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Research Team

We were kids once, too. You can roll over most of our images to see us as children!


Dr. Candice Mills, Director

Candice Mills is an associate professor in Psychological Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Mills earned her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Yale University.

Dr. Mills’s research examines how children learn from others. Her research incorporates methods and theories from developmental, social, and cognitive psychology, with participant populations spanning from early childhood through adolescence and adulthood. Her previous research in has been published in professional psychological journals as well as discussed in national resources such as the New York Times, Scientific American Mind, and National Public Radio.



Sydney Rowles, B.S.
Doctoral Student

Joined in Fall 2013. Sydney graduated Summa Cum Laude with Psychology Honors from the University of Alabama with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Her research in the UTD Think Lab focuses on how children decide whom to ask for help within a problem-solving task.

Kaitlin Sands, B.S.
Doctoral Student

Joined in Spring 2015. Kaitlin graduate Magna Cum Laude from Elon University with a major in Psychology as well as minors in Neuroscience and Early Childhood Education. At Elon, Kaitlin assisted in research investigating young children’s learning of math and science and how parents contribute to that process. Her current research interests include how children ask questions in order to learn new information as well as individual and cultural differences in children’s inquiry abilities.



Pranati Ahuja
Undergraduate Student

Joined in Spring 2014. Pranati is pursuing a science-based career at UT Dallas and especially enjoys interacting with kids. Her volunteering experiences with children range from putting on puppet shows for them to helping them learn language to just having a good time with them! She is interested in learning how their minds work, and believes that her experience in the Think Lab will be valuable to her as she goes on to pursue higher studies in research or medicine.

Bhargavi Akkineni
Undergraduate Student

Joined in Fall 2015. Bhargavi's interest in psychology was first sparked by an AP Psychology course in high school. She is now a Psychology major, minoring in Neuroscience, with a deep interest in understanding the interactions between the mind and the brain. She joined the lab because she wanted a hands-on approach in studying the developing cognitive skills in children, leading to a bigger picture as to what progressively happens in our brains as we get older. Also, little kids are fun!

Lauren Boone
Undergraduate Student

Joined in Spring 2016. Lauren is majoring in Speech Language Pathology and Child Learning Development. She has always loved working with, learning about, and caring for children. Her past service projects and volunteer opportunities through her school, community, and Girl Scout troop have led her to discover her passion for kids. In the future, she hopes to open her own Speech Therapy clinic and specialize in working with children. She is eager to pursue this passion academically, socially, and professionally.

Ian Campbell, B.S.
Graduate Student

Joined in Fall 2014 as a graduate student (was a lab member from Fall 2012 - Spring 2014 as an undergraduate student). Ian graduated Cum Laude with BBS Honors from the University of Texas at Dallas with a major in Psychology. His current research interests include children’s evaluation of text-based sources of information and their development of critical reading skills.

Anila Joseph
Undergraduate Student

Joined in Fall 2014. Anila is in her final year at UTD and she is double majoring in Psychology and Child Learning and Development. She has always enjoyed interacting with children, whether it was playing with her nieces and nephews or teaching classes at her church’s Vacation Bible School. She has a special interest in developmental disorders common in the childhood population. She hopes to pursue a career as a Developmental Pediatrician after she completes her undergraduate degree.

Hershey Kumar
Undergraduate Student

Joined in Fall 2015. Hershey is a sophomore Neuroscience major at UTD whose primary interests are in early childhood behavioral studies. She has spent her summers as a nanny, babysitter, and soccer referee for a variety of age groups while also managing to entertain the younger kids at family socials. Although her career plans are still undecided, she hopes to continue working with children and is passionate about many aspects of child development. She has also entertained the thought of medical school, particularly in the fields of pediatric neurology or neonatology.

Laurie Smith
Undergraduate Student

Joined in Fall 2015. Laurie is a senior at UTD majoring in Psychology and Child Development and plans to further these studies in graduate school. She is especially interested in working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders and hopes to make a tremendous difference in the lives of their family through family counseling. Laurie very much enjoys interacting with children of varying personality types and developmental levels and looks forward to working with the Think Lab Team.



Meridith Grant, Ph.D.
Lab Affiliate in Developmental Psychology

Spring 2007 - Spring 2011.  Meridith earned a bachelor of arts in International Relations from Tufts University and a masters of science in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas. She joined the Think Lab in Spring 2007 and was a leader in the lab on many projects with both preschoolers and elementary school-aged children. She defended her dissertation in April of 2011 and is currently a senior lecturer at UTD.


Asheley Landrum, Ph.D.
Lab Affiliate in Developmental Psychology

Spring 2009 - Summer 2013.  Asheley completed her undergraduate education at The University of Texas at Austin before beginning graduate school at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Her research in the UTD Think Lab focused on the development of critical thinking skills from early preschool to adulthood. Asheley is currently a Howard Deshong Postdoctoral Fellow in Science Communication at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. You can find out more about her work here:



Fadwa Elashi, Ph.D.
Lab Affiliate in Developmental Psychology

Spring 2008 - Summer 2009 undergraduate; Fall 2009 - Summer 2013 graduate. Fadwa's research in the UTD Think Lab centered on the overlap between social and developmental psychology. Her senior honors thesis examined stereotypes in children. In graduate school, she examined how children's learning may be influenced by biases related to group membership as well as how children think about bias in themselves and others. Fadwa is currently living in Jordan and working at the Arab Open University.

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