Current Lab Members

Penn Lab – Spring 2017

Spring 2017 (2)

Graduate Students

Julia Browne, MAJulia Browne

Julia was born in New York City and raised in Old Brookville, New York. She attended Tufts University majoring in clinical psychology and minoring in child development. At Tufts, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Nalini Ambady’s Interpersonal Perception and Communications Lab. She has clinical experience having worked at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine Division of Substance Abuse in Bronx, NY where she co-led several group therapy sessions, most notably the dual-diagnosis groups.Additionally, she interned at Conexions Day Treatment Center in East Boston, MA where she led and co-led various group therapies for adults with schizophrenia, personality disorders, and mood disorders. After graduating from Tufts in 2011, Julia played 2 years on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Professional Circuit where she competed in pro level tournaments in over 10 countries. Her research interests include social cognition in schizophrenia, psychosocial treatment of schizophrenia, comorbid substance abuse, mindfulness-based therapies, and stigma. With two years of constant travel behind her, she is excited to settle down in the Penn Lab at UNC. In her free time, she enjoys tennis (of course), ping-pong, squash, running, reading, and playing words with friends.


Arundati Nagendra, MA

Arun grew up in Hong Kong then moved in 2006 to Illinois, where she majored in psychology at Northwestern University. After graduation she worked for two years at her alma mater, coordinating psychophysiological studies of human sexuality with Dr. Michael Bailey. While Arun loved her job, she cared much more about research on schizophrenia – a passion she’d developed after interning as a caseworker for people with serious mental illnesses. From 2009-2012 she volunteered with Dr. Dror Ben-Zeev, first at the Illinois Institute of Technology and then at the Thresholds-Dartmouth Research Center. At both these places, she learned about psychosocial treatments and technological interventions for people with schizophrenia. Her current research is on African Americans with schizophrenia, with a particular focus on within-race variation – for example, how perceived racism affects social cognition. Outside of psychology, Arun hangs out with her two cats, volunteers at the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge, and is slowly inching her way up the ranks of a martial arts gym.


Kelsey Ludwig, BS

Kelsey Ludwig is originally from the midwest, but has officially adopted North Carolina as her home. She graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May of 2012 with a B.S. in Psychology, a B.A. in Spanish and a minor in Medical Anthropology. She volunteered in the Penn Lab as an undergraduate assistant for three years and formerly served as the Project Coordinator for the Social Cognition Psychometrics Evaluation (SCOPE) study before starting graduate studies. Between graduation and employment, Kelsey enjoyed 6 months in South America interviewing Latina women about parenting, breastfeeding and childbirthing practices. She is fascinated by the origins and treatment of mental illness, psychosocial interventions geared toward first episode psychosis, and the impact of loneliness on recovery and resiliency in schizophrenia. In general, she loves people, traveling, cooking, languages and any/all things related to other cultures.


Tate Halverson, BState

Tate grew up in the Twin Cities, MN. She graduated from Hamline University (St. Paul, MN) in 2011 with a degree in psychology. Following graduation, Tate worked with Dr. Scott Sponheim at the Minneapolis VA on projects investigating traumatic brain injury and PTSD in returning veterans and family studies of schizophrenia. She also worked with Dr. Snezana Urosevic at the University of Minnesota on a project investigating adolescent bipolar disorders. Her current research interests include first episode psychosis, social cognition in schizophrenia, and predictors of illness onset. In her free time, you can find Tate exploring the outdoors with her dog Arthur.


makuMaku Orleans-Pobee, BS

Maku was born in New Zealand but grew up in Northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C. She attended the College of William and Mary, where she majored in psychology and also studied computer science. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in a multiple different labs, working on various studies involving both human and animal subjects. She completed an honors thesis investigating fear conditioning and personality pathology. However, after assisting with a project examining cognitive functioning in schizotypy, she realized that her research interests relate primarily to schizophrenia spectrum disorders. She is excited to join the Penn lab and to begin researching psychosocial interventions for schizophrenia, potentially focusing on treatments for first episode psychosis, or on early intervention. In her free time, she enjoys dance, traveling, and finding new places to eat good food.

Research Coordinators

lanablurb3Lana Nye, BS

Lana is originally from a tiny town in the western part of North Carolina. She graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Anthropology. She worked in the Penn Lab as an undergraduate assistant for two years before being hired as a full-time Study Coordinator for SCOPE. Since the completion of SCOPE, she has now begun work as the Study Coordinator for ICAT. Outside of lab activies, Lana enjoys running, learning how to bake, and hanging out with children and adults with Autism.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Bethany Garrison

Bethany is currently a sophomore at UNC majoring in psychology. She has been in the lab for two semesters now, working on SCOPE data entry, NET transcriptions, and most recently RAISE therapeutic alliance ratings. In her free time she enjoys riding horses, playing the drums, spending time outdoors, and writing poetry.



 carringtonmerritt_picCarrington Merritt

Carrington Merritt is a junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology and Neuroscience. She is interested in researching the social cognitive deficits found in schizophrenia and autism, and novel ways to alleviate such deficits. In the Penn Lab, she has assisted with RAISE IRT therapeutic alliance ratings, leading walking groups for the PACE-Life study, and data entry. For fun, Carrington enjoys running, teaching group fitness classes at UNC Campus Rec, and having movie nights with her roommates.


janellyJanelly Durr

Janelly Durr is a sophomore at UNC, majoring in biology and double minoring in chemistry and neuroscience. From the time she joined the lab in the summer of 2016, Janelly has assisted with SCOPE data entry, NET transcriptions, and a menagerie of other tasks. She is currently more involved with analyzing how race (primarily that of African Americans) affects people with schizophrenia. In addition to that research, she also assists with ICAT, working towards being certified for heartbeat error checking. In her spare time, Janelly enjoys drawing, playing the violin, kayaking, boxing with the UNC boxing club, and volunteering in the neuroscience department of UNC hospitals.