Lab Members and Collaborators


Cynthia Najdowski, PhD

Cynthia Najdowski is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University at Albany. Her research explores how social psychological phenomena shape criminal justice interactions in ways that produce miscarriages of justice for minorities, women, and children. Her previous work has been recognized with several national grants and awards and published in interdisciplinary journals such as Law and Human Behavior and Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. She recently published a volume entitled Criminal Juries in the 21st Century with Oxford University Press, which reviews contemporary challenges in the criminal jury system, and previously co-edited a book entitled Children as Victims, Witnesses, and Offenders

Kim Bernstein

Kim Bernstein is currently a doctoral candidate working towards her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. As a Graduate Research Assistant she has had a hand in several projects in the lab, but her main focus is a study on bias in medical personnel as a potential cause of wrongful convictions, and a study on public perceptions of constitutional rights, both of which she is working on with Dr. Najdowski. Her individual research focuses on criminal law, constitutional law, psychology and law, and racial/gender disparities in the criminal justice system. When not in the lab, she can be found humming showtunes behind her piano or with her nose in a book and a cat on her lap.

Jennifer Weintraub 

Jennifer Weintraub is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and has research interests pertaining to wrongful convictions, prosecutors' work orientations, public policy, and jury decision-making. As a member of the PULSE Lab she has had opportunities to become knowledgeable in research design and analyses, grant writing, and professional presentations at several academic conferences.

Melissa Noel

Melissa Noel is a doctoral candidate at University at Albany’s School of Criminal Justice. She currently holds the position of a Presidential Doctoral Fellow for Research Training in Minority Health Disparities. Ms. Noel is also a Graduate Research Assistant for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), an internship provided through the DCJS Office of Justice Research and Performance (OJRP). Through her coursework and personal experiences, she has developed a research interest in studying incarcerated parents and their children. She has been involved in several community service initiatives and campus student organizations to support her dedication towards criminological research.

Katie Wahrer        

Katherine Wahrer is a Ph.D. student in Criminal Justice working towards defending her computational exam. The focus of her research centers around dehumanization theory and its relationship with disgust as it impacts marginalized groups. Her research is largely interdisciplinary spanning the fields of Criminology, Social Psychology, and Computer Science. She is also involved with other research projects in the lab concerning bias in medical misdiagnosis as well as the role of social media in teaching.

Ashley Coakley

Ashley Coakley is a junior here at the university. She is studying psychology with a double minor in criminal justice and sociology. In lab, she works closely with Katie and helps her with coding and literature review. Outside of the lab, she is the treasurer of the women’s club soccer team and is in the psychology honors program working towards writing a thesis.

Brianna McKernan

Briana is a double major in criminal justice and psychology. Her work in the lab involves working with the graduate assistants on their projects and dissertations through research and engaging with potential participants. Aside from lab, Briana is also in the University Symphony Orchestra. The PULSE lab has really helped Briana to expand her knowledge on the relation between criminal justice and psychology.

Kristale Abdulla

Kristale is a junior at UAlbany, and she is currently majoring in psychology with minors in neuroscience and sociology. In the lab, Kristale mainly helps with conducting literature reviews and she will eventually begin transcribing interviews.

Carlie Cegielski

Carlie Cegielski is currently a junior and will be graduating in May of 2021. She is a double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Assisting Dr. Najdowski and the Graduate students will be extremely beneficial for the Criminal Justice Honors Thesis and eventual Graduate Dissertation she will be writing in the coming years. As a member of Psi Chi, the International Honors Society of Psychology, and Dance Council she maintains a balance of school work and hobbies. Carlie's aspirations include criminal profiling, detective work and the possibility of the Behavior Analysis Unit of the FBI.

Current Collaborators

Hayley Cleary, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Government and Public Affairs

Phil Goff, PhD
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Department of Psychology

Elise E. Fenn, PhD
California State University, Northridge
Department of Psychology

Iris Blandon-Gitlin, PhD
California State University, Fullerton
Department of Psychology

Robert Worden, PhD
University at Albany
School of Criminal Justice 

Anna Newheiser, PhD
University at Albany
Department of Psychology

Lab Alumni

Graduate Research Assistants

Sam Wilcox

Chase Waters

Rebecca Prince

Catherine Bonventre

Meagen Hildebrand

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Victoria Giorgio

Michelle Marcello

Kayla Aschmutat

Jayonna Treacy

Carolyn Solimine

Julia Melfi

Alicia Cacioppo

Lauren Springer

Nick Ardito 

Michael McCurdy 

Kara Ploss

Peter Zambetti 

Trish Breault 

Chase Walters 

Sean Houlihan 

Krysta Woodcock 

August Thilberg

Daniel Agugliaro 

Jessica Dubowski

Jordan Dolgos

Laura Fleig 

Ellen Kim 

Zachary Sohotra

Maria Randazzo

Kristen Seaman