Research Assistants

Research Assistants 2016-17

Director Tomoe Kanaya (Ph.D., psychology) is leading two teams of Research Assistants on the following projects:

Work-Life Project

This project explores the work-life concerns of adolescents and college students. Our team has been a dynamic group of students with varied backgrounds, disciplines, viewpoints, and interests. If you’re interested in joining the team, please click here for an application. Previous research experience is a plus but not required.

David Somlo.jpg

Research Associate David Somlo is a doctoral candidate in Basic and Applied Social Psychology at neighboring Claremont Graduate University (CGU). His dissertation research is set to look partly into the roles of psychological uncertainty and diversity in (predicting identification with) organizational decision-making groups and his research interests generally center on social interaction between and within more or less heterogeneous groups. In his spare time, when he is not busy pursuing his long-term career goal of one day founding his own research institute, David is also a freelance writer and an amateur musician and podcast host.

LillyBelle Deer

Research Manager LillyBelle Deer is from Honolulu, Hawai’i and graduated from CMC last year with a degree in Psychology. She is interested in clinical psychology, especially anxiety disorders, and is in the process of applying to clinical psychology PhD programs. She is currently working with Professor Kanaya on a few projects regarding work-family balance. In addition to her work with the Berger Institute, she is an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s CMS swimming & diving teams. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and hiking with her dogs.


Arielle Davis is a junior at Pitzer College from Mountain View, California. She is double majoring in Psychology and Sociology, and hopes to go into Social Work after college. Arielle is particularly interested in the intersection of education, accessibility, and the workforce. In her free time, she enjoys baking and ice skating, and is on the board of her Residence Hall council and the Pitzer Psychological Student Association.


Madison Hobbs is a Scripps sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and she is excited to be working on the Work-Life Project with Dr. Kanaya. Her passion is statistics, and she is currently pursuing the Mathematics and Computational Biology major at Harvey Mudd. Madison’s life goal, as far as she knows, is to become an environmental statistician, though she intends to explore a variety of fields which use statistics including linguistics, economics, and psychology. She works at the Laspa Center for Leadership and leads Ignite at Scripps, an organization dedicated to empowering women in politics. Madison’s other interests include making music, making art, learning languages, comedy, being outside, and honing her body boarding skills.

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Elaine Liu is from Guangzhou, China, and is a junior at Pitzer College double majoring in Psychology and Cognitive Science. She is particularly interested in sleep, dream, and consciousness, as well as treatment and prevention of depression and anxiety under social and cultural influences. In her free time, she enjoys photography, traveling, and jogging. She is also a taiko player and loves skydiving.


Shravni Ramkumar is a senior at CMC from Bangalore, India. Her passions include dancing, debating, and binge-watching everything on Netflix and Hulu. As a Psychology major, she’s hoping to understand how people think, and apply that in the field of marketing after she graduates. She loves Claremont and LA, but Bangalore is still her favorite place in the world!


Abraham Saikley is from Alameda, CA. He is a freshman at CMC planning to dual major in Psychology and Economics. He has a strong interest in gaining a deeper understanding of human cognition and behavior, especially regarding how environmental influences affect our decision-making processes. He hopes to use his time at CMC to help launch a meaningful career in this area. In addition, Abraham enjoys playing basketball, hiking, and taking photographs.

Children’s Conversation Patterns Project

This project examines developmental issues faced by Latino families and children. Our RAs work together to assist with literature reviews, data analysis, and report writing. If you’re interested in joining this team, please click here for an application. Proficiency in Spanish is highly desirable.


Research Coordinator Claudia Bermudez is from Los Angeles. She obtained her B.A. and M.A. in Latin American Studies at UCLA, and completed her Ph.D. in education at Claremont Graduate University in 2014. She worked in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 20 years as a teacher and administrator. Claudia is interested in long-term English learners (the topic of her dissertation) as well as educational, social, and cultural capital. In addition to her work with the Berger Institute, she is a post-doctoral fellow at CGU. She and her husband spend all their free time enjoying their two children, Ellie (3) and Pablo (2).


Angelica Campos is from Los Angeles and is a CMC freshman on the Pre-Med track majoring in Anthropology. As an older sibling to 14- and 1-year-old sisters, she’s gained new perspectives in regards to family dynamics and responsibilities that span beyond those of a typical student. She enjoys travel and language immersion; she’s been to Italy, France, and Spain, and intends on adding to the list in the near future.

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Rebecca Chong is a junior from Torrance, CA. After majoring in Government, she would like to attend law school. She is passionate about public service and addressing the needs of the low-income and mentally ill populations, and is excited to be working on the Latin0-family-child project. In addition to working at the Berger Institute, Rebecca sings with a student-led a capella group and works for a self-help legal clinic.


Danielle Dominguez is a sophomore at CMC who is dual-majoring in Biology and Literature. She works at the Athenaeum in the kitchens and is also a server during tea time. She enjoys writing, reading, and world travel.


Alicia Frausto is a senior at CMC from Anaheim, CA. She is a dual major in International Relations and Spanish. She just returned from a year abroad in France and Ecuador, where she learned a lot about culture and children’s issues in other parts of the world. This past summer, she was a Communications Intern at an educational non-profit in Bangalore, India. Her interests revolve around education, children, and women’s issues. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, photograph, and finding the best ice cream shops.


Maleny Santiago is from Pomona, CA, and is a sophomore double majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology at CMC. She is currently working with Professor Kanaya focusing on mother-child interactions. In addition to her work at the Berger Institute, Maleny works at the Claremont Autism Center. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and playing with her three dogs.


Alex Zuniga is from Long Beach, CA and is a senior majoring in Molecular Biology at CMC. He currently works at the Keck Graduate Institute in Infectious Diseases, Immunology, and Genetics, and is working on being published in Nature. He is also part of a Team Masters Project where he and four other students pursuing their Masters are working on a capstone project for Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in Boston. He is also currently working for Professor Kanaya regarding mother-child interactions and is in the process of applying for his Masters in Biosciences, with the ultimate goal of working in the Biotech industry. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, hiking, and traveling.

In addition, the Berger Institute employs students to keep our website interesting and informative. Please meet our Social Media Representatives:


D Anderson

Danyon Anderson is a junior from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is interested in being an environment, economics, and politics major. His parents had him when they were 47 and 46 respectively, and his father retired when he was in fourth grade. This gives him a unique perspective on the relationship between work, family, and children because he benefited greatly from having two parents home full-time. He also runs cross country and track for CMS.

Larissa Chern

Larissa Chern was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is a senior at CMC dual majoring in economics and psychology. Her favorite thing about CMC is the strong sense of community among the student body. She is currently working as one of the Berger Institute’s Social Media Representatives. She loves traveling, spending time with friends and family, and meeting new people.


Sharon Chiang is a senior at CMC majoring in economics. As a SoCal native, Sharon enjoys spending time at the beach, going on hikes, and traveling around the world. She is passionate about children’s education, healthcare, and innovation. As a career-driven and family-oriented person, Sharon enjoys finding the right balance of work, fun, family, and friends.

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Maxwell Knowles is a freshman at CMC from Chatsworth, California. He is currently majoring in economics, with professional aspirations in marketing and entrepreneurship. He is very interested in worldviews and their impact on society, as well as the way people communicate with music, social media, the spoken word, and other means. Additionally, Maxwell throws the javelin for CMS Track and Field, participates in The Cave, is an ASCMC senator, and attends on-campus Bible studies.


Riya Kumar is a sophomore majoring in psychology at CMC. She hails from Chennai, a city in Southern India, where summer was the only season she experienced. She lives with her parents, sister, and two grandmothers, which makes for interesting dinnertime conversations. On campus, she is involved with the CMC Forum, McKennaMUN, the Psychology Club, and I-Connect. In her free time, she thinks about all the things she should be doing instead of procrastinating.


Brittany Woods (fall semester only), the Berger Institute’s resident Blogger, is a senior at CMC majoring in government with a sequence in Holocaust and Human Rights. Her interests range from child development to military conflict, with interdisciplinary perspectives at the core of her academic pursuits. She is a native of Southern California, originally from Riverside but currently living in San Diego with her husband Brandon – a U.S. Navy Sailor  and her maltipoo Loki. Her status as a working, married, commuting student gives her a unique perspective on work-life balance and the difficulties of balancing obligations.

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