at the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference with a group of lab members regarding the ambiguity and inconsistency of the word race in literature and in daily conversation. Apart from being a team leader and literature reviewer for Dr. Byrd’s lab, she executed her own research on how attending college changes the way students perceive family, gender, and life challenges through Pathways to Research by EOP. Crystal’s dedication to research has led her to become a research assistant for fellow faculty member Dr. Leaper’s lab and hopes to integrate what she learns from both labs into her own research. Her passion for psychology also motivated her to become the treasurer of the Psychology Honors Society Psi Chi last year. In addition to partaking in research, Crystal enjoys traveling, loves giraffes, and likes having deep conversations about life in small coffee shops.

Peach Quan

I am currently a senior working on my Bachelor’s degree. I have an Associate’s Degree in Psychology and graduated summa cum laude from my previous college in Southern California. I aspire to become a researcher and professor in the future. I am also published in the 2015 version of UC Irvine’s anthology, Building Bridges, for my abstract on heterosexist language and its effects on LGB+ people. My current research interest involves ethnic identity and microaggression — more specifically, positive stereotypes — effects on Asian Americans’ well-being.

Ricky Samoranos

Ricky Samoranos

Ricky Samoranos is a fourth year biochemistry and psychology double major at University of California, Santa Cruz. Ricky believes that both subjects play off each other in an interesting way that aids his understanding. Although Ricky has pride in being a strong generalist, he ultimately wants to focus in taking a developmental psychologist approach to neuropsychopharmacology. During his spare time, Ricky enjoys babysitting, tutoring high school students, volunteering in community service projects, and performing at cultural events. Ricky hopes to pursue a career in the medical field to aid children whom are disenfranchised and to give back to the community.


Alisa Sas

Alisa Sas is a psychology and neuroscience undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Past and current research projects Alisa has worked on include perceptions of race, culturally relevant teaching, and school climate. Alisa is also a research assistant for the Student Success Evaluation Research Center where she studies student success. She is passionate about research in both the social and biological fields and is in an immunology lab on campus. Asides from working in these labs, Alisa is a residential assistant for Stevenson college. Alisa strives to work in the medical research field.

Hector Silva

Hector Silva

Hector is an Intensive Psychology major finishing his senior year at University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to joining Dr. Byrd’s lab, he worked in a research lab coding and analyzing field notes for Dr. Regina Langhout’s Youth Participatory Action Research project. He also has years of experience working with children in the autism spectrum at The Boys & Girls Club and The First Tee of Monterey County. His research interests involve the mediating effects of stereotype threat, cultural mismatch, and microaggressions on the academic achievement of racial/ethnic minorities as well as undocumented and first-generation students. After graduation he plans to take a year off to build on his research experience before applying to a PhD program in Social Psychology. Ultimately he aspires to become a researcher and teacher focusing on helping his underrepresented community back in Salinas, CA. On his free time he likes to go on hikes, longboard, watercolor paint, watch movies, and play video games.

Christine Smith

Christine is a senior transfer student studying Psychology at UCSC. Her goals are to earn a PhD in Psychology and either going into academia or working with at risk youth in a clinical setting. She has worked as a peer aid for Hospice of the Conejo and as an intern in a Women’s Empowerment Group in the Conejo Valley which focused on the mental health of young females. Christine is passionate about working to help children and young adults foster a healthy sense of self, and in doing so is fascinated to learning more how about how microagressions damage students sense of self and shape a college students’ experience.


Desiree Terani

Desiree is a fourth-year Intensive Psychology major at UCSC. Prior to Dr. Byrd’s lab, she was a research assistant in Dr. Raymond Gibbs’s lab studying humor habituation effects and embodied cognition. Within the field of psychology, her greatest passion is for the social influences on development. In her free time, she has volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club, plays lacrosse, watches films, listens to electronic music, and partakes an active role in Alpha Psi sorority. After she earns her Bachelor’s, she plans to pursue a PsyD in either Clinical Psychology or Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Carly Taylor

Carly is a fourth year undergrad majoring in Psychology and Feminist Studies with a concentration in Science, Medicine and Technology. Prior ​to joining Dr. Byrd’s Lab she worked and studied in campus and community resources that serve people impacted by intimate partner violence. Carly is passionate about understanding how oppressive attitudes can be learned and then unlearned to create safer environments. Carly is interested in pursuing a career in community health. In her spare time she likes to listen to  her best friend’s podcast, dance, and play with children.

Ashley Tran

Ash Tran

Ash Tran is a third year Intensive Psychology major from Stevenson College. With a strong interest in developmental and social psychology, she is intrigued by the powerful effects of a person’s history and its ways of shaping that individual into who they are today. Later on, Ashley hopes to attend graduate school to eventually become a psychologist for universities or the work environment. When she is not hibernating in McHenry, Ashley likes to sightsee, play with dogs, dance at concerts, drink black coffee, and listen to interesting conversations.

 Nuria Jazmin Villanueva

Nuria is currently a second year student working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Intensive Psychology with a minor in Latin American and Latinx Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is interested in all the fields of psychology, but she is mostly interested in the areas of Cognitive, Abnormal and Social psychology. She is passionate about culture, identity, racial bias, and stigmas surrounding mental illnesses within people of color. She wishes to obtain a PhD so that she can help people from her community address that mental illnesses need to be approached and not dismissed. Nuria is extremely interested about everything, and she keeps a small journal with her at all times to write down questions she wants answers to. This is Nuria’s first time being a member of a lab, and she is extremely excited to work with Dr. Byrd. Growth mindsets only!

Madison Webster

Madison is a senior Psychology student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has spent the last year in an internship at three different placements under the UCSC Psychology field study program working in alternative education at Pacific Elementary School, SOS (Second Opportunity for Students) High School, and OASIS Independent Study High School. In these placements she focused on behavioral instruction and support for students. She has played three years on the DIII UCSC Women’s Volleyball Team and loves to coach as well. After graduation, Madison aspires to go to graduate school for Occupational and Organizational Psychology in the UK. In her free time she enjoys playing the piano, playing volleyball, traveling, skiing, and going to the beach.

Leandra Weinberg

Leandra Weinberg

My name is Leandra Weinberg, I am from Roseville, CA and I am a senior double majoring in sociology and psychology at UC Santa Cruz. My research interests include media, as well as social media, and its intersection with race, class and gender and identity formation. I enjoy the way sociology and psychology can play off of each other from a research aspect and I hope to continue to use both of them in graduate school and hopefully for the rest of my life. Outside of school, I work as a barista at my favorite local coffee shop and I spend as much time possible with my adorable cat and my great housemates!

Sophia Wuest

Sophia Wuest

Sophia is a fourth year intensive psychology major with a minor in education. She is interested in clinical, educational and developmental psychology. Sophia is passionate about working with children, currently she works at a local elementary school. Sophia hopes to go to go to graduate school for clinical psychology. In her free time she enjoys hiking, cooking and watching the warriors win.