Doctoral Students

Kristy’s background as a peer mentor for undergraduates sparked her interest in the psychological processes of learning and becoming. She studies the development of academic and career identities through the lens of motivation theory. She is also interested in the role of emotions in the classroom. She loves teaching, and currently teaches an introductory educational psychology course.


Emily’s work in college admissions inspired her to study the process of academic decision-making, especially with relation to peer influences on choices. She studies how students’ feelings of belonging relate to motivation and fluctuating career intentions throughout college. She is also interested in the ways in which feelings of belonging develop throughout the college years, especially for traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering fields. She is passionate about sharing educational psychology with her students, and her teaching philosophy is centered around providing peer supports for learning.


Anna is a middle and high school science teacher and doctoral student in the hybrid EPET program at MSU. She is interested in understanding how participation in technology-driven activities impacts student motivation and achievement in science classes. Her experiences teaching overseas for Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) and other schools overseas have shaped her interest in understanding how connecting with other students in geographically disparate locations enhances student learning over shared but separate experiences.


Krystal Lira

Krystal is interested in understanding attrition in STEM education among underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities and women. Specifically, she is interested in the intersection between motivation interventions and mentoring on STEM persistence. Her passion for mentoring students has led her to pursue various teaching experiences and mentoring opportunities. Krystal comes to Michigan State University from Los Angeles, California and has a B.A. in Psychology.

Lab Affiliates:


After earning his BS from the University of Pittsburgh in Economics, Patrick Beymer taught high school mathematics for three years while earning his MEd in Educational Psychology at North Carolina State University. Patrick’s research aims to address issues of student motivation. He is interested in understanding student judgment and decision-making and how the economics and marketing literature can inform education. He is also interested in examining social processes and contextual factors that influence motivation.


Kimberly came to the EPET program after teaching psychology and theory of knowledge at an international school in Quito, Ecuador. She has a B.S. in psychology and history from Central Michigan University and an M.A. in Educational studies from the University of Michigan. She is interested broadly in understanding the relationship between students’ actual experiences and their remembered experiences and how this affects their motivation.



Matthew came to the EPET program after 3 years teaching science at a virtual high school in Michigan. He has a BA in Physiology from the University of Colorado, and a BS in Secondary Education from Western Michigan University. He is currently interested in studying student
engagement in online and virtual environments, and in how technology impacts student engagement.



After teaching in unique settings, from Singapore to rural Mississippi, Alexandra became interested in how racial/ethnic diversity affects achievement. To understand this relationship, her research focuses the interaction of group heterogeneity on the social-psychological processes underpinning achievement motivation, such as self/collective efficacy, social interdependence, and goal orientation. Alexandra thinks of Denver, Colorado as home, but is happy to live in East Lansing now as a MSU Spartan.


From California to Michigan, Vicky is interested in shaping students’ interest and experience in STEM through designing an engaging and effective learning environment. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and during her undergraduate years, she was involved in understanding the motivating factors of students pursuing STEM. Her connection to teachers and professors inspires her to be an educator and to keep on growing as a student.