Lab Director

Dr. Elizabeth Wakefield is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Loyola University Chicago and director of the Movement & Learning Lab. Dr. Wakefield earned her B.A. from Kalamazoo College and her Ph.D. from Indiana University. She continued her training as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago, before joining the faculty at Loyola.

Dr. Wakefield employs behavioral, eye tracking and neuroimaging methods to understand how children and adults process and learn through different forms of movement experience: actions and gestures. Learn more about research happening in the lab by visiting "Our Research"!

Outside interests: cooking, singing, friends, and family

Graduate Students

Katharine Guarino is a fifth year graduate student. In her work, she explores how we transform experiences of the physical, concrete world into abstract knowledge. At the core of her research are questions of how humans develop knowledge, specifically knowledge that comes from abstracting across multiple experiences in the form of relational reasoning, inference, and generalization. Currently, she is investigating how relational reasoning ability is acquired using behavioral and eye tracking methods, and how two instructional methods, action and gesture, facilitate knowledge creation.

Outside interests: movies, puzzles, woodwork, drawing, spending time with family and friends, horseback riding, traveling 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Laura Bottei is a senior at Loyola, majoring in music and psychology. She is interested in music cognition as an intersection of these two fields. On the music side, she plays primarily organ and piano. Laura intends to pursue graduate work in one or both of her major fields.


Outside interests: musical theatre, dogs, cooking, quoting sitcoms, and ice cream

Erin Foy is a senior at Loyola University Chicago, majoring in Psychology and Cognitive/Behavioral Neuroscience. She is also a part of the Interdisciplinary Honors Program, and hopes to pursue a career in neuropsychology or psychopathology. Outside of her studies, Erin enjoys working with children and running Loyola’s swing dancing club..


Outside interests: music and theatre, baking, classic literature, spending time with friends and family

Dylan Nelson is a senior studying Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Spanish Language & Literature. He is on the Pre-Med track interested in psychiatry, while keeping options open and exploring both medicine and research. 


Outside interests: music, hiking, skiing, cooking vegetarian foods, yoga, spending time with friends and family

Kiril Nikolovski is a senior at Loyola University Chicago studying Psychology and Biology. He is a part of the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and after graduating from Loyola hopes to go on to dental school. Outside of the classroom, Kiril volunteers as a tutor in the Roger’s Park area for elementary and middle school students. He also helps plan events for LUC’s Colleges Against Cancer.


Outside interests: cars, Chicago sports, fishing, drawing, and spending time with family and friends 

Agna Patel is a junior at Loyola University Chicago studying Neuroscience Cognitive and Behavioral. She is on the Pre-Med track in hopes of pursuing a career in radiology while keeping options open in medicine and research. She also volunteers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and is involved in the SDMA department at Loyola. She can also speak and understand three different languages!  


Outside interest: dancing, traveling, cooking, exploring the city, and spending time with loved ones 

Mary Clare Nagai is a junior at Loyola University Chicago, double majoring in Psychology and Sociology with a concentration in Social Justice in Society. She is in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and the Pre-Law track. She enjoys volunteering at Chicago charity events and animal shelters  


Outside interest: baking, photography, traveling, dogs, and music

Victoria Roberts is a senior at Loyola University studying Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in psychology. She is a member of Loyola's Interdisciplinary Honors Program and previously worked as a research assistant under Dr. Anne Sutter. After graduation, Victoria's career goals include pursuing a PhD in neurophysiology or neuropsychology and becoming a research scientist or professor. Outside of academics Victoria loves to spend time with friends and family and unwind by doing yoga by the lake whenever she can


Outside interests: exercising, cooking, sketching, theatre, video games

Sam Spain is a junior at Loyola University Chicago, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She plans to pursue graduate work in developmental psychology in order to become a researcher and professor, but she is still keeping her options open. Sam also helps run Loyola’s Best Buddies chapter at Misericordia Heart of Mercy. 


Outside interests: sports, baking, gardening, spending time with friends and family, and photography. 

Natalia Zielinski is a senior at Loyola University Chicago, studying in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and majoring in Molecular Cellular Neuroscience and Psychology. She is on the Pre-Med track, hoping to pursue a career in neurology or psychiatry. Away from her studies, Natalia enjoys volunteering at hospitals and animal shelters in the Chicagoland area. 


Outside interests: embroidery, playing violin, hiking, reading

Lab Alumni

  • Demiana Agaiby (2018-2019): graduate student

  • Erick Larios-Bautista (2016-2017): medical school student

  • Allison Haussler (2019-2020): graduate student

  • Sarah Heimberg (2016-2017): veterinary assistant

  • Mady Jurcev (2017-2020): emergency medical technician

  • Natalie Schomas (2016-2017): film freelancer

  • Mariana Sosa (2019-2020): research assistant

  • Sasha Stojanovich (2017-2019): assistant teacher - loyola university preschool

  • Gina Wrolstad (2018-2019): practice associate - chicago speech therapy

External Collaborators

We also have many wonderful research collaborators:


  • Dr. Susan Goldin-Meadow (University of Chicago)

  • Dr. Karin James (Indiana University)

  • Dr. Miriam Novack (Northwestern University)

  • Dr. Eliza Congdon (Williams College)

  • Dr. Lauren Howard (Franklin & Marshall College)

  • Dr. Susan Levine (University of Chicago)

  • Dr. Amanda Woodward (University of Chicago)