Nicole Polaroid

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 learning and development in the areas of mathematical cognition, symbolic understanding, quantitative reasoning, and problem solving. Prof. McNeil is a member of the CBB area group 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 and the ND Center for STEM Education. She is also a LEO faculty affiliate and serves on the Restorative Justice in Education Committee for the SBCSC and on the leadership team of TutorND. 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 instructional materials help children develop their math understanding most effectively, while also learning how to best organize the lab to create a welcoming and user-friendly lab!


Patrick Kirkland is a rising fifth-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.


Trey Cobb is a rising second-year graduate student in the lab. He previously taught middle school math as an ACE teaching fellow in New York. After ACE, he worked with several non-profits focused on education policy and community building and taught high school math in Chicago. Trey is interested in designing learning environments that connect to and expand Black students' strengths. He is passionate about working together with Black students to strengthen cooperative practices of service to the Black community.


Bella Seip is a senior majoring in neuroscience and behavior with a minor in education, schooling, and society. She is interested in studying child development in all domains, but is specifically interested in the cognitive skills that facilitate or hinder children's learning in mathematics. After graduation she hopes to pursue a PhD in either clinical or developmental psychology. 

Shannon Celeste is a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in education, schooling, and society. She joined the CLAD Lab to work with children in the South Bend community and is currently developing a project focused on which type of feedback best helps students understand math equivalence. After graduation, Shannon hopes to pursue a degree in education or school psychology.

Amy Bahadursingh is senior majoring in neuroscience and behavior in the College of Science with a minor in science, technology, and society. Amy joined the CLAD Lab due to her passion for working with children and her interest in learning more about how early cognitive development plays a role in future academic performance. After graduation, Amy hopes to pursue a career in which she can make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Alexandra Polaroid

Alexandra Hicks is a senior majoring in psychology and pre-health. Alex has a passion for working with children and hopes to pursue a future in pediatrics after completing medical school. She joined the CLAD Lab to learn more about cognitive development throughout elementary aged children to enrich her psychology knowledge. She believes having a strong background in children's cognitive development will allow her to provide the most well rounded patient care and understanding in her future profession.

Mitchell Polaroid

Mitchell Kennedy is a senior studying neuroscience and behavior with a minor in Russian. He joined the CLAD Lab to learn more about cognitive development in children and to take part in research that has real world effects in terms of improving early childhood education. After graduation, Mitchell will commission as a 2nd Lt. in the US Army, and he also hopes to attend medical school after graduating from Notre Dame. 

Ellyn Polaroid

Ellyn is a senior science-business major with a minor in education, schooling, and society. With her mom and brother being teachers, education has always been one of her passions, along with medicine. She joined the CLAD Lab because of her love for children and math and wants to learn more about the cognitive development of children. After ND, she hopes to attend medical school and one day be a pediatrician. 

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Megan Dillon is a senior majoring in Neuroscience & Behavior with minors in Education, Schooling, and Society and Theology. She joined the lab to expand her research experiences in the field of child development and education, which is one of her main interests. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology.


Grace Monagan is a senior majoring in Psychology and Spanish and minoring in Digital Marketing. Grace has worked with children in a variety of settings throughout her time at Notre Dame: as a camp counselor, as a volunteer at ECDC, and as a literacy tutor for TutorND. She joined the CLAD Lab due to her love of both learning and teaching. This summer she will be teaching algebra to ninth graders from low income families through the Breakthrough Collaborate in Miami, Florida. After graduation, she hopes to become an elementary school teacher and continue to be involved with summer camps.


Elena Denner is a senior Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics major with a minor in Theology. Elena is interested in children’s early math development and joined the CLAD lab to learn more about different methods and measurements of children’s mathematical skills and progression. She hopes to contribute to programs that will improve early childhood education in the south bend area and beyond. 

Madison Polaroid

Madison Zajas is a junior from Northwest Indiana majoring in neuroscience and behavior. She joined the CLAD Lab due to her interest in the cognitive development of children, and how this can have long-term impacts beyond primary schooling. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in psychiatry.


Caroline Mohammed is a junior majoring in Biological Science and Mathematics. She decided to join the CLAD lab because of her love of working with children and interest in learning more about cognitive development in children. She was really drawn to this specific lab because of its work with mathematics. She has always found the way that children are able to learn math and the diverse ways they are able to comprehend subjects to be fascinating. Being able to combine these things and learn new techniques to teach math to individuals, especially in early childhood, is something she believes to be very important to the education world. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school in pursuit of becoming a surgeon.

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Alexa Mogan is a junior Honors Math and Psychology double major, with minors in Gender Studies and Computing and Digital Technologies (Cognitive Science track).  She is interested in researching mathematical cognition, especially the link between conceptual understanding and computational ability.  Alexa joined the CLAD lab to explore her research interests and contribute to the lab's goal of making math more accessible to all students.  After graduation, she hopes to participate in the ACE Teaching Fellows program, and eventually work toward a PhD in Psychology or Cognitive Science.

Intervention Specialists


Alyssa Dosmann is an intervention specialist for 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.


Olivia Jazbutis '21. Fullbright English Teaching Assistant in Spain.

Micaela Maron '21. Research Assistant.

Muhammad Mian '21. Applying to Medical School.

Jisel Gomez '21. ACE Teaching Fellows.

Connor O'Rear (Ph.D. 2020). Postdoc @ Purdue.

William Huffman '20. Medical School. 

Alli VanOverberghe '20. Graduate Student at Teachers College @ Columbia University.

Alice Felker '20. L'Arche Greater Washington, DC.
Claire Rudden '20. ACE Teaching Fellows.

Julia Crant (research staff). Nursing School.

Sara Norwood (research staff). Graduate School in Library and Information Science. 

Grace Devitt '19. Research Assistant @ University of Chicago.

Elizabeth Chen '19. Postgraduate service with Bon Secours volunteer Ministry in Baltimore.

Wiktoria Kozlowska '19. Mathematics Teacher (6th grade) in Chicago.

Christina Hayford '19. LU Choice Graduate Student @ Loyola University in Chicago.

"Lily" Maria Kenesey '19. Graduate Student in Education @ University of Michigan.

Kimberly Walter '19. Medical School @ Texas A&M.

Bridget Naylor-Komyatte '19. Postgraduate service with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest.

Carolina Botero '19. Graduate Student in Education @ Columbia University.

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

Regina Ekaputri '18. ACE Teaching Fellows.

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

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

Jenna Galuska '18. Analyst with Huron Consulting Group.

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.