Graduate Research Team
Welcome to our lab! Here are the Graduate students that work with us in our lab.
Avery Harrison Closser is a Ph.D. candidate in Learning Sciences & Technologies and is 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 is a second year Learning Sciences & Technologies graduate student at WPI. 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.
Katie Drzewiecki is a first year Learning Sciences & Technologies graduate 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.
jennifer st. john
Vy is a second-year Master's student working in the MAPLE (Math, Abstraction, Play, Learning, and Embodiment) Lab. 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. As I am graduating in 2022, she is looking for full-time positions as a Research Analyst/Project Manager at research institutes.
luisa perez lacera
Luisa is a 2nd year 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 has worked on the WLCP project for several years.
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 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 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 is a first-year PhD student in the Learning Sciences & Technologies program. She got her Psychology Diploma 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 User Experience Researcher and Designer in several tech projects for over 7 years. She came to WPI to learn the ways new technologies and data could be used to improve education.