Graduate Students

Current Graduate Students

Kathleen Kelsey

Kathleen is a sixth year graduate student working towards her Ph.D. in the Neuroscience and Behavior program at UNL. She is broadly interested in the use of advanced statistical techniques in examining predictive pathways to developmental behavior disorders. Kathleen has specific interests in the effects of chronic stress on developmental neurobiology and functional brain development. She is currently working on a dissertation project investigating the neurophysiological correlates of emotion regulation in maltreated children using event-related potentials (ERP).



  1. Kelsey, K. M. (2013). Executive Functions: What They Are, How They Work, and Why They Evolved? [Review of the book Executive Functions: What They Are, How They Work, and Why They Evolved, by Russell A. Barkley]. Developmental Neuropsychology, 38, 78-80.doi:10.1080/87565641.2012.744756
  2. Kota, S., Kelsey, K. M., Rigoni, J. B., & Molfese, D. L. (2013). Feasibility of using event-related-potentials as a sideline measure of neurocognitive dysfunction during sporting events. Neuroreport, 24, 437-439. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e3283616512
  3. Chevalier, N., Kelsey, K. M., Wiebe, S. A., & Espy, K. A. (under review). The temporal dynamic of preschool response inhibition: An ERP study of partial and successful inhibition.
  4. Kelsey, K. M., Hoffman, L., Wiebe, S., Sheffield, T., & Espy, K. A. (under review). Impact of prenatal tobacco exposure on developmental change in motor control and delayed gratification in preschoolers.

Selected Presentations:

  1. Kelsey, K. M., Chevalier, N., Wiebe, S. A., & Espy, K. A. (2012, March). Neurophysiological correlates of emotion regulation in preschoolers: An examination of the effects of socio-economic status. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Chicago, IL
  2. Kelsey, K. M., Clark, C. A. C., Nelson, J. M., Sheffield, T. D., Chevalier, N., Wiebe, S. A., et al. (2011, April). Predictors of Developmental Change in Motor Control across the Preschool Period. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, QC.
  3. Kelsey, K. M., Kiviniemi, M. T., Wiebe, S. A., McChargue, D. E., & Bevins, R. A. (2010, February). Smoking and the Iowa Gambling Task: Are smokers poor learners in a task involving monetary reward? Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, Baltimore, MD.
  4. Kelsey, K. M., Espy, K. A., Wiebe, S. A., Sheffield, T., & Wakchlag, L. S. (2009, February). Impact of prenatal tobacco exposure on neuropsychological dimensions of ADHD. Paper presented at the thirty-seventh annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Atlanta, GA.

Allison Skinner

Allison is a second year graduate student in Psychology with a focus Social Cognitive Neuroscience. Her research involves the use of neuroimaging technology to develop a more comprehensive understanding of social perceptions and intergroup relations. She has a number of current projects centered on perceptions and categorizations of race, stereotypes, and the impacts of observing outgroup prejudice.



Selected publications and presentations:

  1. Nicolas, G., & Skinner, A. L. (2012). “That’s so gay!” General negative usage of the word gay increases implicit anti-gay bias. Journal of Social Psychology, 152, 654-658. doi: 10.1080/00224545.2012.661803
  2. Skinner, A. L., & Stevenson, M. C. (2012, May). Discrimination against Asian drivers: Asian Driver Stereotypes Scale construction and validation. Presentation at the Association for Psychological Science Conference, Chicago, IL.
  3. Skinner, A. L., Stevenson, M. C., Fowler, S. (2012, March). Female driver stereotypes and attribution of responsibility in a civil automobile accident trial. Paper presentation at the American Psychology-Law Society Conference, San Juan, PR.
  4. Skinner, A. L., Stevenson, M. C., & Sorenson Farnum, K. (2012, January). Juvenile defendants who rape different-race victims are treated more punitively. Presentation at the Society Personality and Social Psychology Conference, San Diego, CA.
  5. Skinner, A. L., Stevenson, M. C., & Breault, M. (2011, May). Anti-Arab prejudice extends beyond terrorist stereotypes: Arabs are blamed for car accidents more than Caucasians. Paper presentation at the Association for Psychological Science Conference, Washington, D.C.
  6. Stevenson, M. C., Sorenson, K. M., Skinner, A. L., & Dzwario, R.A. (2011). Impact of race on perceptions of adolescent sex offenders. In M. Paludi (Ed.), The Psychology of Teen Violence and Victimization (pp. 57-80).California: Praeger Publishers.
  7. Skinner, A. L., Sorenson, K. M., & Stevenson, M. C. (2011). Is public support for sex offender registration policies driven by a desire to protect society or punish offenders? In N. M. Palmetti & J. P. Russo (Eds.), The Psychology of Punishment (pp. 33-50). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Cathyrn Cortesa

Cathryn Cortesa is a first year graduate student working toward her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. She is broadly interested in research with an ecological approach to early childhood development. This year, Cathryn will be working with the Developmental Brain Lab, and hopes to use brain-imaging techniques in research to better understand and better predict risk for future self-regulatory, attentional, and learning difficulties, especially in high-risk populations



Patrick Ledwidge, B.A.

Patrick Ledwidge is a first year Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience and Behavior program at UNL with a particular interest in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. His research interests involve using neuroimaging techniques to study the changes in cognition between different typically and atypically developing populations. He has a specific interest in investigating the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury on cognitive development and maintenance.

Before coming to UNL and the dBrain lab, Patrick received his B.A. in Psychology from DePauw University where he studied Psychology and Spanish. At DePauw, he was the research project coordinator in Dr. Terri Bonebright’s Perception Lab, where he conducted ERP research investigating contextual-dependent perceptions of interfering auditory and visual stimuli. He also has conducted research on auditory-emotion perception, sportsmanship, and emotion regulation.


Selected publications and presentations:

  1. Lear, M., Ledwidge, P. S., & Roberts, M. E. (2013, May). The effects of ego depletion and personality on emotion regulation. Poster presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference.
  2. Ledwidge, P. S., Lear, M., & Hall, C. (2013, May). Development and validation of a Flow Scale using the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP). Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science Convention.


Past Graduate Students

Caitlin Hudac, Ph.D.

My research interests apply the use of neuroimaging techniques (including EEG/ERP, MRI, NIRS, and MEG) to study the development of language, learning, and social development. The research that I conduct with the dBrain Lab is largely interdisciplinary, encompassing topics such as theory of mind development in infancy, emotion regulation and autonomic arousal, effects of sleep disruption on cognition, the involvement of reward circuitry when viewing art (neuroaesthetics), and brain plasticity following traumatic brain injury.Prior to coming to UNL, I was the research coordinator for Dr. Kevin Pelphrey at the Yale Child Study Center where I conducted pediatric autism research. We used fMRI to measure the social brain in children with autism, siblings unaffected by autism symptoms, and neurotypical children as young as 4 years of age. I also was involved in executing infant neuroimaging using fMRI.Currently, my research focuses on cognitive neural mechanisms across early development. More specifically, I study the early emergence of social cognition in infancy, such as mental state representations. I am interested in developing computational models to explore how these mechansism emerge in infants. I hope to apply my work to both typical and atypical development (e.g. autism, learning disorders).


Selected publications:

  1. Hudac, C.M., Kota, S., Nedrow, J.L., & Molfese, D.L. (2012). Neural mechanisms underlying neuro-optometric rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury. Eye and Brain, 2012:4, 1-12. PDF
  2. Molfese, D.L., Ivanenko, A., Fonaryova Key, A., Roman, A., Victoria J. Molfese, V.J., O’Brien, L.M., Gozal, D., Kota, S., & Hudac, C.M. (In Press). A One-Hour Sleep Restriction Impacts Brain Processing in Young Children Across Tasks: Evidence From Brain Recordings. Developmental Neuropsychology.
  3. Pelphrey, K.A., Hudac, C.M., Shultz, S., & Vander Wyk, B.C. (2011). Research Review: Constraining Heterogeneity: The social brain and its development in autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 52, 6, 631-644. PDF
  4. Kaiser, M. D., Hudac, C. M., Shultz, S., Lee, S., Cheung, C., Berken, A. M., Deen, B., Pitskel, N. B., Sugrue, D. R., Voos, A. C., Saulnier, C. A., Ventola, P., Wolf, J.M., Klin, A., Vander Wyk, B. C., & Pelphrey, K. A. (2010). Neaural signatures of autism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 49, 21223-21228. PDF
  5. Perlman, S.B., Hudac, C.M., Pegors, T., Minshew, N.J., & Pelphrey, K.A. (2010). Experimental manipulation of face-evoked activity in the fusiform gyrus of individuals with autism. Social Neuroscience. PDF
  6. Vander Wyk, B.C., Ramsay, G.J., Hudac, C.M., Jones, W., Lin, D., Klin, A., & Pelphrey, K.A. (2010). Cortical integration of audio-visual information. Brain and Cognition, 74, 97-106. PDF
  7. Vander, Wyk, B.C., Hudac, C.M., Carter, E.J., Sobel, D.M., & Pelphrey, K.A. (2009). Action understanding in the superior temporal sulcus region. Psychological Science, 20, 6, 771-777. PDF