Research Team

Principle Investigator

Heather C. Lench,  PhDLench-Heather
Associate Professor & Department Head
Department of Psychology
Texas A&M University
4235 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4235

Faculty Profile:


I welcome contact from anyone interested in the lab or with similar research interests.  I would also appreciate any comments about the site or recommendations about information that is useful to students.

Doctoral Students

Ken_Perez_picture for website

Ken Perez

Howdy, I am a fourth year graduate student in the Emotion Science Lab at Texas A&M University! My undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Economics were completed at University of Connecticut, Storrs.  My research interests primarily revolve around the emotion of awe: its causes, outcomes, and implications for applied contexts.



Wan Yidou

Hello! I am a third year Ph.D. student. I finished my B.S. in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My current research projects include the emotion of love, decision delegation and decision making, as well as replication studies. I enjoy teaching, so I am very excited that I will start teaching a psychology class this year.



Robert Tirso

Hello, I am a fourth year PhD student and a new member of the Emotion Science Lab. I received my B.S. in psychology from Texas A&M University and am interested in two main lines of research. The first includes self-awareness both in general and with a focus on metacognition in educational settings. The second includes how self-perceptions of aging influence memory and other cognitive abilities in old age.


Lab Manager

Zari K. Haggenmiller | she/her/hers
Lab email:

I graduated from Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI with a B.A. in Human Development and Social Relations.  I’ve worked as Dr. Lench’s full time research lab manager for about two years and I love it.  We have a strong lab team, and there is always something new to learn if you are interested. This fall I will (sadly) leave the lab to (happily) commence a Counseling Psychology PhD program at Western Michigan University.


Research Assistants

Andrea Gutierrez

Andrea Gutierrez

Howdy! I am a senior sociology major and psychology minor. My main interests are mental health issues as they affect children and adolescents. I hope to pursue a PhD in Counseling Psychology after graduating this year.





Arianna Kozitza

Arianna Kozitza 

Howdy! My name is Arianna Kozitza and I am a senior Psychology major/English minor. I will pursue a Master’s in counseling after graduation. I am very excited to be a part of the Emotion Science Lab this semester!




Ashley Riggins


Ashley Riggins

Howdy, my name is Ashley Riggins and I am a Sophomore Psychology Major and Business minor here at Texas A&M. My research interests include human behavior and mindfulness. I plan on going to graduate school after my bachelors to earn my Masters in Counseling. I would love to have a career where I used both my education of human behavior and business knowledge to work in Human Resources or make my own private practice.








Brittany Grimshaw

Hi! I am a senior psychology major with a business minor. My interests include the study of psychopathology and morality. I plan to pursue a Masters in Forensic Mental Health Counseling upon graduation from Texas A&M.





Brittany Munoz

Howdy! I am a senior psychology major. Once I have graduated from Texas A&M, I hope to obtain a PhD in clinical psychology.





Cameron McCann

I am a junior psychology major and statistics minor.  My interests include decision making, incentives, biases, and human behavior in general.  Upon graduating, I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in public policy.





Processed with VSCO with c1 preset


Denise Ortiz

Howdy! I am a senior psychology major. My research interests include interactions between emotions and cognitive processes and memory in an educational context. Upon graduating from Texas A&M, I plan to pursue a PhD in school psychology.




Dominique Gutierrez

Howdy! I am a senior psychology major with interests in psychopathology and forensic psychology. After graduating from A&M in December I plan on pursuing a PhD in both clinical and forensic psychology.

Kasey Torres





Kristen Akin

Howdy! My name is Kristen Akin and I am a sophomore working on my psychology major and chemistry and sociology minors.  After I graduate from Texas A&M I plan to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology.







Sam Houston

Hi I am a senior Psychology major excited to start research with the Emotion Science team. After graduating from A&M University I plan to go on to medical school.




Sarah Way

Howdy! I am a junior psychology major and will graduate from Texas A&M in December 2019. After graduation, I plan to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. I’m excited to join the emotion science research team!




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with a6 preset


Sophie Osteen

Howdy! My name is Sophie Osteen and I am a junior Psychology major with a Public Health minor. After I graduate from Texas A&M, I hope to pursue a Master’s or PhD degree in Mental Health Counseling.