Interested in a doctoral program or gaining research experience, consider joining the Thinking and Learning Lab. For more information…click here.

People in Our Lab 

Principal Investigator

Elida V. Laski
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University
Ed.M Early Childhood Education, Boston University

Dr. Laski received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. Prior to earning her Ph.D., she received a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and worked in public schools for over 5 years, first as a kindergarten teacher, then as a Reading Recovery teacher, and later as a literacy coach for the Boston Public Schools providing professional development to teachers of children in preschool through lower elementary school.

Dr. Laski joined the faculty at Boston College's Lynch School of Education as an assistant professor of Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology in 2009. Upon arriving at Boston College she established the Thinking and Learning Laboratory. Research in the lab focuses on understanding the role of cognitive and social factors in the development of academic concepts, particularly those related to mathematics. Her work explores the mechanisms that promote, constrain, or impede learning and how psychological learning principles can be used to develop and improve educational activities. In 2011, she was nominated for a prestigious James T. McDonnell Scholar Award. In 2013, she was selected to participate in the American Education Research Association Early Career Scholar Mentor Program.

To view her complete CV, visit her department webpage.

Graduate Students

Melissa Collins

Melissa is a fifth year doctoral student in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Harvard College in 2008 and has worked professionally in research, assessment, and evaluation roles at a range of educational nonprofits, including Jumpstart and The Achievement Network. Melissa is interested in early education and the use of research to inform instruction, program design, and policy. She conducts research exploring the development of domain-general cognitive processes, such as pattern recognition, symbolic thinking, and relational reasoning, and their role in children's early learning.

Anna Ermakova

Anna is a fifth year graduate student in the Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology program. She received her B.S. from Angelo State University and her M.A. from East Tennessee State University. In addition to conducting developmental research in psychology, her experience includes having studied and taught mathematics in both the U.S. and Russia. Anna is interested in cross-cultural differences in math learning as well as ways that mathematics instruction can be informed by cognitive principles of learning.

Megan Knetemann

Megan is a first year Master's student in the Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology program within the Lynch School of Education. Megan completed her B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Global Religions from James Madison University in 2015. She has previously completed research projects investigating cognitive development, knowledge building, and alternative pedagogies in higher education. Megan is interested in cognitive development, educational policy, and the application of cognitive learning principles into the classroom.

Elie Ohana

Elie is a first year Master's student in the Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology program. He completed his BSc. degree in Psychology at the University of Waterloo where he conducted research on the development of numeracy and language concepts at the Developmental Science Lab. He also conducted research on numerical and reading processes at the CaNB and Besner Labs at the University of Waterloo. Elie is interested in the development of numerical and spatial thinking and how cognitive science research is applied in education, psychometrics and policy.

Joanna Schiffman

Joanna is a second year doctoral student in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology. She received her B.A. in psychology from Wesleyan University in 2011. Following graduation, Joanna worked for three years in Dr. Susan Levine's lab at University of Chicago studying the development of children's spatial skills. Joanna is interested in children's mathematical development and how research can be directly translated into educational settings. She is especially interested in young children's numerical and spatial understanding, and the origins of individual differences in math performance.


Katie Benjamin

Katie is a junior in the Lynch School of Education majoring in Elementary Education and Applied Psychology and Human Development with a minor of management and leadership in the Carroll School of Management. Since she is both an education and psychology major, she is incredibly interested in studying cognitive development in elementary aged children and seeing the implications within the classroom.

Karina Halloran

Karina is a junior in the Lynch School of Education. She is majoring in Secondary Education and Mathematics and plans to be a high school Math teacher once she graduates. She is particularly interested in studying various teaching strategies and the differenct ways in which students learn.


Alana Dulaney

Alana completed her Ph.D. in 2014 at BC, where she studied cognitive (such as spatial skills and working memory) and environmental (such as the parent-child interactions) factors related to children's mathematical performance. Currently, she is continuing this work as a postdoctoral scholar, working with Susan Levine at University of Chicago.

Melisa Paz

Melissa received her M.A. in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology in 2015 at BC. While at the lab, she focused on the application of cognitive learning principles and their application within the classroom. She currently works as a therapist with Apex Behavioral Consulting, and continues to apply principles of cognition and learning into her work.

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