Lab Members

Lab Director

Dr. Nicole Scalise

I am the director of the Early Learning Lab at Washington State University. I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Maryland with Dr. Geetha Ramani. I was an NSF Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of California, Irvine with Dr. Barbara Sarnecka. I joined the Department of Human Development as an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood in Fall 2022. My research examines why some children are better than others at early math, and what parents, educators, and researchers can do to help kids who are behind. In my free time, I enjoy reading fiction, baking, and spending time with my family.

Research Assistants

Isabella Santiago

Isabella Santiago is a double major in Human Development and Psychology. She became part of the lab in September 2022 to gain experience in the research process, experience with like-minded individuals, and experience aligned with the field of youth study. She looks forward to working with children and gaining a better understanding of their cognitive development from a new, research-oriented perspective. Isabella wants to continue pursuing graduate school studies after completing her undergraduate degree here at WSU. She loves weightlifting at the gym and spending time with her friends and family in her free time.

Katelyn Kessinger

Katelyn Kessinger is a Psychology major with a minor in Child Development. She joined the lab in October of 2022 to learn about how research is set up and conducted, with a focus on child participants. She looks forward to gaining a better understanding of how children learn and process information. After completion of undergraduate studies, Katelyn wants to continue on with graduate school at WSU. When not doing schoolwork, Katelyn loves playing games with friends and dancing. 

Morgan Conway

Morgan Conway is a Human Development major. She joined the lab in November of 2022 to gain hands-on experience working with children and making a difference. She looks forward to interacting with the participants to better understand how each child learns uniquely. After completing her undergraduate degree, Morgan wants to continue being a positive role model in children’s lives by becoming a certified child life specialist. Outside of school, Morgan is involved in a leadership role in her sorority and loves to spend quality time with her friends.

Amya Dahl

Amya Dahl is a third generation Coug seeking a major in Psychology, minor in Human Development, and certificate in Adolescent Development. She looks forward to working with children to help better develop our understanding of how they comprehend learning and math in the early stages of development. After completing undergraduate at WSU, Amya will further her education by pursuing graduate programs that will allow her to work by promoting healthy youth development. Amya loves all outdoor activities like camping, fishing, snowboarding and being immersed in nature, as well as spending quality time with her friends and family.

Lab Alumni

Ava Upson

Ava Upson is a double major in Psychology and Human Development. She was a research assistant in the lab during Spring 2023 in order to gain experience in research. Her interests center around abuse prevention and trauma reduction. She hopes to attend graduate school for social work and looks forward to working with children in her career. Her goal is to create an equine therapy center for children in her community. In her free time, Ava rides horseback, paints, and loves working with animals in any way she can!

Logan Ward

Logan Ward was a research assistant in Spring 2023 studying Psychology with a minor in Human Development. He plans to attend grad school and acquire his doctorate in Clinical Neuropsychology and work in Pediatrics. Logan plays golf and has been playing guitar for 12 years!