Stacy Shaw, Principal Investigator

Dr. Stacy Shaw is an Assistant Professor in Learning Science and Technology and Psychological Science at WPI. Her research focuses on understanding creative thinking in mathematics, how anxiety and other threat experiences affect mathematical cognition and reasoning, as well as how classroom experiences can affect performance and learning in STEM. More recently, she has become interested in the role of wakeful rest periods for learning and wellbeing. 

Graduate Students

Alena Egorova

Alena is a first-year PhD student in the Learning Sciences & Technologies program. She got her Psychology Diploma from Moscow State University, where she investigated how emotional burnout develops in teachers. After graduation, Alena studied how people interact with digital tools, working as a User Experience Researcher and Designer in several internet projects for over 7 years. She came to WPI to learn the ways new technologies and data could be used to improve education. Her current research interests include affect dynamics in learning and digital interventions targeting cognitive and metacognitive skills. 

Andrew McReynolds

Andrew McReynolds is a first-year MS-PhD student in the Learning Sciences & Technologies program at WPI. He was an undergraduate researcher in the psychology department at the University of San Francisco (USF) while completing his bachelor’s degree in psychology (December 2020). During his time at USF, Andrew was a teaching assistant for courses such as abnormal psychology, child maltreatment, and advanced research topics, all while examining the impact of COVID-19 on his peers educational experience. He joined WPI in 2021 to pursue his graduate education in a multi-disciplinary program where he could combine his interests in educational interventions and psychology while expanding his knowledge on the use of computer science in the future of education. His research interests include equity in education,  teacher-student interaction, and improving accessibility to educational materials in developing countries.


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Kirk Vanacore

Kirk Vanacore is a Ph.D. student in Learning Sciences and Technologies at WPI. He earned his Masters at Tuft University from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study Human and Development. At Tufts, he worked as a graduate research assistant at the Center for Reading and Language Research studying and implementing effective pedagogy for dyslexic students. Currently, Kirk works as a Senior Analyst at Lexia Learning, where he uses data science to inform the development and improvement of educational technologies. Kirk's research interests include learning analytics, education data mining, causal inference in big data analysis, and effective pedagogies for neurodiverse populations. 

Research Assistants

Mikayla Prue, Research Assistant

Mikayla is a current sophomore undergraduate at WPI. She is studying Biomedical Engineering and Psychological Science. She is interested in studying educational and behavior psychology. Currently she is working on a study with Dr. Shaw on wakeful rest and its effects on learning.


Danny Rahal, M.A.

Danny Rahal, Ph.D. has research focuses on how social marginalization, with respect to low objective and subjective status and being treated as low status, can compromise health and well-being among adolescents from racial and ethnic minority and low-income backgrounds. He investigates how everyday discrimination and status relate to different aspects of health including daily stress processes, emotional well-being, mental health, substance use, and physiological systems including immune, autonomic, and hormonal processes.

Vy Ngo

Vy Ngo graduated with her Master's degree in learning science at WPI in 2022 studying how teachers' perceptions affect students' math performance and attitudes towards math, and how instructional technologies affect these relationships. Her goal is to promote equity and reduce gender gaps in education and work environments. 

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Aaron Haim

I am currently a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). I work with Professor Neil Heffernan in the ASSISTments Lab, which develops features and conducts research for the ASSISTments platform. My work specifically involves improving student learning on-demand through content generated by teachers. In addition, I research, collect, and disseminate Open Science and Reproducibility information such that researchers have a better understanding on how to implement these practices themselves.

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CEDAR Lab Alums

Chayanne Sandoval-Williams, Lab Manager

Chayanne graduated with her bachelor's in computer science in 2023! As the inaugural lab manager of CEDAR for two years, Chayanne conducted research on how students view mistake messages in math, organized studies around creativity and rest, and did an excellent job at keeping our lab up and running. We miss you already, Chayanne!

Paul Pacheco

Paul is a recent graduate of the Psychological and Cognitive Science program at WPI with a concentration in psychobiology. Paul is also a first-generation student who completed WPI's Teacher Preparation Program to become a licensed high school biology teacher, and now is teaching high school biology!