Research Lab Manager

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Tessa Hansen-Smith

Tessa is a 3rd year student at UCD studying Psychology on the pre-Health track. She is especially interested in the overlap between psychological and biological processes, and is interested in how the relationship quality between medical professionals and patients promotes effective communication, recovery and care. She plans to pursue a career in Nursing, but is also interested in doctoral programs focusing on health, relationships, and well-being. Tessa is also currently a supervisor for the UCD Coffee House in the Memorial Student Union.

 Undergraduate & Post-Baccalaureate Research Team

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Shreya Atitkar

Shreya Atitkar is a 3rd year student at UCD majoring in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. She is primarily interested in exploring the ways in which socioeconomic status impacts the type of treatment patients receive in the Emergency Department, as well as how it impacts the dynamic of patient-physician interactions and relationships. She plans to pursue a career as an emergency physician with a focus on clinical research. Shreya has worked with the Emergency Medicine Research Associate Program (EMRAP) and is currently the captain and choreographer of UCD Raasleela, a professional Indian dance team.

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Hassan Barnett

Hassan is a 4th year student studying Psychology and Communications at UCD. His research interests and professional goals sit at the intersection of family law, counseling, and public relations. For example, he is interested in how the coping mechanisms children use in response to trauma shape their subsequent relationships, especially with non-nuclear family members. Hassan has also worked with the Dynamic Interactions in Cognition and Emotion Laboratory, was a Marketing Assistant for Marble Mosaic, and served as the Recruitment & Retention Coordinator of the Cleftomaniacs A Cappella group. He enjoys writing screenplays and performing poetry.

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Kealani Beltran

Kealani graduated from UCD in Spring 2018 with a BA in Psychology, and a minor in Sociology. She is passionate about mental health advocacy, and plans to pursue an MSW or MFT post-graduation. Kealani is specifically interested in how relationship dynamics influence our well-being and sense of self -- especially for marginalized or minority groups. She is currently the Holistic Retention Coordinator for American Indian Recruitment and Retention, and is directing an Indigenous day for Mental Health Awareness Month. She also works with the Students Against Suicide organization, and is a board member for the Davis Aggie Lions Club.

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Nikita Devdhar

Nikita is a 3rd year student at UC Davis studying Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. She is interested in research that intersects biological and psychological studies, with a special focus on improving the relationships between professionals in healthcare and their patients. She plans to apply to Physician’s Assistant programs post-graduation, but is also interested in public health programs focused on bridging the gap within the healthcare industry. Nikita also plays on the UC Davis Women's Club Basketball team, and is currently the Vice President of Social Affairs for the pre-health society Kappa Gamma Delta.

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Veronica Herrera

Veronica graduated from UCD in Spring 2018 with a BA in Psychology, and a minor in Chicana/o Studies. She is interested in using principles of social psychology to better understand the relationship between clinicians and clients. For example, she is interested in exploring what factors shape the healthy formation and maintenance of clinical relationships, and what types of variables lead to their eventual dissolution. She plans to pursue an MFT and would like to specialize in working with marginalized communities. Veronica has also worked as a research assistant in the Personality and Self Knowledge Laboratory, has worked with the Davis Bridge Program, and contributed to the UC Davis Mental Health Initiative.

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Aastha Mittal

Aastha is a 3rd year student at UCD double majoring in Cognitive Science and Quantitative Psychology. She is currently interested in how attachment style and other individual differences (e.g., self esteem) affect the duration and success of romantic relationships. She is also interested in clinically related individual differences and their relationship to socially condemned behavior. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical or Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis on de-stigmatizing mental health diagnoses -- especially for younger populations in the system. Aastha is a member and choreographer for MOBility Dance Crew, as well as of the UC Davis Cognitive Psychology Club and the Undergraduate Psychology Association. She also works as a Resident Advisor in the freshmen residence halls with UC Davis Student Housing.

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Brandi Mouton

Brandi graduated with a BS in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, and currently works remotely as a research consultant and data manager for our laboratory. She has extensive training in human subjects protocols and managed a mixed-methods, longitudinal study at UT Austin examining the ways that major relationship transitions influenced physiological stress and psychological well-being. Brandi has also worked as a clinical observer at the Shannon Medical Center and as a Medical Laboratory Technician at the KIRK US Army Health Clinic. Moving forward, she plans to attend medical school and hopes to eventually train as a neurologist or psychiatrist. She is deeply motivated to address people’s critical medical needs by conducting research specifically designed to improve health outcomes.

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Emily Rabbitt

Emily is a 4th year student at UCD majoring in Psychology with a pre-Health track. She is interested in research that integrates neurological and psychological processes to better understand patient health, especially after traumatic injury. She plans to apply to Physician Assistant programs post-graduation. Currently she is completing a Phlebotomy Certification program. Additionally she worked as the New Member Education Coordinator for Alpha Chi Omega, and is currently the Facility Operator.

Lab Alumni

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Roan Raymundo

Roan graduated from UCD with a BS in Human Development. She is currently a Clinical Research Coordinator at Stanford University in the School of Medicine. After becoming an avid reader of the Modern Love column in the New York Times, Roan developed an interest in the science behind romance and attraction. More specifically, she is interested in the conditions that foster attraction and the physiological and psychological consequences of heart break. She hopes to enter an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, where she will specialize in pediatrics or psychiatry. Roan also worked as a research assistant for the Peer Relations Lab in the Department of Human Ecology, was a member of the pre-health society Kappa Gamma Delta, a volunteer for the student-run Willow Clinic and the UCD Mental Health Initiative, and a student barista for Peet's Coffee on campus.

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Skye Nadel

Skye graduated from UCD in Spring 2018 with a BA in Economics and a BA in Applied Statistics. His research interests fall within applied microeconomics, including behavioral economics, decision theory, information economics, health economics, and their intersections with psychology. He is particularly interested in the psychology of decision making and its implications for interpersonal interaction. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in data science or health economics, and hopes to work in the health industry. Skye is currently a data analyst intern for the Center for Student Affairs Assessment, and is a tutor in economics, statistics, and calculus for the Student Academic Success Center.

Interested in Working in the Lab?

Research assistants in the Attraction and Relationships Research Lab have multiple responsibilities.  These hard-working undergraduates work with each other, the graduate students, and Dr. Eastwick on a variety of ongoing research projects. Research assistants' duties include:

  • Running experimental sessions

  • Coding data

  • Developing study material

  • Attending weekly lab meetings

  • Reading relevant literature

Are you interested joining the lab?  Those who do will gain valuable experience, including:

  • Learning about every stage for the research process

  • Learning about current issues in the field of relationship science and social psychology

  • Learning about careers in behavioral research

  • Building a competitive graduate school application

  • Building personal relationships with professionals in the field

  • Building personal relationships with other students who share your academic interests

We recruit research assistants three times a year (at the end of each quarter).  If the research assistant position appeals to you, contact Dr. Eastwick at He or one his graduate students will contact you about the interview process.