2021 Alumni

Cody Lenart

Cody is a Senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, currently pursuing a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular biology. He hopes to continue his education and go into medical school in order to become a physician. Cody is an active student on campus who is a resident assistant, peer advisor, cadet in ROTC, and a former varsity athlete at the university. Outside the university, Cody loves to snowboard, scuba dive and skydive along with hanging with friends and trying new restaurants.

Makayla Dones

Makayla is a fourth-year student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience Psychology within the Commonwealth Honors College. She is on the pre-med track and plans to go to medical school or a physician assistant program. She would like to work in pediatric neurology because she loves working with kids. In her free time, she volunteers at a homeless shelter for children and works at Baystate Medical Center. Her favorite things to do are paint and draw, listen to music, and go on adventures

2020 Alumni

Lab Manager

Kari Thomsen

Kari graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018 with a B.S. in Psychology, and then worked as the Lab Coordinator for the SEED Lab at UMass Amherst from 2018-2020. She is now a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Memphis working under the supervision of Dr. Kathryn H. Howell. Kari’s research interests revolve broadly around mechanisms of risk and resilience in children and families following traumatic experiences. Thank you for everything Kari!

Research Assistants

Shira Kahn-Samuelson

Shira graduated from UMass Amherst with B.A.s in Psychology and Child Development in 2020.  She is currently working as a Research Specialist and Lab Manager at the Human Diversity Lab at Princeton University. She hopes to one day get her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and eventually become a professor. Thank you, Shira!

Andrea Schlesinger

Andrea graduated from UMass Amherst with her B.A. in Psychology in May 2020 and received the Overall Outstanding Senior Award in PBS. Andrea is now working as a Mental Health Specialist at Franciscan Children’s in Brighton, MA in their CBAT unit, an intensive, residential unit for children ages 4-14 with emotional and behavioral difficulties. In the next few years, she hopes to go on to graduate school to continue with a career in psychology working with children! Thank you Andrea!

Kate Schacterle

Kate will be moving to Cleveland, OH to continue her education at Case Western Reserve University, where she will be pursuing her Master’s in Social Work. She has been chosen as a Mandel Leadership Fellow, which provides a full tuition scholarship and several opportunities to lead her own projects in evidence-based practices. Throughout Kate’s first year, she will be focusing on Early Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health. Kate is grateful for the opportunities the SEED Lab has provided her and cannot wait to utilize the skills she has built within the lab in this next stage within her career. Thank you for your work Kate!

Angela Bassett

Angela graduated from UMass Amherst with a BA in Psychology, a certificate in social work and social welfare, and a minor in sociology and women and gender studies. She also won the Psychology Major Outstanding Thesis Award. Angela is now residing in Hawaii, living life with aloha, and eating hurricane fries on the North Shore whenever she gets the chance. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist or Licensed Social Worker when she returns to the mainland.

2018 Alumni

Alexa Monachino

Alexa graduated from UMass Amherst with her B.S. in Psychology in the class of 2019. She is now working as a Lab Manager and Study Coordinator at the Cohen Lab at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Additionally, she keeps in touch with the SEED Lab to help with fNIRS coding for analysis purposes. In the next two years she plans to attend graduate school and eventually obtain her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Thank you, Alexa!


Kodi is a Beagle/Shepherd mix who graduated in the class of 2019 with her B.S. (Best Service) in Dog from UMass Amherst. She is currently working as Service Dog for her handler, Alexa, at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. When she is not working, she enjoys sleeping, eating, and sniffing. Thank you, Kodi!


Brian joined the SEED lab when it was just three empty rooms filled with boxes of equipment. He worked in the lab for a year helping to get operations up and running. He graduated from the Commonwealth Honors College at UMass Amherst in 2019. After four years at UMass he has decided to explore a new part of the country and to start new adventure. Thank you, Brian!

Amanda Nabasaliza

Amanda Nabasaliza received her B.S. in Psychology from UMass Amherst in the Spring of 2018. Amanda plans to take a year off to work before applying to med schools. Amanda was also an inaugural member who spent numerous hours working diligently to grow the SEED Lab from its inception. Thank you, Amanda!

Dani Kessler

Dani Kessler graduated from UMass Amherst’s School of Public Health in the Spring of 2018. Dani plans to attend PA school in the coming years. As an inaugural member of the SEED Lab, Dani helped to lift the lab from a trio of empty rooms to a fully functioning research lab at a top-rate academic institution. Thank you for all your hard work, Dani!

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