Principal Investigator

Bridgette Martin Hard, PhD

Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Dr. Bridgette Hard is an Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. She received her PhD in Psychology from Stanford University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Developmental Psychology at the University of Oregon. Her first professional passion is teaching. For 8 years, she led Stanford’s Psychology One Program, where she oversaw the curriculum for Stanford’s introductory psychology course and directed a year-long teacher training program for PhD students and advanced undergraduates to develop their teaching skills and discover creative ways to integrate research and teaching. She was awarded Stanford’s highest honor for contributions to undergraduate education: the Lloyd L. Dinkelspiel Award, and also  received the Phi Beta Kappa Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Dr. Hard’s second professional passion is exploring the intersection of psychology and pedagogy: She uses data from the classroom to extend psychological theories and uses insights from psychology to inform new classroom practices. She enjoys mentoring undergraduates in research and helping them learn about the classroom through a psychological lens.

Dr. Hard is also a textbook author and co-organizes two conferences for psychology teachers, the Psychology One Conference and the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP).


Research Coordinator

Michelle Wong, B.A.

Michelle Wong is a senior enrolled in a self-designed (Program II) major titled Neuroanthropology in Pedagogy, Policy, and Practice. Her program of study explores the intersections of human cognitive science, science communication, and building novel evidence-based practices for everyday classrooms. Prior to joining the BRITE lab, she worked in neurobiology research in her home city, San Diego, the Marsh Lab at Duke focusing on learning and memory, and also spent a summer in the Gopnik lab at UC Berkeley, seeing how toddlers use patterns to learn about cause-and-effect. She volunteered with Durham classrooms with Partners for Success, where her interest in science, society, and classrooms began. Michelle’s current research in the BRITE lab focuses on metaphorical lay theories and how they affect students’ attitudes and behaviors. Outside of research, Michelle serves on DUU Exec as the chair of Freewater Presentations, leads FEMMES Connect, volunteers at the puppy kindergarten and Duke Hospital, and trains aerial silks in her free time. After graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in cognitive or educational neuroscience/psychology.

Undergraduate Researchers

Kayley Dotson is a junior majoring in Psychology and French. Kayley found her passion for psychology in her first year at Duke in introductory psychology. She is interested in how students take notes and study, as well as strategies to improve such habits. She is also interested in how to maintain student attention in the classroom. In addition to working in the BRITE lab, Kayley works in the Tomasello lab, a child development lab at Duke. She has worked on a project investigating when and why children conform to norms, and she is currently working on a project investigating friendship. Outside of the classroom, Kayley loves comedy and is in a sketch comedy group on campus called Inside Joke. She loves to travel and participated in Duke-in-Aix as well as the Duke in Paris summer program. She is also a first-year advisory counselor (FAC), where she welcomes new blue devils when they first arrive in the fall. Kayley hopes to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in psychology.


Ceren Ebrem is a senior double-majoring in Psychology and Economics. After coming to Duke as a Pratt student, she fell in love with the first psychology class she took here, a first-year seminar, and had a drastic change in her academic track. Prior to the BRITE lab, she worked in the Translational Center for Stress-Related Disorders lab at the Duke Hospital, working on a Teen Alcohol Outcomes Study. Her initial research focused on change in stress levels in adolescence and the role of gender. During her junior year, she became involved in the Costanzo Teaching Fellowship and started wanting to learn more about teaching and student outcomes. Her current research at the BRITE lab focuses on the role of student mindsets about the nature of intelligence, and how this relates to student wellbeing, motivation, and response to challenges. Outside of the classroom, Ceren is involved with the Baldwin Scholars program, started a house course called “Women’s Empowerment at Duke and Beyond”, and is a Cameron Crazie! She studied abroad in London with the Duke in London Finance program. She is from Istanbul, Turkey, and I has an Italian step-father.



Jing Liu is a sophomore at Duke majoring in psychology and statistics. She decided to pursue psychology after taking Introductory Psychology and Abnormal Psychology in her Freshman spring. Jing joined the BRITE lab last spring, and has since been exploring how students’ socioemotional experience in large lecture courses relate to their course outcomes. She is also interested in how different grading systems affect student motivation and perspectives. Coming from Beijing, Jing is constantly amazed by the similarities and differences in human psychology she observes across cultures. During her spare time, Jing enjoys playing flute, sipping boba, getting “crushed” in British Parliamentary debate rounds, and attending cultural events around campus. After college, she hopes to attend graduate school to further her studies in psychology.




Malorie Lipstein is a sophomore from New York double majoring in Psychology and Spanish. She was immediately inspired and captivated by her psychology courses, fascinated by the mechanisms behind the behaviors she so regularly witnesses both in herself and in the people around her. At the BRITE Lab, she is researching the effects of race and gender on students’ perceptions of their professors through online evaluations. Malorie loves to travel, spend time with friends, and eat apples, and she is a member of the cheerleading team at Duke.






Leigh Marshall is a sophomore from Philadelphia majoring in Public Policy, minoring in Psychology, and pursuing the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. After taking Psychology 101 during her first semester at Duke, she knew that she wanted to continue to take psychology classes and get further involved with the department. In the BRITE Lab, Leigh is currently working on a study that analyzes how seating choice affects student motivation and professors’ perspectives. She also hopes to research more about test anxiety and stress in undergraduates. Outside of research, she serves as the Chair of Alumni Relations for Business Oriented Women, is a Head Tour Guide for Duke admissions, and is a member of the Club Ski Team. In her free time Leigh enjoys yoga, baking, and spending time with friends and family.




Haley Blank is a sophomore studying Psychology and participating in research in the BRITE Lab. Her research focuses on how class room seating in a lecture hall affects students experiences in the classroom. More generally, her research interests include how manipulating different aspects of a classroom environment and learning mechanisms will impact students to try and find the most effective tools for learning.







Janette Levin is a junior at Duke University, majoring in Psychology with a certificate in the Markets and Management Studies program. Janette is interested in a broad range of research including exam anxiety and performance, psychological effects of technology, as well as race relations and how it impacts students and teachers both in and outside the classroom. In previous semesters, Janette has worked in the Svetlova lab, a child empathy development project at Duke studying children’s developing abilities to understand others’ emotions and beliefs. Outside of her studies, Janette is Project BUILD leader, a GANO english tutor for hispanic residents of the triangle area, a Duke BOW member, and has participated in DukeEngage as well as a semester abroad in Copenhagen. She is thinking of concentrating her studies in child psychology and hopes to attend graduate school to pursue her passion in the field.




Ishaan Kumar is a sophomore enrolled in self-designed major entitled Science and Society, exploring the relationships between science and medicine, and the societal factors that affect and influence this relationship, with a focus on philosophy, psychology, and genome sciences. His current research interests revolve around how language about stress may affect our attitudes towards stress. Before working at the BRITE lab, he worked with Dr Ravindra Pandey at the Roswell Park Cancer Centre on active targeting of photosensitive molecules, and with Dr Shelby Reed at the Duke Clinical Research Institute on economic evaluations of decision aids, both in the context of prostate cancer. Outside of research, he works for the Innovation Co-Lab, Duke’s Makerspace, as a student technician, and makes podcasts with Hear at Duke, Duke’s podcasting hub. Post-graduation, he hopes to pursue an M.D. in the USA.




Adam Zimmer is a junior at Duke University majoring in psychology and minoring in chemistry. He is new to the BRITE lab and is interested in studying the effects of stress and anxiety on students’ test performance as well as ways to reduce test anxiety to improve testing scores. He is on the Duke men’s varsity swim team, serves as an ACTION mentor for freshman student athletes, and volunteers at the Duke children’s hospital. He participated in the Duke in Greece program last summer. After college, he plans on attending medical school.







Priyanka Fernandes is a sophomore from Charleston, South Carolina majoring in Psychology and minoring in Chemistry. After taking Dr. Hard’s psychology 101 class, she decided to pursue psychology research and hopes to focus on studying tactics, stress, and anxiety. Outside of the classroom, Priyanka plays on the Duke Club volleyball team, mentors middle school girls at the Emily K. Center, helps lead a pre-orientation philanthropy program (Project BUILD), and throws birthday parties for the children in the Duke Children’s Hospital. Priyanka is so excited to be working in this lab (Dr. Hard is literally a celebrity to her) and hopes to go to medical school after graduating.





Lab Alumni

Vivian Iva

Vivian Iva is the former Research Coordinator of the BRITE Lab. Vivian graduated from Duke University with a double-major in Psychology and Visual Arts. She earned her degree with distinction, completing her senior-year thesis research project at the Tomasello Lab with a study focused on 5-year-old children’s developing understanding of social norms. Her involvement in the art department of Duke was very meaningful to her as well: she regularly participated in student showcases throughout her college experience and curated a solo exhibit of her artworks during her Senior year. Vivian discovered her love for Psychology when she took Human Development taught by Dr. Pamela Maxson, who became her mentor, role-model, and inspiration. Vivian is particularly interested in social and evolutionary psychology: she is fascinated with questions relating to the causes and nature of group-based social inequality and science-based strategies to decrease it. After completing her work as a Research Coordinator, she decided to pursue a career in Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy. Outside of work, Vivian enjoys reading autobiographies and works of fiction, going to the gym, exploring Durham, spending time with her friends, and taking pictures of her adorable cat Mimi.


Katie Herrmann graduated in 2019 with a major in psychology and minors in economics and Spanish. Katie began her involvement in the BRITE lab the summer before her senior year through the VIP program, where she had the opportunity to start her thesis research. Throughout senior year, she conducted her honors thesis which centered on an exam anxiety video intervention intended to help mitigate the effects of exam anxiety on performance.  While at Duke, Katie was a Costanzo Teaching Fellow, a Project BUILD leader, and participated in both DukeEngage and Duke in Madrid. She is beginning her post-graduation career at EAB, a best-practices education consulting firm, this August as an associate on their research team.  Here, she is excited to continue working at the cross of education and research.





Anna Jenkins graduated in 2019 with a major in psychology and minors in chemistry and German. Anna first joined the BRITE Lab her junior year when she began an independent study on stress mindsets. Her senior year, she conducted an honors thesis to examine how students’ beliefs about stress impact their health and academic performance. While at Duke, she was on the varsity rowing team and enjoyed applying her studies to think about how stress might affect athletic performance. Anna is spending the 2019-2020 school year teaching in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar. She hopes to continue learning more about how students learn and how as a teacher she can keep them motivated. Anna hopes to matriculate into medical school in 2020.





Joshua Lovett is a recently graduated psychology major with a passion for teaching that began with his DukeEngage South Korea experience in 2015. In the BRITElab, Josh studied what students perceive as the long-term benefit of taking an introductory psychology course. Josh is actively involved in research broadly in educational psychology. As a first-generation college student, Josh hopes to improve educational outcomes for low-income and first-generation students using his knowledge from both education and psychology. In his senior honors thesis, Josh is exploring the barriers first-generation students encounter at highly-selective universities and how these challenges impact identity development. During his senior year, Josh served as a Philip R. Costanzo Teaching Fellow, where he worked as part of a team of faculty and undergraduates to deliver a high-quality educational experience in introductory psychology.  Josh was also involved is a variety of activities outside of the classroom at Duke. He served as the President of Liberty in North Korea, a human rights advocacy group, and the President of the Arts Theme House Selective Living Group. Furthermore, Josh served as a peer mentor for the Rubinstein Scholars Program, a competitive scholarship for first-generation students attending Duke University. For the next few years, Josh will be a Fulbright Fellow in South Korea. After his fellowship is complete, Josh plans to attend graduate school to obtain his Ph.D. in educational psychology and eventually become a professor.




Melissa Beers (The Ohio State University)

Christina Bejjani (Duke University)

Lucy Zhang Bencharit (Stanford University)

Shannon Brady (Wake Forest University)

Stephen Flusberg (SUNY Purchase)

Omid Fotuhi (University of Pittsburgh)

Parker Goyer (Stanford University)

James Gross (Stanford University)

Jessica Hill (Utah Valley University)

Cayce Hook (Stanford University)

Angela Lee (Stanford University)

Molly McNamara (UC Berkeley)

Marleyna Mohler (Stanford University)

Hannah Moshontz de la Rocha (Duke University)

Natasha Parikh (Duke University

Michael Schwalbe (Stanford University)

Jeanne Tsai (Stanford University)

Greg Walton (Stanford University)

Brenda Yang (Duke University)