Prof. Nicole McNeil is the director of the CLAD Lab at the University of Notre Dame. She is professor of psychology and holds an ACE College Chair. She received her B.S. from Carnegie Mellon and her Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin. She did a postdoc at Yale. Her research focuses on cognitive development in the areas of mathematical cognition, symbolic understanding, quantitative reasoning, and problem solving. Prof. McNeil is a member of the developmental and CBB area groups in the psychology department. She also directs the Education Schooling and Society minor on campus and is a Fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives, which houses the ND PIER program. She is also a LEO faculty affiliate and serves on the Restorative Justice Education Committee for the SBCSC. In her spare time, she serves as an Associate Editor for Cognitive Science ;) For more information, check out her CV, email, or follow her on Twitter.


Joanna Azar is the lab manager of the CLAD lab. She received her BS in education from Indiana University Bloomington and her MS in education from Indiana University South Bend. She taught math and language arts for 7 years in traditional classroom settings and then went on to teach critical reading for 10 years in an online classroom for Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. She is interested in learning about which types of counting books help children develop their math fluency most effectively, while also learning how to best organize the lab to create a welcoming and user-friendly lab!


Connor O'Rear is a fifth-year graduate student in the lab. He came to Notre Dame from Wabash College, where he majored in psychology. Broadly, Connor is interested in the intersection between psychological research and education. He is particularly interested in ways that we use our understanding of mathematical cognition to design effective math instruction, with an emphasis on promoting math achievement in children from disadvantaged backgrounds. 


Patrick Kirkland is a second-year graduate student in the lab. He joined the CLAD Lab after teaching middle school math as an ACE teaching fellow in Savannah, GA and then working for the ACE team here on campus. Patrick is interested in how middle school students solve word problems and make sense of numbers in their math classrooms. He is particularly interested in how to measure and improve students' number sense.



Carolina Botero is a senior studying Psychology and Economics with a minor in Education Schooling and Society from Bogota, Colombia. She is interested in Early Childhood Education and development. After graduation, she hopes to continue working with children and in the education field.


Wiktoria Kozlowska is a senior majoring in mathematics and participating in the Secondary Education program through Saint Mary's College. After graduating, she hopes to be a high school math teacher. She is interested in learning how children form the foundation of their mathematical knowledge and how this impacts their performance in the future. She believes this will help her be a more effective teacher one day.


Elizabeth Chen is a senior majoring in Psychology and Biochemistry. She joined the CLAD lab due to her interest in children's cognitive development and how early development impacts future learning. After graduating, she hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in pediatrics to continue working with children.


"Lily" Maria Kenesey is a senior at the University of Notre Dame, studying Psychology, with minors in Education, Schooling, and Society, and Latino Studies. She joined the CLAD due to her interests in learning more about children's cognitive development and working with students in the South Bend community. She appreciates that the studies in the lab both advance research and involve community outreach. She hopes to receive her master's in education and teach for many years. Lily's long term goal is to be in education policy, working to make quality education more equitable.


Kimberly Walter is a senior from Dallas, Texas studying Science-business and minoring in Education, Schooling, and Society. Next year, she hopes to attend medical school and plans to pursue primary pediatric medicine. Kimberly is interested in how parental and teacher involvement in early childhood development can positively affect math cognition and overall academic achievement. She hopes this will make her a better pediatrician with a more wholistic approach to patient care.



Grace Devitt is a senior majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior and minoring in Business Economics. She is very interested in studying the environmental factors that affect how children learn, specifically, the impact of socioeconomic status and geographic location on a child’s future success in school. After graduation, she hopes to work in pediatrics and child development as a medical professional. 


Bridget Naylor-Komyatte is a senior majoring in psychology and minoring in ESS. She joined the CLAD Lab in order to learn more about cognitive development, especially related to mathematical understanding and to work with children in the South Bend Community. After graduating, Bridget hopes to be involved in education in some capacity, through teaching, policy, or pursuing further schooling in the field of education. 


Alli VanOverberghe is a junior studying Psychology with minors in Business Economics and Education, Schooling, and Society. Alli joined CLAD to learn more about cognitive development in children and to help the South Bend community. After graduation, she hopes to participate in the ACE Teaching Fellows program or work in education policy. 


Alice Felker is a junior majoring in Psychology and Applied and Computational Math and Statistics (ACMS) and minoring in Education, Schooling, and Society. She is interested in studying the developmental differences in mathematical cognition, specifically in relation to children with documented learning and developmental disabilities. After graduation, she hopes to participate in the ACE Teaching Fellows program and later work toward a PhD in Educational or Clinical psychology.


Claire Rudden is a junior majoring in Psychology and Statistics from the Washington D.C. area. She is interested in studying how children of all ages develop their understanding of math concepts and how to motivate them to perform at their best. After graduation, she hopes to go into education and inspire her students to love math as much as she does! 

Research Assistants 


Alyssa Dosmann is a research assistant at the CLAD lab. She graduated from Purdue University with degrees in Dietetics and Nutrition, Fitness, and Health. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she enjoyed working on many different research projects. Before the CLAD lab her experience was centered around being a health educator at HealthWorks! Kids' Museum and raising three energetic boys.


Sara Norwood joined the CLAD Lab in September 2018. Prior to that, she taught STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) classes to Kindergarten-5th grade students at an elementary school in Fort Wayne. She earned her Bachelors degree in Education from Indiana University Bloomington, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.  


Mary Fairchild is a research assistant for the CLAD lab. She has a B.S. in elementary education. Her classroom experience has been with first and second graders. She also volunteers with preschoolers and elementary students. She enjoys working with children, helping them learn, and seeing what teaching strategies work best. 


Naomi joined the CLAD lab in March 2018. She is currently a Family Preservation Intern at SCAN Inc. in South Bend. She received a B.F.A. in Studio Art with an emphasis in Sculpture from The University of Iowa. In May 2019, Naomi will graduate from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College receiving a M.A. in Art Therapy with an emphasis in Counseling.


Megan Miranda (research staff). Graduate Student in School Psychology @ Tufts University.

Regina Ekaputri '18. ACE Teaching Fellows.

Rachel Iverson '18. AmeriCorps VISTA member at North Park University.

Zosia Zdanowicz '18. Medical School @ Loyola University in Chicago.

Jenna Galuska '18. Analyst.

Caroline Byrd Hornburg (grad student). Postdoc @ Purdue University.

Lauren Crawford (research staff). Graduate Student in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology @ Boston College.
Tom Hughes '17. Deloitte in NYC.
Natalie Vos '17. PACE Teaching Fellows. 
Alex Viegut '17. Graduate Student in Educational Psychology @ University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Elena Silla '17. ACE Teaching Fellows. 
Shannon Gaylord '17. Masters in Social Work @ University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bri Devlin (research staff). Graduate Student in Learning Sciences @ University of Delaware.
Ellie Sato '16. Medical School @ University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Alex Bohnsack '16. ACE Teaching Fellows.
Taylor Kelly '16. ACE Teaching Fellows.
Cristina Carrazza (research staff). Graduate Student in Psychology @ University of Chicago.
Valerie Williams '15. Masters in nursing at NYU.
Emily Geiger-Medina '15. Mathematica Policy Research.
Alice Tollaksen '15. Au Pair for family in Paris, France.
Marisa Rieber '15. PACE in Hawaii.
Erin Celeste '15. ACE Teaching Fellows @ Notre Dame.
Grace Bunsa '15. Position in Human Resources.
Casey Hall '14. Graduate Student in Psychology @ University of Chicago.
Lori Petersen (grad student). Postdoc @ University of Chicago.
Dana Chesney (postdoc). Postdoc @ Ohio State.
Andrea Renfroe '13. Graduate Student in Speech Language Pathology @ University of Washington.
Rebecca Kibler '13. French Embassy's Teaching Assistant Program in France then TFA.
Paul DiGaetano '13. Medical School @ St. George's University.
Mary McKeever (research staff). Veterinary Medicine School @ Ohio State.
April Dunwiddie (research staff). Stay at home mom.
Stephanie Borjas '12. Graduate Student in School Psychology @ University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Percival Matthews (postdoc). Assistant Professor @ University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Anne Smrek '12. Graduate Student in School Psychology @ Ohio State.
Mary Wheeler '12. Research Assistant in Psychology @ UT-Dallas.
Lauren Wester '11. Fullbright Fellow.
Erica Pepitone '11. Graduate Student in Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin.
Emily Fyfe '10. Graduate Student in Psychology @ Vanderbilt University.
Jenny Heil '10. Graduate Student in Sociocultural Anthropology @ Washington University in St. Louis.
Noelle Crooks '09. Graduate Student in Psychology @ University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Matt Gibson '08. Teach For America in Miami.
Krysten Williams '08. Graduate Student in Psychology @ Rutgers University.