Lab Director


Dr. Jenna E. Finch

​Dr. Finch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Psychological Sciences from Stanford University's Graduate School of Education.


Her research explores how contextual factors influence children’s early development. Specifically, her work focuses on the development of children’s self-regulation and motivation in home and school environments. Her past work has examined how family risk factors are linked to the development of children’s executive functions and social-emotional skills in both domestic and international settings. Currently, Dr. Finch is exploring how interactions with teachers and peers can support executive function development in early and middle childhood.

Office: Burnett Hall 223 Email: Download: CV

Graduate Research Assistant

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Kimia Akhavein

Kimia is a third-year graduate student in the Developmental Psychology program. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology in 2016. After earning her degree, Kimia further pursued her interest in developmental research, completing a post-baccalaureate program in Psychology and Social Behavior and working as a lab manager at UC Irvine. At UNL, Kimia is interested in studying how contextual factors impact cognitive development in early childhood. Furthermore, she hopes to examine how parents and teachers support children’s executive functions and self-regulation skills to promote academic success.


Lab Manager


Riley Bittner

Riley was an undergraduate research assistant in the LADR lab for a year before graduating from UNL with her Bachelor of Science in Biology and in Psychology. She plans on attending graduate school for education inspired by her time as a tutor and teaching assistant for five different undergraduate courses. In her free time, Riley enjoys reading, writing, spending time outside, and catching up with friends and family.  

Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistants


Isis Burks

Isis is an undergraduate student from Lincoln, Nebraska. She is majoring in Psychology with an emphasis in Clinical Science and Human Services, and a minor in Child, Youth, and Family Studies. After she graduates, she plans to get her Doctorate in School Psychology. Isis is an executive team member of the Minority Pre-Health Association and is on the leadership team of CAS Ambassadors at UNL. In her free time, she likes to spend time with family and friends, and loves working with kids!


Caylin Eastridge

Caylin is an undergraduate student from Omaha, Nebraska. She is currently majoring in Psychology with a minor in Child, Youth, and Family Studies. After graduation, she hopes to attend a Clinical Psychology graduate program and study Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. Caylin is a member of Alpha Xi Delta on campus, and she is also in the Order of Omega honors society. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as doing puzzles.


Saba Ghaffar

Saba is an undergraduate student from Lincoln, Nebraska, majoring in Biology with minors in Biochemistry and Psychology. She is currently on the Pre-Med track in hopes of becoming a Psychiatrist. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with family and friends, reading, watching movies/tv shows, and being outdoors.


Amber Gryga

Amber is a first-generation student from Lakeville, Minnesota. She is currently majoring in Psychology with a minor in Education Psychology. After she graduates, she hopes to get her Masters in School Psychology. Amber is a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, UNL Unified Sports, and is also a tour guide on campus. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading books, working out, and watching movies!

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Logan Larsen

Logan is a first-generation undergraduate student from Lincoln. He is majoring in Psychology, with minors in Chemistry and English. As a member of the Nebraska Spirit Squad he loves to represent the University in any way possible, and you can find him at most Husker sporting events. After graduating Logan plans to attend dental school, and hopes to eventually practice dentistry somewhere in Nebraska. When Logan has free time he enjoys hiking, reading an intriguing fantasy book, or taking his dog on a walk.


Grace Parolek

Grace is an undergraduate student from Omaha, Nebraska. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. After graduation, Grace plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in the field of Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys running, spending time with friends and family, reading, listening to music, and traveling. 


Drake Seibel

Drake is from Omaha, Nebraska, and is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Sociology. He is an undergraduate and would like to pursue a doctorate degree in Psychology. Drake eventually would like to work as a professor, conducting research on various aspects of social, cognitive, and positive psychology. He enjoys doing independent research, watching movies, playing video games, and talking with professors and peers.


Emily Shurtliff

Emily is a Nebraska-native undergraduate who is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in both Child, Youth, & Family Studies and Criminology and Criminal Justice. She has worked with kids her entire life, and she is planning to do more in the future! Emily is on track to graduate in the spring of 2023, and she then hopes to pursue a Ph. D. 


Makenzie Starlin

Makenzie is an undergraduate student from Omaha, Nebraska majoring in Biology, with minors in Biochemistry, Math, Humanities in Medicine, and Psychology. After graduating, she plans to attend medical school with hopes of being a pediatrician. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family. 


Madelyn Stock

Madelyn is an undergraduate student from Doniphan, Nebraska. She is majoring in Psychology with minors in Communications and Educational Psychology. After graduating she plans to pursue a master's in School Psychology. She has a passion for working with and helping children from her time working at the YMCA as a summer camp counselor. At UNL, she is a member of the Honors Program and the Citylight Church Salt Company. In her free time, she enjoys baking, exercising, and spending time with friends and family. 


Colin Thieszen

Colin is a undergraduate student double majoring in Psychology and Broadcasting.  He also works for HuskerVision covering live sporting events on campus.  After graduation, he plans to pursue a doctorate in Educational Psychology in the hopes of one day starting his own research lab! In his down time, you can find him throwing up massive blocks on the volleyball court or cooking with his friends.

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Haley Witthuhn

Haley is a first generation, undergraduate student majoring in Psychology. She works at the UNL Children's Center and enjoy engaging with the children and watching them grow. When she graduates, she plans to pursue a career in child psychology. She is in the honors program, a member of Phi Sigma Pi, and was recently accepted into the McNair Scholars Program. In her free time, Haley likes to spend time with loved ones, read, write poetry and travel.