Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University

Neurocognition Science Lab and Data Center

Laboratory Personnel

Don McMahon

Don McMahon, Ph.D – Associate Professor

Don McMahon is an Assistant Professor of Special Education Technology at Washington State University in Pullman, WA.  His research focus on Universal Design for Learning, Assistive Technology, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Wearable devices, Mobile Devices, Mobile Learning, and Instructional technology.  At WSU Don McMahon is the Director the Assistive Technology Research and Development Lab and an affiliate member of the Neurocognitive Sciences Lab.

Dr. McMahon received his Doctorate in Education from the Special Education Ph.D. program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.    In addition to his doctoral work, Don attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Universal Design for Learning Summer Institute in 2010.  His research involves increasing the use of Universal Design for Leaning principles in education, using mobile devices increase achievement for students with disabilities, and exploring the impact of augmented reality as an assistive technology for students with disabilities.  Don was a special education teacher for 7 years and then became an instructional Co-teaching coach for general education and special education teachers.  Don is a national presenter providing professional development sessions for both general educators and special educators on using mobile devices in education.   He has worked with diverse groups of children as the director of an adventure based summer camp, outdoor educator and sailing instructor, volunteer in Haiti, technology instructor, coteaching instructional coach, and as a teacher at an alternative school.  He recently was an editor of a book on educational gaming research and he has strong lines of original research on using mobile devices in education.

University Photo 2015

Jonah Firestone, Ph.D – Associate Director

Assistant Professor, holds a Ph.D. Curriculum and Instruction in Science Education with a specialization in Geology Education from Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. His research examines the Social Norms of Education on Beginning Science Teachers’ Understanding.



Christine McManus, M.Ed – NCSL Lab Manager

Christine McManus is pursuing a Doctorate in Math and Science Education in the school of Teaching and Learning with an emphasis on Computer Science. She earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership, specializing in Career and Technical Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She also holds two Advanced Study Certificates in Technology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and an Advanced Study Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education from Southern Utah University.  Her interests are physiological measurement of cognitive performance of educational technology (mobile application development) in math and science, with special interest areas of special education and gerontechnology.

Josh Premo

Joshua Premo – Researcher

Josh Premo is pursuing a Doctorate in Biology in the School of Biological Sciences. His general interests are around the application of evolutionary theory to educational research and practice. Currently he is working as a research assistant on a project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences involving transfer optimization of middle school student’s evolutionary knowledge to novel scenarios. His own research draws on evolutionary theory to find mechanisms by which cooperation can be more effectively promoted within the classroom.

Before coming to WSU, Josh taught middle and high school science in the New York State public school system. Prior education includes a Master’s in Teaching and a B.S. in Biology, History, and Anthropology.

Adnan Athobaiti

Adnan Althobaiti – Researcher

Adnan Althobaiti is pursuing a Doctorate in special education. He earned his master’s degree in special education from Canisius College, Buffalo, NY. Adnan was a research assistant at Institute for Autism Research, Canisius College. The area of research that Adnan is interested in is the social, intellectual, and emotional aspects of gifted education and highly capable students.

Rani Picture

Rani Muthukrishnan, PhD – Researcher

Rani Muthukrishnan is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Language, Literacy and Technology and has a PhD in Ecology. Her research is interdisciplinary with focus on ecoliteracy. Her recent work focuses on the role of cognition on ecoliteracy in young children. She is very interested in working with cognitive aspects of young children’s literacy and research in multidisciplinary settings.



generic picture placeholder

Kendra Rieger – Researcher

Kendra Thew is pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. She is working on her dissertation regarding the stress reduction benefits of human animal interaction. Specifically, she aims to quantify any changes in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, skin conductance, and skin temperature in college students while they pet registered therapy dogs. Her prior education includes an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy and a B.A. in Psychology.

Amanda Pic

Amanda McMahon – Researcher

Amanda McMahon completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee.  Her Bachelor’s is in Nutrition and her Master’s is in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Physiology.  Her research interests include promoting physical activity among individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities and utilizing the practice of yoga for overall health and well-being.  Additionally, she has an interest in physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period.  She is an avid half-marathoner and triathlete, and as such has a strong personal and professional interest in exercise performance.  Amanda’s academic goal is to continue her education at Washington State University with for the end purpose of promoting a healthy lifestyle to others.  She is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine.


Reanne Cunningham – Researcher

Reanne Cunningham holds a BA in Spanish with a minor in French and went through the teacher preparation program at WSU. She is currently student teaching high school Spanish. Reanne hopes to join WSU’s MA in Special Education program in the Spring. Her research interests include working with linguistically and culturally diverse populations and using technology to make learning more accessible to students with a wide range of abilities. Since September of 2014 Reanne has worked as a research assistant with Dr. Richard Lamb.