Undergraduate Research Assistants
2022 - present
2022 - present
Courtney is currently a senior at the University of North Georgia. She is working towards a psychology degree with a minor in sociology. Her research interests are focused on social and clinical psychology. She plans to use her experience with cognitive psychology to discover how attention, perception, and memory may affect intimate relationships. Courtney began working in the Hale Vision Lab during the summer of 2022. During her first year, Courtney completed a collaborative multi-experiment project studying a surface completion and color spreading illusion known as the watercolor illusion. This project was submitted to a high impact journal for publication and is under review. This project was also presented in a poster session by Courtney and a fellow research assistant at the Vision Sciences Society (VSS), an international visual perception conference, in the spring of 2023. During the summer of 2023, Courtney was hired as a paid research assistant through UNG’s eight-week-long Faculty Undergraduate Summer Experience (FUSE) program. She worked together with Dr. Hale and a fellow research assistant to design a research project, recruit participants, collect data, clean and analyze data, and present the developments through four separate presentations. This project utilized advanced virtual reality equipment to create a controlled “real-world” environment to study visual long-term memory capabilities and limitations. Research from this project will be submitted to a high impact journal for publication and be presented at research conferences in the coming academic year. She is also collaborating with Dr. Hale and a fellow UNG student on a project involving the relationship between the Birthday Number Effect and self-esteem that will be submitted to the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research in the Fall of 2023. Courtney is an active member of the student conduct & integrity committee and is the president of the Psi Chi Honors Society for the 2023-2024 school year. After graduation, Courtney plans to enroll in a graduate program that will allow her to research ways in which sexual education affects STI exposure, pregnancy, and risky sexual behavior in a youth population.
2021 - present
2020 - 2022
2020 - 2022
Erin is graduated from UNG in 2023, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience. She has an interest in cognitive psychology related to attention, memory, sensation, and perception. She is chapter president for UNG Gainesville Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an international organization that aims to mend the many incomprehensible policies related to drugs in this country. She participated in SSDP’s Psychedelic Pipeline mentorship program as a mentee where she created a harm reduction peer support group with the support of UNG’s counseling center. Additionally, she volunteers with Dancesafe, a harm-reduction organization. Her research interests include visual perception and the way we use our memory to interpret new stimuli. In Fall 2020, she started a novel research project on fragile memory. During Spring 2021 she presented her research at UNG’s Annual Research Conference (ARC) and plans to present new findings at additional conferences in the near future. She was awarded the 2021 Outstanding Psychology Student Researcher award for the Gainesville campus. She was also accepted into the University of Georgia's Summer Undergraduate Research Experience in Neuroscience (NSURE) program, an NHI-funding training program designed to provide an immersive biomedical research experience for the next generation of underrepresented students in the biomedical sciences. Erin plans to pursue a Ph.D. to further her research in these many areas of interest. In 2022, Erin co-authored a publication in the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research. Click here to read that article.
2020 - 2021
When working in the HVL, Alexandra Negru was a freshman at the University of North Georgia who, majoring in psychology and minoring in philosophy. Alongside Dr. Hale, she was currently working on her first research project that aims to explore an association between music and cognitive abilities such as memory retention. As a student of the University of North Georgia’s Honors Program, she plans share her findings at various research conferences in the southeast. By executing and presenting this research, she hopes to encourage awareness of scientifically supported methods of enhancing cognitive facilitation. Alexandra also intends to find more efficient ways for future students to study through her research in this area. Alexandra’s long term goal is to attend Harvard Law School and pursue a career as an attorney. She plans to use her psychology knowledge in law school and beyond in the hopes of better understanding the needs of her clients.
2019 - 2021
Kalyn graduated from the University of North Georgia in 2022, majoring in psychology with a minor in criminal forensics. Her general research interests are in behavioral and abnormal psychology. She is also interested in cognitive psychology as it pertains to sensory stimulation and the expression of behaviors. By having a background in cognitive psychology, it will help her studying different human behavioral expressions. Following graduation Kalyn plans to attend graduate school to seek a masters and doctorate in Behavioral Psychology so she can work in government or industry as a behavioral/criminal analyst. Currently, Kalyn is working on two projects. The first is a project investigating the influence of emotions and motivational factors for an adolescent or young adult’s first sexual intercourse and how this relates to the Object Relations Theory. The second project is investigating the influence of illusory surface color on figure-ground assignment by attempting to bias abstract ambiguous figure-ground stimuli using the watercolor illusion. This project is likely to better our understanding of the roll of surface properties in perceptual organization.
2018 - 2019
Erica is a graduated psychology major and computer science minor pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialty in substance use disorder. As part of the McNair Scholars program, she completed a research project titled "Lexical harm reduction: Language perpetuates stigma related to substance use disorder" which investigated the types of judgments elicited by clinical and colloquial language related to substance use disorder. Her broader research interest is psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, and she plans to complete her graduate research on the potential role of ibogaine as a clinical intervention for substance use disorder. She is the director of the Georgia chapter of Dancesafe, a nonprofit public health organization that provides harm reduction services at music festivals and other events. She is also a long-time student leader for UNG's Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter, a board member of Peachtree NORML, and a volunteer for the Zendo Project and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Erica's interest in perception stems from the insights this field may provide into the processes involved in perceptual distortion during psychedelic experiences. She is particularly interested in synesthesia, the blending of sensory modalities often reported during acute drug effects of psychedelics.
Miranda is a graduated student at the University of North Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in business administration. She has interests in the field of social psychology as demonstrated in a study titled “How phubbing affects group interaction” where she examined college student perceptions of phone usage in social interactions. Due to her interests in behavioral health, Miranda has worked locally with Avita Community Partners in Gainesville, GA at the Women’s Treatment and Support Program. This opportunity has helped her gain hands-on training with substance abuse in nearly a dozen women and children - an opportunity that has provided useful insight into her future goals and aspirations related to mental health. Miranda has also acquired a passion in environmental psychology including specifically how outdoor activities, fresh air, and interactions with nature can help those struggling with depression and anxiety disorders. Miranda also fosters a love of animals which has led to a desire to research animal behavior, animal cognition, the evolution of social behaviors, animal perceptual processes, and the efficacy of emotional support animals. As well as being a full-time student, Miranda works full-time in the service industry. Additionally she works part-time as a Lab Assistant for the Psychology Department at UNG. She is a member of the UNG’s First Year Foundation Peer Mentor group, engaging with over ten assigned freshmen mentees per semester. Miranda plans to complete a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology where she hopes to answer a variety of behavior, health, and cognition-related questions through her research in the program.
Interested in joining our lab? Contact me: Ralph.Hale@ung.edu