Graduate Students

Shailee Woodard, M.A. - Doctoral Student

Doctoral Student, Developmental Psychology

I am a doctoral student in the Experimental Psychology program at UM. I earned my B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Hispanic Studies from Pacific Lutheran University in the spring of 2017 and my M.A. in Psychology from University of Montana in 2019. My research interests lie in the realm of social development, specifically regarding the concept of worldviews. I wish to investigate how and when worldviews form and change, as well as and how they affect (or don’t affect) aspects of our daily lives, such as emotion, interpersonal interactions, self-talk, and other behaviors and cognitions. 
After graduate school, I would love to be employed as an academic and make a career out of asking questions, investigating, learning, and sharing my knowledge and passion for psychology with other students.
In my free time, I enjoy visiting my hometown, Spokane, WA where my family, friends, and beloved dog live, and the Seattle area, where my significant other and his kitten live. I also love outdoor pastimes (running, boating, camping) and indoor pastimes (shopping, reading, dabbling in crafts) equally. 

Sarah Sweezy - Doctoral Student

I am a graduate student in the Experimental Psychology program at the University of Montana studying developmental psychology. I obtained my B.S. in Psychology from Tennessee Technological University in the fall of 2019. I am interested in researching children’s interactions with embodied or personified technologies. Specifically, I aspire to further explore how children attribute internal states or perceive technologies, such as robots, to be alive. My long term career goals consist of remaining in academia as a researcher or teacher.

I enjoy being outside with my dog or hammocking, but I thrive being indoors drinking coffee, reading books, crocheting, and working on puzzles.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Lauren Baeten - Research Assistant

Major: Psychology

Year: Senior

I am a full-time undergraduate student at the University of Montana aspiring to obtain further education and profession in the field of child development. I am pursuing the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential through my employment with a nationally accredited preschool and am incredibly passionate about Early Childhood Education. My career aspirations revolve around working with children and helping young people flourish into happy, healthy adults. Born in Missoula and raised in the Bitterroot Valley, I am instilled with a passion for nature. I make the most of my leisure time enjoying hiking with my dog or snowboarding, depending on the season. I have a love for good books, music and conversation and my dreams involve exploration of this beautiful world.

Ben Cikutovich - Research Assistant

Major: Psychology

Year: Junior

I am undecided on my career path completely, but school psychology and I/O psychology both interest me. I am part of the UM Track and Cross Country team so a lot of my time is taken up by running. I also enjoy listening to music and playing the drums. I am from Spokane WA but Missoula is definitely my home away from home! 

Meg Denny - Research Assistant

Major: Psychology

Year: Post-baccalaureate

I’m very excited to be working in the Minds Lab during the final leg of my post-bacc career. I’ve worked with children in a variety of settings, and my time in the University of Montana’s Psychology department has served to further my passion for supporting and helping children, particularly those coming from or dealing with traumatic experiences. In my free time, I volunteer as a CASA, work as a freelance graphic designer, and perform as a clown. I also love to read, paint, and hike - no matter what weather Montana tries to throw at me!

Sarah Harrell - Research Assistant

Major: Psychology and Sociology

Year: Senior

After completing my Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Sociology, I plan to pursue a PhD in Psychology. I hope to have a career as a juvenile counselor one day. 

Currently, I am a Resident Assistant at UM so I spend a lot of my time with my responsibilites associated with my job. I also love hanging out with my friends, family, and boyfriend. Hammocking, traveling, eating, and exploring are what I love doing the most. 

Rita Lang - Research Assistant

Major: Psychology

Minor: Human Biology

Year: Junior

I would like to go into the medical field, working with children as a pediatrician or nurse.

I am on the UM Lady Griz Soccer team, so I spend a lot of my time playing soccer. I also enjoy reading, hiking, traveling, and spending quality time with friends and trying new and fun things!

Maryam Norton - Research Assistant

Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Year: Senior

I am finishing up my undergraduate degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. After graduation I plan to continue my education in either Speech Pathology or Medicine.

I grew up in Micronesia, Alaska, and then Maine. I moved back to Alaska on my own a few years ago, where I now spend my summers working in a coffee shop and building a cabin. In my free time I like to bake, write, and explore the running trails in Montana with my dog.

Shaina Ore - Research Assistant

Major: Psychology

Minor: Biology (pre-med)

Year: Junior

Hannah Woods - Research Assistant

Major: Psychology

Year: Senior

I am a Navy veteran and a New Orleans native. I fell in love with psychology on accident; when I transferred to the University of Montana, my credits made the most sense for a psychology degree. I haven't looked back since declaring my major. I'm still not sure what is on the horizon for my career, so for now, I'm just enjoying the fulfilling journey of learning and researching. In my free time, I like to take my dogs on walks and play ukulele (usually not at the same time!) I also do make-up, draw, paint, and make decorated desserts when I'm not playing board games with my friends. 

Lab Alumni

Graduate Student - Alumni

  • Lee Curran (Computer Science)
  • Jessica Hudson (Specialist in School Psychology)

Undergraduate Student - Alumni

  • Rachele Barker (former Lab Manager)
  • Lorri Bethel
  • Stephen Cooke
  • Sydney Faul (School Psychology PhD Program, University of Colorado, Denver)
  • Damaris Gemmer
  • Caitlin Gillespie (Speech and Language Pathology Masters Program, University of Montana)
  • Kelsey Halvorson
  • Lyndsay Hutton
  • Bethany Lindner
  • Madeline Matia
  • Somer Messerly
  • Jamie Pauley
  • Shelby Rosston
  • Caitlin Ryan
  • Emily Schindeldecker
  • Dennis Schuster (Counselor Education Masters Program, University of Montana)
  • Grace Sievert
  • Kali Taylor (former Lab Manager; Blewett Law School, University of Montana)
  • Jenna Truax
  • William "Rob" Wyckoff (Speech and Language Pathology Masters Program, University of Montana)