Center for Developmental Science


Kyle E. Chambers

Associate Professor of Psychological Science

Professor Chambers is interested in cognitive development across the lifespan. In particular, he studies the mechanisms that enable children to acquire language and the processes by which adults accommodate and learn from recent linguistic experiences. Learn more about Kyle at his personal website.


Patricia Reeder

Assistant Professor of Psychological Science

Professor Reeder’s research compares how children and adults learn complex patterns in their environment. She is especially interested in developmental differences in the implicit acquisition of complex linguistic patterns (like grammatical categories), and differences in how children and adults use information from their prior experience to predict the outcomes of events.


Kate Schneider 

 Laboratory Coordinator

 Hey! My name is Kate Schneider, and I’m from Albany,MN. I'm currently a senior at Gustavus, and am a double major in Psychological Science and Statistics with an Economics minor. After graduation, I aim to continue on to graduate school in hopes of becoming an esteemed Speech-Language Pathologist. Aside from academics, I am on the Gustavus gymnastics team, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), and work as a research apprentice under Dr. Jennifer Ackil. I love being busy and having a crazy schedule to keep up with, but when I get free time I love to watch Netflix, be outside, and play Just Dance with my teammates.


Lydia Brekke

 Research Assistant 

Hi! My name is Lydia Brekke, and I am a sophomore Psychological Science major. I grew up in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, and moved to Minnesota when I was 13. After graduation, I plan to attend a graduate school program for Occupational Therapy and work with children on the autism spectrum. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with friends, family, my nanny kids, and my dog Finn!


Micaela Chesnut

 Research Assistant 

 My name is Micaela Chesnut and I am from Stillwater, Minnesota. I am a senior Psychological Science major and Sociology/Anthropology minor. At Gustavus, I am a Collegiate Fellow, a Student Leader in Dining Services, and I am involved in the Choir of Christ Chapel. I do not have any future plans at the moment, but I hope to somehow work with children. When I have free time I like to sing, travel, watch movies, and spend time with family and friends.

Sam D.

Samantha Dixon

Research Assistant

Hi, my name is Samantha Dixon and I am a sophomore Psychological Science major here at Gustavus. I was born in St. Paul but grew up in Mound, Minnesota. I am a member of the Theta Xi Gamma sorority, the Gustavus Dance Team, a volunteer in Gustie Buddies, as well as having a job on campus. I am still in the process of figuring out exact plans for after graduation but I will be attending grad school with goals of working with individuals with developmental delays or mental disabilities. 


 Caity Dorle

Research Assistant

My name is Caity Dorle and I’m from Mendota Heights, Minnesota. I am currently a Senior Psychological Science major and Statistics minor. On campus, I am in the Delta Phi Omega sorority, the International Center Hall Council, and also work at Campus Safety. I love working with kids and volunteer at the Church of Saint Peter working with their youth program. In my free time I love reading, being outside, watching Netflix, and spending time with my friends and family. After graduation, I hope to go graduate school and eventually have a career working with kids!


Elena Gottlick

 Research Assistant 

Hey there! My name is Elena Gottlick. I am originally from Rockford, Illinois. I have one younger sister and lots of cousins (13, to be exact). Currently, I am a junior Psychological Science major. I absolutely love working with and helping young kids, and eventually, I hope to be a Speech and Language Pathologist. In my free time, I enjoy playing and teaching cello lessons, going hammocking in the arboretum, meditating, leading a women’s Bible study, being a United leader, being a Big Partner, and spending time with friends and loved ones.


Ava Hanson

Research Assistant

My name is Ava Hanson and I am from Medina, Minnesota. I am a first year and will most likely major in Psychological Science and minor in Spanish. On campus I work in the Lund center and am a part of the women’s soccer team. In my free time I like to spend time with friends, watch Netflix, and be active! 

Lauren Ihle

Research Assistant

Hey! My name is Lauren Ihle and I am a senior Psychological Science and Studio Art double major! I am a part of the Gustavus Women's Tennis team and Theta Xi Gamma sorority. After graduation, my plan is o take a year off, work around the world with a camp i work for, called SuperCamp, and then go to graduate school in California! In my free time I love going to concerts, being outside, traveling and eating copious amounts of food!


Jacy Jacobson

Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Jacy and I am a junior Psychology and Sociology Anthropology double major. I am from a very small town in southern Minnesota called Grand Meadow. I grew up on a farm and am a huge animal lover. I enjoy volunteering and hanging out with friends in my free time.


Lisa Jerden 

 Research Assistant

 Hi! My name is Lisa Jerden, I am originally from Tucson, Arizona and am a senior Psychology major here at Gustavus! I am on the gymnastics and diving teams here at Gustavus and am involved in the Delta Phi Omega sorority and multiple volunteer organizations. After I graduate, I want to pursue a career in either human resources or medical sales.


Ellen Kneeskern

 Research Assistant 

 My name is Ellen Kneeskern and I am a senior Psychological Science and English double major. I am from Stillwater, MN, and at Gustavus am involved in Building Bridges, work for the Chaplain’s office as a photography and graphic design associate, and am a Collegiate Fellow. After Gustavus I plan to go on to graduate school to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology, working specifically with emerging adulthood disorders and research in childhood development. In my free time I love traveling, reading, photography, and drinking coffee!

Sam McNamer

Research Assistant

My name is Sam McNamer and I was born in Texas but raised in Coon Rapids, MN. I am a Psychology and Biology double major with hopes of becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner after I graduate from Gustavus in 2018. On campus I am a Biology TA, the Co-President of Coloring Crew, Celloist in GSO, and volunteer in the Chapel. In my free time I enjoy babysitting, getting coffee with friends and binge watching Netflix.


 Chase Miller 

Research Assistant

My name is Chase Miller and I am from Brooklyn Park MN. I am currently a junior and am majoring in psychology and political science. I am not sure of my plans after college yet, but I hope to work in early childhood development, either directly with children in some sort of a school setting or at a higher, more policy based level. On campus I am a part of the women’s soccer team, SAAC, and work in print and mail services. In my free time I love biking, reading, watching The Office, and just being outside as much as possible.

Kayla Mortenson

Research Assistant

My name is Kayla Mortenson and I am from Anoka, Minnesota. I am a Junior, Psychology and Political Science double major. I am hoping to either attend law school or work with children after attending Gustavus. On campus I am the Co-president of Stress Busters, on the executive board of a non-profit organization called A Moment of Magic, and the assistant to the Pre-Law Advisor at Gustavus. In my free time I will normally be doing homework. When all of my homework is done, I like going on hikes, drinking coffee, and watching Friends.

Nicole Pfalz

Research Assistant 

Hi there! My name is Nicole Pfalz and I am from Oakdale, Minnesota. I am a junior Psychological Science and Latin American, Latina/o, and Caribbean Studies double major, with a minor in Spanish. At Gustavus, I am a Gustie Greeter, Co-President of Colleges Against Cancer, and am also involved in the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, the Spanish Honor Society - Sigma Delta Pi, Big Partner Little Partner, and work as a Tour Guide in the Admission Office. After I graduate, I plan to attend graduate school and later work as a speech-language pathologist. In my free time, I enjoy watching goat videos, drawing, and passing time with friends and family.

Liz Toeben

 Research Assistant 

 I am a senior Psychological Science and Biology double major from Sartell, MN. After graduation, I plan to spend two years with the Peace Corps before applying to Physician Assistant Programs and eventually specialize in Pediatric Neuro-Onocology. At Gustavus, I work as a Language and Technology Specialist in the Culpeper, and as a student worker in the Bookmark. Off-Campus, I am a server at Patricks on Third. I am the Diversity Chair for Student Senate, a member of Building Bridges, a DLC representative, and I recently created an Exploring Sign Languages Group where we look at American Sign Language in relation to sign languages from around the world. In my free time I enjoy working out, reading mystery novels, traveling, and spending time with my friends and family.


    • Allison Birnschein '17

    • Michael Hastings '17

    • Nick Herzog '16

      Caroline David '16

    • Kate Belschner '16

    • Andrea Garcia '16

    • Janey Ross '16

    • Kaitlyn Reed '16

    • Alli Conrad '15

    • Neo Mpunga '15

    • Allie Renneke '15

    • Maren Kind ’15

    • Brooke Meyer '14

    • Andrea Rosenberg ’14

    • Caitlin Bayer ’14

    • Megan Ozolins ’13

    • Katelyn Warburton ’13

    • Luke Youngvorst ’12

    • Lydia Voss ’12

    • Susie Kramer ’10

    Lili Rothschild '17

    Elle Vetter '17

    Jordan Nelson '16

    Tara Hoverstad '16

    Shannon Graham '16

    Samantha Swanson '16

    Alyssa Maxson '16

    Gretchan Menze '15

    Taylor Sommers '15

    Emma Nystadius '15

    Madison Heckel ’14

    Sam Fransen ’14

    Caroline Hendrickson ’13

    Suzanna Massaro ’13

    Sandy Xiong ’13

    Laura Kientzle ’12

    Allison Hoffman ’11

    Amanda Fisher ’10

    Kari Jacobsen ’10