Projects, Skills, and Resume

You can also view my official my resume here.

Applied Projects

Efficacy Study
Efficacy Testing

Do embedded assessments within an online textbook improve student learning?

For this project, I am consulting with W.W. Norton & Company. At this time, I cannot divulge any of the associated details.
Germinator Stand-in Image
Transdiagnostic Risk Factors

Do individual differences in attentional states relate to individual differences in mental health?

Problem: Studies on patients with psychiatric diagnoses typically involve small numbers of patients and use behavioral surveys to assess cognitive deficits that don’t relate to the constructs as precisely as cognitive psychologists would hope. Meanwhile, attention researchers typically ignore clinical research when thinking about how to advance basic science theories. Creating an interdisciplinary bridge between the fields, I successfully earned a grant to run two large (>2k participants) online crowdsourced experiments, with participants performing attention experiments and self-reporting psychiatric symptoms.

Process: After earning the grant, I wrote a draft of a preregistration proposal, stating hypotheses, proposed experimental design, analyses, etc. and received feedback from my collaborators. I ran a usability test (guide, results) to ensure the attention experiments and self-report psychiatric questionnaires were intuitive for our participants (e.g., instructions make sense, code works well). Data for the first Experiment have been collected, and analysis is ongoing.

Outcome: In progress. My research adviser incorporated a form of this proposal in his R01 grant, “Neural mechanisms of cognitive meta-flexibility,” which was funded. I anticipate at least two research publications from this work: one focused on relating individual differences in attentional states (via reinforcement learning / computational modeling) to mental health (via confirmatory factor analysis) and one focused on providing supporting evidence for the role of learning in attention (via confirmatory factor analysis).

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Art show image
Intelligence Mindsets across Classrooms

Which learning beliefs impact academic success, motivation, and well-being?

Problem: Whether people believe intelligence cannot be developed (fixed mindset) or can be developed through effort and experience (growth mindset) has profound effects on academic success. However, most mindset research has focused on predicting academic grades to the detriment of understanding student well-being, grade satisfaction, and other classroom behaviors. Moreover, mindset is typically measured with a 4-item scale that is quite explicit in what is being tested. As intelligence mindset as a concept has become more popular, this measurement validity issue has posed problems (e.g., socially desirable answers, etc.).

Process: My collaborator and I obtained funding through the Charles LaFitte Foundation. We recruited instructors from multiple STEM disciplines and sent out Qualtrics surveys assessing student beliefs. To measure mindset, we used both the scale and open-ended prompts (e.g., What caused you to have your current level of intelligence?). We trained research assistants to code free-text responses to these prompts as being reflective of intelligence mindsets. We also have extracted event logs from learning management sites to formalize help-seeking and procrastination-related behaviors.

Outcome: We have a paper currently under review at Teaching of Psychology on a data-driven approach to teaching intelligence mindsets. We created a web-based algorithm categorizing answers to the prompts as indicative of intelligence mindsets and curated an art exhibit to challenge the way we think about intelligence. We presented the preliminary results of our project at the BRITE Ideas talk series in 2018 and 2019. Further outcomes are anticipated: we have over 2,500 responses to analyze and data from over thirteen STEM classrooms. We also have collaborators implementing these surveys outside of Duke.

LitLush logo
LitLush: Youtube Meets Goodreads

Could we create a modern, user-centered social media site for book lovers?

Problem: In 2013, my business partner and I thought that Goodreads, the predominant social media site for readers, had an outdated design and was missing key demographics of the book community. For example, Goodreads does not allow users to display additional videos or images, forcing users to link off-site and missing many different book communities – booktubers, i.e., Youtubers who make videos about books; bookstagrammers, i.e., Instagrammers who photograph books; etc. LitLush, pitched as social media for book lovers where Youtube meets Goodreads, was born.

Process: My business partner/the CEO recruited a manager who subsequently reached out to web developers. I recruited beta users through my connections in the book community; we specifically aimed for users whose reach and follower counts were high and who constituted our target audience. The CEO and I strategized together about the logo – the use of gender-neutral colors, modern fonts, and the symbol. We discussed branding: Long Live Lit became our slogan. We provided feedback to the developers on the prototype pages provided to us: member profile page for users, book profile pages, and the video portion of the site (not final).

Outcome: The site got to a testing stage before funding ran out, in part because the developers underbid the estimated amount of work involved. However, all was not lost, because the CEO and I made valuable connections with our beta testers. These connections were translated into the young adult villain-themed booktuber/author anthology, Because You Love to Hate Me, which we both contributed to and was a New York Times bestseller.

Applied Skills

  • I edited and supervised the writing of 8 communication pieces for the Duke Research Blog (e.g., 1, 2, 3).

  • As a TA for the Distinction Thesis Workshop and an Instructor of Record for Cognitive Psychology (where students wrote science communication pieces), I regularly gave students feedback on their writing. Student feedback for the workshop and cognitive psychology suggest this feedback helped.

  • I served as an editorial board member for Pomona College's literary magazine, Passwords, and briefly as a section editor for the yearbook, Metate. I also co-founded a creative writing club (5Cs Out Loud) where we regularly held workshops and gave each other feedback.

  • I have acted as a critique partner/beta reader for published authors (e.g., Amerie, Francesca Zappia), helping polish their final products.

  • I view my role as an ad-hoc reviewer for five top-tier psychology journals more as a mentor giving feedback to shape the story.

Project Management
  • As a Bass Digital Education fellow, I am currently receiving training on Project Management (e.g., resources: 1, 2, 3, 4) and am acting as Project Manager for a course on programming online social science experiments as well as modules on conducting User Experience Research.

  • As part of the mindset research above, my collaborator and I used many project management tools (e.g., Trello, worksheets, etc.) to keep track of which measures were used in different STEM classrooms and which steps needed to be taken (for data collection, manuscript writing, etc.).

  • The efficacy testing research above involves coordinating across editorial, marketing, and academic teams for eight different colleges and universities and at least two difference data collection phases.

  • The individual differences research above involves multiple phases of data analysis and collection, given the scope of the project, and I wrote the grant and am managing the team associated with the project.

  • I served as a Chief Operating Officer for a start-up (LitLush) in its earliest stages, which meant keeping track of many different communications and project goals.

Community Outreach
  • I have served on 3 panels for applying to graduate school for Psychology and Neuroscience majors and 1 panel for applying to the Preparing Future Faculty program.

  • I have been involved in numerous efforts to encourage greater participation in STEM for women. I have been a member and discussion leader for the Women in Science book club at Rutgers-Newark and the Scientists Promoting Equity and Knowledge group at Duke. I briefly served as a planning committee member for the Women in Science and Engineering group at Duke and started an undergraduate-graduate mentoring program. I also co-founded the Graduate Psychology & Neuroscience Women's Support Network.

  • I have acted as a representative for my Department: i.e., as a presenter at the DIBS external advisory board meeting and the Graduate Board of Visitors meeting, a representative in the GPSC, and a Graduate Student Affairs liaison.

  • I have served as an internal reviewer for the Preparing Future Faculty program and departmental guidelines on teaching assistantships and the graduate TA workshop.

  • I have organized numerous events: WSN panels and talks, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience journal club talk series, the Psychology & Neuroscience Department recruitment weekend, and miscellanous talks on power analysis and git/github.

Experimental & Survey Design
  • I have run over 30 experiments, at least 14 of which have been published as part of my 6 peer-reviewed publications.

  • I have run usability tests (guide, results) formally and informally to ensure that studies are as intuitive as possible for participants.

  • Part of the design process, whether experimental or creative, involves prototyping. I gave feedback to prototypes for both LitLush and the mindsetmapper algorithm.

  • As part of the mindset project (above), my collaborator and I designed, conducted, and implemented 13+ surveys across STEM disciplines. We then gave tips about this process in our 2019 talk, also informed by the Research in the Classroom course we took.

  • As a PhD student in Psychology & Neuroscience, a former research associate, and a college graduate with a BA in neuroscience, much of my 10+ years in research has involved thinking critically about experiments that test different premises.

  • I have programmed most of my experiments using JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and Qualtrics, which I (mostly) taught myself. Additionally, I have learned Bootstrap (see website) and occasionally incorporate Bootstrap into code.

  • Ongoing: I am designing a course on programming online social science experiments using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, and have taught a variant of this in prior workshops.

  • I analyze data in Python, R, Matlab, and JASP - all experimental and analysis code is available on my Github or OSF.

  • I learned Matlab through the Introduction to Programming with MATLAB coursera in 2014. I began to learn Python after I took a neuroscience bootcamp course in 2016, and I subsequently taught myself R. I also have attended co-lab workshops on software development and databases, and learned SQL through coursera.

Data Analysis & Statistics
  • As noted above, many of my projects involve Big Data, including TMS, fMRI, and behavioral measures with many participants, and I have had to learn wrangling and data management tools to properly analyze my data.

  • As part of my research ethics, I prioritize transparency. Thus, all analysis and data that I have used in published studies are available online, wrangled for convenience (e.g., first year, second year, third year 1, 2, fourth year).

  • I have taken many courses oriented to advanced statistical analysis: Applied Structural Equation Modeling, Applied Multivariate Statistics, Applied Analysis of Variance, and Introduction to Bayesian Statistics.

Web Development
  • I designed and coded this website.

  • I applied a pre-made theme for my course website, editing the code as needed for course goals/structure.

  • I managed a blog that had >1k followers across various social media platforms for over seven years.

  • My collaborator and I supervised and contributed to the creation of a web-based algorithm that categorizes responses to open-ended prompts about intelligence as indicating either fixed or growth mindsets.

  • As noted above, I served as the Chief Operating Officer of a social media start-up company (LitLush) oriented to book lovers.

  • Ongoing: I designed and coded a website on online social science experiments.

Computational Modeling/Machine Learning