Our Team

Principal Investigators

Edward Hubbard

Director of the Educational Neuroscience (EdNeuro) Lab

My initial training was at the University of California, Berkeley where I studied cognitive science (BA) and the University of California, San Diego where I studied experimental psychology and  (MA and PhD). I then held post-doctoral appointments at INSERM Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit with Stanislas Dehaene in France and the Educational Cognitive Neuroscience Lab with Bruce McCandliss (now at Stanford) in Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Our research uses functional MRI to explore the neural basis of numerical and mathematical abilities in children. In his free time, Ed enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Percival Matthews

Director of the Mathematics Education Learning and Development (MELD) Lab

My research program is organized around two primary goals: 1) to understand some basic underpinnings of human mathematical cognition, and 2) to find ways to leverage this understanding into effective educational techniques that can be used to impact the life chances of everyday people. My research has spanned all stages of development and has included work both in K-12 schools and in the laboratory. Currently, my largest projects involve exploring how basic perceptual abilities that all humans come with can help anchor understanding of fractions concepts and investing how we can improve children’s understanding of the equal sign, a type of knowledge that is an important entry point for algebraic thinking. When I’m not in research mode, I enjoy hanging out with my wife and two daughters, experiencing new foods, working out, and reveling in the music of the ’70s (which I feel set the high water mark for popular music).

Graduate Students

Isabella (Bella) Starling-Alves, 4th year Ph.D. Student in the EdNeuro Lab

Project: Math anxiety, fractions operations

I am a graduate student in Educational Psychology, in the Human Development area. I obtained my B.S. in Psychology in 2014 and my M.S. in Neuroscience in 2017, both at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. My first experience at the EdNeuroLab was an undergraduate visiting student back in 2013. I enjoyed the lab culture so much and was so intrigued by their research questions that I came back as a graduate student in 2017! I am very interested in understanding the neural and behavioral underpinnings of numerical cognition, with the final goal of helping those who are struggling to learn mathematics. Currently, in my research, I am interested in understanding the development of children’s fraction operations skills.


Alexandria (Alex) Viegut, 3rd year Ph.D. Student in the MELD Lab

Project: Visual representations of math

Before coming to UW-Madison, Alex earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame, where she investigated how preschool-aged children learn to count and develop an understanding of number. She hopes to develop collaborations with schools, teachers, and parents to promote children’s math development. In her free time, Alex loves to enjoy nature, play piano, and explore the city of Madison.


Yun-Shiuan (Sean) Chuang, 2nd year Ph.D. Student in the Edneuro lab

Project: Computational Modeling, Neural Networks + fMRI

Sean is a Ph.D. student in the Psychology Department working with Professor Joseph Austerweil and Professor Edward Hubbard. He currently investigates children’s math cognition development via computational modeling with fMRI data. He also investigates the “number sense” in artificial neural networks and compares it to human’s math cognition. In addition, with the collaboration with Professor Jerry Zhu, he also works on modeling teacher-student interactions and optimizing teaching with the Markov decision process framework. He received his BS in psychology and neuroscience from National Taiwan University.

Personal Website: https://yunshiuan.github.io/
Email: yunshiuan.chuang@wisc.edu

Lab Manager

Ashley Ezpeleta

Hi! My name is Ashley and I am the lab manager for the Educational Neuroscience lab, but a lot of my time and energy is dedicated to the LAMBDA project. Not only am I responsible for closely managing the 23 undergrads assigned to help with LAMBDA, but I also am in charge of scheduling ~400 families every year! I graduated from Miami University (in Ohio) in May 2019 with a B.A. in (cognitive) Psychology and a minor in Linguistics. I am currently taking a gap year (years, actually) before starting grad school for either developmental or cognitive psychology to study the development of language in kiddos! I love working with kids and this position has proven to be a perfect fit! My favorite part about managing the lab is all the wonderful people I get to talk to and do research with everyday. My favorite part about LAMBDA specifically is being able to interact with all the kids in our study, especially when I run the fMRI scans! In my free time, I love hiking and running, doing puzzles, and watching movies (my boyfriend is an avid movie collector!).

Office Phone: (608) 263-4011
Study email: lambda@education.wisc.edu
Personal Email: ezpeleta@wisc.edu

Undergraduate Team Leaders

Madison Rinehart

Assistant Manager

My name is Madison, but I go by Maddie. I am a freshman here at UW and will be starting with the LAMBDA project in the Spring! Currently, I am an undecided on a major but looking towards a career in pediatric healthcare. Outside of the lab, I enjoy working out, spending time outdoors (mainly on the lake), cheering on Badger sports, and hanging out with my family in friends.

Sanjana Kumar

Assistant Manager

Hello! My name is Sanjana and I’m a second-year undergraduate student studying Communication Sciences & Disorders with a certificate in Health and the Humanities. This is my second semester working in LAMBDA. My favorite part about lab is of course the kids I get to meet and work with as well as learning more and more about the bridge between education and neuroscience. Beyond lab, my time is taken up working for the Greater University Tutoring Service as a Study Skills Coordinator and am a member of NSSLHA and Camp Kesem. During my free time, I enjoy drawing, dancing, and hanging out with my friends!

David Chen

Head of Coding

Hi! I am David Chen and I am a third-year undergraduate student studying Biochemistry and Economics on a pre-med track. I’m in my 4th year in the lab and third year in the LAMBDA project. I love the opportunities to interact with different families, working with the kids, and analyzing all the data we get. Outside of lab, I also work in another lab studying central nervous system regeneration. I also love to coach swimming, go swimming, watch swimming, and volunteer at swimming events. My favorite sport is swimming as well.

Peyton Nystrom

Head of Data

My name is Peyton and I am a sophomore studying psychology. I hope to one day become a Clinical Psychologist. This is my first semester working in LAMBA. My favorite part about the lab is getting to learn more about the field of Educational Neuroscience and working with the kids. Outside of the lab, I enjoy running, being outdoors and hanging with friends.

Sam Weinfurter

Head of Data & Verification

My name is Sam, and I am a sophomore studying neurobiology and psychology here at UW-Madison. This is my first semester working on the LAMBDA project, and my favorite part of being in the lab is interacting with the kids! When I’m not in the lab, you can find me lifeguarding at the Nat, volunteering with the Red Cross Club, and marching in Camp Randall on Saturdays as a member of the UW Band!

Eva Bacskai

Head Scheduler
My name is Eva and I’m a sophomore studying Neurobiology with a certificate in Health and the Humanities. After undergrad, I hope to either go to PA school or grad school to study public health. This spring will be my first semester working on the LAMBDA team, and I’m so excited to learn more about the emerging field of Educational Neuroscience! In my free time, I love to go on runs, read, eat pasta, and watch the sunset.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Valerie Buroker

My name is Valerie, and I am a sophomore studying Psychology and Neurobiology with certificates in Health in the Humanities and Disability Rights and Services. I plan to go to medical school to become a child psychiatrist. This is my first semester with the lab, and my favorite part is working with the kids and learning how their brain influences their decisions and actions. In my free time, I volunteer at an elementary afterschool program and a respite care program, and I work as a CNA. I also enjoy going to Badger games, camping, and being outdoors.

Olivia Clauss

My name is Olivia. I go by Livvy. I am starting my junior year studying neurobiology. After college, I’d like to go to med school and ultimately work as an air force physician as a psychiatrist. This will be my first semester in the lab, and I’m very excited to get to work with the kids! Outside the lab, you’ll find me biking, skiing, or hiking with my dog Frederick.

Matt Eliason

My name is Matt, I am a sophomore studying neurobiology and am currently on a Pre-Med track. This is my first semester in the EdNeuro Lab and I absolutely love the opportunity getting to interact with the kids and study something so interesting and important for education. Outside of the lab I love to play sports with my friends and go hiking and camping!

Connor Eull

My name is Connor and I am a 4th year undergraduate double majoring in Neurobiology and Psychology with a certificate in Global Health, planning on pursuing a career in clinical psychology. I am extremely excited to help work with kids and learn more about how we learn. Outside of the lab I am an active member of the UW Swim Club, avid hiker and camper, and ice cream enthusiast.

Abdi Jama

My name is Abdi Jama and I’m currently a senior double majoring in Neurobiology and Psychology. I’m on the pre-med tract and plan to go to medical school. This will be my first semester with the lab and I’m super excited to be a member of the team and help work with the kids. Outside the lab, I like to play soccer, hangout with my friends and workout.

Eli Karian

My name is Eli and I am a sophomore double majoring in psychology and neurobiology with a certificate in computer science. This fall will be my first semester working at the LAMDA project here in this lab. I am very excited to be a member of a team that does meaningful research and am eager to engage with the work in store. As a new member of this team, I hope to learn more about the world of research and gain valuable experience in the subjects I am interested in. In my free time, I usually can be seen either hanging out with my friends or playing/listening to music.

Callahan (Cal) Manuel

My name is Cal Manuel and I am a junior studying Industrial Engineering with an emphasis in health systems. I have been with the lab for a year and half and I enjoy working closely with all of the young kids. I also contribute to coding and analyzing research data. In my free time I enjoy making music and cross country running. I hope to one day pursue a career working with medical devices like the fMRI machines used in our lab.

Molly Pistono

My name is Molly and I am a sophomore majoring in Neurobiology while pursuing certificates in Italian and Gender and Women’s Studies. After college I plan on attending medical school with hopes of becoming a Neurologist. This is my first semester with the Educational Neuroscience lab working on the LAMBDA project. I love running studies with the kids as well as learning more about the field! Outside of the lab you can find me playing volleyball, volunteering with HOSA, and spending time outside exploring Madison.

Michelle Shterenfeld

Hi! My name is Michelle and I’m a junior on the pre-medical track studying neurobiology with certificates in leadership, health and the humanities, and education and educational services. This is my first semester in the lab, and my favorite part about the lab is getting to know the kids and meeting other research assistants. Outside of the lab, you can find me at the gym, hanging out with my friends, at the library, or discovering new places to eat in Madison!

Jack Siepmann

My name is Jack and I am currently a sophomore studying Biology. I am on a pre-med track and hope to be a dermatologist or neurologist. I am excited to work on the LAMBDA project and learn more about Educational Neuroscience through this research. Outside of the lab, I am Co-President of a Non-Profit called Hearty Hands that aids Madison’s homeless population, and I enjoy traveling, the outdoors, and hanging out on the lake.

Chanel Sims

My name is Chanel Sims and I am a senior at UW, majoring in Rehabilitation Psychology! After my time at UW, I plan to expand on my medical knowledge in post-baccalaureate studies, then attending medical school for surgery. This will be my first year working in the Ed Neuro Lab, so I am really looking forward to getting to know my peers and the loads of information I will receive! Aside from the lab, I am the administrative co-chair for AHANA-MAPS Pre-Health Society, publicity coordinator for the Campus Women’s Center, and the manager for the new rec building, The Nick! In my free time, I love to listen to music, play cards and chill with friends!