Who We Are

Lab Director

Dr. Jennifer Rennels (formerly Ramsey) is the Director of the Baby and Child Rebel Lab.

She is a Professor in the Psychology Department at UNLV where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Developmental Psychology.

She received her Ph.D. in psychology (developmental emphasis) from The University of Texas at Austin in 2003 and joined UNLV’s Department of Psychology faculty in Fall 2003.

She has published articles investigating how early social experiences influence infants and children’s perceptions of people based on gender, race, and attractiveness. Her research provides insight on the development of biases and stereotypes and how people process information about others. The National Science Foundation and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development have provided support for her research.

See Dr. Rennels’ profile on ResearchGate.

Research Associate

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Andrea Kayl graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

She is interested in developmental design and analysis and exploring the dynamic patterns of change that occur across development. She is also interested in how real world experiences and individual differences impact behavior. 

She is currently helping with projects that examine these factors as they relate to infants’ preferences for faces and their ability to recognize and categorize people in their social worlds.

If you have questions for Andrea, email her at kayla@unlv.nevada.edu

Graduate Students

Stephanie Verba

Stephanie Verba received her B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Experimental Psychology from UNLV. She is currently a doctoral student in the Psychological & Brain Sciences PH.D. program with a developmental emphasis. 

Two developmental questions drive Stephanie’s main research interests: 
1) Why are appearance-based biases so pervasive such that they emerge in childhood and persist into adulthood?
2) How can we reduce negative bias and increase flexible thinking (i.e., thinking of
others in a non-stereotypic manner) during particularly formative years such as middle childhood and adolescence, and in turn, adulthood?

Kirsty Kulhanek

Kirsty Kulhanek received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and her M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Missouri State University.

She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Psychological & Brain Sciences PH.D. program with a developmental emphasis. The primary questions that drive Kirsty’s research interests are: 

1) How do perceptual experience and abilities influence the way we begin to form social biases (such as race, gender, and attractiveness biases)

2) How can we reduce social biases through increased intergroup contact? 

Kindy Insouvanh

Kindy Insouvanh received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Alberta and M.A. in Forensic Psychology from the University of North Dakota. She is currently a doctoral student in Psychological & Brain Sciences PH.D. program with a developmental emphasis. 

Kindy studies the development and impact of racial/ethnic bias in individuals with diverse backgrounds (e.g., children of all races and ethnicities and with and without developmental disabilities). Two questions guide her current research interests:
1) How do children use contextual cues and person characteristics to make decisions in social situations?
2) What factors affect young adults’ reasoning about racism and ways to reduce racial prejudice and discrimination?

Tra Bui

Tra is a second year graduate student at UNLV. She is interested in learning about the interactions between children and technology, especially with voice assistants.  She loves cats and currently has 5 cats back in Vietnam. She also enjoys drinking boba tea whenever she feels like it. In her free time, she will sleep or play LOL mobile and Hayday.

Rachel DeWald

Rachel is a first year graduate student at UNLV. She has worked with the Baby and Child Rebel since she was an undergraduate student. Her interests lie in expanding the research of facial perception and emotional recognition by focusing on the autistic population. 

In her spare time she works with clay, and likes to make mugs and functional sculptures. She has three kids and they love to dance and do karaoke together.

Alexander Peterson

Alex is a first-year graduate student at UNLV. Having moved to Las Vegas last summer, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in developmental psychology. Alex’s research interests are in the intersectionality of early development and societal/cultural context. This includes race/ethnicity, sex/gender, education, and socioeconomic factors.

Outside of school, Alex stays busy with his two kids, a three-year old and a newborn. When there is spare time, he enjoys video games, movies, and exploring new places. One of Alex’s favorite hobbies is paleontology and probably knows way too much about dinosaurs.

Current Research Assistants

Christina Saliba

Fall 2021- Present

Christina is a senior at UNLV majoring in psychology. She graduated from the Lebanese University with a bachelor’s degree in psychomotricity. Her research interests lie in cognitive development and executive functions and the different ways they are impacted in children and adolescents with anxiety. In her free time she enjoys watching TV shows, reading and baking. After graduating, she wants to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology where she will focus on working with children and adolescents.

Marian Espina

Fall 2021- Present

Marian is a UNLV graduate. She
received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Couples & Family Therapy. Currently, she plans on pursuing a Master’s in Couples & Family studies in order to eventually become a licensed therapist. 

Before Marian starts applying to graduate school, she will enjoy spending time with her dog and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Alexis Rice

Spring 2022-Present

Alexis is a senior at UNLV majoring in psychology. Her research interests include developmental gender and racial biases. She works as a Research Assistant in the Child & Baby Rebel Lab. She is also a Resident Assistant at UNLV where she is Diversity Advocate. She also enjoys attending concerts and reading. Upon graduating with her Bachelor’s at UNLV, she would like to pursue a Ph.D.

Eden Park

Fall 2022-Present

Eden is a junior attending Ed W. Clark High School. She is interested in studying developmental psychology and wants to work with infants and children. In the future, Eden wants to study medicine. 

In her free time, she likes to play the piano, sing, and dance. She also enjoys spending time with her friends, traveling, and trying new things. Eden can’t wait to research with the other UNLV students.

Elexis G-P

Fall 2022- Present

Lexy is a first generation, junior undergraduate student at UNLV majoring in Psychology. As a new RA, Lexy is most interested in working with children and building skills in research to apply in helping children of various needs further their independence and problem solving skills.

Lexy enjoys studying various eastern cultures and engaging in performing arts, such as singing, drawing and storytelling, in their spare time. They’re most fond of Nintendo games and Virtual Reality.

Elvin Recinos

Summer 2022- Present

Elvin Recinos is a junior at UNLV. His research focus is primarily on infancy and toddlers. His hobbies include video games, reading Japanese literature, and collecting sneakers. He is a first-generation college student. His goals are to become a licensed therapist to provide low-cost therapy in his community.

Jaelin Isquith

Fall 2022- Present

Jaelin is a senior at UNLV majoring in psychology and minoring in family studies. Her major goal is to get her PhD in Clinical Psychology and open her own private practice being a clinical psychologist for children. She also has a goal to conduct her own research one day. 

She has many hobbies and interests including lacrosse and reading. Jaelin is the president of the women’s lacrosse team at UNLV and has been playing the sport for 10 years. She is an avid reader. Last year she read 84 books!

Shanika Wickramarachchi

Fall 2022- Present

Shanika is a recent UNR graduate. She graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology sociology with a minor in social research and applied statistics with honors. She plans to earn a Ph.D. in the future in social psychology and/or developmental psychology, specifically sexuality and gender identity development in third-culture individuals. Currently, Shanika is a RBT and she helps children on the autism spectrum with skills acquisition and communication. Shanika loves reading, podcasts, and crystals.

Justin Ramos

Fall 2022- Present

Justin is currently a sophomore majoring in Psychology in the Honors College at UNLV.  This is his first year in the Baby and Child Rebel Lab. He is a member of NAMI UNLV and volunteers for NAMI Southern Nevada as a Connections Peer Recovery Support Group Facilitator and Ending the Silence Presenter.  His goal is to go to grad school, get his Doctorates in Behavioral Health, and become a therapist for young adults with mental illness. 
His main hobby is tennis. He also enjoys playing horror video games such as the popular zombie franchise, Resident Evil. 

Former Research Assistants

  • Jessica Castillo, Yoga Instructor with certification in trauma-informed yoga, castij19@unlv.nevada.edu
  • Bijou Cheun, cheunb1@unlv.nevada.edu

Former Graduate Students

  • Andrew Cummings, Assistant Faculty-In-Residence, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, cummin29@unlv.nevada.edu 
  • Veronica Glover, Marketing Analyst for Incredible Technologies, Inc., Instructor for Nevada State College and Lee College, roni.glover@gmail.com
  • Erica Noles, Lecturer, University of North Carolina, Wilmington nolese@uncw.edu
  • Joshua Juvrud, Postdoctoral Researcher, Uppsala University, joshua.juvrud@psyk.uu.se