Lab Members


Dr. Joseph Schmidt received his Ph.D. in Experimental & Cognitive Psychology in 2012 from Stony Brook University.  After receiving his doctorate, he spent two years as a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Mind and Brain.  After his Postdoctoral position, he spent over a year as a Research Support Specialist at SR Research.


Natalie Paquette is a doctoral candidate in the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology program. She received my first M.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience at George Mason University and her B.S. in Psychology and minor in Cognitive Science at the University of Central Florida. She has since received her second MA here at UCF in Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology. Her research interests include examining the neural underpinnings of memory and attention to assess how they affect broader cognitive function. She also utilizes eye movements as a metric for visual cognition and evaluating how expectations or similar cognitive processes impact search performance and behavior. Her applied experiences range from evaluating squad level performance in field training spaces to performing usability assessments on training systems & devices across multiple branches of the military. Overall, she is working to identify aspects of human performance that can be optimized or leveraged for improved performance in real world tasks.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, trying new hobbies, playing with my two black cats, or just catching up on shows & movies.

Steven Ford is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology program here at UCF.  He received his bachelor’s in psychology from the University of South Florida, where he became interested in cognitive neuroscience while examining the effects of reward motivation on attentional selection. Since beginning at UCF, he has developed two main lines of research.  The first examines how we use spatial and functional relationships between objects to guide search. The second is an attempt to find objective, passively collected behavioral markers of usability to enhance usability benchmarking. In addition to these core research areas, he has worked on numerous side projects related to category learning and search, adaptive training, perceptions of artificial intelligence, and several user experience projects. He has also participated in internships with Axon Enterprise and the Office of Naval Research in addition to roles as a research assistant for the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division and user experience researcher for American Plant Exchange. Outside work, he enjoys playing guitar, practicing meditation, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

Phouc Thai is a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of Central Florida’s Attention and Memory Lab. Her research interests and work cover a wide range of topics within the fields of user experience, product design, and human factors. Currently, she is exploring user interaction with generative AI, as well as applications of generative AI and machine learning in fields such as healthcare, productivity applications, and user experience in general. 

Grace Sinclair is a first-year doctoral student in the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology program. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of South Florida with a minor in Aging Sciences. She is interested in exploring visual perception and attentional processes through the use of eye-tracking. She is fascinated by how people use visual input to inform cognitive processes. Outside of the lab, she enjoys traveling, playing with her dogs, and spending time with friends and family.


Sophia Jeffries is an upcoming senior at the University of Central Florida. She is majoring in psychology with a track in neuroscience and a minor in cognitive sciences. She plans to get her masters after she graduates and is interested in pursuing a focus in UX/UI design. In her free time, she likes reading, playing guitar, going to concerts, and just being outside! 

CJ is a Junior Bio Med major, with a minor in Psychology. His current research interests are in neuroimmunology and neuroscience. Outside of the Attention and Memory Lab, he recently participated in an REU at Columbia University, where he got to explore the molecular and cellular basis of memory consolidation in fear-conditioned mice before and after sleep. He aspires to pursue a career in academia and obtain a PhD in the field of Neuroimmunology.

Pheobe Archibald is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Human Services. Her research interests vary but primarily focus on the psychosocial impact of mental health interventions on marginalized populations. She plans to pursue a Master’s in Clinical Psychology to ultimately become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. In her spare time, she loves reading fiction, writing new stories or poems, and listening to music.

Meagan Allender is a junior at UCF studying Psychology in the general track. Her areas of interest lie in education, development, cognitive psychology in animals and machines, and human factors. She joined this lab to further her experience in research and her knowledge of cognitive psychology. In the future, she aspires to get a PhD in psychology, though she is unsure if she wants to specialize in developmental, cognitive, or human factors. Outside of the lab, she is the vice president of Psi Chi and she interns at a private practice counseling office. In her free time, she enjoys writing, rollerblading, baking, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with her friends.

Matthew McGovern is a junior at the University of Central Florida, majoring in Psychology. His research interests are in clinical and cognitive psychology. Outside of the lab, he recently participated in an SRP at USF, where he investigated parents’ use of restrictive mediation. He plans on pursuing graduate school and working his way into academia.


Dr. Ashley Ercolino received her PhD from UCF in the Spring of 2023 in Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology with a concentration on Cognitive Neuroscience. During her time at UCF, she used eye-tracking and electrophysiological techniques to investigate the interactions between visual attention, learning, and memory. Currently, she is a Senior Research Associate at Design Interactive where she works on a wide breadth of projects involving human-systems integration and XR technologies.

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Dr. Michael Miuccio graduated from the Attention and Memory Lab with a PhD in Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology in 2023. During his time working with Dr. Schmidt, his research focused on visual attention and memory, specifically looking at how mental representations that guide our attention in visual search can be measured and observed in different conditions. His dissertation examined whether these mental representations could be observed in the coupling of theta and gamma brain waves. As his graduate school tenure came to an end, he started working at the Kennedy Space Center as a Human Factors Engineer. Currently, he works for a consultant company as a Human Factors Engineer in coordination with the Veterans Health Administration.

Dr. Stephen Adamo received his Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience in 2016 from Duke University under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Mitroff. During that time, he also studied abroad at Virje University and The George Washington University. He then spent two years at The George Washington University as a postdoctoral researcher under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Mitroff and Dr. Sarah Shomstein in the psychology department, and Dr. Rachel Brem in the radiology department. He will start as an assistant professor of Cognition & Neural Systems at The University of Arizona in Fall 2024.