• current members

    Catherine J. Norris, PhD

    Associate Professor of Psychology

    Primary Investigator

    Bio coming soon!

    Elise Cummings, '19

    Research Assistant

    Major: Honors Neuroscience

    Elise is from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, and is currently working on her thesis, an ERP study of pain perception and emotion. Though she has many interests in the field of neuroscience, her primary focus is on the neural underpinnings of social behavior, specifically how both internal and external factors interact to influence how we, as humans, relate and respond to other individuals. Elise has also studied the role of anticipated regret in Hoarding Disorder in Dr. Jed Siev’s lab, as well as the significance of the dsx gene in female fruit fly receptivity in Dr. Shannon Ballard’s lab.


    Outside of the lab, Elise enjoys getting slightly lost while exploring new places. Her most recent adventure was a semester studying at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. After graduation, Elise hopes to attend graduate school for neuroscience or neuropsychology, and ultimately pursue a career that involves both research and clinical work.

    Sky Deswert, '19

    Research Assistant

    Major: Psychology

    Minor: Philosophy

    Sky was born and raised in Northwest Philadelphia. She has been working in the lab since 2016. She is majoring in psychology and minoring in philosophy. She is primarily interested in clinical psychology and plans to pursue a PhD to become a therapist. She intends to focus on helping disadvantaged populations including children who have been through trauma and people who are homeless with mental illness.

    Elena Do, '20

    Research Assistant

    Major: Honors Neuroscience

    Elena is from Chicago and majoring in Honors Neuroscience. She began working in the lab summer of 2018. Currently, she plans to pursue a thesis focusing on Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination or Learning and Memory. With either direction, she hopes to apply her research to create a significant impact on the world. Outside of school she has been a Chemistry Lab Teaching Assistant, Chester Community Fellow, and volunteer with various organizations in the greater Philadelphia area. Additionally, she holds positions on campus as Chief Marketing and Philanthropy Officer of Kappa Alpha Theta, Treasurer for Speak 2 Swatties (Mental Health Advocacy), and a Sexual Health Advocate. In her free time she enjoys dancing and exploring new cities.

    Molly Fennig, '20

    Research Assistant

    Major: Neuroscience

    Minors: Spanish and English

    Molly is from St. Paul, Minnesota. She is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Spanish and English at Swarthmore. Outside of class and research, Molly is president of Speak2Swatties, the mental health advocacy group on campus. After Swat she plans to attend graduate school for clinical psychology.

    Julia Ford, '18

    Research Assistant

    Major: Honors Psychology

    Minor: Anthropology

    Julia is from New Rochelle, NY, just north of New York City. She is Honors Major in Psychology and an Honors minor is Anthropology. Within these disciplines, Julia is fascinated by human interactions and the way in which situations and cultures influence our daily choices and emotions.


    Outside of the lab, Julia spends her time on the Drama Board, financing student run shows as well as directing, performing and promoting theater on Swarthmore's campus. She also loves to travel and looks forward to spending the Fall '19 semester in Prague!

    Maria Isabel (Bel) Barros Guinle, '19

    Research Assistant

    Major: Neuroscience

    Minor: Dance

    Bel is from São Paulo, Brazil. She is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Dance, while also taking pre-med courses. Bel is most interested in the overlap between social and cognitive Neuroscience, as well as clinical applications of Neuroscience research. She hopes to pursue an MD/PhD after graduating. Bel has worked as a research assistant for the EEG lab for 2 years now and has recently joined the Norris Lab to design her thesis.


    Outside of the lab, Bel enjoys dancing ballet and trying new food spots. She also enjoys travelling, especially getting to explore more of Brazil!

    Letty Ho, '19

    Research Assistant

    Major: Neuroscience

    Letty grew up in Hong Kong and is a neuroscience major in the Swarthmore Class of 2019. She joined the lab in the spring semester of her sophomore year, where she helped collect behavioral and ERP data for thesis projects within the lab. Her current research interests include language pragmatics, linguistic ambiguities, and ambivalence in gambling game outcomes. She spent the second semester of her junior year abroad as an affiliate student in the Psychology department of UCL where she joined the lab of Professor Jeremy Skipper. In addition to her work in the Social Neuroscience lab and with Professor Skipper, Letty is also writing her neuroscience thesis with Professor Dan Grodner. She hopes to attend graduate school in psychology or neuroscience after her time at Swarthmore. During her time abroad, Letty worked as a cook in a Chinese restaurant. Besides cooking, she enjoys painting and hiking in her free time.

    Samuel Leonard, '20

    Research Assistant

    Majors: Psychology and French & Francophone Studies

    Sam is a current junior at Swarthmore College from Phoenix, Arizona with a declared double major in Psychology and French & Francophone Studies. With a heavy interest in clinical psychology and counseling, Sam hopes to move onto grad school and possibly a doctoral program after his education at Swarthmore. Treasurer and Co-President of the Swarthmore Indigenous Student Association, Sam is from the Tséńjíkiní clan of the Navajo Nation and hopes to focus his post-education on Indigenous Mental Health issues and finding ways to improve tribal, private, and federal mental health programs. In his free time, Sam likes to walk through the Crum Woods, read, and cook.

    Elizabeth Stiles, '20

    Research Assistant

    Majors: Neuroscience and Philosophy

    Elizabeth is a pre-med junior majoring in Neuroscience and Philosophy. She is originally from Long Island, New York. She also works as a Lang Center Associate for Public Health at the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility on campus, and plays for the women’s basketball team. Elizabeth is passionate about medical law and alternative medicine. She conducted research this past summer at the University of Pennsylvania with Swat alum Dr. Jeff Greeson on the influence of mindfulness-based practices on physiological markers of stress.

    Shiloh Sumanthiran, '19

    Research Assistant

    Major: Honors Political Science and Psychology

    Shiloh is from Colombo, Sri Lanka and is an Honors Political Science major and Psychology course major and Honors minor. Shiloh is also a SAM, a member of War News Radio, and a debater at Swarthmore.

    Mikhal Yudien, '19

    Research Assistant

    Major: Neuroscience

    Mikhal lives on the top of a mountain in rural Vermont, and is majoring in Neuroscience as part of the Swarthmore College Class of 2019. She is also pursuing pre-medical studies and plans to apply to medical school right after graduation. Mikhal hopes to perhaps become a surgeon in the future, although she is also interested in clinical psychology, psychiatry, and social neuroscience. In addition to working in the Norris lab, she is writing her thesis on research she conducted at UPenn regarding reading tests as a measure of IQ.


    On campus, Mikhal is the president of Swarthmore Health Society and also volunteers with Ascend Hospice. Other than these, some of her favorite pastimes include racing cars (especially ice racing when Lake Champlain freezes over), dancing, traveling, and rewatching Friends episodes until she is able to quote every line.


    Check out what our past members are up to now!

    Fran Reckers, '18

    Research Assisant

    Major: Honors Neuroscience

    Fran grew up in Oak Park, Illinois - a suburb of Chicago. When she came to Swat, she became particularly interested in social, cognitive, and behavioral neuroscience. This year, she is doing her honors thesis project with Professor Norris on friendship. After graduation, she plans on taking a gap year to travel before applying and going to graduate school. She has been a Writing Associate for the past three years and plays softball. Outside of the classroom and off the softball field, she enjoys cooking, baking, reading, and traveling.

    Rares Mosneanu, '18

    Research Assisant

    Rares comes from Ploiesti, Romania and is an Honors Neuroscience Major and Chemistry Minor in the Swarthmore Class of 2018. Rares is also on the pre-medical track, hoping to continue his post graduate education with an MD/PhD degree. He has been a member of the Norris Lab for a year now, helping the other research assistants collect behavioral and ERP data, as well as working closely with Prof. Norris to design and program new studies.

    Within Neuroscience, Rares is most interested in decision making, especially in what makes us act in ways that are considered moral. As one of the newest members of the laboratory, Rares hopes to design his final Honors thesis alongside Prof. Norris, so stay tuned for more information on that!


    Outside of the lab, Rares is a concert aficionado and aspiring globe-trotter. His favorite physical activity are swimming and dancing, and he always enjoys taking a leap of faith in the kitchen and trying new dishes!

    Ashley Gao, '18

    Research Assisant

    Ashley is from Arcadia, California. She is majoring in neuroscience, and is specifically interested in the biological explanation of why people make certain decisions or behave certain ways. She hopes to be a veterinarian in the future!


    In her free time, Ashley enjoys playing tennis on the Swarthmore Women's Tennis Team, eating, and squeezing fat animals.

    Emily Sokol, '18

    Research Assisant

    Emily is a member of the class of 2018 at Swarthmore, and is double majoring in cognitive science and mathematics. Outside of academics, Emily is a member of the Swarthmore Women's Lacrosse team. She likes to fill her free time with hiking, photography, and spending lots of time with her dogs.

    Emma Close, '18

    Research Assisant

    Emma is a majoring in Neuroscience. She has been working in the lab since 2015 and has a passion for social neuroscience. She plans to attend medical school after graduating.

    Emily Wu, '17

    Research Assistant

    Emily is from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has been working in the lab since 2014. She is studying psychology and computer science at Swarthmore, and is also pre-medicine. Within psychology and neuroscience, she is interested in better understanding how emotions affect us and how we can potentially take control of those emotions. In general, she is interested in the application of technology to solve health-related and social issues, and has worked on several projects in both those areas.


    In addition to psychology and neuroscience research, she is also involved in Global Neighbors, the Swarthmore College Orchestra and Lab Orchestra, Women in Computer Science, Sigma Xi, and is a Sexual Health Counselor. She works in a Plant Genetics Lab and is a Teaching Assistant for a course taught in Python. This summer, she worked in Professor Norris' lab, and did a quantitative data analyst internship at CareDash. She plans on pursuing a career in software engineering, data science, or machine learning, and potentially going to medical school in the far future.


    Outside of academics, Emily enjoys hiking, reading, playing tennis, cooking, and exploring new places!

    Luke Eppley, '17

    Research Assisant

    Luke comes from the Philly area, is majoring in Biology and English Lit., and is particularly interested in the clinical applications of neuro-behavioral research as it pertains to addiction. More specifically, he focuses on examining the role ambivalence plays in overcoming a habit.


    For instance, when a person decides to quit smoking, he or she generally moves through a period of of mixed feelings about quitting. In order for that person to quit, he or she must view the benefits of stopping as greater than those of continuing. Though everybody differs in terms of personality, length of habit and environment, the hope is to identify psychological tools that can help anyone stop unwanted habits quickly and permanently.


    Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing rugby and restoring classic and muscle cars. The current project is a 4-speed 1967 Firebird 400!

    Yuhao (David) Xu, '17

    Research Assisant

    David is from the Philly area, and studies Neuroscience and Economics at Swarthmore College. David is interested in combining Neuroscience techniques with economic game theory to examine the irrationalities within human decision-making. In addition to working on various behavioral and ERP projects in the Norris lab, David is also trying to create an honors thesis for his senior year. After Swarthmore, David hopes to continue his research by pursuing a PhD or MD/PhD program.

    Outside of the lab, David enjoys playing the violin, playing tennis, reading fiction, and would never turn down a game of chess.

    Dan Creem, '16

    Research Assisant

    Dan is a double major in neuroscience and philosophy.


    Within the field of neuroscience, Dan is most interested in mental health, particularly the causes of what we usually refer to as disorders. He also has a strong interest, both philosophically and psychologically, in the study of consciousness.


    Outside of academics, Dan enjoys running, both on his own and as a member of the Swarthmore cross country/track teams. When he has time, he also enjoys writing poetry, dabbling in music, and playing pickup basketball or Frisbee.

    Michelle Johnson, '16

    Research Assisant

    Michelle is a double-major in Neuroscience and Theatre (Honors). Influenced by her background in theatre, her interests in neuroscience tend towards regulation of emotions, social communication, and empathy.

    She spends most of her free time in rehearsals, but otherwise enjoys cooking for both friends and strangers. In the future, she hopes to combine her knowledge of neuroscience and theatre and explore the possible mental health benefits of creative expression. Ideally, she’d like to contribute to the development of drama therapy and its implementation in different communities.

    Jenni Hua-Ting Lu, '16

    Research Assisant

    Jenni is an English/neuroscience double major from Houston, and she’s still figuring out how the two are related. Within the world of neuroscience, she’s particularly drawn to neurolaw and the ways that social neuroscience can play out within the court room.


    In her free time, Jenni loves going on runs around the neighborhood, reading John Steinbeck books, and watching Mad Men. She’s a news junkie who follows more newspapers than actual people on Twitter. She is also irrationally afraid of ketchup

    Thomas Kim, '16

    Research Assisant

    Tom is a psychology and economics major. He is interested in many facets of psychology such as social imitation; however, he is leaning towards becoming a therapist. Other interests outside of school are golf and basketball. He loves traveling and watching movies.

    Jenna Cody, '16

    Research Assisant

    Jenna is from Princeton, New Jersey. At Swarthmore, she is majoring in neuroscience. Outside of school, she runs on the cross country and track teams and teaches flute lessons.

    Greer Prettyman, '15

    Research Assisant

    Greer is a Neuroscience major and English minor. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and has been conducting research at Swarthmore for four years. She also enjoys reading and dance.


    Greer is currently a Research Associate at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Michael Fishman, '15

    Research Assisant

    Michael is a neuroscience major with a primary focus in social interaction and memory, along with their neural underpinnings and mechanisms. Michael has research experience in a variety of fields, including social neuroscience, systems neuroscience, as well as vision and perception.


    Michael is currently attending the Pritzker School of Medicine in Chicago.

    Catherine Xiang, '15

    Research Assisant

    Xiang is a neuroscience major who is interested in studying biological neural mechanisms that underlie social behaviours and the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. She is especially fascinated by disorders involving abnormal social cognition, such as autism.


    Xiang is currently working in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Tim Vaughan, '15

    Research Assisant

    Tim is a psychology major at Swarthmore College. He is involved in many extracurricular activities at Swarthmore, including dancing in Rhythm'n'Motion, singing in Sixteen Feet, and running for the track team.


    Tim is currently attending graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania