Graduate Research Team and alumni

Welcome to our lab! Here are the Current Graduate students (and Alumni!) that work with us in our lab.

kirk vanacore

Kirk Vanacore is a Ph.D. student in Learning Sciences and Technologies at WPI. He earned his Masters at Tuft University from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study Human and Development. At Tufts, he worked as a graduate research assistant at the Center for Reading and Language Research studying and implementing effective pedagogy for dyslexic students. Kirk works as a Senior Analyst at Lexia Learning, where he uses data science to inform the development and improvement of educational technologies. He believes in the need for collaboration between academia and industry to ensure that the technologies used in schools are impactful, cost-effective, and aligned with students learning needs. Kirk's research interests include learning analytics, education data mining, causal inference in big data analysis, implementation science, and effective pedagogies for neurodiverse populations. 

tamisha thompson

Tamisha is a PhD student in Learning Sciences and Technologies at WPI. She is a veteran math teacher and is currently the Math and Science Coach at Shaw Elementary School in Millbury MA. 

andrew mcreynolds

Andrew McReynolds is a first-year MS-PhD student in the Learning Sciences & Technologies program at WPI. He was an undergraduate researcher in the psychology department at the University of San Francisco (USF) while completing his bachelor’s degree in psychology (December 2020). During his time at USF, Andrew was a teaching assistant for courses such as abnormal psychology, child maltreatment, and advanced research topics, all while examining the impact of COVID-19 on his peers educational experience. He joined WPI in 2021 to pursue his graduate education in a multi-disciplinary program where he could combine his interests in educational interventions and psychology while expanding his knowledge on the use of computer science in the future of education. His research interests include equity in education, teacher-student interaction, and improving access to educational materials in developing countries.


alena egorova

Alena is a PhD student in the Learning Sciences & Technologies program. She got her Psychology MA from Moscow State University, where she investigated how emotional burnout develops in teachers. After graduation, Alena studied how people interact with digital tools, working as a researcher and designer in tech projects for over 7 years. She came to WPI to learn the ways new technologies and data could be used to improve education. Her current research interests include (1) the interplay of anxiety and cognition in learning and (2) how it unfolds in the context of educational technologies.

jennifer st. john

Jennifer St. John is a part-time Ph.D. student in the Learning Sciences and Technology department. She earned her BA in Mathematics from the College of the Holy Cross in 1995. She earned her MA in Urban Education from Clark University in 1998. She has been a teacher for 27 years and has taught Math, English, and Spanish. Jennifer is fascinated by how, when, and why learning occurs. She is interested in studying how students come to understand mathematics, how technology can enhance understanding, and how gestures can both impact and demonstrate understanding. 

siddhartha pradhan

Sid s obtaining his Master's in Data Science at WPI and has been working on Learning Sciences and Technology research in the MAPLE lab for 2 years. Sid is a graduate of WPI majoring in Computer Science and Data Science.

carly thorp

Carly is a professor of practice in Mathematical Sciences at WPI. Before joining WPI, she worked as a statistician at Boston Scientific and taught engineers, particularly those in industrial, biomedical, and electrical engineering, how to apply statistics effectively to their work from designing a new medical device to sustaining commercialized medical devices. 


Avery Closser

Avery is now a postdoctoral research scientist at Purdue University! 

Avery Harrison Closser was a Ph.D. student in Learning Sciences & Technologies (PhD 2022) and was funded through the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Avery completed her B.A. at the University of Richmond where she studied cognitive psychology and then spent a couple of years teaching English as a Second language in Thailand and Spain before attending WPI. In addition to her research on math education and learning technologies, Avery is committed to broadening participation in STEM fields through research, mentoring and outreach opportunities. 



Hannah Smith 

Hannah is now an Assistant Professor of Pyschology at Assumption University! 

Hannah Smith was a PhD student in Learning Sciences & Technologies graduate student at WPI (PhD 2023). She was a commonwealth honors student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where she received her B.A. in Mathematics and her B.A. in Psychology and was a four year member and two year captain of the softball team as well as NCAA woman of the year nominee. She was also an undergraduate math tutor and teaching assistant. She came to WPI in 2018 to combine her interests in psychology, mathematics, and education. Her research interests include using games as learning tools, teacher professional development, early childhood education, and improving math ed.



vy ngo

Vy graduated with her Masters in LST in 2022. She studies how perceptual cues impact cognitive processing and performance during problem-solving in math. As a passionate project on the side, she considers the effects of the intersectionality of gender and race on Asian and Asian-American women’s experiences and sense of belonging in STEM. Her overarching goal is to promote equity and reduce gender gaps in education and the work environment. She is looking for full-time positions as a Research Analyst/Project Manager at research institutes. 


luisa perez lacera

Luisa graduated with her Masters student in the Learning Sciences and Technologies program. She was a psychology major at WPI prior to joining the LST Masters program in the fall of 2020. She worked on the WLCP project for several years. 

Katie Drzewiecki

Katie Drzewiecki was a Learning Sciences & Technologies masters  student at WPI. She received her B.S. in Statistics and her B.S. in Psychology from Arizona State University in 2017 where she was a prominent member of the Social Addictions Impulse Lab and a professional tutor for high school and college aged students. Making the jump from alcohol and addictions research to learning sciences and technologies research was quite the experience! In 2019 she moved to Worcester to begin her graduate school journey with her two cats and four snakes. Her current research aims to develop interactive data analytics dashboards that display the clickstream log data from From Here to There in a way that is both easily interpretable and actionable for the teachers who will use those dashboards. 



PAUL Pacheco

Paul is obtaining his Master's in Learning Sciences and Technology and will be staying on for his PhD. Paul is a graduate of WPI majoring in Psychological and Cognitive Science with a concentration in psychobiology. Paul is also a first-generation student who completed WPI's Teacher Preparation Program to become a licensed high school biology teacher.