Wonderful young scientists whom I have/had the honour to train, and the pleasure to work with. Some of them have moved onto excellent next steps. Mostly, this page is here for me to brag about my “kids” as I am incredibly proud of them!

For my teaching experience as teaching assistant, please see my CV.

Prospective Students

I am always happy to discuss with students interested in gaining research experience via my projects. I am committed to cultivating research assistants who are motivated. If you are interested, please email me your CV, and state your research interest in the email. If you are serious, and wish to learn more about what type of research supervisor I make, please contact my former students listed in the “references” section in my CV.

Past Students

List begins with the earliest “departure” date.

Kayla Bowen, M.A.
Research Assocaite, Health and Equity Inst., SFSU

2011 – 2012, Gazzaley Lab
Kayla now serves as research associate and project coordinator in the SFSU Health and Equity Institute, for the projects AFFIRM (collaborating with Columbia and Emory Universities), and SHARe under the supervision of Dr. Allen LeBlanc.

Kayla assisted in the NeuroGrocer while completing her B.A. in SFSU and holding a position in Jump Start working with disadvantage pre-preschool age children. She received her B.A. (magnum cum laude) in 2013, and completed her M.A. in Developmental Psychology in 2015 from SFSU while serving in the Family Interaction Research Lab under Dr. Jeff Cookston.


Rolle [Webpage]
Ph.D. Student, Neurosciene, Stanford U 

2011 – 2013, Gazzaley Lab
Cammie began her Ph.D. training (Neuroscience porgramme) at Stanford University in 2015, under the supervision of Dr. Amit Etkin. Cammie worked on NeuroGrocer, and succeeded me as lab manager and research associate in the Gazzaley Lab, and threw the best conference-party ever: BAMM 10.


Jason Samaha [Webpage]
Ph.D. Student, Psychology, UW Madison 

2011– 2013, Gazzaley Lab
Jason worked on the NeuroGrocer until the end of my physical tenure in the lab in June 2012. His training included neuro-psychological assessments. Thereafter, he worked with Dr. Brad Voytek (a post-doc then, now an assistant professor in UCSD). During Jason’s internship in the Gazzaley lab, he was also the lab manage for Dr. Mark Geisler’s Cognitive Psychophysiology Lab in SFSU.

Jason is now a graduate student in the University of Wisconsin, Madison, mentored by Dr. Brad Postle.


James Mutter [Contact]
QA Engineer, Flipagram

2013 – 2014, Rissman Memory Lab
James volunteered for the ALIVE project from Fall 2013 to his graduation in Summer 2014.  Prior to joining ALIVE, he gained research experience working in a soils-engineering laboratory.

Graduating with a degree in Cognitive Science with a specialisation in computing, James now serves as Flipagram‘s lead quality assurance engineer for the Android platform, and is also responsible for automating both Android and iOS features.


Daniel Lin [
website | linkedin]
Product Designer, Jawbone
Design Fellow, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers

2012– 2015, Rissman Memory Lab
Graduated in 2015, Daniel was in the UCLA College Honors program; he majors in Cognitive Science and minors in Statistics. He joined the Rissman Lab’s ALIVE project in his Sophomore year, after serving as a research assistant at Dr. Hongjing Lu’s Computational Visual and Learning Lab to study biological motion.

After three years of faithful services (2 years as Senior Project Leader), Daniel moved on to be a Design Fellow at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and as a Product Designer at Jawbone, tackling new spaces in wearables / Internet of Things / health and fitness tracking, and applying cognitive psychology to design experiences that influence positive behaviour change.


Joseph Tran [Contact]
M.D. Student, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

2012 – 2014, Rissman Memory Lab
Joseph started working on the ALIVE project as a freshman, with previous experience in invertebrate research. After two years with us, Joseph moved onto pursuing his key research interest (autism) by volunteering with post-doctoral scholar Dr. Shulamite Green, under the supervision of Dr. Mirella Dapretto. He is now attending medical school at UCLA.


Jenny Zhou [Contact]
Pharm.D. Student, UCSF School of Pharmacy

2013 – 2015, Rissman Memory Lab
Jenny is now a PharmD student at the UCSF School of Pharmacy, starting Fall 2016. She graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Biology in 2015; she joined the ALIVE project in Fall 2013. Prior to joining the Rissman Lab, she was a research assistant at the Semel Institute where she worked on a paper that focused on measuring the symptoms of schizophrenia.


Xin Song [Contact]
Ph.D. Student, Psychology, U of Minnesota

2014 – 2015, Rissman Memory Lab
Xin is now a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, starting Fall 2016. She joined the ALIVE project in Summer 2014, and served until graduating with a B.S. in Psychobiology in Fall 2015 — all the while working as the lab manager in Zili Visual Lab. She is interested in behavioural neuroscience, clinical psychology, and dabbles in comic art as well.


Absaala Joseph
Senior, UCSD

2014 – 2015, Rissman Memory Lab
Absaala is now a senior at UC San Diego. She volunteered for the ALIVE project when she was attending Santa Monica Community College, while working her way through college.

Dana Frostig [Contact]
Research Associate, Posit Science Co.

2014 – 2015, Rissman Memory Lab
Dana now serves as a research associate at Posit Science Co., a cognitive training software company, where she studies non-invasive computerised therapies on cognition and mental health, and user experience research.

Dana graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Cognitive Science. She joined the ALIVE project in January 2014, and served as Senior Project Leader for most of her time with us. Prior to that, she worked on research in sound therapy and children with cochlear implants.DF



Priyanka Mehta [Contact]
Ph.D. Student, Brain and Cog Sci, U of Rochester

2015 – 2016, Rissman Memory Lab
Graduated in Spring 2016 with a B.S. in cognitive science, Priyanka is now a Ph.D. student in the department of Brain and Cognitive Science at the University of Rochester, in the Hayden Lab. She joint the ALIVE project in summer 2015, and served as a student leader specialising in data quality control. Her research interests are in reasoning, representation, learning, and experimental methods.


Jacob Villa
Masters Student, Symbolic System, Stanford U

2014 – 2016, Rissman Memory Lab
In Fall 2016, Jacob began his M.S. training in Stanford University for Symbolic System (an inter-departmental between Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology, Communication, Statistics, and Education). He graduated from UCLA with a double majoring in cognitive science and statistics.He joined the ALIVE project during Summer of 2014. He is interested in immersion and presence in virtual environments.


Ruwanthi (Ru) Ekanayake
Freshman, Cornell University

2014 – 2016, Rissman Memory Lab
Ru is now an undergraduate student in Cornell University, starting Fall 2016. She joined the ALIVE project in June 2014 as a senior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. Prior to that, she worked on several independent behavioural science research projects, competing in and placing at the LA County and California State Science Fairs numerous times. She plans on pursuing a career in the medical field and possibly research.


Alana Sanchez-Prak

2016 – 2017, Rissman Memory Lab
Alana is a fourth year Cognitive Science major. She joined ALIVE Project in September of 2015. She is interested in the use of technology in learning methods and memory enhancement as well artificial intelligence.


Alvin T. Vuong
Co-founder and CEO of Escality

2015 – 2017, Rissman Memory Lab
As a Computer Science major and Cognitive Science minor, Alvin’s academic interests involve understanding the characteristics of human & artificial intelligence, virtual & augmented reality, and linguistics & natural language processing. Joining ALIVE in Winter 2016, he also works with Nicco Reggente on analyzing public data from the Human Connectome Project to understand neural correlates of fluid intelligence and depression.


Ai Ohno [Contact]
Beginning Medical School in Fall 2019

2014 – 2017, Rissman Memory Lab
Ai is a senior Psychobiology major and is interested in behavioural neuroscience, specifically in the brain mechanisms responsible for the enhancement and degradation of memory. She was interested in Dr. Rissman’s research about searching for mechanisms that would compensate the brain’s adverse circuitry changes with advancing age and joined the ALIVE project in September 2014. As Project Leader, she leads a team of undergraduate research assistants in collecting behavioural data. Ai is the recipient of the UCLA URFP Research Fellowship for 2016. Ai will be attending medical school in 2019.

AIAi 2016

Hera Baek [Contact]
Incoming masters student (2019) at the Neuroimaging Programme, Manchester University 

2014 – 2017, Rissman Memory Lab
Hera is a senior majoring in Psychology. She joined the ALIVE project in summer 2014. Hera became interested in learning after volunteering for children with learning disabilities at an orphanage in Paraguay.



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