Graduate Students

The majority of students seeking masters degrees in psychology with an emphasis in Cognitive and Affective Sciences at UW Oshkosh were psychology majors as undergraduates. However, several students earned bachelors degrees in non-psychology fields. Our students are active in research with a variety of faculty and some of these projects are supported by graduate assistantships. The two most common reasons students attend this program are:

  1. To get some graduate school experience before entering into a Ph.D. program;
  2. To enhance their options in the workplace by earning an advanced degree.

The students benefit from the full-time nature of the program in that this increases opportunities for interactions with a greater number of faculty.

2023 Grad Students

Research Interests

Natalie Freese

My research interests fall predominately within the fields of cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. As an undergraduate student I conducted research on the effects of diurnal changes on memory for environmental sounds. I also assisted on research pertaining to the processes of working memory in musicians vs. non-musicians. My current interests lie primarily in directed forgetting or psychological disorders and how they may affect brain functionality. More specifically, I’m interested in researching the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, or drug abuse on the brain.

Thesis Advisor: Dr. James Koch


Amber Graf

My research interests fall primarily under the fields of social and developmental psychology. I am interested in how interactions with parents and other important individuals affect a child’s development of empathy, aggression, and personality disorders. Specifically, I am interested in how these processes manifest behaviorally throughout the life stages. Finally, I am also interested in how neurological developmental disorders affect an individual’s interpersonal relationships as well as perception and understanding.

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Amy Knepple-Carney & Dr. David Lishner

Rachel Kosakowski

My research interests primarily center around trauma. I am interested in exploring the comorbidity of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), misdiagnosis of PTSD as ADHD, and the influence of gender roles in trauma-based disorders. Additionally, I am interested in nature-based therapy as an intervention for trauma-based disorders.

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Amy Knepple-Carney & Dr. David Lishner


Meagan McDowell

My research interests primarily fall within the field of Social Psychology and the way social comparisons affect people, specifically how wealth and family support impact the manner in which people view their educational capability. Currently, I am interested in looking at the effect of infant-like characteristics on empathic concern.

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Amy Knepple-Carney & Dr. David Lishner

Angela Nowak

My research interests stem from the field of Neuropsychology, whereby I am motivated to explore the impact of trauma and stress on cognitive functioning in the pediatric population. Specifically, I am interested in exploring the impact of adverse child experiences on future cognitive functioning in domains such as attention, memory, and emotion regulation. Similarly, I aim to further explore the effectiveness of treatment and rehabilitative efforts in preventing cognitive implication from early adversity.

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Alese Nelson 

Cristina Schwabe

My research interests are primarily in the area of clinical psychology. I am interested in cultural differences in mental health seeking behaviors. Specifically looking at the stigmatization on the importance of mental health especially when it comes to depression and anxiety. I am very interested in psychological theories that have been established in majority populations and if they also pertain to minority populations. Another research interest is the development of personality and mood disorders and the effectiveness of treatment within those disorders.

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Christopher Groves

Ece Tunali

My research interests revolve around the dynamic interplay between social media and human cognition. I am intrigued by how online platforms shape the way individuals perceive the world and interact with information. Additionally, I am passionate about understanding the underlying cognitive processes that influence this perception. Through my research, I aim to uncover insights into evolving relationship between technology, cognition, and society, which has extensive implications for our modern digital age.

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Anca Miron