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Meet the team

Principal Investigator


SHANA COLE, PhD | Principal Investigator

Shana is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University and director of the Regulation, Action, and Motivated Perception (RAMP) Lab. She received her PhD from New York University before joining the Rutgers faculty in 2014. Shana is interested in the underlying cognitive, perceptual, and affective processes that enable successful goal pursuit. She explores self-regulatory processes across multiple levels of analysis, including higher-order cognition, visual perception, and psychophysiology. Her research spans many goal domains to provide insight into the tools that enable people to mitigate threats, attain rewards, and resist temptations. 

Pronouns: she/her  |  E-mail:     

PhD Students (Advisees)



Maggie is primarily interested in the intersectionality between health and social psychology. In the RAMP lab, her research centers on the self-regulatory strategies people use to handle stress or threat and promote health and wellness. Projects include: the influence of comparing to others on stress management, the power of choice context on health decisions, lived experiences and body image, health behaviors and stressors among those diagnosed with diabetes, and more. Her aim is to uncover both the adaptive and maladaptive strategies people use in the pursuit of their goals and in broader social contexts. 

Pronouns: she/her  |  E-mail:  |  Personal Website  | CV



Broadly, Kyle is interested how people perceptually distort and actively respond to information that threatens their goals or ideological beliefs. In the past, he has focused upon motivated biases, impression formation, and category exemplars. Currently, Kyle is exploring the protective strategies underlying responses to romantic relationship threat and political ideological threat. 

Pronouns: he/him  |  E-mail:

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Hayley broadly studies goal pursuit, self-regulation, and motivation. More specifically, she studies how we respond to setbacks and obstacles we may experience during goal pursuit. She has examined this topic in various domains such as women's responses to obstacles as they pursue goals and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields as well as how we have needed to adjust our goals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With her external collaborators, she also explores the effects of objective and subjective math ability (i.e., numeracy) on various goal-related, financial, health, and decision-making outcomes. 

Pronouns: she/her  |  E-mail:  | Google Scholar | CV

PhD Students (Affiliates)

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Grace Wetzel, ms | PhD Student

Grace studies how gender impacts experiences of sexuality from a feminist psychological perspective. More specifically, she studies the well-established orgasm gap between cisgender men and women during partnered sex. Her main lines of research focus on lay beliefs about and perceptions of the orgasm gap, how biological essentialist explanations are used to justify and perpetuate the orgasm gap, and the inclusion of pleasure in sex education. In collaboration with the RAMP lab, Grace studies women's decisions about whether to pursue orgasm as a goal in their sexual encounters. 

Pronouns: she/her  |  E-mail:  |  Personal Website  CV

Current Undergraduate Independent Project Students


Shurafa thowfeeq
Pronouns: she/her

Shurafa is majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Health & Society and Education. As a Cooper research fellow in the RAMP Lab, she studies goal balance and goal-striving stress among college students from diverse demographics. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a Master's in Social Work and building a career as an international social worker.  


Shannon Carratura
Pronouns: she/her

Shannon is a Psychology and Exercise Science major in the Honors College. As a Cooper research fellow, she researches how social support affects the decision to disengage from a goal. In the future, Shannon plans to pursue research in a field that integrates both Psychology and Exercise Science.

PhD Student Alumni

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Kristina is an Assistant Professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Her research explores perceptual and attentional routes to prejudice and discrimination, with an emphasis on bias towards stigmatized populations. She also explores perceptual biases in the way people view themselves. 

Pronouns: she/her  |  Personal Website



Janna is a Senior UX Researcher at Vanguard. Her research employs motivation science and a user-centered approach to understand how people meet their financial goals. With the RAMP lab, Janna's work explores situational and social factors involved in goal pursuit.

Pronouns: she/her  |  Personal Website  |  LinkedIn

PhD Student Alumni (Affiliates)



Melanie is a tenure-track professor of Psychological Sciences at Bryant University. Her research generally focuses on the experiences and perceptions of sexual and gender minority individuals, intergroup solidarity, and the interplay between stigma and close relationships. Her work so far has examined identity cues, relationships and stigma coping, and stigma management. 

Pronouns: she/her  |  Email:  |  Curriculum Vita

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Analia is a fellow going on assistant professor in Psychology at Northeastern University. She completed her PhD at Rutgers University, where her work examined the discrimination experiences of people who hold multiple identities (e.g., biracial, bicultural identities), and how people who hold multiple (or otherwise stigmatized) identities are perceived by others. She extended this research to child populations in her postdoc position at Duke. 


Pronouns: she/her  |  Personal Website



Kim is an Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Her research explores 1) how lay beliefs about prejudice affect low- and high-status group members’ performance, behavior, and health, and 2) how and when prejudice confrontations reduce prejudice and impact the health of confronters. 

Pronouns: she/her  |  Personal Website

Undergraduate Alumni

JOSHUA SNYDER | Former Research Assistant (currently a Clinical Psychology PhD student at the University of Hartford)

ALICE MOLODAN | Former Cooper Fellow (currently working as a Sales Development Representative at BrightEdge)

DEVIN BARZALLO | Former Honors Student (currently pursuing medical school at Case Western University)


DARLA BONAGURA | Former Honors Student (currently a Social Psychology PhD student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville)

JOSEPHINE KIM | Former Aresty Fellow (currently a Clinical PhD student at Fairleigh-Dickinson University)

BROOKE SCHLEYER | Former Honors Student, Aresty & Cooper Fellow (currently a Clinical PhD student at Temple University)

SAMUEL KLEIN | Former Aresty & Cooper Fellow (currently a Clinical PhD student at the University of Minnesota)

KELLY LOVE | Former Research Assistant  (just graduated from the Masters program in I/O Psychology at Sacred Heart University)

PAMELA GOMEZ | Former Honors Student (currently a PhD student in the Rutgers-Newark Social Psychology Program)

SAMANTHA BRUNO | Former Aresty Student (currently pursuing a double certification in Education at Rutgers University)

THOMAS BUCHENOT | Former Honors Student (currently a Residential Counselor at Carrier Clinic)

ANKITA HUCKOO | Former Rutgers Aresty Fellow (currently working in Human Resources for a luxury retail brand)

MONICA GALASSO | Former Rutgers Aresty Fellow (currently pursuing a Masters in Counseling from The College of New Jersey)

ALESSA NATALE | Former Research Assistant (currently a PhD student in the CUNY I/O Psychology Program)

CAITLYN SMITH | Former Aresty & Cooper Fellow (currently a MS student in the Kean University Occupational Therapy Program)

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