Doctoral Students

jennifer burris Jennifer Burris graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in History and attained her MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from Maryville University. Prior to moving to Kentucky, Jennifer worked for several years as a social sciences teacher in both private and public educational settings for students 6th-12th grade in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Her other professional experiences include telephonic crisis intervention and suicide prevention counseling, and providing counseling support to youth attending a therapeutic high school. Jennifer’s current research interests include racial socialization, the influences of racism on identity development, and the development of academic self-efficacy on the academic achievement and outcomes of African-American youth. She also has interests in applying factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and IRT analysis techniques to improve the use of educational and psychological measures with multicultural populations. Outside of her academic pursuits, Jennifer thoroughly enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Email:
Candice Davis graduated from California State University, San Bernardino with a BA in Psychology in 2009, and obtained her M.A. in General Experimental Psychology from the same university in 2012. Candice’s current research focuses on whiteness and anti-Black racism in higher education and the effect it has on African American students’ sense of belonging and academic outcomes. Candice is currently working as a research methods teaching assistant for the Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation department. She is a member of the B.E.R.G. Lab and the Applied Psychometric Strategies (APS) Lab. Outside of academia, Candice enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, watching movies, and playing the guitar. Email:
Marcus T. Epps graduated from the University at Buffalo (SUNY) with a B.A. in Political Science as well as an Ed.M. in the Sociology of Education. Marcus is currently employed at Berea College, a private liberal arts institution in Central Kentucky. He has worked in several areas of student success in higher education, which include academic advising, academic coaching, and mentor/tutor training. Marcus’ primary research interests involve Black male college-aged students’ identities as they relate to academic achievement. Marcus is a member of the Applied Psychometric Strategies (APS) Lab. LinkedIn: Marcus T. Epps. Blog: The College Study Struggle. Email:
Calah Ford Calah Ford is a doctoral student in Educational Psychology. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Louisville and an M.B.A. from the University of Kentucky. Through teaching in both rural and urban settings as well as in low-income schools, Calah developed an interest in under-served student populations. Her research is focused on failure mindset, STEM self-efficacy, STEM motivation, and STEM education. Calah is a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellow.  Email:
EP_KarenGuettler Karen M. Guettler graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in International Studies. At the University of Kentucky, she completed the Teaching program in Special Education, earned a B.A. in Spanish and a M.S. in Instructional Systems. Karen works for the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky in the field of alternate assessment. Karen’s research interests include resiliency and the role it plays in academic success in high school and post-secondary environments, particularly for African American males, and whiteness. Karen lives in Lexington with her husband and four children. Email:
Jaeyun Han graduated from Ewha Womans University in South Korea with a B.A. in Education in 2016 and an M.A. in Education in 2018. Her master’s thesis investigated the relationship between mindset, social comparison motives, and self-efficacy in the mathematics of middle school students in South Korea. Her research interests focus on the longitudinal measurement of academic motivation and achievement. She is also interested in doing cross-cultural research on the sources of self-efficacy. She is a member of the P20 Motivation and Learning Lab and the Applied Psychometric Strategies (APS) Lab. Email:
Ed_MikahPritchard Mikah Hughes received her B.S. in Psychology from Oakland City University and her M.S. Ed. in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University. She has held positions as an Instructional Designer, Educational Specialist, and Caseworker. Mikah currently works as an Instructional Designer for EKU Online at Eastern Kentucky University. She has recently completed her Distance Education Graduate Certificate at the University of Kentucky. Her research interests revolve around student and faculty motivations in distance education courses and professional development opportunities. Email: | Website:
Kameron White McDaniel graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS in Family and Consumer Science Education. Following her time as an undergraduate, Kameron worked for four years as a Family and Consumer Science teacher in secondary schools within Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY. During this time, Kameron earned her M.Ed. in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Louisville, with a concentration in school counseling. In 2018, Kameron returned to Lexington, KY to work as a school counselor at an alternative high school within Fayette County Public Schools. Kameron’s current research interests involve issues of race and academic achievement, including: the impact of White teacher stereotypes on Black student academic achievement, the Whiteness of teaching, and the influence specialty schools such as charter schools have on the self-efficacy of students of color as it concerns their motivation and academic achievement. Outside of her current academic commitments, Kameron is enjoying her time as a newlywed, and enjoys event planning, Pinterest roaming, shopping, and bullet journaling. Email:
La’Quida (Qui) R. Smith a native of Detroit, Michigan, is a two-time graduate of Kentucky State University.  She received a bachelor’s in Psychology and a master’s in interdisciplinary
Behavioral Sciences.  Her current research interest includes unpacking the identity of African American male students.  She has a background in teaching psychology, data analyzing and
conducting educational evaluations on accelerated learning models. Outside of academia, she enjoys cooking, gardening, DIY projects, being a wonderful wife to her husband of 9.5 years (and counting), and a mother to her three amazing little boys. E-mail:
EP_FalynnThompson Falynn Thompson received her B.A. in Psychology at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and her M.S. in Educational Psychology at the University of Kentucky. Her thesis research investigated the association between internalized stereotypes and academic self-handicapping strategies among African American male adolescents. Her dissertation research interest focuses on developing and validating a scale on whiteness. After graduation, Falynn plans to teach and conduct research, as well as communicate with teachers and parents about ways to improve teaching and learning. Email:
photo of Cara Worick Cara Worick is interested in exploring how psychological processes at the cultural level and within the individual reciprocally influence motivation, self-regulation, and academic achievement. Specifically, she is examining the relationship between regionally held stereotypes and students’ personal experiences of belonging on self-regulation and achievement for students underrepresented in STEM disciplines. The two primary goals of her research agenda are to 1) reduce inequalities in academic achievement and 2) empower students to reach both their personal and professional goals. Before entering the doctoral program, Cara worked as an educational developer creating professional development opportunities for university instructors. She holds master’s degrees in both educational psychology and instructional systems design. In her free time, she finds joy in frequenting live music events, participating in women’s empowerment circles, and learning guitar. Email:


Master’s Students

Caiti Griffiths is a second-year Masters student in Educational Psychology. She completed her undergraduate degree at UK in 2019. She is a current member of the P20 Motivation and Learning Lab, and holds a graduate assistantship with the department of Transformative Learning. She previously worked as an Academic Coach, and is now teaching as an Instructor for the APP Reading & Writing program while also assisting with UK 101. Her research focuses on improving educational equity for postsecondary students and uplifting student voice. Email:
Saira Matthews graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2020 with a BS in Neuropyschology. As an undergraduate, Saira enjoyed helping other students as a Peer Career Coach and conducting research as a Ronald E. McNair research scholar. She is interested in studying academic resilience in African American students and its implications for higher education. Email: | Website:
Kylie Pemberton received her B.S. in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from the University of Kentucky in 2017. After completing her undergraduate degree, she worked for 2 years at UK’s Christian Student Fellowship and 1 year at UK Graduate Housing. She is now a first year Master’s student interested in researching student success pertaining to belonging, motivation, identity, and self-efficacy especially in regards to the international student population. She hopes to work in academic advising and student affairs long term. In her free time, Kylie enjoys traveling with her husband, interior design, physical activity, and coffee with friends. Email: