Meet the Lab

Meet the Graduate Students

Ivan Avila

Ivan was a student at UNL through the Minority Health Disparities Initiative's REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) summer 2014 program. As part of that program, he was a research assistant on a study that examined Latinx stressors, psychological dysfunction, and coping strategies. Ivan graduated from University of Texas, Brownsville in May 2015, as the last class at UTB, before the big reorganization into University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)!! He completed the MA at UTRGV, and we are collaborating on issues related to Latinx stress and health disparities. He has recently moved to Washington, DC.

Jenna Perkins Arroyo

Jenna is an advanced graduate student who completed her JD. She is licensed to the state of New York and has been practicing military law.  Her research focuses on several topics in the intersection of psychology and law, including the effects of apology on issues of culpability in both civil and criminal lawShe was recently promoted to Major in the AirForce and is an assistant professor of law at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. She is working on completion of her dissertation research, which focuses on biases against those with ADHD diagnoses. 



Meet the Current Research Assistants

Kimberly Ruiz

Kimberly is from Grand Island, Nebraska and she is interested in psychological issues that effect Latinx families and children. She has finished data collection on a project that examines stress and psychological dysfunction in Latinx individuals. As a McNair 2016 scholar, she is currently investigating Latinx parents' perceptions of wellbeing and how that might impact expectations for their children's outcomes. She was a sponsored UCARE researcher in 2016-2017 and conducted a project on the impact of race, SES, and immigration status on attributions about minor infractions. She has also been assisting with a project on disparities between patient views of cultural competence of health care providers and health care providers' views on their own cultural competence. She has entered the MA program in Marriage and Family Therapy at UNL ! 

Madeline J. Schlosser

Madeline received the BA in 2016. She is currently in the graduate program in Counseling Psychology at UNL. She is involved in research on the potential threatening aspect of demographic changes in the United States, and if such threat modifies notions of patriotism and immigration atttiudes. She is also involved in a study that examines the influence of biased attitudes toward Mexican Americans in a courtroom context where Mexican American defendants testify with accented speech or Spanish. Madeline won the Harry K. Wolfe Award in 2017. She presented results of a study on beliefs in termination of immigrant rights and the effect on immigration attitudes at American Psychology Law Society meeting in 2018. 

Kiley Gilbert

Kiley is interested in how race biases influence decision making in legal contexts. She is also interested in the effects of exoneration on subsequent perceptions of exonerees, and she is interested in policy regarding immigration preferences. She is currently a 2017-2018 UCARE recipient and the research will focus on the issue of cultural inertia and the meaning for patriotism attitudes and threat perceptions. She was a 2018 McNair Scholar. During the McNair program, she examined the issue of perceptions of exonerees, based on race and socio-economic status. In 2018-2019 she will continue to examine exoneree issues as part of UCARE. She is interested in Latinx issues in general, with a special emphasis on the meaning of ethnicity and race for Latinx wellbeing.

Trevor Obermueller Trevor graduated in Spring 2018 and is not working with Teach for America. He is interested in the effects of stigma on psychological outcomes. He received a UCARE award for the 2017-2018 academic year. The project focused on legal decision making for defendants with double stigmas (i.e., race and sexual orientation). 
Alicia Alvitia

Alicia continues to work on research in the lab, although she just began a graduate program in counseling psychology in Hilo, Hawaii. The first two years of lab work just wasn't enough for her!  She completed data collection on a study that examined preferences for death penalty assignment in the face of exonerating information when the race of the defendant was varied. Results of that study were presented at 2018 American Psychology Law Society meeting. She began a new study in Spring 2018 that examines how anti-Mexican American bias influences notions of Mexican American defendants who speak only English or only Spanish during testimony.

Joseph Hams

Joe graduated in 2017 and is currently enrolled in a MA program in counseling psychology at KU (Rock Chalk!). He is interested in psychological issues involving immigration, and he was in a "study abroad" program in Spring 2015 and in Summer of 2017 in Lima, Peru. He collected data on a study to determine attitudes toward immigration based on country of origin and type of immigration. The results will be presented at the 2018 Midwestern Psychological Association meeting, and publication of the results is in the near future. He was a UCARE researcher during 2016-2017 and examined child labor preferences as a function of the child's race and of conservative ideology. This data will be published in the near future, and findings were presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in 2018. 


Past Graduate Student Lab Members

Scott Freng, PhD

Scott is now a professor of practice at University of Wyoming.

Lisa Harrison, PhD

Lisa is a professor at California State University, Sacramento.

Russ Espinoza, PhD

Russ is a professor at California State University, Fullerton. He and Dr. Willis Esqueda continue to collaborate on research related to Latinx issues, and particulary Latinx defendants and legal outcomes.

Leslie Martinez

Leslie received the PhD in December 2015. She is teaching at University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.

If you are interested in joining our lab, please contact Dr. Willis-Esqueda.