Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Diversity Mentoring System


Diversity Mentoring

Facing issues as a graduate student from an underrepresented background (e.g., race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, first-generation student) and want to talk to someone who understands?

Contact the Psychology Department Diversity Committee to get paired with a peer mentor who can meet with you to talk about both personal and professional topics related to personal identify and background.


Member Information

Ellie Shuo Jin

Area: Clinical Psychology
Enrolled in: 2013

A Canadian transplant, Ellie grew up in Toronto, Canada and is presently a 4th-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program. As a member of the Clinical Neuroendocrinology Laboratory, Ellie examines the etiology of anxiety and mood disorders from a psychoneuroendocrinological perspective under the guidance of Dr. Robert Josephs. Outside of her involvement on the Diversity Committee, Ellie is an active mentor through the Intellectual Entrepreneurial Program and the McNair Scholars Program, both organizations dedicated to facilitating underrepresented and first generation college students to pursue graduate studies. During the summers, Ellie coordinates Psychology Department’s SURE program. Presently, Ellie works as an Integrated Health Counselor at UT’s Counseling and Mental Health Center. 


Ana Rigney

Area: Social & Personality
Enrolled in: 2014

Born and raised in Austin, and a graduate of UT, Ana has not strayed far from her home for graduate school. She is a 3rd year working with Dr. Jennifer Beer. Ana’s research focuses on how the brain supports biased self-perceptions. We know that people do not hold accurate self-views, but we don’t know a lot of the underlying cognitive and neural mechanisms for these biased perceptions. She seeks to fill that gap in our knowledge. She is on the Diversity Committee because she is interested in improving diversity at all levels of the department (undergrad, grad, and faculty) and promoting an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance.


Skylar Brannon

Area: Social & Personality
Enrolled in: 2014

Skylar is a Texas native and first-generation college student. She attended Baylor University for her undergraduate degree and is currently a 3rd-year doctoral student working with Dr. Bertram Gawronski. Skylar’s research focuses on how people identify and deal with inconsistencies in their belief systems. She is on the Diversity Committee to help foster diversity at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty levels and to facilitate the inclusion of underrepresented and first-generation students in research and academic settings. Skylar has also served as a mentor through programs committed to serving underrepresented and first-generation college students, including the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program, St. Edwards University’s McNair Scholars Program, and the psychology department’s SURE program.


Dolly Rojo

Area: Developmental
Enrolled in: 2013

Dolly is a Southern California native. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California in San Diego. She is currently in her 4th year of the Psychology Ph.D. program and studies the social-cognitive components of bilingual language development. Dolly’s research is primarily targeted towards preschool-aged children’s attitudes towards, and understanding of, second-language learning. She is on the Diversity Committee because she herself is a Mexican-American first-generation college graduate. Dolly knows first-hand that it can often be difficult as a first-generation student to find resources and hands-on help for getting through (and getting to--if you’re applying to grad programs) higher education and would like to reach these minority groups and to help them achieve their academic and career goals. Dolly is also a dedicated mentor and  has served in several programs on campus, including the St. Edwards University McNair Scholars Program, the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), the Latino Student Psychological Association (LPSA), the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) program, an academic mentor for athletes at UT, and is very involved as a teaching assistant in the Department of Psychology. 


Sanaz Talaifar

Area: Social & Personality
Enrolled in: 2014

Sanaz grew up in North Texas and is a first generation American. She attended Southern Methodist University where she majored in International Studies with a specialization in the Middle East and Africa. She also spent a year abroad at the London School of Economics. She is currently a 3rd-year doctoral student working in Dr. Bill Swann’s lab. Sanaz’s research interests include self & identity, political psychology, and the psychology of architecture. Sanaz has also served as a mentor in the psychology department’s SURE program. She is on the Diversity Committee because she wants to increase diversity in the sciences and believes that a diverse viewpoints and experiences fosters better and more inclusive science. 


Athula Pudhiyidath

Area: Cognitive Neuroscience
Enrolled in: 2015

Athula was born in Kerala, India but moved to Texas, USA a little before her seventh birthday. She is now a 2nd-year cognitive neuroscience graduate student working with Dr. Alison Preston. In the lab, she researches how we are able to form memories, and how these memories can influence how we are able to learn and remember new things. Besides conducting research, she would like to use her time in graduate school to pave the way for a more diverse generation of scientists to also follow their passions. In this pursuit, she is a member of the Diversity Committee, a mentor for the the Intellectual Entrepreneurial (IE) Program, and a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) mentor.


Chantal Ramirez

Area: Developmental
Enrolled in: 2014

Chantal is a Texas native and first generation Latina. She is in her 3rd year of graduate studies in developmental psychology under the supervision of Dr. Catharine Echols. Her research is focused on bilingual child development, specifically, the cognitive interplay between languages in children who are bilingual or learning a second language and its relation to language development and processing. Having undergone the obstacles of being a first generation minority student, Chantal is committed to inspiring and assisting other first generation minority students pursue their academic and career goals by providing the necessary information, resources, and experience to be successful. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate career, she has dedicated over six years to mentoring undergraduate students. In addition, to being a member of the Diversity Committee, she has served as a mentor in the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) Pre-Graduate Internship Program, the St. Edwards McNair Scholars Program, and the Latino Psychology Student Association (LPSA).


Sharon Noh

Area: Cognitive Neuroscience
Enrolled in: 2014

Sharon is a second generation Korean American originally from Los Angeles, California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. There, she developed her research interests of uncovering ways to optimize learning and retention. She is now a 3rd-year graduate student in Dr. Alison Preston’s lab where she studies the neural mechanisms underlying performance and long-term learning. Sharon also works as a college admissions counselor and has mentored several research assistants pursuing advanced degrees in various different fields.


Melanie Netter

Area: Developmental
Enrolled in: 2015

A first-generation college student born and raised in Boston, MA, Melanie received her B.S. and M.A. in Human Development from Cornell University. Currently a 2nd-year graduate student in Dr. David Yeager’s Adolescent Development Lab, her research interests lie in investigating the benefits of purpose for adolescent educational and social outcomes and how educational environments can support or adolescent purpose development. She is passionate about helping students, especially those from underserved backgrounds, discover how they can engage with their world in ways that are both personally and socially meaningful.


Nick Medrano

Area: Developmental

Enrolled in: 2016

Nick is a midwest native and first-generation college student who received his B.S. in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University. He is currently a first-year graduate student working with Dr. David Yeager. Broadly, he is interested in the development of belonging, values, and motivation in adolescents. He also has an interest in designing interventions to promote positive academic, social, and behavioral outcomes within representative student populations.


Jessie Raye Bauer

Area: Developmental
Enrolled in: 2013

Jessie Raye hails from Southern California and earned her B.S. in Cognitive Science and Philosophy from UC San Diego in 2011—a degree in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Neuroscience and a minor in Philosophy. Jessie Raye is a 4th-year graduate student and works with Dr. Amy Booth. Jessie Raye’s research interests focus on the developmental trajectory and stability of executive function, reasoning and academic achievement in young children from various socioeconomic backgrounds. She is a member of the Diversity Committee, and is an active mentor in the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) Program and the Psychology Department’s SURE program.


Amelia Stanton

Area: Clinical
Enrolled in: 2013

Amelia grew up in New York City and received her BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University in 2013. She is a 4th year student who is advised by Dr. Cindy Meston, UT’s resident sexual psychophysiologist. Amelia is primarily interested in developing and testing interventions to increase sexual desire and sexual arousal in women with sexual problems and/or women who have a history of childhood sexual abuse. She is a new member of the Diversity Committee, and she actively mentors research assistants who are in the process of applying to graduate school. 


Seth Koslov

Area: Cognitive Neuroscience
Enrolled in: 2015

Seth was a Plan II and Pre-Med student at The University of Texas before winding his way towards being a graduate student at UT in the CogNeuro area. He is currently working with Dr. Jarrod Lewis-Peacock to investigate how we “remember to remember” and the underlying mechanisms of working memory. Seth has mentored a number of students for Undergraduate Research Fellowship projects, and is happy to mentor students interested in learning more about research and/or graduate school. He is a new member of the diversity committee, interested in taking an active part in increasing opportunities, inclusivity, and awareness in the sciences.


Lupita Gonzalez

Area: Cognitive Neuroscience
Enrolled in: 2015

Lupita was born in Peoria, Illinois, and at the age of 5 she moved to Jalisco, Mexico, where she started elementary school. When she was 7 she moved back to the U.S. and lived in Kansas until moving to Austin for graduate school. Lupita is a first-generation college student and received her B.A. in Psychology and Business Administration at Bethel College in Kansas. She is currently a second-year graduate student in the cognitive neuroscience area working with Dr. David Schnyer. Her research investigates the neurocognitive aspects of racial bias. She focuses on how racial bias manifests itself in basic cognitive mechanisms such as attention and memory and uses neuroimaging methods to see how racial bias affects neural components. As an undergraduate, Lupita worked in admissions and was involved in efforts towards helping first-generation and minority students obtain a college education. She is particularly interested in helping first-generation and minority students pursue STEM careers and attend graduate school. As a graduate student, she is a member of the Diversity Committee and has been a mentor for the Psychology Department’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program. 


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